Trump’s Choice for FCC: The Free Market Not Dead Yet

In a statement Monday, Ajit Pai said he was grateful to the president for choosing him as the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Several reports last week had said he was the pick.

Pai had been one of the two Republican commissioners on a five-member panel that regulates the country’s communications infrastructure, including TV, phone and internet service.

There are currently just three members on the panel. The Republicans’ new majority at the FCC, along with their control of Congress and the White House, is expected to help them roll back policies applauded by consumer advocates that upset many phone and cable industry groups, including net neutrality rules that bar internet service providers from favoring some websites and apps over others.

From what I’m reading, Mr. Pai is against government intervention in the internet economy, at least for the most part. “Net neutrality” is a falsehood similar to that of “the level playing field” myth. According to the level playing field myth, government’s job is to make sure all competitors and outcomes in the marketplace are equal. But that’s not reality. Not all people and companies are the same. Not everyone wants the same things, and not all companies provide the same level of quality. People sometimes make choices in the marketplace for silly reasons, or reasons that make sense to them, but not to some bureaucrat or authority in the nation’s capital.

More than a fallacy, net neutrality was a way for government to become more involved with the internet on the rationalization that, “Well, you can’t be against neutrality, can you?” It’s kind of like when the government gets involved in health care on the rationalization of, “Well, you want everyone covered, don’t you?” Or in the lending industry on the premise of, “Well, everyone should get a house loan, right?” We see how well these government manipulations work out, don’t we?

Such fallacies are toxic and destructive. They feed the idea that people are not and cannot be responsible for making their own choices in the free marketplace. Yes, we need a government to act as a policeman. We need a government to prosecute fraud or violence, or any treading on property rights. Legally binding contracts — entered into by voluntary parties — should be upheld. But we don’t need government to decide what the “fairest” rules of the game are outside of those boundaries. Remember that the kind of people who usually run for and hold office are the least morally and intellectually qualified to do anything. Otherwise, why would they be career politicians?

When you’re on the side of the marketplace, as Pai appears to be, then you’re accused of having a financial stake in the companies who benefit. For one thing, that’s usually not true. For another, the marketplace does not benefit “all companies” against the consumer. The free marketplace simply leaves consumers and companies free to work out what’s best for them. When government steps in and dictates in its typical “one-size-fits-all” fashion how consumers should act, feel, and choose, then consumers are (1) insulted and (2) denied their individual rights, as consumers, to choose the companies and services they want.

You never hear that side of the story. We’re always presented with the myth that it’s profit-making businesses against consumers or “the little guy.” But this makes no sense. The only reason companies make profits is because people willingly pay them. Big companies are big because their paying customers want them that way! The only reason people willingly pay them is because these companies are doing what people want them to do.

It’s big, regulatory government that monopolizes everything, not “big business.” Big government stifles and destroys the spontaneity, rational reflection, freedom of choice and open competition that free markets — and only free markets — can provide.

Kudos to President Trump for choosing a man, Indian-American Ajit Pai, friendly to free markets to head the FCC. And those of us who favor free markets will not call you racist if you oppose this choice, either. We eagerly wait to hear the names we’ll be called for supporting him.

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