Are you ok? Is your Internet connection still copacetic?
Based on some of the reactions online, today's vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to rescind the so-called "net neutrality" rules (the "Open Internet Order") passed by the agency in 2015 signals an end to life as we know it.
Here's a real-life headline from CNN, the network that prides itself on telling you an apple is an apple, or something.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called the decision to reduce government regulation of the internet a "radical departure that risks erosion of the biggest free speech platform the world has ever known."
The ACLU's stance is a radical departure of sorts—the civil liberties organization has generally been one of the most outspoken skeptics of the Trump administration's use of government power. They should welcome the administration reducing its authority here.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the Democrats' 2016 nominee for vice president, took full advantage of Twitter's new 280 character limit:
Horrible step backwards for a free and open internet. https://t.co/qyzmLh9Ph3
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) December 14, 2017
Of course it didn't take that long for content to come up before the 2015 rules went into effect. In fact, one of the first enforcement measures by the FCC in the wake of the 2015 rules was to crack down on "zero pricing" offers, where some streaming video and other data-heavy services don't count against monthly data limits. The horror.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) brought his usual over-the-top rhetoric:
This is an egregious attack on our democracy. The end of #NetNeutrality protections means that the internet will be for sale to the highest bidder. When our democratic institutions are already in peril, we must do everything we can to stop this decision from taking effect. https://t.co/8GGrJFMdrU
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 14, 2017
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), meanwhile, promised today's decision wouldn't last. Was he proposing to use Congress' power to review regulations to overturn the decision? Or even to reduce the power of the unelected bureaucrats to whom Congress has abdicated much of its authority?
This is an outrageous assault on a fair and open internet. Mark my words, this decision will not last! We will reverse it by winning future elections. https://t.co/J6QXOXfwAm
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) December 14, 2017
"Even our legislators admit that they're not the ones making our laws anymore," Seth Mandel quipped.
You can check out more mostly out-of-proportion Twitter comments here.
But these kind of apocalyptics can be expected when sober arguments aren't available, and there are very few that don't rely on misrepresenting what the 2015 rules are or what their repeal means.
It's worth noting that when the rules were passed in 2015, opponents did not turn into Chicken Littles warning of the sky falling, even though warnings that the rules would reduce investment in broadband and other infrastructure largely came true.
Related: Watch Reason TV's full interview with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai