Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and other Big Tech Democrats should worry: young Republican elected officials, who will soon replace them, are targeting Big Tech on behalf of the American people.
Reader warning! Since Amazon collaborates with cancel culture zealots and bans conservative and pro-life books, buy this book on any service other than Amazon. (Why give your hard-earned pro-life dollars to a company that censors books?) Instead, buy this book directly from the publisher, Regnery: https://www.regnery.com/9781684512393/the-tyranny-of-big-tech/.
Senator Josh Hawley’s book is a masterly analysis of how Big Tech completes the efforts of the robber barons of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to amass wealth at the expense of hardworking, ordinary American citizens. Hawley summarizes how the monopolies of the late nineteenth century began through the efforts of millionaires like J. P. Morgan, who worked tirelessly to guarantee that the federal government did not interfere in their plans to hoard as much money as possible for themselves.
Hawley illustrates cogently how the robber barons’ ideology, called “corporate liberalism”, was strongly opposed by Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, only to become enshrined as the economic ideology of the United States under Democratic President Woodrow Wilson. This ideology divided the American workforce into the elite industrialists and bankers who hoarded wealth; management, which did the bidding of the wealthy elite; and ordinary people who slaved for management and the plutocratic wealthy. Since corporate liberalism was the foundation economic theory of the rest of the twentieth century, Hawley thus concludes that Big Tech’s primary goal of amassing wealth succeeds where J. P. Morgan and his fellow plutocrats failed.
And we ordinary Americans suffer accordingly at the hands of Big Tech monopolists.
Fortunately, though, not all is lost because, as Senator Hawley experienced firsthand when he interrogated Mark Zuckerberg in several interviews regarding Facebook’s censorship, “Big Tech is desperately afraid of public criticism, of someone taking a public stand” (126). Hawley proposes several initiatives to stop Big Tech’s attacks on American life, including: placing the Federal Trade Commission, which can prevent monopolies, under the Department of Justice (152); ending Big Tech’s Section 230 immunity (153); giving social media users the “Do Not Track” option (154); and treating Big Tech platforms like publishers so that social media users can sue them for censorship (156).
Although he doesn’t say it, all of these positive efforts to combat the Big Tech monopoly can only occur, though, when Democrats are kicked out of the House, the Senate, and the White House. While he points out that both Republicans and Democrats support the concept of corporate liberalism and have benefited from Big Tech’s major donations to their campaigns, both Hawley and we ordinary Americans know that the billionaires of Big Tech consistently support Democratic Party candidates over Republicans.
And the reasons why Big Tech supports the un-American values of the Democratic Party are obvious. Big Tech endorses the LGBTQ agenda (which distorts heterosexual normativity) and the racism of Black Lives Matter (109). Finally, Big Tech promotes abortion, even to the point of censoring pro-life groups; Hawley got Zuckerberg to admit that that Facebook “wrongly de-platformed a pro-life group, Live Action” (2).
Buying the book is absolutely necessary, not only to reward Hawley for having written a guide for future legislative action against Big Tech billionaires (remember: Simon & Schuster reneged on its plan to publish his book), but also to serve as a reference. My own annotations spanned three full single-spaced pages, so purchasing the book from Regnery was essential instead of breaking copyright rules by photocopying relevant pages. All of Hawley’s book is relevant.
Finally, here are some choice quotes for consideration, all of which can help students write solid essays on Big Tech abuses:
Hawley’s book “calls into question the reigning order of corporate liberalism, and it challenges the power of those who benefit from it” (ix).
“The book is an exercise in alternative possibilities, an attempt to recover a different way of thinking about society and politics; it is an attempt, most fundamentally, to recover the meaning of the common man’s republic” (xii).
Quoting Teddy Roosevelt: “And of all forms of tyranny […] the least attractive and the most vulgar is the tyranny of mere wealth, the tyranny of plutocracy” (28).
On the influence of St. Paul: “What was revolutionary about Paul in a political sense was his insistence on the dignity of ordinary people and ordinary life” (32).
“For reasons the chattering class couldn’t quite pinpoint, couldn’t quite comprehend or even describe, the voting public became more and more out of sorts as the twenty-first century dawned, more resistant to the usual political platitudes and talking points” (53).
“Zuckerberg’s spoke of change, a fresh departure from the past, but in fact his pitch was the climax of the revolution his robber baron predecessors had initiated a century before. It was the climax of corporate liberalism” (58).
“The Age of Big Tech, like the age of the robber barons, would be the age of monopoly” (59).
“Far from empowering everyday Americans, Big Tech was assaulting the habits and mores of democratic life” (76).
“Woodrow Wilson and his fellow corporate liberals had portrayed self-development as a form of liberty, the form of liberty most suited to, most needed in, the modern era. And yet the advent of social media made painfully, brutally clear that the search for self-development, self-expression, and originality could be as much a burden as a relief” (81; italics in original).
“The private-choice liberty of corporate liberalism was, of course, a version of the liberty Big Tech assiduously promoted to sell its products and justify its power. And the irony was thick. Big Tech’s social media platforms, the things Mark Zuckerberg said would connect the world, were perhaps the most anti-social devices in American history: not connecting, but isolating; not uniting, but dividing” (82; italics in original).
“As outrage became the norm on the social platforms, researchers found that heavy social media users were taking their outrage with them into the workplace, the neighborhood, the church—in short, to those actual communities made up of actual people that had once been havens from the outrage-by-algorithm of online culture but were now increasingly subject to its contagion” (86-7).
Quoting Robert Epstein, “Google […] has likely been determining the outcomes of upwards of 25 percent of the national elections in the world since at least 2015” (102).
Big Tech “produced almost nothing, paid next to nothing in U.S. taxes, made virtually no significant capital investment relative to their profits, and extracted nearly all their value as economic rents from a customer base held hostage to their monopoly control” (112).
Section 230 succinctly explained: “Under the new and improved statute, tech companies could shape or edit content without liability, could take down content without any show of good faith or fair dealing, and could display content they knew to be illegal—and no one could challenge any of it in court” (128).
“Victory against Big Tech’s pathologies requires that we reinvigorate family, neighborhood, school, and church, the places where, in authentic community, we come to know ourselves and one another, exercise our responsibilities, and find our sense of belonging. These are the places where we become citizens, where we become free, where we learn to exercise the sovereignty of a citizen in a free republic. Genuine community is now, more than ever, countercultural—and opposed to the ersatz ‘global community’ pushed by the corrupt and power-hungry Big Tech” (143).