It is hard to defend conservative ideas, if conservative thought or speech is suppressed. To be more accurate, this suppression was mostly indirect outside of the academy and the rest of the “deep state.” Using the bogeyman of “corporate influence,” the Left have used the State to suppress influence of ordinary citizens, forming conservative mainstream and occasionally providing financial and other support to the conservative authors and philosophers. In the last few years, hypocrisy became ridiculous, when Democrat-patronized Internet behemoths dropped on the scales not only money, but their control of the Internet platforms. And one might only guess how much of this money and platforms’ power is fueling violence by BLM, Antifa, and sundry front groups of the hard Left.
Suppression & Cooptation
Over the last 20 years, the Democrats, supported by an army of trial lawyers, have been suppressing, shaking down, and coopting the business sector. This approach has apparently succeeded under Obama’s administration. For example, the voices of the energy industry, the fundament of the modern economy, have been totally suppressed. Its voices have been so muted that they could not even dispute false claims of funding “climate deniers.” The financial industry has been shaken down and forced to give mortgages to high risk borrowers, leading to housing bubble ending in the 2008 financial meltdown. The industry did not resist much, enjoyed the ride, making hundreds of billions in the process, and then became the obedient servant of the Obama administration.
Since the 1990s, the government acquired multiple levers of influence on almost all business sectors through regulation, investigation, and litigation. Just few of these levers include environmental regulation, labor relations, SEC (for publicly traded companies), and all kinds of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws and policies. Most of these levers are designed for use by leftist groups, and the rest are limited only by conscience of the government, which means they were not limited during the time of Obama’s government.
Cooptation of Tech Industry
Unlike these sectors, the so-called tech industry has been totally coopted. “So-called tech” is because it shed almost all manufacturing and a significant part of research, but entered markets of news, content creation, and censorship. This has been exacerbated by the global nature of the Internet and Internet businesses, which derive most of their income from abroad and had to please foreign governments, political parties, and the EU agendas.
Additional factors included the radical nature of the “community organizer” Obama administration, its propensity to act together with hard Left groups, the liberal leaning of many venture capitalists and founders, state politics of the Land of fruits and Nuts, and the willingness of the administration to show Silicon Valley companies both the whip and the carrot.
The carrots were huge and many. They included failure to enforce anti-trust laws against companies like Google, encouragement to replacing American workers with foreign applicants, tolerance to tax avoidance schemes, and suppression of their potential domestic competitors, like AT&T, under pretext of net neutrality. That included laws and regulations allowing Internet giants to violate our privacy as they wish, while largely absolving them of tort liability and other restraints, applicable to companies providing basic goods and services. One example is the amazing speed with which Google became Alphabet. This case cries “crony capitalism”.
The effect was the transformation of the industry that was proud of its independence, ability, and free thinking into a bunch of climate cultists, lackeys of the left wing of the left Democrat party and, possibly, agents of foreign enemies.
Coopted Tech & Privacy Concerns
Violations of our privacy committed by Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft (the GFTM) are egregious. Google collects vast amounts of data about each of us, including those who do not use its services, not only through Google search, but through Gmail, Google Maps, Android phones, and millions (or billions) of its “beacons” on third party websites. In the words Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman: “We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.” (1) Until recently, one could believe this vast information collection was innocuous, thinking Google was a legitimate commercial enterprise, and was using this data only to select the most appropriate ads, and understanding it is subject to all laws, regulating relations between a huge corporation and a consumer. Lately, all these assumptions have been proven wrong.
Google has unveiled itself to be a political entity, aligned with the hard Left and actively participating in “the resistance” against the elected President, and possibly aiding Democrats in mass collecting citizen’s data. Example of its political alignment is Eric Schmidt’s oversized role in Hillary Clinton campaign, sponsorship and participation of Google in the radical Netroots Nation conference, and multiple influential Google employees simultaneously working in leftist groups. That has created overwhelming incentive and opportunity for Google to share our personal data with the Democrat party or other leftist groups. Civis Analytics, a political data science venture started by executives of Google and 2012 Obama campaign, presents an obvious conflict of interest. Google also started censoring content that does not align with their leftist, anti-American, and globalist agenda. The suspension of the Google accounts of Professor Jordan B. Peterson for his opposition to use of the “gender neutral pronouns” is just one example of that. As Google developed unusually close relations with the Obama administration, which looked away when Google violated laws, apparently convincing its leadership that they are now above the law. Similar conclusions can be drawn about other “tech” companies that own social media platforms.
Fake Net Neutrality
An example of the more egregious behavior by the Silicon Valley is its opposition to repeal of the Orwellian named “Open Internet Order,” passed by Obama FCC 2015. That order has put almost all Internet in the U.S. under complete government control, reclassifying it under Title II of the 1934 Telecommunication Act. No connection to the “net neutrality,” which was not even mentioned in the text of the order, exists. True net neutrality has been secured by FCC ruling during the Bush administration.
What is less obvious in that order is that that order put under the Obama’s FCC control some corporate owners of the cable and broadcast TV industry, which have already been under tremendous political pressure from the FCC. This might have been a significant factor in MSM’s abrogation of any semblance of balance and their switch to extremely left positions. The main force behind the 2015 FCC order and the recent faux net neutrality campaign is Free Press – a group founded by Marxist-Leninists (yes, with capital M and L – I thought such groups had gone extinct).
Title II & Pornography
Porno “industry” has always been one of the bastions of the Left. Title II prohibits transmission of pornography to children (Sec. 223, also repeated in 47 U.S.C. 223). But Obama’s FCC turned this upside down: the FCC order prohibited parents from protecting their children from the Internet porno! This is not frequently mentioned, but the software parental control programs such as Net Nanny, Microsoft Family Safety etc. are frequently inefficient. Children are usually more computer savvy then their parents and can bypass these controls or connect tablets and other devices without knowledge of their parents (Wikipedia has helpful suggestions). The only effective protection would be filtering at the network by the ISP. Obama’s FCC has prohibited providing such service upon request of parents.
Not surprisingly, the biggest Internet porno sites lobby against repeal of the Obama’s FCC order, and Amazon bravely places its brand next to theirs. Google and many other “tech” companies compete by knowingly transmitting porno to children, which became illegal at least since the FCC reclassified Internet under the Title II. Of course, they could do that with impunity under the Obama government. But I see no reason why the injured parents and federal prosecutors would let that go on.
Silicon Valley does not Identify with the Nation
Silicon Valley has arrogated itself almost sovereign immunity by aligning with the Obama administration. From USA Today, December 2013:
“The great irony of Tuesday’s meeting between President Obama and tech CEOs was that, in its focus on the National Security Agency’s Internet spying, it signaled how much the Silicon Valley mind-set long ago moved beyond identifying with the nation the agency was purporting to protect.”
“And yet for them, the borderless world isn’t tomorrow’s dream but today’s reality — a reality which must be continually improved and expanded, as explained the open letter to Washington …”
“One of the meetings biggest headliners, for example, Apple CEO Tim Cook, runs a company famous for using global financial manipulations to declare itself independent of any corporate tax jurisdictions it finds onerous.”
The article summarizes: “Tech lobbies Obama on immigration, data. CEOs included some of president’s biggest financial backers. Want to hire and move foreign nationals without border barriers.” (3) Today, three and a half years later, The NY Times calls their views “The Moral Voice” (4) and one might be called names even for demurring over demands.
Conclusion: Hold Internet Giants Accountable
It is time for the FBI, SEC and others to investigate the Internet giants under a whole array of suspicions, ranging from monopoly abuses, harassment and discrimination against prospective employees — US citizens (the Google doodle for Fourth of July is a mild illustration of this), multiple violations of Title II of the 1934 Telecommunications Act, various frauds on consumers and shareholders, to acting as foreign agents without proper registration, and even felonies listed in Chapter 115 of the US Criminal Code.