Regulating Digital Speech Is Closer Than You Think

We have addressed the left’s persistent attacks on the first amendment frequently on this blog. Take a look back at Obama’s Lawyer, the attacks on Fox News, Ann Ravel’s unintelligible partisan dribble about her own agency, and even Attorneys General issuing harassing subpoenas on non-profit organizations for expressing a point of view.  The concerns are numerous and provide a grim picture of the underlying intent of the attacks.  

Those who get in the way are being dealt with through threats, intimidation, and far worse. Kimberly Strassel recently published a book detailing the various methods and actions taken by those who would see the First Amendment limited to only their point of view on any range of topics.  Liberal Senators and Congressmen/women are taking a cue from Commander in Chief. They are seeking to expand and lop side government agencies to allow for extensive regulatory overreach. Nowhere is this more prevalent than at the FCC and the FEC. For those familiar with the legislation, the concern is that the left has been and continues to seek to regulate the internet.


The Cato Institute recently held an event discussing the reality of the situation. Digital speech is under attack and has been for some time. The event featured Lee Goodman, Commissioner, FEC; Ajit Pai, Commissioner, FCC; and Rudy Takala, Watchdog Reporter, Washington Examiner. Goodman, Pai and Takala provided an exceptional overview of the current state of “Digital Speech”. In the interest of brevity, this is a paraphrase of the bulk of the concerns discussed.


The Internet is the last stronghold of what is truly free speech available to Americans and for that matter, the world.  As much as the left paints Citizens United as a horrible SCOTUS decision (which both Democratic presidential candidates seek to overturn), the internet as it is equalizes the decision by giving a voice to anyone willing to use it. Money makes little difference in the world of the internet. And while it may not be the end-all solution, it is the best and most readily available to all in our country. The wealthy, indigent, blacks, whites, Catholics, Muslims, conservatives, liberals, and moderates . . . we all have a chance to voice our opinion to weigh in on issues and express our opinions and partake in rational debate.


Debate is one of the things that makes this country great. The ability to share ideas and disagree with one another is what moves our nation forward. If you can get to a computer, at home or at the library, you have a platform to share your thoughts and ideas with others from across the world. That should be encouraged, not stifled through regulation overreach and the left-leaning media.  


You need not look too far to see oppressive governmental regimes heading down the path of over regulation, stifling speech and ideas, as well as outright banning of content. This is the path envisioned by many who continue to seek additional regulations. The intent is to regulate and control the flow of information, to tax it, and ensure that the ideas of many are drowned out in the favor of the ideas of a select few. This is the risk. These are the ideas being put forth by those who claim to be supporting minorities and giving them a voice. Which voice is that? Because if all remains constant, in the end, it most certainly will not be their own unless they can afford to pay for it and its message supports that of the current administration.