Ron Coleman Profile picture
Aug 20, 2018 23 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
There's all kinds of regulation over commerce, and most of us conservatives are familiar with and can readily cite examples of where it has failed or even produced exactly the opposite result of what was purported to be intended, or worse. >
> OTOH we take a lot of regulation that almost certainly does increase welfare, arguably at a trivial cost in terms of economic liberty, for granted. You don't want to think of what you'd be eating every day if not for the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, for example. >
> I'm sure there are papers that negate that assertion but go with me on this for purposes of this thread.

One area in which our government has treaded relatively lightly in regulation might seem to be expression and communication, because of the First Amendment.

Wrong! >
> This perception is incorrect. In fact for two centuries no one dreamt that the First Amendment prevented the government (let's abstract from the 14th Amendment here) from regulating a wide range of speech, especially obscenity. >
> Today there is essentially no "obscenity" in the law, but not so long ago fishing racey material out of the mail to prevent its distribution was the job of the US Post Office.

Such regulation is impossible now because there is no cultural consensus of what is indecent. >
> So how about regulating Twitter, Google and Facebook? Could the government do it to restore a semblance of accountability to public discourse?

Not in the traditional regulatory sense, no.

Let's consider the Federal Communications Act. >
> The FCC was founded on a silly fiction: That the broadcast spectrum, which was beginning to be exploited by radio, was a "finite resource" that only government could fairly allocate and manage.

The heart of this fiction was the premise of "scarcity." >
> That subject has been explored at length by economists and I'm not going to even going to try to summarize the work of Coase et al. here.

Notwithstanding this rationale, the FCC regulated *content* on the radio and TV for generations.

What was the effect? More later. >
> Obviously the FCC had a role in keeping US culture "decent" via its relatively soft regulation of content through most of the 20th century. The advent of increasingly affordable channels for distribution of entertainment content however rendered that endeavor obsolete. >
> But far more significantly, the FCC'S role in preventing true competition in broadcasting contributing to the emergence of the TV networks during the Golden Era of TV reinforced the overall consolidation in media that was well under way. >
> Newspapers, in fact, had in theory been subject to antitrust laws until 1970, when under the guise of concern for editorial diversity as consolidation's efficiencies took their toll, newspaper cartels were essentially legalized via a legislative antitrust exemption. >
> In both broadcasting and print media, the maintenance and growth of government-sanctioned concentration of ownership effectively homogenized cultural standards. Cultural conservatives, however, wisely did not rejoice, for a few reasons. >
> Unless under draconian censorship, all cultural expression - all art, all literature, even #journalism - has elements of subversion. Stalin micromanaged Soviet culture to meet the ends of the regime. There is no innocent humor, and every star is competition for the leader. >
> Over time even regulated broadcast content failed to maintain traditional middle class mores. Elvis and the Beatles got onto Ed Sullivan. Clever writers and "hosts" learned how to slolom around network "Standards" departments. And the need for new material pressed boundaries.>
> Meanwhile there was inevitable cultural leakage into broadcasting from other cultural sources. Hollywood, never under the FCC's jurisdiction, threw off the antique Hayes Office standards in favor of a voluntary movie rating system. >
> All this time, however, the official imprimatur of the state - FCC content regulation - remained (and remains) on broadcasted content. The result: endorsement by the supposed guardians of morality of both accelerating moral decay and a literal code of political correctness. >
> FCC content regulation thus approaches the situation posited by Justice Alito in Matal that if we deem an agency's "imprimatur" on content as government speech, surely the government is "babbling prodigiously and incoherently."

On TV and radio, it is. And it doesn't work. >
> Official content regulation - whether called "fairness" or a prohibition on "disparagement" - thus not only actively suppresses expression. It inappropriately establishes a canon of correct opinion and discourse that undermines freed thought and culture themselves.>
> This process is well under way in miniature in the universities, where the purported abandonment of in-loco-parentis responsibility for young minds and morals has come full circle, locking every student into a pricey Skinner Box of acceptable conduct and expression.>
> The result is not only a rigid campus regime of Right Think restricting academic and social interaction. This narrowing of mind has also enfeebled the academic enterprise itself to such a degree that scholarship outside STEM disciplines is widely seen as worthless. >
> Top-down content regulation - or even content endorsement - thus kills not only "culture" as we think of the term, meaning enrichment of human life through the arts - but the underlying culture of inquiry and achievement that is meant to be the purpose of the academy. >
> Free market advocates are often skeptical of another kind of regulation alluded to earlier in this thread: what we broadly call antitrust law. This 1982 article (excerpt below) encapsulates the argument well:… >
Far be it from me to endorse the way the Europeans do almost anything, but for better or worse they're not impressed with these arguments:…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Ron Coleman

Ron Coleman Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @RonColeman

Sep 13, 2018
Every bit as much a gentleman as he is, today, a scholar: I give you LaWreNCe TRIbE
And this leads me to the Coleman Unified Political Field theory: that the Left's entire appeal now is premised on the appeal to (purported) authority.

Forget substance. Trust (our now wholly-owned) institutions and brands. The FBI. The judiciary. Carl Bernstein. The AP. Etc.
None of these great institutions - associated with stability, fundamentally conservative values - these legacies of supposed trustworthiness - would lead us astray!

Not the Times. Not the CIA. Not the Bushes. Not Science.

We (the Left) literally occupied the Flag. Now, salute!
Read 4 tweets
Sep 9, 2018
In which I foolishly entertain a total stranger in my DM's and am nonetheless found wanting for failing sufficiently to distance myself from ultra-rightists like @Cernovich and @SethAMandel: 1 of 2
Part 2: DM stands for "demented meltdown"
If my reputation is "taking a bashing" from people with that level of reasoning ability, it's the best thing that ever happened to me.
Read 4 tweets
Sep 5, 2018
Just ate in a pizza shop that I've been coming to for at least 30 years.

It starts to add up. The years, and the pizza.
To clarify: I didn't come here every day for 30 years. They're closed on Saturdays.
Every observant Jewish community that reaches a critical mass sufficient to have a restaurant has a kosher pizza shop. That's your default.

And the first one is always named "Jerusalem," for what other name evokes strictly meatless tomato pies? Never not.
Read 4 tweets
Sep 4, 2018
I don't think you personally have to have working class cred to have an opinion about work. But it sure helps in that department if you've ever had to wear steel-toed shoes to do your job.
Also not for nothing if you've ever lugged cartons of tube socks to a flea market on the weekend to help your parents pay for your college education.

Three for $2.75. *Like the sign says* (damn it)
Working the counter at Carvel was much more fun but it only paid minimum wage. I still miss that job.
Read 8 tweets
Sep 3, 2018
Average guy explains lack of personality of famously popular and effectual person he's never met for us
Hilarious. Before he became the GOP nominee for POTUS, Trump was known as a louche reality TV star, relentless self-promoter and entrepreneur of various degrees of success who, still, had undeniably had been a significant real estate developer. In other words, a personality.
But it's utterly unremarkable (except by strange people such as myself) for an utterly unremarkable guy on Twitter to just assert, regarding an historic figure with such exceptional achievements in social space, that he has "no tangible relationship to human nature."
Read 4 tweets
Aug 30, 2018
The problem is there's #noaccountability.

Not for prosecutors.
Not for law enforcement.
Not for *anyone in government.*

Knowing this, why would we expect better outcomes?

And this is what makes Never Trumpers so contemptible.

They're not only seeking to tolerate #noaccountability. They live it.
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!