I like Glenn Harlan Reynolds, aka Instapundit. He’s smart and thoughtful.
America’s ruling class has been experiencing more pushback than usual lately. It just might be a harbinger of things to come.
First, in response to widespread protests last week, the Department of Homeland Security canceled plans to build a nationwide license plate database. Many local police departments already use license-plate readers that track every car as it passes traffic signals or pole-mounted cameras. Specially equipped police cars even track cars parked on the street or even in driveways.
But the proposal was suddenly withdrawn last week, with the unconvincing explanation that it was all a mistake. I’m inclined to agree with TechDirt’s Tim Cushing, who wrote: “The most plausible explanation is that someone up top at the DHS or ICE suddenly realized that publicly calling for bids on a nationwide surveillance system while nationwide surveillance systems are being hotly debated was … a horrible idea.”
On Friday, after more public outrage, the Federal Communications Commission withdrew a plan to “monitor” news coverage at not only broadcast stations, but also at print publications that the FCC has no authority to regulate. The “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN (pronounced “sin”) involved the FCC sending people to question reporters and editors about why they chose to run particular stories. Many folks in and out of the media found it Orwellian.
He’s right: these proposals were made and then summarily withdrawn. But if it wasn’t bad enough that they were made in the first place—and it was bad enough, that and more—the opposition was tepid and slow to react. No one should have opposed “monitors” in newsrooms more than the denizens of newsrooms themselves. And they clearly have the means to make “news” out of any story they choose. But did they do anything with this story? After A WSJ op-ed outed the plan, the story lay fallow for days without any mention.
To Rush, who said it first and best:
I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out that a journalism school was actually behind this idea. I mentioned to you that there wouldn’t be any protests from journalists or journalism schools. I said:
“If it turns out here that a dean or an entire j-school is behind this idea, it won’t surprise me a bit.” And guess what? There are two, ladies and gentlemen. “The FCC commissioned the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Communication and Democracy to do a study defining what information is ‘critical’ for citizens to have.
“The scholars decided that ‘critical information’ is information that people need to ‘live safe and healthy lives’ and to ‘have full access to educational, employment, and business opportunities’ …” That’s what the news should be. Any mea culpas in there? Anybody want to now admit what I told you: This isn’t about news anymore, it’s about advancing the Democrat Party agenda? It’s about advancing the leftist agenda.
If that’s pushback, Prof. Reynolds, we are so screwed.
This, however, is pushback:
Meanwhile, in Connecticut a massive new gun-registration scheme is also facing civil disobedience. As J.D. Tuccille reports: “Three years ago, the Connecticut legislature estimated there were 372,000 rifles in the state of the sort that might be classified as ‘assault weapons,’ and 2 million plus high-capacity magazines. … But by the close of registration at the end of 2013, state officials received around 50,000 applications for ‘assault weapon’ registrations, and 38,000 applications for magazines.”
This is more “Irish Democracy,” passive resistance to government overreach.
If there is any resistance to governmental overreach under the Obama regime, it is not from the bureaucracies and institutions (Homeland Security, mainstream media) that support Obama’s power grabs. If there is any at all, it comes from citizens acting in concert to protect individual liberty (like the Tea Party, say). In that sense, Reynolds is right: let’s hope they give the “ruling class” more pushback than they can handle.