Justin Raimondo: The Hi-Tech Threat Is Real, And It Has A Solution

Sep. 07, 2018

A number of conservative commentators, notably Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, have raised the alarm over the so-called Hi-Tech Threat, i.e. the threat to free speech posed by a censorious Silicon Valley liberal elite which seems intent on eliminating all evidence of right-leaning opinion on their platforms. And those platforms have achieved near monopolistic status, with Google controlling 85 percent of the online advertising market, Facebook enjoying similarly hegemonic status insofar as news delivery, and Twitter rounding out the equation with its increasing claim to the title of America's town square.

Yet these conservative commentators are ostensible champions of the free market: do they really want the government to take over the internet? This is the question "progressives" are asking, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but that's because they don't understand the Internet, the history of government regulation of the Internet or, indeed, anything at all.

The reality is that the hegemonic position of the Hi-Tech giants wasn't achieved due to anything remotely resembling the "free market" -- and the solution has nothing to do with a government takeover of the Internet.

The year was 1996 -- the very beginning of the Internet Age. Antiwar.com -- one of the earliest web sites -- was around, but not very active. The big online power was ... Compuserve! Remember them? Congress was frightened to death of this new phenomenon, and naturally the first impulse of these slow-witted solons was to try to regulate it in the name of "decency." And of course they had to do it for The Children! The Communications Decency Act punished purveyors of pornography with two years in jail plus a $250,000 fine for those found guilty of sending "indecent" material over the Internet to minors.

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