It’s not just about abortion, it’s about the next 20 years. Twenties and Thirties it was the role of government, Fifties and Sixties it was civil rights. The next two decades it’s gonna be privacy. I’m talking about the Internet. I’m talking about cell phones. I’m talking about health records and who’s gay and who’s not. And moreover, in a country born on the will to be free, what could be more fundamental than this?Sam Seaborn, The West Wing S01E09: “The Short List”
This prescient quote comes from Sam Seaborn in the first season of The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin’s magnum opus of sociopolitical discourse. His predictions of what politics would bring in the next twenty years falls short of prophecy, however; while privacy has represented a grave concern in the age of the Internet, it grew coupled and then overshadowed with the grave concerns of censorship — not only privacy from and censorship by governments, but privacy and censorship with regards to massive private corporations, as well.
The show itself represented Sorkin’s understanding of a very human president within the scope of his left-leaning politics, and the very human staffers who work to fulfill the purposes of the Executive Branch; originally, he has intended the show to center on Sam’s character, with President Bartlett (played by Martin Sheen) serving only as a background or secondary role within the show. Critical response of Martin Sheen’s character, however, led the studio to bring the President into the foreground. And with the President, Sorkin’s bias toward the left was brought further into the forefront as well.
In the episode from which the quote is pulled, Sorkin’s fictional Administration is struggling with the remarks of a Supreme Court nominee who has never taken a strong opinion on abortion, and has rightly cited that the Constitution provides no right to privacy. To Sorkin, these problems are inextricably linked — a woman’s right to decide to kill her unborn child falls under the umbrella of private matters, in the Democratic Party’s philosophy.
The show came about in the young adolescence of the Internet, before the idea of social networks and world-spanning town squares had even been completely conceptualized; one is left to wonder, if the show had been made six or seven years later, would it consider one’s right to freedom of speech on such platforms equally deserving of coverage under the umbrella of privacy? Or would it side with the corporations, as so many people these days seem to do, asserting a private corporation’s right to do as they please with the data stored and presented on their private servers?
Hate Speech Doctrines
This is, after all, where we find ourselves; citizens seem more concerned with protecting a corporation’s right to privacy, than with seeking the enumeration of their own right to it, even at the expense of free expression. The internet, according to current Democratic Party (and even neoconservative Republican Party) doctrine, is public space, and people must be protected from “hate speech” in that space — despite hate speech falling under the freedoms protected by the First Amendment, so long as it does not serve to incite violence.
The Left’s demands to protect the supposedly-disenfranchised have incentivized dishonesty and manipulative propaganda to be unchecked, even supported, by these platforms.
There might be room to consider, if the doctrines only stopped there; however, the Left’s demands to protect the supposedly-disenfranchised have incentivized dishonesty and manipulative propaganda to be unchecked, even supported, by these platforms. Companies like the New York Times and the Washington Post are free to lie about Alex Jones, and call for brigading against any individuals they consider guilty of wrong-think; indeed, they are free to propagate known falsehoods such as the hoax of Russian collusion, and even collude among themselves to libel a sitting President.
In doing so, trusts have been enforced: alternatives to the mainstream news media cannot grow without being the subjects of libel. Alternatives to the mainstream social networks cannot grow without suffering the same. In clear violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, six corporations control 90% of news media, and four corporations control 95% of social media. And these two trusts work with each other or against each other, to assure no fair competition can break into the market. Pressure is applied by newspaper companies, if social media companies do not favor the mainstream and de-platform the alternatives. Falsehoods are propagated freely through the social media networks so long as they support a narrative with which the social media companies agree.
More than One Hundred Silenced
But you don’t have to believe this author. The list of people you can ask about these trusts, and their monopolistic enforcement of narrative control, grows by the day:
- On August 16th, 2018, Robert Spencer of JihadWatch was banned by Patreon at the behest of MasterCard. No reason was given other than “he violates MasterCard’s terms of service.”
- On August 10th, Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys were banned from Twitter for being a “violent extremist group,” despite only ever having defended themselves when attacked by violent extremists which are not banned by Twitter.
- On August 6th, Alex Jones and InfoWars were banned nearly simultaneously across YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, and Facebook in a coordinated effort. The given reason was “violations of community standards.”
- That same day, Candace Owens was temporarily suspended on Twitter for quoting racist comments made by New York Times editorial hire Sarah Jeong, with the word “white” replaced with “Jewish.” Sarah Jeong was never banned for her original racist comments.
- On May 25th, 2018, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (better known as Tommy Robinson) was arrested for reading facts about a child-grooming case to his audience on Facebook Live, despite these facts already having been published in major newspapers. These newspapers suffered no consequences for publishing the information.
- On the 13th of April, 2018, conservative street artist Sabo was banned from Twitter without any reason provided. Sabo has long been critical of the biased social media networks.
- On April 10th, conservative commentators Lynnette “Diamond” Hardaway and Rochelle “Silk” Richardson were labelled “unsafe to the community” and had their posts suppressed from Facebook walls and search results. Representatives of the company lied about the status of their Facebook Page, until Diamond and Silk made the problem public knowledge with the help of Fox News.
- On April 5th, conservative comedian Owen Benjamin was banned nearly simultaneously by YouTube and Twitter. No reason was given, and his career as an online entertainer was destroyed in an instant.
- Before his arrest, Tommy Robinson had been banned from Twitter on March 28th, with the reason cited as “hateful conduct.” No specific conduct was presented as evidence, as Tommy does not promote hateful behaviour. He has only criticized Islam and the UK government.
- On February 28th, 2018, YouTube permanently banned 10 channels, and temporarily suspended many more, for criticizing David Hogg’s use of a crisis to promote a political agenda. In order to manufacture consent for the de-platforming, the media lied in asserting all these channels called David Hogg a “crisis actor.” These channels included Bombard’s Body Language, Charlton, Charles Walton, Defango, Dustin Nemos, David Seaman, Destroying The Illusion, Ron Johnson, Richie Allen, and Titus Frost.
- On January 29th, Atlanta news anchor Ben Swann was fired from his job for attempting to report on a story being suppressed by the media, pertaining to pedophilia. The narrative was spun that he was supporting PizzaGate, when in reality he was presenting a fair assessment of factual elements uncovered by the “conspiracy.”
And this list goes on, and on, and on. In the last year alone, more than 100 high-profile conservative figures have been de-platformed and defamed by the social media and news media trusts, and thereby have had their livelihoods destroyed. We are expected to accept that private companies reserve the right to lie, and use these lies to enforce their privacies, even as the private lives of these individuals are torn away, and made into click-bait fodder for headlines and profits.
Censorship and Broken Trust
But where in the Constitution, or the US Code, or any other legal precedent, does it state that a corporation’s right to privacy supercedes an individual’s right to privacy, free expression, and free enterprise? The acceptance of a Terms of Service document too long and convoluted to reasonably expect an individual to read was not enforceable in the case of Facebook’s violations of privacy; why should it be any different when it comes to violations of freedom of speech?
These social networks and news media outlets are in clear violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Competition has not only been stifled; company-towns have been formed, prices have been fixed, and production has been limited. What we are seeing is indistinguishable from the very same abuses perpetrated by the Railroad Trusts in the 1890s, and by AT&T in the 1960’s. If we, as a people, do not stand up to these companies, their power will exceed the power of governments worldwide. Feudalism will have returned in a brand-new form, and we will have no one to blame but ourselves.