Let me say up front: I’m a free-market libertarian, and I never advocate for more regulation — mainly because it doesn’t work and it is done by government (which I trust only one-tenth as much as I trust business). If you study history, our nation’s biggest financial problems stemmed from highly regulated areas: the mortgage crisis, bank bailouts, federal deficits, the Great Depression, Smoot/Hawley/tariffs, Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, etc.
All financial calamities happen because government’s grifting hands of regulation are on them. And they are supposed to "protect" us?
That said, the public must know that companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter, all of which (full disclosure) I own stock in, have undermined conservative thought and promoted leftist values in very nefarious ways.
Tucker Carlson, the best anchor on TV, has talked about this issue and tried to square it with his libertarian sensibilities. It’s tough. But public shaming and good reporting, not regulation, are the best fix. Government is never the solution unless the question is, "How do we make things worse and more expensive?"
We live in a world now where Twitter has blurred the difference between the Town Crier and the town drunk.
When I was young there was no Twitter or Facebook. Someone in Columbia, TN had to drive out in the country and bump a mile down a dirt road to my house. Then he had to call me an idiot and face the real probability of a fistfight, not a Twitter fight. They differ; I tend to lose fistfights.
Any weasel can snipe on social media. In this job, I have to be on Facebook and Twitter. They are the village square of debate now, but they expose you to the village idiot. I never get dragged into an argument with an idiot on social media, since folks might not be able to discern the difference.
Google has a 90% percent market share in search advertising, a virtual monopoly. You know where to hide the body of someone you killed? On the second page of a Bing or Yahoo search page.
Google, Twitter, Facebook and now Amazon (which owns The Washington Post), have inordinate sway over what people see and read, and they manipulate everything to fit their arrogant, left-coast-bubble view of the rest of us.
When tiny Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook sat on a cushion to testify on privacy before the Senate, his condescension was palpable. First, the 75-year-old senators had no idea how to even access their iTunes password and should not have been the ones questioning him. Second, by day two Zuckerberg was so confident he was not going to be punished that he intimidated some senators by mentioning their favorite pets, mothers’ maiden names and where they met their spouses.
The "Big Three" control content so well that even when I asked Google "Is Google or Facebook a monopoly with a leftist agenda?" to research this column, I was directed to some adorable cat videos which I enjoyed for hours.
It’s creepy what Google does with your information. I search one time for a Porsche online and start getting solicitation emails for Cialis.
The hypocritical thing about all this is that liberal politicians, who are anti-big business, love breaking up monopolies. But because Google, Facebook and Twitter manipulate information to help Democrats, they look the other way. Talk about intellectual dishonesty.
Trump has done a lot to advance Twitter. He’s redefined communication around the liberal media’s slant. He is our first president who got into Twitter fights with Rosie O’Donnell. He even argued with and then fired Omarosa on Twitter because he felt SnapChat was just not presidential enough.
Technology moves fast. Conservatives should fight their instincts to try to regulate or censor the Internet. Perhaps the best solution is a Fox News-like business that takes on the bias on the left in the free market. If Twitter and Google are censoring content to fit their liberal narrative, it would not be hard to fund a competitor. Peter Thiel or others could do this. I’d invest.
Facebook even has its hands in fanning the fires of the farcical Mueller Russian collusion probe -- because Russia may have bought $100,000 worth of ads before and after the election? Really? Hillary spent over a billion bucks -- and lost. Are we that vulnerable, political and inept? I say let Russia and Putin meddle in our government. Their interference might improve things.
Ron Hart is a libertarian op-ed humorist and award-winning author. Contact him at Ron@RonaldHart.com or @RonaldHart on Twitter.
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