Sacramento seems to ever be in search of a problem to solve even where no problem exists. Count Sen. Scott Wiener’s net neutrality bill among the efforts to force hard medicine on a healthy patient.

Wiener’s aim with Senate Bill 822, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, is “to make it as comprehensive as the policy the Federal Communications Commission recently voted to repeal.”

“The reality is that in 2018, the Internet is at the heart of our democracy and at the heart of our economy,” Wiener said. “And government has the responsibility to protect full and open access to the Internet as opposed to letting a handful of large companies decide who can access what.”

Never mind the political grandstanding, the tinny appeal to fairness. What net neutrality really means is government control of the Internet. The Web isn’t “open” if politicians and rule-making bureaucrats are intruding on private activities.

Wiener is right that the Internet is “at the heart of our economy.” But his effort squeezes that heart with government intervention, rather than let it beat freely.

Far from being broken, the Web is a healthy and always-advancing engine, fueling historic innovation and economic growth. Yet “a small, loud, activist, agenda-driven group” began to argue for “government restriction and control,” says Bartlett Cleland, the Pacific Research Institute’s senior fellow in technology and innovation. The noisy band of troublemakers support net neutrality because they believe government should reconfigure the Web to align with their self-interests.  They found allies in the Obama administration, which in 2015 required Internet service providers to treat all Web traffic equally.

The Obama administration argued that net neutrality means “that an entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student’s blog shouldn’t be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money.”

In other words, there’s nothing neutral about net neutrality. Washington was going to make the rules for the Internet, and the users were just going to have to put up with them. To do this, the Obama administration’s “Open Internet Order” was, said Cleland, “a dramatic move” to regulate the Internet “in the same archaic way as the monopoly-era rotary phone system.”

Both innovation and investment flagged while the Obama rules were in effect. The Trump administration under Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai threw out those rules so that the Internet could return to the “light-touch regulatory scheme that enabled the Internet to develop and thrive for nearly two decades.”

This was unacceptable for some. Pai received death threats and had to cancel a speech at a technology industry event, while a Syracuse man told Republican Rep. John Katko of New York before the FCC vote that he would kill him and his family if he didn’t support net neutrality.

It was also unacceptable to the governors of New York and Montana, who have issued executive orders barring their states from contracting with service providers that aren’t observing the Obama Open Internet Order, and Washington, which became the first state to enact net neutrality legislation. Resist-Trump California might be the next to follow in adopting what technology news site Ars Technica calls the “toughest net neutrality law in U.S.”

State net neutrality laws would have the same negative impacts as the federal regulations. Investments, which have exceeded $1 trillion, will decline, consumers’ online experiences will be poorer and the continued development of the Internet and its services will cool. State-imposed net neutrality will also Balkanize the Web, an outcome no one should want.

“The states are poised to carve up the internet into a series of systems, each regulated in its own way, ultimately creating a patchwork quilt that is antithetical to the very nature of the interest we understand,” Cleland wrote last fall in the Morning Consult.

Nothing has succeeded in fostering innovation and creating economic prosperity like the free market. It’s effectively pushed forward every industry, sector, and location in which it’s been allowed to exist. The Internet is not a special case that requires government meddling. It will flourish in openness just as every free market enterprise before it has.