Yearnings for a wiser ruler
March 03, 2015

I Want a President Who'll Dump the Stupid FCC

by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

It was the Progressive Era that invented independent regulatory agencies. We needed an Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate those railroads. The noble idea was that we needed independent experts to protect the helpless farmer from the greed of the railroad barons. We needed a watchdog that was free of both of partisan taint and political patronage and also free from influence by corporate power.

Of course that was always a conceit. What the Progressives really meant was that they wanted the jumped up teenage clerks (Rockefeller) and teenage surveyors (Jay Gould) to be supervised by the right sort of people -- in other words, people like them.

Ever since, the independent regulatory agencies, the ICCs, the FTCs, the CABs, the FCCs, the FECs, the SECs, the NLRBs, have reliably churned forth conventional elite wisdom and reliably bollixed up perfectly viable industries like railroads, airlines, broadcasting, electioneering, finance, labor relations.

When un-settled scientists looking for new pastures invented the field of public choice theory one of their targets of opportunity was the regulatory agencies. Out of their research they developed a notion they called “regulatory capture.” Regulatory agencies tend over time, they reported, to become the friends of the people they regulate, and start to see the world in the same way as the regulated. They become, as the Brits say, “not fit for purpose.” Call it human nature.

But nobody ever thought that a president could just issue an order to a regulatory agency and have it fold like a house of cards to his monarchical will like all those aristocratic babes fold in Season 1 of The Tudors. But that’s what happened last week when the Federal Communications Commission voted to regulate the Internet like a public utility.

The key motivation in the president’s ukase to the FCC is simple, according to Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. at the Wall Street Journal. “It appears that Mr. Obama simply decided, after Democrats’ defeat in the midterm elections, that he would spend the last two years of his presidency catering to left-wing groups.”

Outraged? Don’t be. We should thank the president and his lefty pals. They are bellowing at the American people, through a megaphone, that the first order of business for the new president in 2017 should be to abolish and eliminate as many of the “independent” regulatory agencies as possible. We can see revealed in the “net-neutrality” decision a Gramscian strategy, a left-wing march through the institutions.

I remind you of O’Sullivan’s Law: “All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.” Why? Because for the lefty, the personal is the political: every thought, every feeling must be converted into political action. The more targets of opportunity out there, the more that lefty groups will take them over and use them as bases from which to grind the rest of us into welfare-state peasants.

The president is doing us a favor because he is creating a simple issue that a presidential candidate can reduce to a sound bite: Stop ruining Our Internet, Mr. President. And the cure is equally simple. Abolish the FCC, leaving someone in some obscure office in the Bureau of Silly Walks to manage the allocation of the broadcast spectrum.

Yes. Abolish all the supposedly independent regulatory institutions so they can’t serve as sand-boxes for trustafarian liberals looking to get a job in activism.

The eternal problem for conservatives is that the average person doesn’t know a thing about regulatory capture and the impossibility of an administrative system ever outperforming the market system; they naturally accept that the government is there to help them.

That’s why President Obama is such a gift to conservatives. He blunders into disaster after disaster, proving to the world that government is useless for just about everything except breaking things.

He gives conservatives the chance to talk to the American people about government that doesn’t work, and he provokes us to put into words our longing for a better America. Now we can create straight-forward sound-bites like: “I want a president who’ll dump the stupid FCC,” and know that everyone knows what we are talking about.

That’s the thing about modern social media America. You need to be able to say it in 140 characters, and there is no chance to actually explain anything in 140 characters.

Two months ago, I wrote that “I want a president who loves America.” I’m sure that Rudy Giuliani didn’t read it before his famous outburst a couple of weeks ago. He didn’t need to.

I tell you what. I’m going to write more of these “I want a president...” pieces. Because there’s something deep inside me trying to get out. You probably feel the same.

January 03, 2017

I Want a President Who Loves America: Pre-Inaugural Edition

Two years ago in this space I wrote that “I Want a President Who Loves America.” I started out by telling how I fell in love with America 51 years ago on my first trip to the US over Christmas 1965.  MORE...

December 06, 2016

I Want a President Who Tells Us His Sense of the World

Why is the US in Syria? Why is the US in Yemen? What was the point of dumping Khadafi in Libya? Do you have a clue what is going on? I don’t have a clue about any of that either.  MORE...

November 01, 2016

I Want a President that Loves America, Part Trois

Back in January of 2015 I wrote my first piece in the “I Want a President” series and the title was simply “I Want a President Who Loves America.” I wrote simply about my love for America and how, in the Obama years, I longed for a president that loved America like I did. And now I see that an African American, “Gloria,” agrees with me.  MORE...

October 04, 2016

I Want a President Who Will End Victimism

Great news! The Obama administration is proposing a new race category. It’s for people of Middle Eastern and North African descent — MENA for those in the know. Why? It’s obvious when you go to USA Today and read the blather about how the new race category could solve all kinds of problems with community identity and private-sector discrimination. In other words, liberals are going full-speed ahead to square up Muslims as another victim group for their victim politics.  MORE...

September 06, 2016

I Want a President to Lift Government Off the Brow of Labor

Back in the 19th century William Jennings Bryan spoke for working men everywhere when he declared:  MORE...

August 02, 2016

I Want a President That Won’t Stiff the Opposition

So Hillary Clinton has been nominated as the candidate for President of the United States, the first woman ever so nominated by a major party.  MORE...

July 05, 2016

I Want a President Born on the Fourth of July. Really

Eighteen months ago I started this I Want a President series with “I Want a President Who Loves America.” I wrote of my love for America and how I’d like a president that loved America as much as I did.  MORE...

June 07, 2016

I Want a President Who Can Tame America’s Lefty Rioters

There they go again. In San Jose last week, lefty demonstrators rioted against typical Americans leaving a Donald Trump rally, and the mayor of San Jose blamed Donald Trump for the violence. In the 21st century, in a democratic republic where “the people rule,” what is going on?  MORE...

May 03, 2016

I Want a President Who Can Teach Us to Accept Capitalism

In last week’s foreign policy speech Donald Trump had this to say about jobs:  MORE...

April 05, 2016

I Want a President to Teach Liberals a Lesson

The eternal frustration of every conservative is the way the public square is skewed in favor of liberals. “Right-wing extremism” is said to be a problem, but left-wing street riots are nothing but “peaceful protest.” We are to understand that anything less than a flat-out denunciation of loser David Duke and the pathetic remnants of the Ku Klux Klan is disqualifying while the accomplished racist agitator, Reverend Al Sharpton, gets White House invitations and fawning profiles in Vanity Fair.  MORE...

March 01, 2016

I Want a President Who is My Kind of Con-man

Many conservative pundits and principled Republicans are recoiling from Donald Trump on the grounds that he is a con-man, a confidence trickster. To which my retort is: So?  MORE...

February 02, 2016

I Want a President for Americans that Follow the Rules, Go to Work, and Obey the Law

It’s true! The pundits have just discovered that Republicans and Democrats really are different, after all. First, there’s the Kaiser Family Foundation poll that shows that Democrats want specifics from politicians and Republicans want principles. Then there’s the MSNBC campaign switch, reported by young Ezra Klein. He quotes Benjy Sarlin:  MORE...

January 05, 2016

I Want a President That Loves America. Again

It was just a year ago that I floated my dearest political wish upon the waters: “I Want a President Who Loves America.” It really wasn’t asking much. Since then, I’ve written again and again about what I want in a president.  MORE...

December 08, 2015

I Want a President Who Understands the Value of the Nation State

President Obama’s Oval Office address on Sunday night was par for the course: steady as she goes, and don’t let’s be beastly to the Muslims.  MORE...

November 03, 2015

I Want a President That Demonstrates Strategic Vision

Now that President Obama has sent boots on the ground into Syria, the question is: What’s the strategy? We know the president’s strategy on domestic policy; he wants to expand government-by-experts to the utter limit. And he wants to keep today’s hyphenated Americans by dividing them from “typical Americans” using Frankfurt School and Alinsky techniques to keep them hived off in identity silos. But what is the famed Lightworker’s strategy for the Middle East?  MORE...

October 06, 2015

I Want a President Who's "Unteachable." But Not Like Obama

Back in the glorious days of the Reagan administration Democratic wise man Clark Clifford opined that Reagan was an “amiable dunce.” That is Eighties-speak for today’s complaint that President Obama is “unteachable.”  MORE...

September 08, 2015

I Want a President That is a "Strong Leader." Not!

Last week, as I was practicing my French with DuoLingo, I heard Rush Limbaugh making a penetrating point about the 2016 election. It’s like 2008, he said, only this time it is conservatives that are investing all their hopes in an untried candidate and assuming he agrees with them.  MORE...

August 06, 2015

I Want a President Who Will Encourage the Millennials

If there’s one group in America that’s hurting worse than the African Americans in Prince George’s County looking at $300,000 mortgages on their $150,000 homes, it’s got to be the Millennials.  MORE...

July 07, 2015

I Want a President Born on the Fourth of July

Just in time for the fireworks, Gallup reports that the share of Americans that are “extremely proud” of America is down to 54%. It was 58% when America elected its First Black President (H/T PJMedia).  MORE...

June 02, 2015

I Want a President Who Cares About People Like Me

It is, I think, scandalous that Barack Obama won the “cares about people like me” sweepstakes over Mitt Romney by 81%-18% in 2012. The New York Post reported that it wasn’t an accident:  MORE...

May 05, 2015

I Want a President That "Gets" the Economy

Oh well, another day, another dollar, as the Obama economy continues to disappoint with a 0.2 percent growth rate for GDP in the first quarter for 2015.  MORE...

March 31, 2015

I Want a President Who Plays by the Rules

If you are a politician, why bother to play by the rules? Or if you are a citizen, why should you care whether the political leaders on your team play by the rules? (It goes without saying that we all care when the Other Guys break the rules.)  MORE...

December 30, 2014

I Want a President That Loves America

I first fell in love with America 49 years ago. I flew from the UK to Denver visit my parents in Christmas 1965, and it was love at first sight. I fell in love with America, the land; I fell in love with America, the people. And I fell in love with the American way of life, the unconsciously optimistic approach to life and work and the future.  MORE...