“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” ― George Orwell, 1984
Ah, the good old days when we all worried it was only going to be the government who became the thought police, rigidly molding the populace into good little automatons through relentless propaganda and conditioning. Orwell’s seminal work, 1984, showed us as effectively as anyone ever has the potential of the government becoming Big Brother and brainwashing us all into robots.
Orwell, on his best day, could never have imagined that his vision would be fulfilled not necessarily by the government, but by Big Tech.
Oh, make no mistake, the government is still trying to become the thought police. All one has to do is take a look at the European Union, where one can quite literally be thrown in prison for a mildly offensive tweet or joke, to see Orwell’s fears realized. You see, over in Europe, they don’t have a pesky thing like the First Amendment; thus EU bureaucrats were perfectly able to enact broad “hate speech” laws and fully realize the police state.
Americans are a bit more troublesome though.
America was born of rebellion, and that revolutionary spirit still burns like an ember that refuses to die. Thanks to the Founders, we cannot be enslaved in the same manner that other countries can be, simply because we have the First Amendment. The government and establishment political class in America can only do but so much in regards to policing speech it doesn’t like, because the First Amendment stands as an implacable brick wall, preventing the same police state levels we see in the places like the EU member states. For the establishment elite, how then do you circumvent a brick wall? Going through it would be troublesome, as that would require doing away with the First Amendment, or altering it dramatically. As the country stands currently, that is virtually impossible (not so much in a few years). Since we stand at a time where you cannot break the First Amendment wall, then in order to stop speech you don’t like, you have to go over or around that wall.
Enter Big Tech.
In a borderline hilarious twist, the company that first ran the iconic 1984 ad depicting IBM as Big Brother, Apple, is on the front lines of censorship right alongside their modern-day Inquisition buddies Google, Twitter, and Facebook. These are companies that agree on practically nothing, that compete and virtually hate one another, and yet, they all agree on one thing: You will think like us, or be purged. Tim Cook of Apple just gave a speech where he said the following: “If you are pushing hate, division or violence, you have no place on our platforms.”
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Except for one thing: “Hate and division” are ludicrously broad terms that only apply to those on the right. Apparently, ANTIFA groups and radical leftists calling for assassination attempts, harassment, stalking and assaults, actual terrorists, and Anti-Semites such as Louis Farrakhan are exempt from the “hate and division” line from Big Tech. Between them, these companies control an astonishing amount of information and content. It is borderline impossible to exist in the modern world without the use of these sites, given that they control a vast percentage of the speech that goes on these days.
First, they set about banning Neo-nazis and White Supremacists, and no one cared, because hey, screw them. Then the Ban Hammer dropped on Alex Jones. Jones was the real testing ground to see what they could get away with since he wasn’t a white supremacist. Apple started, and every other platform followed within hours. Then we saw provocateurs Milo Yiannopolis and Gavin McInnes banned for mild infractions that were far less egregious that things I see on Twitter every day. Then, just recently, Laura Loomer got the same treatment. You see, if you are on their platform, they get to set the definition of hate speech, and calling for Trump to be assassinated isn’t, but criticizing some Muslim practice or using the wrong pronoun is beyond the pale. All of these bannings have been testing the waters to see how far they can go. Up until recently conservatives just yawned and said, “Hey, it’s a FREE MARKET, they can do what they like.” That was until one of their own, Jesse Kelly got banned. Then all of a sudden conservatives went berserk, and his account was restored. The line in the sand has been drawn, for now, but make no mistake it will move again, as the definition of what constitutes “hate speech” continues to broaden by the day as the Overton Window shifts.
The Free Market argument from conservatives to derail any censorship legislation is that the market determines who succeeds. Therefore, if you don’t like a policy Twitter or Facebook has enacted, just build your own platform. Setting aside how utterly ludicrous it is just to go create a multi-billion dollar platform, we have reached a point where you can do precisely that, and still not make it, as Gab has found out the hard way. Gab actually did exactly what conservative said you should do, and are shut down repeatedly. The Big Tech companies have reached monopoly status, so they just acquire new companies, or push them out with their overwhelming influence.
Will conservatives finally wake up and realize they are being digitally executed before it’s too late?
I’m not counting on it.
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Steve is the author of Forging the Iron Mind, and is the founder and CEO of Americana Prime.