Net Neutrality

Ron Swanson Slams Fan Ajit Pai Over 'Duplicitous Handling of the Net Neutrality Issue'

But would TV's favorite libertarian really favor federal regulation of the Internet?


It all started with Michael C. Moynihan, fittingly enough. The former Reasoner and current Vice News correspondent (and Fifth Columnist!) went to the office of Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai this week to talk about the fallout over last month's highly controversial announcement that the FCC would soon be voting on whether to rescind its 2015 Title II "net neutrality" regulations. Try to ignore the Judge Judy atrocities at the opening, and focus in on the pyramid on the wall beginning at about 0:46:

That's right, libertarians' very favorite government official is on the wall of one of their least favorite federal agencies; no big surprise, given Pai's ideological inclinations.

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But one viewer who didn't enjoy the sight was Nick Offerman, who yesterday fired off a tweet saying:

Dear @AjitPaiFCC , I noticed your Pyramid of Greatness and thought it felt strange in your office, given your stance. So I went to see Ron Swanson to ask if he'd care to weigh in & he dictated the below to me

"I'm flattered that my pyramid of greatness has inspired you. I will remind you that the top category is Honor. Sadly, based on your duplicitous handling of the net neutrality issue, and the way you are willfully ignoring the public you claim to serve, I feel you may need that term defined. Which means, of course, that you don't have it."

Internet regulation is admittedly a complicated issue, but it's hard to square this sentiment with Swanson's stated belief that "all government is a waste of taxpayer money," and that the "perfect government" would be "one guy who sits in a small room at a desk."

Pai has discussed his net neutrality changes at length recently with both Nick Gillespie and The Fifth Column; Reason's work on the issue can be found here. Our Ron Swanson file, too, is as thick as a fine piece of carving wood.

And how is Pai reacting to the actor playing one of his fictional heroes trash-talking him on Twitter? "At this point," a spokesman told me this afternoon, "we don't have any comment."