April 28, 2009
Last week it was reported that Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein, an early campaign advisor and Obama booster, was nominated to be administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget.
“As one of America’s leading constitutional scholars, Cass Sunstein has distinguished himself in a range of fields, including administrative law and policy, environmental law, and behavioral economics. He is uniquely qualified to lead my Administration’s regulatory reform agenda at this crucial stage in our history. Cass is not only a valued advisor, he is a dear friend and I am proud to have him on my team,” Obama said in a White House press release.
Sunstein might be a constitutional scholar, but that does not mean he stands behind the Constitution.
On Monday, WorldNetDaily reported on Sunstein’s belief that the government should impose a “fairness doctrine” on the internet. “Barack Obama’s nominee for ‘regulatory czar’ has advocated a ‘Fairness Doctrine’ for the Internet that would require opposing opinions be linked and also has suggested angry e-mails should be prevented from being sent by technology that would require a 24-hour cooling off period.”
According to Obama’s nominee, the internet is “anti-democratic” because users can filter out information. “A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government,” Sunstein wrote. “Democratic efforts to reduce the resulting problems ought not be rejected in freedom’s name.”
Sunstein would impose mandatory “electronic sidewalks” on the internet. These “sidewalks” would display links to opposing viewpoints, a concept described as a “Fairness Doctrine for the Internet” by Adam Thierer, senior fellow and director of the Center for Digital Media Freedom at the Progress and Freedom Center. “Apparently in Sunstein’s world, people have many rights, but one of them, it seems, is not the right to be left alone or seek out the opinions one desires.”
Sunstein describes this as “libertarian paternalism,” an oxymoron if there ever was one. He also admits his control scheme is unconstitutional.
It is up to the government to impose civility on the internet, according to the professor, not only in regard to opinion but language as well. “Software already exists to detect foul language. What we are proposing is more subtle, because it is easy to send a really awful e-mail message that does not contain any four-letter words.”
Cass Sunstein also has problems with the Second Amendment. In a 2007 speech at Harvard he called for banning hunting in the U.S. and believes “almost all gun control legislation is constitutionally fine. And if the Court is right, then fundamentalism does not justify the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms.”
“It’s hard to imagine President Obama nominating a more dangerous candidate for regulatory czar than Cass Sunstein,” Brad O’Leary, author of Shut Up, America! The End of Free Speech, told WND. “Not only is Sunstein an animal-rights radical, but he also seems to have a serious problem with our First Amendment rights. Sunstein has advocated everything from regulating the content of personal e-mail communications, to forcing nonprofit groups to publish information on their websites that is counter to their beliefs and mission. Of course, none of this should be surprising from a man who has said that ‘limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government.’ If it were up to Obama and Sunstein, everything we read online – right down to our personal e-mail communications – would have to be inspected and approved by the federal government.”
Of course, the federal government is a tool of the ruling elite who are determined to squash the internet — or turn it into a version of cable television controlled by large corporations — because it offers an alternative to their propaganda, disinformation, and mind control.
If Sunstein is nominated to head up the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, we can expect him to work on imposing an internet “fairness doctrine” behind the scenes. The office, which is part of the Office of Management and Budget, reviews federal regulations before they are issued. The office largely works behind the scenes, but it can have a major impact on regulatory policy.