A lot of Trump supporters are excited by the prospect of the federal government regulating Twitter, Facebook and Google for their blatant bias against conservative thinkers and bloggers.
It’s a classic example of “careful what you wish for”. Why? Think about what such a policy’s success assumes.
It assumes that President Trump, or someone similar, will always be in office. He obviously will not be. And what happens if a socialist or Democratic administration takes over? How will they handle the regulatory agencies? Do you think they will help or hurt conservatives attempting to spread their ideas via social media?
It assumes that President Trump, even while in office, controls everything that happens. The President expresses regular frustration with his own Attorney General. How can he possibly control new regulations of social media companies?
I question the moral justification of the government telling private companies what they may or may not do. Conservatives generally argue in favor of the free market and against government regulation. Why the reversal now, and only in this case?
Granted, we don’t really have a free market. Gigantic corporations like Google and Facebook enjoy advantages with the government. That’s because government is so involved in the marketplace that nothing big companies do can really be separated from government policy. It’s a soft form of economic fascism. Ayn Rand called it the “mixed economy”, a government-private sector hybrid, an unstable mixture that sooner or later must collapse either into dictatorship (as Senator Elizabeth Warren, among others, now openly supports) or move in the direction of complete freedom. The unstable mixture can’t last forever.
In a limited and reluctant way, I can buy into the argument that Facebook and Google, while not public utilities, are not really private companies either, since nothing in our mixed economy (at least at the level of big business) truly is.
But so what? What makes you think government regulation will solve the problem? It’s like pouring gasoline on a fire. If — as a member of the right — you agree with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand and von Mises that government is not the solution, but the problem, then what makes you think government will ride to the rescue and ensure that conservatives and libertarians are not hounded and passive-aggressively beat down by these leftist corporations? Get real!
The only solutions I can see to the social media problem are the following: (1) move toward an alternative online venue for posting views corporate leftists do not like, i.e. the equivalent of a Fox News for Facebook and Twitter; and/or (2) applying massive pressure on these social media companies by reminding them that about half of their website visitors are not Democrats, the same half who made Donald Trump President.
Don’t underestimate the power of this second option. It’s presently in operation. You have to wonder why non-left views have not been totally obliterated to date. You have to wonder why Mark Zuckerberg and his equivalents feel compelled to lie that they’re open to all political views, even though they clearly are not. The most plausible reason is that these companies make their billions on advertising. If half of the people visiting Facebook and Google walk away, or are simply obliterated by these companies taking down all things non-leftist, it’s going to hurt their bottom line. And no matter how leftist they are, they still care deeply about their bottom line.
Government coming to the rescue is always a fantasy. The least likely people to benefit from government regulation of Facebook, Twitter and Google will be the people now suffering the most by the crude biases of these corporations. We’ve got to come up with another solution, because regulatory boards and bureaucrats are not going to save us. Conservatives and libertarians should know better.
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