AS A COINAGE GOES, DEEP TECH is superior to the Big-Tech term. It better captures the deforming power and tentacular reach into state and civil society of the high-tech monopolists.
That reach notwithstanding, many libertarian-minded and “small-government conservatives” (a contradiction in terms, considering the national debt is $28 trillion) have been stalwart defenders of the rights of Deep Tech to deploy unprovoked financial force to kneecap those users who don’t conform to the tech oligarchy’s monolithic image of the Ideal Citizen.
David French, writer at the Dispatch—and one of the many political dwarfs tossed periodically at Donald Trump, by Never Trumpsters (hey, dwarf tossing is a cruel sport)—emphasized the immutable right of private platforms to de-platform (limit and throttle) “millions of Americans who engage in wrongthink,” the president included.
LET DISSIDENTS EAT CAKE
Let the disenfranchised—those of us who’re routinely blocked from being able to grow our appeal and peddle our intellectual products, now fearful that our books will be digitally burned—create platforms of their own, exhorts French, from the comfort of his conformingly banal, pixelated perches.
“Find other off-ramps,” exhorted podcaster David Rubin affectatiously.
Coming from the conformist mediocracy that runs Conservatism Inc., this cynical suggestion is the equivalent of, “Let them eat cake,” which, in practice means, let political dissidents go dark or resort to a barter economy.
You might not know it, but financial de-platforming has been a staple of many a long-suffering American dissident’s working life. Financial de-platforming is when you are barred from banking or transacting via PayPal. It is an “existential threat to free speech in America,” inveighed Revolver News.
This observation both trivializes what’s afoot and misses the point, for financial de-platforming teeters on violating another’s natural right to make a living.
How do you make a living if you can’t bank? Do you revert to a barter economy (a book for some bread)? Go underground? Hunker in home-based industries? Keep afloat by word of mouth? Go door-to-door? Oh, I know: Beat the tom-tom drum, if your email service is severed, given that our email accounts and other server-supported facilities are currently under threat, too, with nary a remedy from fat-cat representatives (screw Josh Hawley’s book).
FLOUTING THE SPIRIT OF CIVIL RIGHTS
As a social-media platform, Parler has been found lacking by the Deep Tech overlords, simply because it sports a different business model.
Deep Tech restricts speech to comport with its censorious, progressive and politically correct, do-or-die guiding lodestars. Parler’s business model, however, is based on more free speech, not less of it.
Quislings such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter quickly colluded in flagrant violation of the American pro-competition sensibility, and flouting the spirit, if not the letter, of civil rights law, to financially segregate, banish and cripple irksome people and enterprises, Parler, in our example. Quick to ape them were other fearful vendors, lawyers, for example.
“Whatever Trump did, there is no excuse for what happened to Parler,” protested David Sacks, a liberal.
“Barring businesses from using online payment systems,” seconded Never Trumpster Bari Weiss, “removing companies from the App Store; banning people from social media—these are the equivalent of telling people they can’t open a bank account or start a business or drive down a street.”
Nice, but Weiss failed to analytically distill the meaning of that prohibition:
“[T]elling people they can’t open a bank account or start a business or drive down a street” is the equivalent of informing them they might not be able to make a living, despite the fact that they are innocent; their only offense is to type or waft words into the ether.
“This is the fate of Parler, courtesy of the Amazon webserver. No such thing as monopoly power? No such thing as deformed, economic gigantism? My a-s!”
I had tweeted out the above in disgust, appended to a screen picture of the following ubiquitous nullity: “We’re having trouble finding Parler; check your network connection.”
“Stop with the monopoly talk,” admonished a diehard ideologue, in reply. “You sound like the government interventionists of the Progressive Era.”
Yes, let the unfettered market-place, peaceful and slow, remedy the speedy and deadly aggression of our tech enemies, who come at us in war, not peace.
This, as the conformists persist in puling, “build your own platforms.” Right. Parler was ever so confident The Competition would be happy for its business. As was I.
For its confidence, Parler was subjected to a coordinated financial attack; dealt an unwarrantedly aggressive, financial death knell. The social-media platform was forthwith robbed of its value, even though it was not the aggressor in a dispute it did not pick—Parler had not defaulted on its financial obligations, and it didn’t perpetrate fraud on its users or vendors.
So, how do conservatives create an “alternative” to Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter, when these are conglomerates whose revenues are greater than “the GDP of four of the G20 nations”; and when “they are, collectively, more powerful than most, if not all, nation states”?
And when, more importantly, the men and women of Deep Tech no longer have products on their megalomaniacal, petty minds.
STRUCTURED LIKE A PETRO-STATE
When Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, and Amazon were growing up, they wanted to be government. Now they are!
Think about this: These are “businesses” whose political plank dwarfs their economic and technological raison dêtre: Work for them and you’ll quickly learn that it’s about minorities before merit, foreign over native born, women above everybody and everything, and white men who’re made to go to the back of the org, although, given their legendary facility with engineering—honky is made to do double duty for all the deadwood hired.
And, everything in deeply ignorant Deep Tech is done by the book—the White Fragility book, a favorite “teaching” resource of the barely-literate, Human Resources personnel.
The profit-structure, moreover, within many a Deep Tech company is reminiscent of that of a Petro-State. Billions flow top down, from these Sheik-dominated organization—Bill Gates, Satya Nadella, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos—to their pet political fiefdoms, within each of their respective companies, where, navigating politics is more valuable than making products.
Dissident Americans take comfort in the fact that our lepper-like ouster—de-platforming, financial and other—is executed by private companies. Discrimination, aver the libertarian-minded among us, is the prerogative of private property. Or, so we console ourselves. We’re safe, for aggression for the sake of aggression, as we libertarians have long maintained, is the modus operandi of the state, not of free enterprise.
Yet, here we are! In more effectively banishing people and their products from market, private multinationals are posing a serious competition to The State.
And therein lies the rub. Fresh theoretical thinking about the meaning of Deep Tech begins with an understanding that we live and labor under tyrannical corporate statism, or tech-dominated statism. Free-market capitalism remains the “unknown ideal.”
Parler’s sudden (temporary, we hope), financial demise was no natural death; it came not by dint of economic failure, but due to untoward, unwarranted financial force—economic aggression of the most cowardly kind, wielded by economic enemies, and rooted in political enmity.
In defending Deep Tech’s prerogative to visit economic and social violence on innocent individuals and businesses by tossing them off their enormous, irreplaceable platforms, for speech not to their liking—not to mention throttling our speech, and confining us to a leper-like, tenuous status while on the platform—you are not defending the rights of private property to merely conduct itself as it wishes.
Rather, you are marching down the pirate’s plank, on a ship of state commandeered by pirates, who’re in competition with the state.
Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She’s the author of Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s currently on Parler, Gab, YouTube & LinkedIn, but has been banned by Facebook and throttled by Twitter.
Like the somewhat fiesty tone, Ilana. Yes, dissident patriots need an independent web server. Any ideas? I’ll donate a few bucks.
Did anyone see some guy named Ariel Pink on the Tucker Carlson show tonight? Honestly, I mean this with all respect as a decent human being, that “guy” was the biggest “beta male” that I have ever seen in my life. This “singer” is saying he can’t make any more cabbage because he was seen at the melee in Washington. Good gawd, Jews are ALWAYS the “victim.” “Mr. Pink” is more comical than the dude with the horns but not as comical as that speech delivered by senile Biden. Again with all due respect, I noticed Biden can barely walk. Sad, sad, sad. Tucker, in the words of Joe Biden, “come on, man.” In the words of edjumucated people, I call “balderdash,” I’ve seen better acting in porno films
Great article, Ilana.
“Dissident Americans take comfort in the fact that our lepper-like ouster—de-platforming, financial and other—is executed by private companies. Discrimination, aver the libertarian-minded among us, is the prerogative of private property. Or, so we console ourselves. We’re safe, for aggression for the sake of aggression, as we libertarians have long maintained, is the modus operandi of the state, not of free enterprise.”
I hope this suggests you have awoken from any libertarian delusions you retained?
Oh, & it’s not just a “bug” re “big tech” or whatever they’re called. It’s a feature of ALL capitalism. Strive always for functional or de facto monopoly, & blend private power with State power, so it’s hard to distinguish one from the other (in practice they are virtually indistinguishable — the “revolving door” is just one feature) …. & you have the
21st C !!
Big Tech walks, acts and talks like a fascist duck.
“When Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, and Amazon were growing up, they wanted to be government. Now they are!”
“NO, They Are Not Private Companies” says Derrick Broze [something I’ve been saying for at least 2+ years]:
That is merely playing Whac-A-Mole…the Deep State needs to be eliminated.
You’re asking the eight hundred pound gorilla in the living room to have the courtesy not to sit on the furniture. How will Deep Tech be prevented from deplatforming whom it pleases? By passing a law? By something called the government? Our government? What is law if not the will of the powerful? What are ethics but power’s option? Rights, including the Bill of, exist only insofar as they can be enforced. So Gab may have its own server. Then those who control the grid decide to shut it down. What then?
Power is brought to book by a greater power, by exhaustion or by the greed and arrogance by which power destroys itself. America will become a land of impoverished communities struggling to rebuild after a period of national devastation. New social, political and communication networks will arise initially by carrier pigeon and Pony Express. Sounds absurd and, for that reason, the more credible.
I have long believed that the use of computers as a communication device would ultimately enable the “perfect” totalitarian society. Now that we are discovering the fruits of the computer and its spawn, social media, we have forgotten how to communicate in the old fashioned way (in person and without the aid of electronic devices). There is simply no way to defeat a country that wants to stifle free speech other than to abandon the computer as a communication device. Let us rediscover the power of organizing and expressing ourselves in simple, human ways. The “state” in all of its falseness and computer driven narratives is absolutely no match for people who still value freedom who shun the use of this easily compromised communication medium. The autocrats are no match for a citizenry that organizes “in the dark.” The war against deplatforming will never be won if it is fought on the turf of the evil people who control the platform.
Eliminating the Deep State would also be playing Whac-A-Mole. What is not seen is the Deep Problem.
The Deep Problem is that nearly all humans think that government is a good idea being done poorly, when it is actually an evil idea being done thoroughly. Monopoly is ALWAYS the work of government, never the free market, yet most humans believe just the opposite, that government is required to curb monopoly in free markets.
IP law, a metaphorically-based irrationality to justify monopoly, is at the root of much of the power of Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, etc. IP law is a nearly religious icon for Conservatives, Libertarians, even Ayn Rand’s Objectivists, yet it is the main tool of growth for these monstrous tyrannical corporations.
We are a long way from solving our problems because we are a long way from even seeing our problems. They are hard to see because they really are Deep Problems touching the roots of morality and logic. They will not be solved by those unwilling to question the very existence of government. How to govern others is not the question. Whether to govern others is the question and the answer is no.
In response to the “libertarians” who say that whatever a private business does is within the rights of the owners, these big corporations are favored and supported by government, and they are doing the government’s bidding (and vice versa). They aren’t private businesses by a long shot, they are partners with the federal government.
Sec.230 relieves social media providers from liability for whatever their users may publish, as the social media corporations aren’t considered the publishers, but these corporations, by censoring, deplatforming, etc. make themselves publishers by their actions, though they are shielded from liability.
Reading the findings on the intent of the law, it’s easy to see that the law was not intended to allow the control exercised by these coporations:
The tech tyrants are the most pernicious monopolists in American history. Not even the robber barons of the late 19th century exerted such absolute control because their monopolies were regional not national. Vanderbilt’s railroad may have controlled access to New York City but not to Baltimore, New Orleans or other US ports. The closest thing to an absolute monopoly prior to the Tech tyranny was AT&T but they were a regulated utility that was ultimately broken up into the Baby Bells.
What happened to Parler happened to me accidentally a few years ago. Yahoo got hacked and my email account with them was closed. My Apple password was connected to that email address so I couldn’t log on to Apple’s app store and those companies don’t answer telephone calls. I got a new Yahoo email account but never have been able to log on to Apple and have forgotten my password anyway so I can’t give Apple my new email address which prevents me from changing my password so I can’t use apps.
A few years ago, a relative of mine suddenly received notices from her two banks that they were ending her account. They both told her she needed to immediately take her funds out of the banks. She was shocked. She hadn’t done anything wrong. She called the banks’ risk departments, the branches, and many more, but was told that the reason could not be divulged. She tried to open accounts at many banks, but they all refused to open an account with her. She was shut out, unable to transfer money anywhere. She had no recourse. Apparently, banks share risk information, but will not divulge it, because it puts them at risk of being sued. The banking industry can shut you out, with no recourse on your part. When I read a few days ago that associates of Trump are being locked out of banking, it reminded me of what happened to my relative.
Ours is a mixed economy in which government power and influence reach into every corner. Big businesses today are substantially an outgrowth of the state, in ways that are both obvious and subtle.
One such way is the state’s monetary inflation, which underwrites endless government spending. The inflating of the money supply makes low margin or break even or money losing ventures appear profitable, or soon to be. But only if these white elephant ventures are very big, and therefore capable of attracting huge sums of newly created money to pay operating costs. The requisite scale derives from the dominance of institutional investing on Wall,Street.
This is why Amazon, Facebook etc have grown to titanic size, with commensurate power to destroy. Their size then helps them to withstand the regulatory state whose edicts suffocate normal smaller sized enterprises.
Another reason for the power of these behemoths is the legal-technical structure of the internet in the USA. It is not a bottom-up but rather a top down form of organization. One key agency can shut down any entity that arouses its disapproval. Other agencies re joined aat the hip to The One.
Sorry I cant provide more; this is complicated. But the tyranny of Dark Tech is only quasi-private and is a kind of economic fascism.
One dude blew up that AT&T data center in Nashville; his father worked at a telco.
Lots people know the vulnerabilities of the USA communications network, exactly what would happen if someone acted upon that knowledge.
Imagine if a whole lot of people who go screwed used that knowledge of Deep Tech to strike back at physical facilities of these companies.
To wit: you lock me out of the essential services necessary for me to live, well FU to your good life.
I could see that down the road as angry people assess the role of DT in destroying their piece of modernity.
I think you are too domestically focused. The US population will be looking abroad fearfully as China becomes a titan. Jack Ma criticised China financial regulators and has not been seen since. Americans would say that kind of government totalitarianism inhibits economic growth, which is a practical reason not to use that power that all governments have–if they chose to use it. But one thing government cannot change is the hereditary qualities of their particular population. The Old Americans were innately high in trust and able to deal with strangers much more easily. The immigrants currently replacing them are very wary of non family, and make economic transactions far more risky and even with blockchain technology and suchlike. In the US, with its tradition of liberal individualism and freedom from surveillance the cutting edge tech of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter will not be able to leverage 5G in the way their Chinese counterparts will.
China’s arrangements and literal DNA as preadapted to facilitate the harvesting of the most intimate and extensive personal data in a way that America’s individualist taboos and suspicion of encroachments on personal choice will make impossible. Given their unsurpassed economies of scale cities, and growth being proportional to the size of the population, there is going to be a firestorm of economic activity in China over the next decade or so. American tech will grow very fast; yes, but Chinese growth will be exponential and the USA is going to seem to be standing still. Just as the perceived stagnation under Eisenhower brought the reckless JFK to power, by about 2035, the US will move toward ‘bear any burden’ rhetoric, and begin to seriously consider a conventional military (naval) confrontation with China.
So what’s your conclusion?
That we should eliminate capitalism altogether??
You’re moving in a good direction with your thoughts.
A few things I disagree with:
– IP is not necessarily bad in itself, but it needs to be time-limited, staggered based on ‘innovation height’, but even for the top works no longer than 20 or maybe 30 years.
– You are actually talking about systems. The ultimate question on systems however is always: “What do we do about the [monopoly] system of The Rule of Law?” Which can only work if there is enforcement [at least of sentences/punishments], by some kind of… well actually government.
Why not get more to the point, and state:
They will not be solved by those unwilling to question their own morality.
when will you close your twitter account, etc.?
I never had a twitter account, closed my fb 2 years ago, never used a large company as email provider, will close my (rarely ever used) goolag account the next days, and am considering switching from my iPhone back to my previously used Blackberry Z10 (kept exactly for such a scenario.)
Sure if a recycled material is a great article I wonder how the real great write up would be praised.
I am still waiting to hear from the great admirer (the author) some answers/questions about the numbers of 6 million Jews killed in holocaust. Who invented such a conservative estimates.
May be you as a troll could try. 6 millions????
and why the 4 millions in Auschwitz camp were dropped from 4 to less than a million. Tell it to Spielberg for his new holocaust movie projects. Would you?
The author needs to write something to discredit this news
I find it hilarious to see the rightist Chabad jews go apoplectic when the Marxist jews win in the Kabuki. But when you boil down all the bullshit, one realizes that Israel and the jewish world order is still right on track.
Don’t worry Chabad jews, you will be welcomed back with open arms when the act of the Kabuki is over and the next act of total jewish domination wins.
Oh, and never forget that the jew is stealing every bit of wealth from you, using all of this Kabuki as a diversion. AND, they have been able to convince most of you that their total tech control of you is necessary.
But, “Go Trump!”
Nice to finish with a zinger, but these corporate behemoths aren’t competing with the State, they’re complicit with the eugenic warmongering psycopathic megalomaniacs who’ve hijacked it.
You have competently articulated the economic power and impunity leveraged by these corporate giants to impose their idealogic tyranny on much of the world.
A lot of people are making noise about the threat to freedom and the dystopian prospects for our future if something isn’t done to neuter these monstrosities. But no-one offers any plausible solution.
The question occurs to me, what would the Mafia do in this situation (and incidentally, just like the rest of us, they probably are)? The obvious answer is – fight fire with fire. No-one is untouchable. The shakers and movers are always identifiable.
If all the CEOs, their sponsors and apprentices, the boards of directors and key human resources became targets in an existential war (which is where things are headed), how long would these corporate behaviours continue?
Maybe that’s looking too far ahead, but when the poor keep getting poorer, ground down into the gutter without any way out because that’s the way the obscenely rich like it, sooner or later the poo hits the fan. Remember the French Revolution. The alternative is 1984 (or maybe The Hunger Games). Seriously.
I am behind you. I back you. I am persuaded by your position.
Moreover, I believe that I grasp, at least partially, the hard rôle network effects play in Deep Tech monopolies. Furthermore, the financial deplatforming of which you speak is especially vexing.
However, part of me still wants to credit the advice, “Build your own platforms!” As long as it’s private companies that are oppressing us and as long as Internet service providers (ISPs) are required by U.S. federal law[*] to allow access to the network, you and I can try to resist; but once the state has heard our plea and intervened, how shall we resist after the state itself has subsequently taken up the mantle of oppression?
By asking Congress’ help, are we not tempting the Beast?
[*] As far as I know, the relevant statute is 47 U.S. Code § 202(a).
For information, how has it gone with her since? Is she still bankless, or has she worked out some way to reënter the system?
Which group of those Jews destroyed South Africa? Was it the “Marxist Jews” or the “Chabad Jews.”
Damn, you people can’t even get along with each other. Which group did the Pharisees belong to? Would the Pharisees be more of a Chabad or Marxist Jew in modern times?
As if I am speaking to a three year old:
It was Marxist jews. Mandela was controlled by Marxist jews.
The neocons are a recent morphing of Trotskyites.
This is obvious and very well known.
What difference does any of it make when one is under lockdown for nearly a year and counting?
What do I care about the app for Twits when government forces me to wear a muzzle? I can’t show my face and you whine about fucking Twitter?
The overwhelming and ever-growing power of Big Tech really is more significant than the mask-wearing issue.
Hey Ilana, I just noticed those twitter images on the right side of this article/screen and I have to ask you a question. What is the deal with holding a large bone in your hand? Seems a bit childish and pretty silly IMO. Are you trying to portray yourself as Wonder Woman. lolol. In the words of Joe Biden, “come on man.” I mean you aren’t exactly the Ann Wolfe type. I think a good portion of the male population would be kayoed by Ann Wolfe even though Ann is getting up there in age.
She was able to reopen an old closed account with a credit union. But, it took her two months to find this alternative. She has been anxious that this credit union might do the same. She has no history of doing anything wrong. She was not a victim of identity theft. The episode alarmed both my wife and myself. We realized everything we have can suddenly jeopardized, for no reason at all.
The bone is a Flintstone bone, sir, to symbolize this writer’s “reactionary” paleolibertarianism. Childish? Why not. It’s meant for a book on the topic delayed.
Now that that’s solved, back you go to the essay, we hope …
I’m sympathetic, but I’m also picturing the Pony Express vs Ma Bell.
Hmm, “paleolibertarianISM”, nice. I don’t subscribe to any of that political identity horseshit, like paleoconservativISM, liberalism, right winger, left winger etc. I am closer to a TRUE LIBERAL than anything else if I had to play along with the game. I am for RIGHT over WRONG, GOOD over EVIL so I have no clue what ISM that falls under.
As a “paleolibertarian” what is your opinion of Palestinians being brutalized in Israel? What is your opinion of the Jewish stranglehold on Western nations with their control of our media, our financial institutions, much of academia, Madison Avenue, AIPAC having way too much influence in Washington, D.C. etc. American and Western political leaders speaking with one voice when it comes to Israel, etc.
Flintstones vs. The Jetsons? Flintstones here. Mary Ann vs. Ginger? Mary Ann easily. RIP Dawn Wells. Rolling Stones vs. Beatles? Stones, HATE the Beatles. Coke vs. Pepsi? Coke by a landslide. Donald Duck vs Mickey Mouse? Donald Duck. Batman vs. Superman? Batman here.