Mark My Words

THIS DEVELOPMENT marks the beginning of the end of the Internet.

Statist, collectivist, kleptocratic dictatorships of all stripes will be unable to resist the temptation to poke a sharp stick in the eye of American liberty. There will be censorship. There will be “diversity.” There will be concern for the “feelings” of groups.

This may be the biggest mistake the U.S. government has ever made. And the sick part is — the Internet isn’t theirs to give away. It belongs to the American people.

But what about the fragmentation of the ‘Net, due to…

Due to paranoid dictatorships unable to withstand the glare of public scrutiny?

Well, Dolly, I’d say that that would be their problem. The vast bulk of the ‘Net would have remained free. Those other places would become dead backwaters, lively only to the extent of the openness of their connection of a free, pluralistic, atomized, self-regulating system. In short, their experiments in top-down control will/would succeed only to the extent that they resemble a free marketplace.

All those billions of Chinese?

I’m sure that they would limp along. After all, they have been making do under despotic regimes for millennia. But that doesn’t mean that what eventuates will ever come close to resembling the big, vibrant — and, yes — messy success that the ‘Net is today. And it is only to the extent that the hand of government has been kept OUT of the regulation of the Internet that the experiment has succeeded.

And, unless they claw that back, the experiment is over.

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