“I enjoy government functions like I enjoy getting kicked in the nuggets by a steel toed boot.” So sayeth the mustachioed libertarian prophet of Parks and Recreation.
It cannot be a coincidence that net neutrality passed the FCC and that Ron Swanson’s character was aired for the last time, within a week. I mean, the universe plays some funny jokes on us from time to time… but this is too much!
Ron Swanson instilled a healthy distrust of government in everyone who watched NBC’s sitcom. He liked doing nothing to advance the government bureaucracy (that he worked for), because he recognized that government, more often than not, gets in the way.
But the very week the final episode of this wildly successful show was on the tube, already people across the nation are assuming that “net neutrality” is a thing to be celebrated. The Daily Dot even ran a story with the subtitle “Victory.”
So let me explain why I’m bashing the “net neutrality” thing that just passed the FCC in a landmark vote:
First, the FCC is the same group that will let you call someone a “bitch” or an “asshole” on the air, but God forbid you say the word “s**t.”
Aside from the stupidity of what constitutes a George Carlin “bad word,” let’s just register the fact that the FCC already regulates speech. Unless you have a HAM radio license (like I do), the only time you’ve ever heard of the FCC before is when they’ve fined a television network or radio station for saying a “bad word.” So my first objection is that, inevitably, the FCC will decide what the bad things to say on the internet are, and regulate them. Censorship—it’s what they do.
Secondly, I want people to embrace their Ron Swanson-ness (a term which he would probably dislike).
The articles I’ve read that are pro-“neutrality” claim that the greedy internet companies need regulation. That otherwise they will place heavy rates on the consumer, or charge companies for faster service. So shady. But, what is the largest and greediest company in the world? That’s right, Ron Swanson Jr., it’s the U.S. government. They have a monopoly on everything they do, and they inherently do things with the goal of taking more power and tax money for themselves — especially for an unelected body like the FCC. So why would we trust the government to oversee corporations?
And finally, the idea behind this new regulation is to make the internet into a public utility.
Public utilities are the worst. At least in internet and cable, I have had competition when choosing my plans. I could get my television from DirecTV or Time Warner, and I could get my internet from several entities as well. I made my choice because of the speeds to price ratio. And I chose to pay a little more to get higher internet speeds. I do not have the same choice with water and power. In my community, it’s a public utility — the same public utility that fines me if I take a “too-long” shower, that charges me extra to use a dryer at 9pm, that posts billboards all around telling people to not wash their cars or water their lawns. So what’s next? Well, “We have a drought of internet speeds because too many people are watching Netflix, so we are going to have to ask you to only use the streaming services you’ve paid for between the hours of 6am to 8am”?
Under the label “neutral,” the FCC board has created anything but. Please, everyone, embrace you inner Swanson-ality (a term he’d like even less) and stop posting this #NetNeutrality thing like it’s good. It will spell the end of freedom of speech as we know it, and I’m not hyperbolizing.
Sorry, Leslie Knope.