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The past two years have seen a rather aggressive change in corporate policies toward the very customers they used to covet. Not long ago, CEOs tended to keep their political views mostly in the closet. Companies remained publicly neutral because their goal was first and foremost to make money. When they wanted to influence politics or social norms, they bought politicians – you know, the good old-fashioned way. The big banks still do this by funneling cash to both Republicans and Democrats alike.
However, in the wake of the social justice cult frenzy some companies have decided that ideology is more important than profit, and most of these companies are deeply involved in various forms of media.
Some people will argue that the media has always been leftist in its orientation and that this trend is nothing new. But, I think it is clear to anyone who has worked in countering mainstream media disinformation that something is very different today. Conservatives are being “cleansed” from participation in these communications platforms, and conservative ideals are being erased or misrepresented on a massive scale. Not long ago, media companies at least pretended to be “fair and balanced” by tolerating a certain level of participation by conservatives. No longer.
With the advent of the internet and social media, participation in political discussion has become more open to the common citizen than ever before. This is apparently an intolerable side effect that corporate elites would like to do away with.
It is a slightly complex problem, so I’ll try to break it down point by point:
First, companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter are not honest in the presentation of their own image. They initially depicted themselves as bastions of social commerce without any interest in ideological battles. If they had come right out in the open from the beginning and admitted they are running their platforms based on social justice lunacy, then perhaps conservatives would not have bothered to join in the first place. Then Facebook and others could keep their forums “ideologically pure” without misleading people.
Second, while these companies do have standards of behavior and rules for participants, the rules are deliberately broad and vaporous. They claim their rules focus on more abhorrent behaviors like overt racism, but then go on to define almost EVERYTHING that they disagree with as “racist.” This includes most conservative viewpoints and arguments. Therefore, it appears that social media corporations want to fool as many people as possible into joining their platforms, getting them addicted to participation, and then these companies want to have the option of controlling those people’s behavior through the fear of losing access.
Third, while this is clearly ideological zealotry, social media websites are also private property. They are not “free speech zones”. They can invite people in, and they can demand people leave anytime they wish. If conservatives are going to argue in favor of private property rights and voluntary participation rights, then they must include private websites in this.
So then, what is the solution?
Some will claim that social media giants represent a public utility rather than private property and that they should be subjected to regulation by government in terms of political discrimination. I disagree.
Giving government EVEN MORE intrusive powers into how businesses function from day to day is not the answer. Allowing government to indiscriminately label a business or website a “public utility” is essentially nationalization of private property; something very common in communist countries but a habit that should be avoided in America. We need less government and less bureaucracy, not more, and conservatives need to remember that while leftists present a constant annoyance, it is big government that remains the ultimate threat to individual freedom.
They may start with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., but where does it stop? How long before government is enforcing participation rules on all websites? How long before conservative websites are required to allow leftist trolls and disinformation agents of every stripe the freedom to rampage through their forums without any recourse to remove them? How long before government shifts over to the other side of the aisle and conservatives start kicking themselves for passing laws that are then used against them?
That said, there are some issues with corporations in general that need to be addressed when considering this conundrum. For example, many corporations are not normal businesses in the free market sense. Corporations only exist because of government charter and protections like limited liability. This is where many hardcore Anarcho-capitalists I have dealt with in the past tend to go wrong in their rabid defense of corporations and monopolies. The reality is that corporations are a product of government and are not a natural function of free markets.
Facebook has received considerable government aid. For years Facebook has been offered special tax breaks to the extent that in some cases they have avoided taxes to the IRS altogether. Show me how many small-business owners get that kind of treatment from the government!
Facebook has also allowed intrusive data mining operations including government operations and corporate operations to spy on its users and has so far suffered little consequences beyond a slap on the wrist. Facebook has even maintained partnerships with foreign entities considered national security threats to the U.S.
This does not mean that companies like Facebook should be nationalized and turned into public utilities in a socialist free-for-all. But it does mean that corporations should not exist in the form they do today if we are to ever find balance.
I would first advocate for the end of the legal protections afforded under “corporate personhood.” When a company like Facebook is sued or prosecuted for its trespasses and criminality, the company itself is treated as if it is a legal person. Mark Zuckerberg and his ilk are not punished: the company is punished. This usually ends in fines which amount to nothing more than pocket change.
Under Adam Smith’s model of free markets, corporations (or joint stock companies as they were called in his day), were not acceptable. As mentioned, they are not a function of free markets. Partnerships are, though. Reducing corporations down to partnerships and removing corporate welfare and government protections would go a long way in solving the dangers of business elites and their control of entire swaths of public communication (among many other sectors).
This is why I am also a proponent of the breakup of corporate monopolies. If a corporation, unfairly aided by government in numerous ways, becomes so large and influential that free market competition with that company is impossible, then it should be broken up into separate competing companies so that there is more incentive to keep customers rather than discriminate against them. This is just one solution to the problem of social media outlets that are attempting to cut out one-half of the American public.
If the breakup of monopolies is not possible, or if one company is separated into competing parts and these parts STILL cling to ideological zealotry rather than pursuing sound business practices, then it is up to conservatives themselves to create an alternative.
That’s right — I’m saying it’s time for a conservative (or truly neutral) Facebook, a conservative Twitter, a conservative YouTube, etc.
More government domination of business is not an option, and it’s certainly not conservative in spirit. What is conservative in spirit is industry and self-reliance. I see no reason why a conservative or neutral social media outlet would not be financially successful, as long as it is not interfered with by government.
If the system is not offering a necessity or service, or it is restricting a necessity or service, then it is up to free people to provide that necessity or service for themselves instead of relying on others to do it for them.
I do fear that that the social justice aggression within corporations against conservatives is part of a larger and more subversive plan. If one studies the leftist tactics of socialist gatekeeper Saul Alinsky, one would discover that they often use the strategy of harassing their enemies to illicit a vicious overreaction. Meaning, it may be the goal of the leftists or globalists (who have no loyalty to either side) to manipulate conservatives through their own anger.
Conservatives are portrayed as evil and monstrous tyrants, or as dumb bumbling bigots in most current media. The social justice ideology is placed on a pedestal as unassailable and untouchable in movies, television shows and even commercials. It is treated as absolute truth that cannot be questioned or debated. In the meantime, social media companies seek to gain vast market share of communications spaces and then reduce conservative presence there so that we cannot argue our side of the issues.
I get it. There is every reason for conservatives to be pissed off. But, we need to look at the bigger picture.
It is possible that the goal on the part of these companies is not necessarily to merely silence conservative voices on their forums or to slander us in ridiculous misrepresentations. It could be that they hope we will become enraged, and that we will respond by abandoning our own principles to attack them back. They want us to become the monsters that they are portraying us as. Even if we win, we lose.
I have already outlined examples of how we can fight back without breaking our own ideals and morals; moving to expand government power in this area is completely unnecessary. The fight is not just over modes of communication, it is over conscience and identity. The latter must not be sacrificed to obtain the former.
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Afghanistan, long acknowledged to be America’s “forgotten war”, has finally returned to the news of late. But this time, in a shocking twist on the now 17-year long conflict, the US is negotiating with the Taliban.
Perhaps this is why the mainstream media has by and large not given this bombshell story the coverage it deserves? Or do the major networks feel the American public has long ago stopped paying attention and will therefore yawn at any headlines containing the words ‘US Troops/Afghanistan’?
As Daniel McAdams explains, last week US State Department officials met with Taliban leaders in Qatar. At the request of the Taliban, the US-backed Afghan government was not invited. The officials discussed ceasefires and an end to the war.
Meanwhile, the US inspector general charged with monitoring US spending on Afghanistan reconstruction has reported that since 2008, the US has completely wasted at the least $15.5 billion. He believes that’s just the tip of the iceberg, though.
On Sunday, Reuters had this report on the latest surprising developments:
A meeting between a senior U.S. diplomat and Taliban representatives in Doha last week to discuss a possible ceasefire ended with “very positive signals” and a decision to hold more meetings, people with knowledge of the talks said on Sunday.
The meeting between a delegation led by Alice Wells, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and Taliban representatives was first reported in The Wall Street Journal but has not been officially confirmed.
According to one Taliban official, who said he was part of a four-member delegation, there were “very positive signals” from the meeting, which he said was conducted in a “friendly atmosphere” in a Doha hotel.
Could we be witnessing the very beginning stages of a negotiated face-saving exit from this nearly two decade long American quagmire in central Asia?
The prospect is discussed in today’s Liberty Report:
Customers have come to expect benefits for return business, and rewards programs are ubiquitous. But, the effectiveness of rewards programs is highly variable and dependent upon the type of program and its implementation. So, as a retailer, how can your program break through the white noise?