Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Tucker Carlson Says Corporations Are Now the Biggest Threat to Your Freedom. He’s Wrong

 

Americans are not at the mercy of businesses that don’t share their values.

Sundar Pichai, Jack Dorsey, and Mark Zuckerberg have no prisons. They’ve never run an internment camp or seized anyone’s home for failure to mow their lawn. Their body counts are a combined zero. Yet in a recent keynote address at the National Conservatism conference, Tucker Carlson suggested that big corporations, like Google, Twitter, and Facebook, are a greater threat to your freedom than the government.

“The main threat to your ability to live your life as you choose does not come from the government anymore, but it comes from the private sector,” the Fox News host said.

Echoing recent praise for Senator Elizabeth Warren and her brand of economic nationalism, Carlson declared that her book on the two-income trap is “one of the best books on economics he’s ever read.” (Might we recommend a bit of Sowell, Hayek, or Smith?)

Is Carlson’s claim defensible? Not by a long shot.

Government Abuse as a Threat to Freedom

The genius of the Constitution is a result of the American Founders’ understanding that our freedoms and rights precede government and that an unrestrained government is the biggest threat to those freedoms. The Founders limited the power of the government through an intricate system of enumerated powers, separation of powers, explicit rights, and rights retained by the people to impede the abuse of governmental power.

Limiting the potential for governmental abuse was fundamental to the design of our constitutional order and remains an abiding concern. No such concern existed for “big corporations” because businesses do not wield the power to promulgate civil and criminal laws and exact punishment for violations of them. The state, not business, has a monopoly on compelled coercion.

Government has the legal authority to incarcerate you, allocate your tax dollars how it sees fit, and foreclose on your home if you fail to mow the lawn.

While laws and law enforcement are essential in a free and orderly society, government abuse at all levels has riddled our history (from FDR’s internment camps to Jim Crow laws in the South) and is the stuff of daily headlines.

Government has the legal authority to incarcerate you, allocate your tax dollars how it sees fit, and foreclose on your home if you fail to mow the lawn.

You may recall the Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission involving Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop. Phillips was asked by a same-sex couple to create a wedding cake for their upcoming ceremony. Jack politely refused. A complaint was filed with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which led to a years-long struggle for Jack as he sought to protect his business, his brand, and his reputation. Even though the Supreme Court ultimately sided with Jack, the state of Colorado sought to punish him for exercising his freedom of speech and association.

Where Is the Evidence of Corporations Threatening Freedom?

Much of the nationalist right’s recent lambasting of big business seems focused on social media. A few media personalities like Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, Laura Loomer, and Milo Yiannopoulos have been de-platformed for violating terms of service or community standards, but where is the widescale conservative or nationalist purge? Even when users from the right have been suspended “permanently,” social media has reversed course and reinstated their accounts, sometimes within 48 hours. (Ask your attorney if you can appeal a conviction or civil judgment brought by the government within 48 hours.)

The reality is that no person has a constitutional or natural right to a social media account.

The reality is that no person has a constitutional or natural right to a social media account. A user must agree to the terms of service and comply with community standards to enjoy the services offered by these platforms. No user can compel Facebook or Twitter to tolerate what it deems hateful or offensive language any more than they can compel Fox News to give airtime to pro-Antifa screeds.

Where else is big business threatening conservatives’ freedom? Are banks refusing mortgages to conservatives? Are hospitals refusing to treat them? Are auto dealers refusing to sell F150s to boomers because of MAGA memes? Certainly, there are unfortunate stories of well-known conservatives being refused service at local restaurants, but the multi-year investigation into the IRS’s unfair treatment of conservative groups reveals where the greater threat lies.

“Big Business Hates Your Family”

Carlson’s speech at the conference was titled “Big Business Hates Your Family.” While Carlson has railed against American companies for any number of reasons in recent years, his latest bête noire is Oreo. Nabisco, a parent company of Oreo, was in Carlson’s crosshairs for advertising that suggests kids “choose their pronoun” with their Pride Month “pronoun pack” cookies.

Tucker dismissed the idea that people can start their own competing business if they don’t like a company’s practices. This dismissal of entrepreneurship is puzzling coming from an entrepreneur; Carlson is the co-founder of an online publisher. But there is an even simpler course of action than starting your own cookie company. If you are not happy with Nabisco’s business practices, buy different cookies… or bake your own at home with your family.

It’s not clear what policy Carlson would suggest in response to Oreo, but Carlson’s characterization of big companies as monopolies may give a clue.

Use a Scalpel, Not a Sledgehammer

Carlson has blasted social media giants as “digital monopolies.”

Despite the national media celebrity’s histrionics, there are dozens of social media platforms and search engines. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram might be the most popular for now, but if a conservative doesn’t like these companies’ policies, they can unplug, deactivate their account, or try other emerging platforms like Codias, MeWe, Ricochet, or an alternative search engine like DuckDuckGo.

Decrying social media companies as monopolies suggests that the companies should be broken up under antitrust laws. However, the Federal Trade Commission enforces antitrust laws where there’s a showing of anti-competitive practices. It isn’t enough to say that a company is too large or the company’s practices are not pleasing to pundits like Carlson.

Giving users greater control over their own information would be one way to give consumers more power without breaking up the companies.

If companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook engage in anti-competitive practices, such as price-fixing or exclusionary contracts, they should be forced to comply with applicable law like any other company. But rather than fearmongering that these companies are a greater threat to freedom than the government, we should narrowly tailor a remedy.

For instance, these tech companies’ greatest competitive advantage is that they have collected extensive data over the years. Rather than trying to break up these companies, users could be given the statutory right of data portability, where a person can delete their account and take all of their personal data with them. Giving users greater control over their own information would be one way to give consumers more power without breaking up the companies they enjoy using on a regular basis.

America Needs More Capitalism, Not Less

Ultimately, it’s an odd time to rail against American capitalism. Unemployment has dropped to its lowest level since 1969, and worker wages are on the rise. Capitalism, including big business, is a source of economic prosperity for American workers and families.

Rather than weaponizing antitrust prosecutions for political or social purposes, policymakers should eliminate the anti-competitive privileges of crony capitalism. Concerns about data privacy are real but can be addressed with focused remedies rather than the blunt tool of “breaking up big tech.”

Americans are not at the mercy of businesses that don’t share their values.

Americans are not at the mercy of businesses that don’t share their values. Like Tucker Carlson, we are free to start a competing business, or we can simply choose another supplier. By contrast, we can’t “log out” of laws and regulations—even ones we disagree with. Violating federal law or disobeying the instructions of a law enforcement officer can come with severe and sometimes deadly consequences.

Our Founders wisely recognized that our greatest threat isn’t Nabisco or Facebook. With the memory of an overreaching British monarch fresh in their minds, they sought to establish a republic that ensured government—not private business—was properly constrained. We ignore their wisdom at our own peril.

Doug McCullough, Director of Lone Star Policy Institute

Brooke Medina, Communications Director of Civitas Institute

Originally published at Foundation for Economic Education

Image Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

Published in Economics
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There are 33 comments.

  1. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    DougMcCullough: seized anyone’s home for failure to mow their lawn

    My HOA is a corporation. They will seize my house, for improperly edging/mowing/watering/feeding my lawn.

    • #1
    • July 19, 2019, at 1:10 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  2. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    It is estimated that Google swayed up to 10 million votes to Hillary in the 2016. That is about million times as many as Russia. I think Marxism is the biggest danger to my lifestyle. Would rise of identity politics and socialism be possible without the aid of big corporations? We can never know, but I say “no”. Therefore, big corporations are the greatest threat, when they choose to work against us. 

    • #2
    • July 19, 2019, at 1:17 PM PST
    • 13 likes
  3. Aaron Miller Member

    It’s amusing how often complaints about censorship on social media are made on those same social media platforms. There are valid concerns, nevertheless. And we need celebrities to speak up because companies can easily ban or censor people with less influence. 

    Blanket hatred for big businesses and support for greater political controls are unwarranted. Wariness of large corporations is certainly warranted.

    Centuries before the modern era, it was understood that big business and big government go hand-in-hand. Even if a company initially lobbies to protect itself from intrusive regulations, regulatory capture and anti-competitive favors are the normal course. Incentives for anti-competitive measures multiply as a company gains market dominance. 

    I doubt America’s founders imagined corporations like the East India Trading Company were insignificant to personal liberties. But they left anti-monopoly laws to later generations. 

    Anyway, I am not sure anti-trust regulation is necessary for our tech giants. Legislators could rather tell them to ignore content like utilities or else be liable for content like publishers. 

    • #3
    • July 19, 2019, at 1:30 PM PST
    • 13 likes
  4. Jim Chase Member

    DougMcCullough: For instance, these tech companies’ greatest competitive advantage is that they have collected extensive data over the years. Rather than trying to break up these companies, users could be given the statutory right of data portability, where a person can delete their account and take all of their personal data with them. Giving users greater control over their own information would be one way to give consumers more power without breaking up the companies they enjoy using on a regular basis

    This is arguably where the greatest danger, and the not-so unreasonable fear, lies. In this wonderful information age, he who controls the information, controls the age. It would be nice to think that the consumer could “get control” of his data, but there is no way that big tech and the government will ever allow that – far too profitable, in more ways than one. And even if they did, there’s no way for the consumer to verify the result.

    Corporations may or may not be a threat. Corporatism most certainly is. Any tension between big tech and government is nothing but theater. We have willingly given up privacy for security, we risk giving up some of our freedom for the sake of mere entertainment.

    • #4
    • July 19, 2019, at 1:44 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  5. EJHill Podcaster

    DougMcCullough: Are banks refusing mortgages to conservatives?

    Not mortgages, but lines of credit. If your business is centered on the legal business of the Second Amendment they are most assuredly coming after you. Politicians and advocacy groups are increasingly using corporations to achieve what they cannot achieve in the legislative arena. Bank of America, Citigroup and FifthThird have all announced restrictions on who deserves to served based on the nature of their business, and in so doing, the nature of their politics. 

     

    • #5
    • July 19, 2019, at 2:17 PM PST
    • 26 likes
  6. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Legislators could rather tell them to ignore content like utilities or else be liable for content like publishers. 

    Yes. This.

    • #6
    • July 19, 2019, at 2:21 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  7. James Gawron Thatcher

    DougMcCullough: Despite the national media celebrity’s histrionics, there are dozens of social media platforms and search engines. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram might be the most popular for now, but if a conservative doesn’t like these companies’ policies, they can unplug, deactivate their account, or try other emerging platforms like Codias, MeWe, Ricochet, or an alternative search engine like DuckDuckGo.

    Doug,

    For openers let me say that I am in complete agreement with you as far as Antitrust. This is like using an ax to kill a fly. However, this isn’t the point at the moment nor is Tucker Carlson. Right now after two+ years of the Democrats railing about elections being controlled by the Russians (which flatly they were not) we face the prospect of the major platforms manipulating the information flow big time for real. With the tweak of an algorithm, they can massively reduce the flow of conservative opinion and that is not an overstatement.

    The 2020 election is immediately upon us and there won’t be time for going to new competitive platforms. Something does need to be done and there is a precision way to do it, unlike Antitrust. The mega-platforms only exist because Congress has a law that gives them platform immunity to a lawsuit over their content as long as they are a neutral platform. If you saw last week’s Senate grilling of the Google executive by Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz they wanted him to submit to a continuous independent evaluation of Google to ensure that the platform remained politically neutral. If they don’t then this is grounds for removing their “platform” status and allowing them to be devoured by lawsuit over their content. This is the right approach and if aggressively pursued, as Hawley & Cruz seemed intent on doing, then I think we can minimize the threat to the 2020 election.

    Tucker is just stirring up interest. Good, let him. Hawley & Cruz are way ahead of the game and have the real solution.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    • #7
    • July 19, 2019, at 2:23 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  8. ctlaw Coolidge

    EJHill (View Comment):

    DougMcCullough: Are banks refusing mortgages to conservatives?

    Not mortgages, but lines of credit. If your business is centered on the legal business of the Second Amendment they are most assuredly coming after you. Politicians and advocacy groups are increasingly using corporations to achieve what they cannot achieve in the legislative arena. Bank of America, Citigroup and FifthThird have all announced restrictions on who deserves to served based on the nature of their business, and in so doing, the nature of their politics.

     

    And the lies about it being risk-based are hilarious.

    On the one hand, credit card processing providers will provide service to Democrat campaigns that turn off card verification so that donors can use false names and addresses.

    On the other hand, they deny service to FFLs who are receiving payments from people who by definition have passed FBI background checks.

    • #8
    • July 19, 2019, at 2:28 PM PST
    • 13 likes
  9. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    Just replace FB with Codias? Are you joking?

    Just this week I had a long conversation with two close family about that. When I expounded on privacy and censorship all I got was blank looks. “They never blocked anything I wanted to say or see.” My response which was along the lines of how would you know didn’t go very far.

    So, if I want to follow those families and to see the photos they share I’m gonna be on FB. Of course if I could get all THEIR family members and all THEIR friends/family to go with me…

     

    • #9
    • July 19, 2019, at 2:40 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    This is the 2A armament argument turned on its head.

    • #10
    • July 19, 2019, at 2:43 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Keith Rice Inactive

    I’m with Tucker. Corporations don’t have checks and balances as found in our government, instead they use mergers and acquisitions to expand the scope of their control. If you saw Josh Hawley (R-MO) trying to get a straight answer from one of Google’s agents you also realize that their lack of transparency gives them a stealth profile making their abuses and intrusions ever harder to detect.

    Sure, government can impinge on our freedom but we have numerous laws and agencies to protect those laws to keep the government in check to a significant degree.

    There is mass censorship of conservatives across the internet, I tried posting an article with the word “noose” in the headline (Noose found in university hospital sparks hate crime allegation. Turns out it was an employee practicing tying a fishing knot.) and the algorithm refused to allow it until I spelled out n o o s e.

    It’s not the government curtailing our speech and freedom of expression, for the most part, it’s powerful special interest groups pressuring businesses to get in line or be punished.

    It seems, in all likelihood, that tech corporations are colluding with media and Democrats to prevent a Trump re-election.

    And no, it’s not about body counts … it’s about freedom of speech … and later maybe body counts.

    • #11
    • July 19, 2019, at 3:11 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  12. Mike Rapkoch Member

    Apparently Mark Zuckerberg didn’t get the memo on freedom of speech

    https://twitter.com/griptmedia/status/1151533809751527424

    • #12
    • July 19, 2019, at 3:27 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  13. I Walton Member

     These companies enjoy some unique new features we have to deal with. In their domains, they are more powerful than the government, bigger in reach and enjoy falling costs throughout their ever expanding production. Falling costs is the primary new feature. They are information and communication companies, run by techies who lack education, breadth and depth. They present a new problem and we can’t treat them as if they were General Motors or a family grocery. They spread information but also have control of the information they spread. They should have no control over content, but we don’t want the government deciding what content they carry either, so the consumers have to make those decisions, other companies will rise up to narrow the infinite content and that will be a problem as well. It’s a new world and we have to come to grips with it but maintaining that the most important factor to protect is consumer freedom, which in these industries is political freedom and we’re already seeing the impact.

    • #13
    • July 19, 2019, at 3:27 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Stina Inactive

    Locking people in a dungeon isn’t the only way to deprive someone of Freedom.

    I don’t recall the Revolutionary War beginning in a jail cell.

    • #14
    • July 19, 2019, at 3:29 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Dangerous corporations? How about the credit reporting industry? Four large corporations control your credit reports, and what kind of knowledge, much less control, do you have over that information? You have absolutely NO say about the information that goes into your credit report, and it is very difficult to get them to correct faulty information. How many citizens are even aware of how much power the Experians of the world have over their lives? YOU are not the customer, so you don’t matter. There was a huge data breach at Equifax a few years ago, with potentially disastrous consequences for millions of citizens. Did the company suffer? Arguably not. But I’m guessing that many ordinary people did, when their data were sold on the Dark Web and their bank accounts drained.

    • #15
    • July 19, 2019, at 3:55 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  16. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Here is the actual link to Tucker Carlson when he discussed how Elizabeth Warren was channeling Donald Trump in much of what she recently has been saying about the economic situation in the USA. Notice that Carlson designates this style of economic management as being a “nationalistic economy.” It brings back the jobs, tightens up the tariff situation, and helps the middle class.

    Carlson also states that it is important that Republicans pick up on the economic ideas brought forth by both Donald and Liz. Trump won in 2016; Cruz and Jeb did not. The Republicans need to learn something from this or else prepare to hand the country over to anyone on the Left who will steal Trump’s ideas for a Dem victory in 2020. However if those ideas come from someone on the Left, there will be a continued abortion free-for-all, continued PC identity crisis politics, continued Carbon Tax and Trade and other forms of “The Planet is Dying” nonsense.

    To view Tucker’s 8 mins of economic insight, the following youtube is available. You can skip the ad for solar whatever in four or five seconds.

    • #16
    • July 19, 2019, at 7:01 PM PST
    • 1 like
  17. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    DougMcCullough: Despite the national media celebrity’s histrionics, there are dozens of social media platforms and search engines. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram might be the most popular for now, but if a conservative doesn’t like these companies’ policies, they can unplug, deactivate their account, or try other emerging platforms like Codias, MeWe, Ricochet, or an alternative search engine like DuckDuckGo.

    Doug,

    For openers let me say that I am in complete agreement with you as far as Antitrust. This is like using an ax to kill a fly. However, this isn’t the point at the moment nor is Tucker Carlson. Right now after two+ years of the Democrats railing about elections being controlled by the Russians (which flatly they were not) we face the prospect of the major platforms manipulating the information flow big time for real. With the tweak of an algorithm, they can massively reduce the flow of conservative opinion and that is not an overstatement.

    The 2020 election is immediately upon us and there won’t be time for going to new competitive platforms. Something does need to be done and there is a precision way to do it, unlike Antitrust. The mega-platforms only exist because Congress has a law that gives them platform immunity to a lawsuit over their content as long as they are a neutral platform. If you saw last week’s Senate grilling of the Google executive by Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz they wanted him to submit to a continuous independent evaluation of Google to ensure that the platform remained politically neutral. If they don’t then this is grounds for removing their “platform” status and allowing them to be devoured by lawsuit over their content. This is the right approach and if aggressively pursued, as Hawley & Cruz seemed intent on doing, then I think we can minimize the threat to the 2020 election.

    Tucker is just stirring up interest. Good, let him. Hawley & Cruz are way ahead of the game and have the real solution.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    This same argument was being fought over on Twitter, although I forget which commentator was pushing against the current censorship of the social media. One person responded very rudely, and stipulated that there is no censorship as the social media companies use algorithms. And that algorithms are by design totally impartial.

    Someone entered the discussion who must have been in the business of designing algorithms and he explained how an algorithm can be slanted so that it is not impersonal but able to filter out certain points of view.

    I went back a day or two later to copy down what the algorithm expert had explained, but that person’s comments had been removed for “being offensive.” The comments were only a technical description of how it is possible for the social media giants to slant an algorithm, but I guess that information is not supposed to get out.

    • #17
    • July 19, 2019, at 7:12 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  18. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    DougMcCullough: Despite the national media celebrity’s histrionics, there are dozens of social media platforms and search engines. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram might be the most popular for now, but if a conservative doesn’t like these companies’ policies, they can unplug, deactivate their account, or try other emerging platforms like Codias, MeWe, Ricochet, or an alternative search engine like DuckDuckGo.

    Doug,

    For openers let me say that I am in complete agreement with you as far as Antitrust. This is like using an ax to kill a fly. However, this isn’t the point at the moment nor is Tucker Carlson. Right now after two+ years of the Democrats railing about elections being controlled by the Russians (which flatly they were not) we face the prospect of the major platforms manipulating the information flow big time for real. With the tweak of an algorithm, they can massively reduce the flow of conservative opinion and that is not an overstatement.

    The 2020 election is immediately upon us and there won’t be time for going to new competitive platforms. Something does need to be done and there is a precision way to do it, unlike Antitrust. The mega-platforms only exist because Congress has a law that gives them platform immunity to a lawsuit over their content as long as they are a neutral platform. If you saw last week’s Senate grilling of the Google executive by Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz they wanted him to submit to a continuous independent evaluation of Google to ensure that the platform remained politically neutral. If they don’t then this is grounds for removing their “platform” status and allowing them to be devoured by lawsuit over their content. This is the right approach and if aggressively pursued, as Hawley & Cruz seemed intent on doing, then I think we can minimize the threat to the 2020 election.

    Tucker is just stirring up interest. Good, let him. Hawley & Cruz are way ahead of the game and have the real solution.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    Hawley and Cruz are posers. Just like Gowdey was. Real action happens now or is foreclosed for any reader of these words lifetime, the soothing tones of the OP notwithstanding. The action must be in courts. Now. Leverage the current safe harbor law, upon which the Google, and Social Media giants depend. Attack them as publishers for liable and for intellectual property violations. Assert that there is sufficient evidence in the public record to proceed on the theory that they chose to abandon the safe harbor by behaving as publishers.

    Immediately after the first case is filed, roll into every one of their headquarters with the SEC (failure to disclose corporate risks) and FEC (as Google claims not publisher) attacking them on the alternate grounds that they are not publishers, so are engaging in massive in kind contribut, undeclared, in the largest violation ever of campaign finance laws.

    • #18
    • July 20, 2019, at 8:07 PM PST
    • 1 like
  19. formerlawprof Coolidge

    DonG (View Comment):

    DougMcCullough: seized anyone’s home for failure to mow their lawn

    My HOA is a corporation. They will seize my house, for improperly edging/mowing/watering/feeding my lawn.

    No, @DonG, your HOA will not seize your house. Your HOA will go to the government and get the government to seize your house and then turn it over to the HOA!

    • #19
    • July 20, 2019, at 9:42 PM PST
    • 1 like
  20. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    DougMcCullough: SNIP if a conservative doesn’t like these companies’ policies, they can unplug, deactivate their account, or try other emerging platforms like Codias, MeWe, Ricochet, or an alternative search engine like DuckDuckGo.

    Doug,

    For openers let me say that I am in complete agreement with you as far as Antitrust. This is like using an ax to kill a fly. However, this isn’t the point at the moment nor is Tucker Carlson. Right now after two+ years of the Democrats railing about elections being controlled by the Russians (which flatly they were not) we face the prospect of the major platforms manipulating the information flow big time for real. With the tweak of an algorithm, they can massively reduce the flow of conservative opinion and that is not an overstatement.

    The 2020 election is immediately upon us and there won’t be time for going to new competitive platforms. Something does need to be done and there is a precision way to do it, unlike Antitrust. The mega-platforms only exist because Congress has a law that gives them platform immunity to a lawsuit over their content as long as they are a neutral platform. If you saw last week’s Senate grilling of the Google executive by Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz they wanted him to submit to a continuous independent evaluation of Google to ensure that the platform remained politically neutral. If they don’t then this is grounds for removing their “platform” status and allowing them to be devoured by lawsuit over their content. This is the right approach and if aggressively pursued, as Hawley & Cruz seemed intent on doing, then I think we can minimize the threat to the 2020 election.

    Tucker is just stirring up interest. Good, let him. Hawley & Cruz are way ahead of the game and have the real solution.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    Hawley and Cruz are posers. Just like Gowdey was. Real action happens now or is foreclosed for any reader of these words lifetime, the soothing tones of the OP notwithstanding. The action must be in courts. Now. Leverage the current safe harbor law, upon which the Google, and Social Media giants depend. Attack them as publishers for liable and for intellectual property violations. Assert that there is sufficient evidence in the public record to proceed on the theory that they chose to abandon the safe harbor by behaving as publishers.

    Immediately after the first case is filed, roll into every one of their headquarters with the SEC (failure to disclose corporate risks) and FEC (as Google claims not publisher) attacking them on the alternate grounds that they are not publishers, so are engaging in massive in kind contribute, undeclared, in the largest violation ever of campaign finance laws.

    I like the way you think, Clifford.

    • #20
    • July 21, 2019, at 12:50 AM PST
    • 1 like
  21. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    DougMcCullough: SNIP if a conservative doesn’t like these companies’ policies, they can unplug, deactivate their account, or try other emerging platforms like Codias, MeWe, Ricochet, or an alternative search engine like DuckDuckGo.

    Doug,

    For openers let me say that I am in complete agreement with you as far as Antitrust. This is like using an ax to kill a fly. However, this isn’t the point at the moment nor is Tucker Carlson. Right now after two+ years of the Democrats railing about elections being controlled by the Russians (which flatly they were not) we face the prospect of the major platforms manipulating the information flow big time for real. With the tweak of an algorithm, they can massively reduce the flow of conservative opinion and that is not an overstatement.

    The 2020 election is immediately upon us and there won’t be time for going to new competitive platforms. Something does need to be done and there is a precision way to do it, unlike Antitrust. The mega-platforms only exist because Congress has a law that gives them platform immunity to a lawsuit over their content as long as they are a neutral platform. If you saw last week’s Senate grilling of the Google executive by Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz they wanted him to submit to a continuous independent evaluation of Google to ensure that the platform remained politically neutral. If they don’t then this is grounds for removing their “platform” status and allowing them to be devoured by lawsuit over their content. This is the right approach and if aggressively pursued, as Hawley & Cruz seemed intent on doing, then I think we can minimize the threat to the 2020 election.

    Tucker is just stirring up interest. Good, let him. Hawley & Cruz are way ahead of the game and have the real solution.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    Hawley and Cruz are posers. Just like Gowdey was. Real action happens now or is foreclosed for any reader of these words lifetime, the soothing tones of the OP notwithstanding. The action must be in courts. Now. Leverage the current safe harbor law, upon which the Google, and Social Media giants depend. Attack them as publishers for liable and for intellectual property violations. Assert that there is sufficient evidence in the public record to proceed on the theory that they chose to abandon the safe harbor by behaving as publishers.

    Immediately after the first case is filed, roll into every one of their headquarters with the SEC (failure to disclose corporate risks) and FEC (as Google claims not publisher) attacking them on the alternate grounds that they are not publishers, so are engaging in massive in kind contribute, undeclared, in the largest violation ever of campaign finance laws.

    I like the way you think, Clifford.

    Waiting for a cold day in hell.

    • #21
    • July 21, 2019, at 6:34 AM PST
    • Like
  22. Stina Inactive

    formerlawprof (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):

    DougMcCullough: seized anyone’s home for failure to mow their lawn

    My HOA is a corporation. They will seize my house, for improperly edging/mowing/watering/feeding my lawn.

    No, @DonG, your HOA will not seize your house. Your HOA will go to the government and get the government to seize your house and then turn it over to the HOA!

    As enforcement of a contract… that changes over time.

    Are you saying the government shouldn’t enforce contracts? Because that’s pretty much the entirety of libertarianism – living within contracts.

    • #22
    • July 21, 2019, at 1:35 PM PST
    • 1 like
  23. Songwriter Member

    Slow on the uptake (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    Legislators could rather tell them to ignore content like utilities or else be liable for content like publishers.

    Yes. This.

    Agreed.

    • #23
    • July 22, 2019, at 6:04 AM PST
    • Like
  24. Pony Convertible Member

    I agree with Tucker. At this point in time, these corporations are a bigger threat than the government. This is not to say that government isn’t a bigger more powerful monster. I am just saying that right now the big monster is being constrained. The problem is the corporations are doing their best to cut those constraints. If we allow them to do so, the big monster will chew us up.

     

    • #24
    • July 22, 2019, at 6:32 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  25. Manny Member

    First off, big business is not necessarily capitalism. In fact many of these companies have absolutely no competition. Second, while I agree government still is the bigger threat, you’re minimizing this new threat by these internet companies. These companies have presented a paradigm shift. These companies control knowledge, communication, and information, and therefore values, in a way that General Motors or Standard Oil did not and could not. There is definitely a threat to our freedom of expression and to think with these new companies.

    • #25
    • July 22, 2019, at 7:57 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  26. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    Manny (View Comment):

    First off, big business is not necessarily capitalism. In fact many of these companies have absolutely no competition. Second, while I agree government still is the bigger threat, you’re minimizing this new threat by these internet companies. These companies have presented a paradigm shift. These companies control knowledge, communication, and information, and therefore values, in a way that General Motors or Standard Oil did not and could not. There is definitely a threat to our freedom of expression and to think with these new companies.

    Well said.

    • #26
    • July 22, 2019, at 9:26 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  27. Manny Member

    Slow on the uptake (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    First off, big business is not necessarily capitalism. In fact many of these companies have absolutely no competition. Second, while I agree government still is the bigger threat, you’re minimizing this new threat by these internet companies. These companies have presented a paradigm shift. These companies control knowledge, communication, and information, and therefore values, in a way that General Motors or Standard Oil did not and could not. There is definitely a threat to our freedom of expression and to think with these new companies.

    Well said.

    Thank you.

    • #27
    • July 22, 2019, at 10:17 AM PST
    • 1 like
  28. James Gawron Thatcher

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    DougMcCullough: Despite the national media celebrity’s histrionics, there are dozens of social media platforms and search engines. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram might be the most popular for now, but if a conservative doesn’t like these companies’ policies, they can unplug, deactivate their account, or try other emerging platforms like Codias, MeWe, Ricochet, or an alternative search engine like DuckDuckGo.

    Doug,

    For openers let me say that I am in complete agreement with you as far as Antitrust. This is like using an ax to kill a fly. However, this isn’t the point at the moment nor is Tucker Carlson. Right now after two+ years of the Democrats railing about elections being controlled by the Russians (which flatly they were not) we face the prospect of the major platforms manipulating the information flow big time for real. With the tweak of an algorithm, they can massively reduce the flow of conservative opinion and that is not an overstatement.

    The 2020 election is immediately upon us and there won’t be time for going to new competitive platforms. Something does need to be done and there is a precision way to do it, unlike Antitrust. The mega-platforms only exist because Congress has a law that gives them platform immunity to a lawsuit over their content as long as they are a neutral platform. If you saw last week’s Senate grilling of the Google executive by Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz they wanted him to submit to a continuous independent evaluation of Google to ensure that the platform remained politically neutral. If they don’t then this is grounds for removing their “platform” status and allowing them to be devoured by lawsuit over their content. This is the right approach and if aggressively pursued, as Hawley & Cruz seemed intent on doing, then I think we can minimize the threat to the 2020 election.

    Tucker is just stirring up interest. Good, let him. Hawley & Cruz are way ahead of the game and have the real solution.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    Hawley and Cruz are posers. Just like Gowdey was. Real action happens now or is foreclosed for any reader of these words lifetime, the soothing tones of the OP notwithstanding. The action must be in courts. Now. Leverage the current safe harbor law, upon which the Google, and Social Media giants depend. Attack them as publishers for liable and for intellectual property violations. Assert that there is sufficient evidence in the public record to proceed on the theory that they chose to abandon the safe harbor by behaving as publishers.

    Immediately after the first case is filed, roll into every one of their headquarters with the SEC (failure to disclose corporate risks) and FEC (as Google claims not publisher) attacking them on the alternate grounds that they are not publishers, so are engaging in massive in kind contribut, undeclared, in the largest violation ever of campaign finance laws.

    Cliff,

    Hawley and Cruz are just doing their job. They are bringing the reality of this threat fully to everyone’s attention and suggesting a very real pressure point at which big platform is vulnerable. No one else in the media is up to doing that much and without something like public outcry, your case may not be heard.

    I agree 100% that time is of the essence and the time to act is now. Would a group like Judicial Watch be capable of this? Who would do it?

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #28
    • July 22, 2019, at 10:33 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Keith Rice (View Comment):

    I’m with Tucker. Corporations don’t have checks and balances as found in our government, instead they use mergers and acquisitions to expand the scope of their control. If you saw Josh Hawley (R-MO) trying to get a straight answer from one of Google’s agents you also realize that their lack of transparency gives them a stealth profile making their abuses and intrusions ever harder to detect.

    Sure, government can impinge on our freedom but we have numerous laws and agencies to protect those laws to keep the government in check to a significant degree. Snip

    Tort law is dead or at least dying, if you are an average consumer.

    If someone here think s things have not gone too far in terms of what the Big Monster companies can do: Then try and ask AT & T what the length of your contract with them will be when you sign up for a phone. The customer service reps will not have the information, although they will tell you that someone from the AT & T office can call later in the week to tell you. But that person never calls.

    The night before installation is to proceed, you call and say, “I really wanna know the length of my contract – one year or two years or what?” And you will be told that all contract details will be spelled out after the phone line is put in. But if the system is installed, then in court, that would be seen as you legally agreeing to the contract.

    When I bowed out of the installation due to not liking the non-disclosure of contractual details, I was still billed X amount for three months, until I finally got someone at a VP’s office to remove the charges.

    It is only going to get worse.

    ####

    • #29
    • July 22, 2019, at 11:48 AM PST
    • 1 like
  30. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    Manny (View Comment):

    Slow on the uptake (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    First off, big business is not necessarily capitalism. In fact many of these companies have absolutely no competition. Second, while I agree government still is the bigger threat, you’re minimizing this new threat by these internet companies. These companies have presented a paradigm shift. These companies control knowledge, communication, and information, and therefore values, in a way that General Motors or Standard Oil did not and could not. There is definitely a threat to our freedom of expression and to think with these new companies.

    Well said.

    Thank you.

    You’re welcome.

    • #30
    • July 22, 2019, at 1:56 PM PST
    • 2 likes