Congressman Ken Buck (R-Colo.) has a new book out that tries to analyze how big tech is waging war against free speech. The book details the bullying and predatory behavior of the tech giants, such as Google and Facebook, but it fails to address the real problem: big government’s regulatory protection of big tech, which ensures their monopoly.
At the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. on January 11, Buck discussed his book, Crushed: Big Tech’s War on Free Speech.
The Congressman made good points about many of the anti- democratic practices of companies such as Google – which he labeled evil — Facebook, and Twitter etc. He noted the importance of having someone like Elon Musk reveal some of the shadowy practices of such technology giants. He also lamented the fact that no such truth-speakers exist at any other of these corporations.
Interestingly, the talk at Heritage revolved around the congressman’s love of the free market and his book, which blames the companies for creating monopolies and abusing the market.
For instance, the book tackles significant subjects. As the jacket states, “Buck exposes the bullying and predatory behavior from the Big Tech giants who have used their technologies and their unbelievable market shares to stifle commerce and censor free speech. He spells out the inside details of how these companies restrict free markets, stop competition, increase prices, and ultimately hurt consumers. Even worse, Big Tech companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook are actively censoring conservative news and views, as they openly manipulate information provided to voters. Ken Buck shows how these tech giants are true monopolies and their concentrated power pose a serious danger for our democracy.”
Nonetheless, there is one, immense and unaddressed issue here: Big Tech is only as powerful as it is thanks to Big Government. Big tech censorship is a symptom of government overregulation, favoritism, and flat out deception of the public.
Let’s look at the situation for what it is.
The finger has always been pointed at monopolies and the peril they embody. Yes, monopolies are as abysmal as described. But they are only dangerous if they stick around long enough to do damage. So, why do they last for so long in first place?
In a true free market, when a monopoly forms — thanks to a company finding some profitable way to disrupt the market — it is rapidly challenged by other competitors who are eager to provide some better product to get a piece of the very scrumptious pie called market share.
With few to no barriers to entry for new companies (that is, when governmental red tape and costs are cut to a minimum), the market is soon flooded with new firms going after the same commercial segment. This gives consumers more and increasingly better options for new products, and has the wonderful effect of… naturally dissolving monopolies.
But in a crony capitalist system, where government gives certain companies preferential treatment, those chosen enterprises will grow, forming an unhealthy Pavlovian dependency on the favoritism which brought them control in the first place.
As well, any company that is part of the mainstream, government approved “movement,” is going to have the full backing of a taxpayer-dollar-funded PR system, making them not just rich but also (nowadays) symbols of woke initiatives and social justice.
Yet there is another way the government can turn these businesses into an extension of its rule. It can tell everyone how evil the firms are and how the need for more regulation is obvious: “Regulate the tech giants! It is the only way to take their influence away!”
We saw the degree to which this goes, a few years back, when Facebook CEO Zuckerberg, donning a martyred expression, stated publicly that he would submit Facebook to further regulation for the good of everyone. This gave his company a more selfless image.
However, there is a glaring problem with this argument. More regulation actually works against startups and helps the big guys stay in power. And this does not happen simply because the dominant businesses have “an in” with the regime and are the preferred allies in the propaganda war of the day.
It also happens because these influential corporations have armies of lawyers and people who deal strictly with regulatory compliance, whereas the little guys cannot afford this and get caught up in the complexities of red tape and costs associated with staying afloat.
So, anytime someone points a finger at big tech and says that it is the problem, their attention needs to be brought to the reason for its sway in the first place. And they need to look at who is really in charge of profits and motives.
However, when someone in the government points the finger at the symptom instead of the problem, one has to ask why. There seem to be two options in the big tech situation. The first is that government officials do not understand how the free market works, in which case they need to learn more about it.
The second option is that they are being deceitful, in which case, one would at least hope they would learn to lie more intelligently in the future (it’s not like one can hope for honest politicians). But also, perhaps, in the meantime, they could do some work for rather than against the people they are meant to represent.
Thus, to sum up, big tech is not restricting free markets, stopping competition, increasing prices, hurting consumers, manipulating elections. Government is doing this through big tech, its loyal technological arm.
So, how do we stop suppression of innovation and competition? Release the power of the free market by tearing down barriers to entry into it, deregulating, slashing taxes. Then, put smart immigration laws into place to make sure the U.S. is still capable of procuring the most important resource on the planet (and the one which made it the leading example of prosperity and innovation): human intelligence.
America needs immigrants with boundless skills from all over the world. Legal, clever immigration procedures keep a nation thriving.
Another important step is to let loose the power of the American intellect itself. Stop the ridiculous and dangerous propaganda currently invading U.S. higher learning institutions; teach critical thinking, unaltered humanities and STEM subjects; bring back vocational training; and teach our youth to work in all areas of society.
Finally, push for government accountability and transparency, get mad and take action when lies and propaganda flood the system.
Notice that none of these measures are within the reach of tech companies. Most are within the control of the government to implement. And the last two measures belong to us, the governed.
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