Trust Busting Big Tech
The Sherman Antitrust Act was passed by Congress in 1890. This legislation was a response to the rapid rise of economic and financial monopolies which sprouted up across America after the Civil War. The massive industrialization of America which took place after the war led to the rise of a class of so-called “Robber Barons” who may have used the capitalist system to their advantage but who were, in fact, the antithesis of a competitive free market system.
By the 1880s and 1890s, astute observers and writers like Ida Tarbell were portraying the rise of monopolies and trusts in the United States as a giant octopus strangling the nation. This multi-armed cephalopod consisted of the oil trust, rubber trust, sugar trust, railroad trust and others who were using a variety of anti-competitive measures to force their smaller rivals out of business.
Chief among the “robber barons” was John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil. A powerful and ruthless monopolist, Rockefeller expanded his company by buying out his competitors, using its sheer size and reach to extort lower shipping rates from the railroads, and quickly moving to seize control of almost all refining, distribution, and marketing throughout the embryonic oil industry. Standard Oil eventually acquired control of almost 90% of the nation’s oil production.
The Sherman Antitrust Act sought to outlaw all combinations and conspiracies in restraint of trade between states or with foreign countries. This prohibition extended not just to formal cartels but also to any agreement to fix prices, limit industrial output, share markets or exclude competition. In 1914, Congress passed additional legislation to limit monopolies in the U.S. One of these bills was the Clayton Antitrust Act and the other established the Federal Trade Commission with the power to investigate possible violations of antitrust legislation and issue orders forbidding anti-competitive practices.
The Sherman Act gave the U.S. Justice Department the power to prosecute the trusts through the federal courts. In 1909, the Justice Department went after Rockefeller and Standard Oil. Two years later, the Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil was an illegal monopoly “in unreasonable restraint of interstate commerce” and decreed ominously that: “For the safety of the Republic, we now decree that this dangerous conspiracy must be ended by November 15, 1911.” Standard was ordered to dissolve itself and break itself into 34 independent companies.
Fast forward slightly more than a century later. America is today imprisoned and enslaved by a newer and far more nefarious kind of monopoly. Instead of a trust that monopolizes commodities, this trust monopolizes our minds and attacks with astonishing relish the Bill of Rights and, especially, the First Amendment. This monopoly is called Big Tech and is dominated by just a handful of Silicon Valley trillionaires whose combined wealth is probably more than the Gross Domestic Product of many nations on this planet. Google alone is worth $320 billion. Twitter is worth $42 billion and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a personal fortune of a staggering $114 billion. It is wealth that is so staggering in its breadth and depth that it would make the Rockefeller family envious. Yet, it is a far more dangerous trust than anything John D. ever envisioned.
Today, information, ideas, thought, and political discourse are largely controlled by the Internet. Newspapers are dying off and far fewer people get their news from television and radio than ever before. The majority of individuals in America and indeed, across the world, get their information – the data they use to make important daily decisions like what to buy, where to invest, and who to vote for, from a handful of Internet platforms. This affords these Tech barons power and influence over society greater than those of presidents and kings. And, it is power that, so far, is unaccountable.
Zuckerberg, Dorsey ( and now Parag Agrawal ) and company have arrogated onto themselves the power to decide what the public can read, learn, watch, and listen to. In doing so, they have made themselves Princes of the New Censorship. In recent months and years, they have censored political speech, de-platformed the President of the United States and banished physicians, scientists, and scholars who reject the Faucian narrative on COVID. Merely posting conservative ideas or thoughts on your Facebook page can land you in FB jail. Merely challenging the globalists’ COVID agenda will get your YouTube page shut down. Having a differing opinion on the genesis of the so-called “insurrection” of January 6 will see Jack Dorsey suspending your Twitter account. The tech giants even seek to manipulate the outcome of elections as they did in November 2020 where they censored and suppressed news stories about the Biden Crime Family and funded shady vote harvesting and ballot dropbox campaigns that favored Democrats in a number of states. This is called election interference and was used to persecute Donald Trump for three years of his presidency in what was an elaborate hoax cooked up by Hillary Clinton. Yet, will Zuckerberg and Dorsey ever be held accountable for interfering in the 2020 election? Not likely. Ever.
The Big Tech monopolies are not held accountable because they spread their political contributions around Washington, D.C. like manure. According to CNBC: “Tech executives, rich from an 11-year bull market that’s disproportionately benefited their industry, were among the top political donors in the 2020 cycle. The vast majority of that money went to getting President Donald Trump out of office and helping Democrats take control of the Senate.” This is the primary reason most politicians of both parties refuse to take on these Silicon Valley titans. The other has to do with something called Section 230 of The Communications Decency Act of 1996.
Section 230 was inserted into the Act in an attempt to protect the Internet from legal liability in its infancy. According to its author, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, it contains a “sword and a shield.” The shield is the provision that says the Internet host is not liable for content posted on its site, but, rather, the content is the responsibility of the user or poster. That makes sense. However, the “sword” — which was originally intended to keep sexually explicit content and child pornography off the Internet ( which, nevertheless, is still there in a disgustingly major way )— of Section 230 gives Big Tech the power to censor speech they believe their audience might find “offensive.” And, that is an awfully big sword to use against conservatives, Constitutionalists, Republicans and patriots of every shade and stripe who use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to engage in legitimate – if at times controversial – political speech.
Interestingly enough, one never finds Zuckerberg, Dorsey and Google de-platforming radical left views expressed by groups like BLM, Antifa, AOC or others. When was the last time you heard a prominent Democrat Party leader being censored by Big Tech? Did Maxine Waters have her Twitter account suspended when she publicly advocated physical harassment of members of the Trump Administration? Did Madonna land in Facebook jail for advocating blowing up the Trump White House? Did Chuck Schumer get shut down by YouTube for threatening Supreme Court Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on the steps of the Supreme Court itself? Of course not. And, that’s because Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Agrawal and Google only go after speech they disagree with.
What should be done? Immediately, the First Amendment needs to be rediscovered and re-platformed in our society. That means using every tool of the Justice Department to go after Facebook, Twitter, and Google just as the DOJ went after Standard Oil in 1909. Next, the provision of Section 230 that allows Zuckerberg to censor political speech needs to be repealed outright. Finally, campaign finance laws must be drastically overhauled to prevent a handful of mega-giant corporations from trying to buy our elections.
What Big Tech is doing is not just monopolistic but it violates the very heart of the First Amendment and therefore violates the Constitution itself. No one should ever be allowed to control what Americans can read, think, hear, or believe no matter how many hundreds of billions in ill-begotten wealth they have amassed.
Dr. James Veltmeyer is a prominent La Jolla physician and author of “Physician on a Mission: Dr. Veltmeyer’s RX to Save America.”He was voted “Top Doctor” in San Diego County in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019. Dr. Veltmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by visiting his website at drveltmeyer.com
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