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It's Not a Promising Future


On March 4 the White House announced the nomination of Jon Leibowitz for a second term as a member of the Federal Trade Commission. Leibowitz’s initial seven-year term expired last September. His second term will last until September 2017, well after Barack Obama (and possibly his successor) leaves office. Presumably Leibowitz will continue to serve as chairman for at least the duration of Obama’s presidency.

By this re-nomination, the White House unambiguously gave its approval to Leibowitz’s tyrannical, anti-free market, anti-civil liberties policies. Leibowitz has made the destruction of freedom a top priority in his first term, and there’s no reason to believe that won’t continue unabated in his second. Just today, Leibowitz told his supposed overseers in Congress that he is proceeding with plans to centralize all web browser and internet security standards within his office. By the end of his second term, Leibowitz’s FTC will have effective control of the Internet within the United States and possibly the rest of the world. All content will be filtered through Leibowitz and his staff, and new services will be heavily restricted via new regulation. Most “free” services enjoyed by consumers today — Facebook, Twitter, et al. — will eventually require fees of some sort to support Leibowitz and his insatiable appetite for power and bureaucracy. The Internet will ideally, in his mind, be like television or traditional newspapers — a highly cartelized form of media that exists primarily to support the government and its officials.

In his second term, Leibowitz will continue to engage in all manner of tyrannical activities without constitutional or congressional restrictions. In his first term, Leibowitz dismantled the few vestiges of due process left at the FTC. He eliminated the right of trial by a nominally impartial judge. He fabricated investigations and abused the judicial process to extort companies into doing his bidding. He retaliated against individuals who publicly criticized him. He illegally gathered and disclosed the personal financial data of individuals who refused to accept his “consent orders.” He’s committed multiple acts of fraud as part of a campaign to censor the Internet of speech he personally disapproves of. He’s violated the right of peaceful Christian organizations to speak their religious messages.

Don’t expect much opposition to Leibowitz now that he’s been reappointed. He’s already in bed — literally — with the largest newspaper in Washington. The various policy groups that claim to support “tech freedom” would rather appease him than confront him directly. There’s unlikely to be a second of debate or a single dissenting voice in the Senate to confirm him a second time. And what little opposition remains — i.e., me — will soon crumble. We’re left with a sociopath with a permanent foothold in our territory with a raging hatred of our people and our freedoms. And there won’e be anyone to stop him from doing whatever he wants.

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