Amazon is threatening to pull the plug on Parler because of the content of its users. Google Play and Apple Store are pulling the Parler app from their offerings. These are private corporations and so are allowed to choose who they allow on their platforms, but these are dangerous grounds to tread. And it’s all too easy to fall into the mass hysteria—performative or otherwise—and let the mob rule.
Parler is a joke, but make no mistake this is the epitome fascist oligarchy and oligopoly. This is a concerted power play by the power brokers. The powers that be of the oligopoly are some of the same players as those of the oligopoly. And there is no mistaking the powers. They have the power to silence the president of the United States of America.
Believe me. I feel that Donald J Trump is a vile person and a poor excuse for a human being. Viscerally, I wish they had silenced him 4 years ago—or 40, give or take. But this is clearly a shot over the bow.
A parallel in the public sector might be the way they got their foot in the door with income taxes back in the day. To pay for World War I, the US needed cash. Taxes are an easy scheme, but at the time most government operations were funded through tariffs, excise and use fees, and property taxes.
Taxing income was illegal, so there was a dilemma. But this dilemma had an easy solution. Let’s make incomes taxes legal, and we can tax the richest Americans the fair and modest amount of 1 per cent of income. The common man wouldn’t even notice.
Once taxing income was legal, the trojan horse having successfully breached the fortress, it was only a short while before the rates rose above 1 per cent and the tax base expanded to everyday workers, even as the wealthy moved away from an income-based existence to a capital gains-based one.
This is a textbook slippery slope.
My question is how does one get from ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’ to ‘Ferme-la!’ so easily?
In the end, this is playing to emotion, leveraging mass hysteria and outrage, performative and otherwise.
I’ve got too many distractions happening to finish with the exposition, so here’s a short list of reference stories I intended to reference.
- Axios – Twitter Trump Ban
- WaPo – Amazon Parler Suspension
- Wired – Not even his worst tweets got Trump banned
- NY Times – Twitter Trump Suspension
- WSJ – Apple Suspends Parler
- MIT Tech Review – Who decides what’s free speech online?