A Fatal Flaw

In a piece for Wired, FCC MFWIC Tom Wheeler offered rationalization for his decision to dismantle the Internet. He opened his apologia with this remarkable claim:

This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles….

That’s the problem. Regulatory “principles” proceed from the assumption that government regulation is a universal and primary good.

Of course, that’s precisely backward—and backwards. A free market is almost universally self-regulating: make a bad product, people find out and stop buying—the producer goes out of business. Lie about a product, people find out and stop buying—even if the product itself might be sound—and the producer or seller goes out of business. And so on.

Almost universally: yes, there are conditions within which government regulation is warranted. But such regulation must proceed from the fundamental assumption that regulating is bad or unnecessary, and the regulation proposer must prove—not merely justify—why this proposed regulation is necessary (not merely useful in some sense).

Wheeler’s regulatory travesty must be halted. Even its mere suggestion is sound reason for Congress to act—perhaps unsuccessfully until 2017 with a Republican President, too—now to reign in, to severely circumscribe, the regulatory authority of all Departments and Agencies.

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