There aren't many areas of consensus in Congress, but thank goodness Big Tech reform is one of them. Democrats may go along with the theatrics of banning President Trump from Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook for now, but once the dust settles, liberals are just as gung-ho on breaking up the monopoly as anyone.
We can't live in a country, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) insisted, "where four or five companies -- unelected, unaccountable [companies] -- have the power to decide [who speaks]." They're making decisions on who gets erased from the digital platform, he argued. "And the reason why these guys are doing it is because Democrats are about to take power, and they view this as a way to get on their good side to avoid restrictions or any sort of laws being passed that hurt them."
True, House liberals may not have the same motivation as conservatives for calling Big Tech to the carpet, but they have motivation nonetheless. In their 449-page report from October, Democrats compared the social media moguls to the 1900s "oil barons and railroad tycoons," modern abusers of U.S. anti-trust laws they say they won't tolerate.
Three months later, mired in a crisis of censorship, a lot of Americans are concerned the situation has hit a point of no return. Well, let me encourage you that what we're facing right now is something our nation has confronted -- and defeated -- before. The beauty of the American system is that as manipulated and corrupted as it has been at times, the founders had a genius about the design that allowed those wrongs to be righted.
Right now, we may be dealing with different names, different industries, and a different environment, but the principles from the 1800s, when the robber barons controlled aspects of our economy, still apply. At one point in time, Standard Oil commanded over 90 percent of the U.S. oil market. In 1911, thanks to the people pushing back and demanding reform, the government broke up the company into 34 different pieces. And voila, we had competition.
There are a lot of similarities between that predicament and the one America finds itself in with Google, which controls 92 percent of the global search engine market. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, as the saying goes. And as soon as people start to feel the harm -- a situation that widespread censorship and deplatforming will guarantee -- things start to change.
Right now, Liberty University's Dr. Dave Brat agreed, "there's a giant concentration of power and wealth on the Left. But the good news is, usually these monopolies die out... You probably can't think of many monopoly products from 20 or 30 years ago that are still around." That said, people are right to be concerned, "because they're seeing things that they cannot believe could ever happen in America." Our speech is being attacked. Our open forums are being destroyed. Big Tech moguls are colluding with Democrats to manipulate messaging, elections, and voting rules. The free market philosophy, as we know it, is under siege.
"All economic theories have working markets. You have to have a hundred or a thousand firms competing against each other. Unfortunately, that's not true in the [case of] Amazon or Big Tech. They're virtual monopolies. Every economist under the sun should be in open revolt here." If we're going to have competition, other companies at least need an opportunity to get on the playing field -- something this decade-long power grab has denied them. So why aren't the experts speaking out, Dave asks? What's happened to higher education? "Where are the Nobel laureates in economics? [Why aren't they] speaking out?" Simple. The schools have been bought out. And there's a silencing of opposition that's made even conservatives take cover.
If they don't find their voice, Dave warns, "the whole grand experiment of economics is dead." At the end of the day, change isn't going to come from the educational institutions. It's not going to come from the political establishment. It's going to come -- as it did a century ago -- from people saying, "Enough is enough." Back then, they didn't have the internet, Dave reminded everyone. They didn't have email. But they still managed to succeed through the power of local communities, churches, and congressmen.
The challenge now is, we've become very rich and spoiled Americans. We like our cheap Amazon products from China and our social media feeds. But if we want to strip these companies of their influence and return America to the First Amendment principles the world admires, it's time to step out of our comfort zones and act.