Our republic was attacked twice in the last few weeks. The lesser attack was a mob overrunning a curiously unprepared D.C. police force to get into the U.S. Capitol.
The far greater attack to our nation and the principles for which we stand was perpetrated by a handful of ultra-powerful, high-tech executives.
Nothing is more valuable to a free society than the unrestricted exchange of ideas, no matter how offensive some ideas might seem.
We look with all-embracing disgust at totalitarian states like China that stifle dissent and crack down on the tools that connect their people. Opposition web sites are shut down. Virtual private networks — VPNs — which allow the Chinese people to connect with online platforms outside the country, are illegal.
How much better are the high-tech oligarchs who have ended communication among people on the political right in the U.S.?
Despite Donald Trump still being the duly elected president of the United States, Twitter canceled his direct communication to some 80 million Americans.
Facebook has also canceled him. So have YouTube (owned by Google), Pinterest, Instagram and the online card processor Stripe which processes his fundraising
Imagine the outcry from our predominantly progressive press if these tech companies canceled a sitting Democratic president. They would rightfully be crying that it was a death knell to democracy by a corporate takeover of speech and communications.
Of course, the press loves this high-tech cancel culture. They now have basic censorship control over Trump. If he wants to communicate to us, he must go through the media, which almost universally despise him.
Actually, they haven’t canceled Trump. They have canceled us. We can no longer have an unedited line of communications on the platforms used by almost all Americans. And those of us on the right who are tired of being censored and de-platformed by Silicon Valley elites, well, we can’t even have a safe space to even talk to one another.
Parler.com was built to be Twitter for conservatives, a place where the cancel culture wouldn’t reach us. Amazon, the leader in cloud service for business, pulled the rug out from under Parler, ending their hosting service. Apple and Android canceled Parler from their app-stores. There is no Parler as I write this.
It’s not quite a tyrannical government closing down a newspaper. But it is a tyrannical tech oligopoly doing it. Does that make it better?
Since the advent of mass communication, the first target of any revolution was to take over the TV and radio stations to have complete control of news and narrative without public dissent. Today’s tech elites having enacted a version of a banana-republic coup much more than the morons smashing into the Capitol ever could.
Yes, these tech giants are private companies and can choose to silence whomever they wish. I won’t argue against their right to do so. My disappointment is with our current illiberal culture and media that aren’t outraged by it.
Again, I ask where are the liberals of my youth who cried, “I disagree with what you say but defend to the death your right to say it”?
It isn’t a far jump from college speech codes, to employees fearing for their jobs if they talk “incorrectly,” to tech companies disenfranchising a third of the nation and ripping away their speech.
So, what’s the solution? In the long term it is to promote a culture that celebrates ideological diversity as much as the left does racial and gender diversity.
I’ll say it so often they might use it as my epitaph — diversity isn’t what’s between your legs, it’s what’s between your ears.
In the shorter term the right needs to build out its own safe cyber spaces. The very best one in the nation is growing right out of Colorado.
CaucusRoom.com is by far the best place for conservatives and libertarians to meet, mingle, organize and promote their causes. Imagine a Facebook or NextDoor that’s friendly, not hostile, to people who believe in limited government and freedom.
The best way to show your disgust with the intolerance and insurrection of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google and Twitter is to log on to CaucusRoom right now.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.
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