Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Obama plans to socialize the internet?'s headline: Broadband Is This Generation’s Highway System, FCC Chief Says

Scary words, those are. In 1956, when Eisenhower set out to construct a national, socialized network of highways, he was fulfilling the dreams of many progressives since the turn of the century, who believed that a road system designed and funded by the government ought to replace the privately-owned networks of streetcars and other rail-based mass transit that had up until then been the mainstay of urban and suburban transportation. Their plans profoundly transformed America, giving birth to venerable American icons like the road trip, fast food restaurant, and large-lot suburban subdivision.

But it hasn't been all white picket fences and manicured lawns. Suburan and exurban sprawl consume ever-increasing amounts of energy and land, and are at the root of many of America's ecological and foreign policy problems. Our obesity epidemic may even stem from our car-based culture, and while the isolation that suburbs provide can be nice, there's something to be said for the diversity and culture that one finds in cities.

If the Obama administration doesn't back off the internet, it very well may end up as interesting as a suburban subdivision and as fast as a SoCal highway during rush hour.

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