Rachel’s note: Last week, our founder Doug Casey offered his take on former President Trump’s ban from some social media sites… and why he believes it’s a sign of the “degradation of America”…
Today, I caught up with Doug again in another Conversations With Casey. Read on for Doug’s thoughts on this growing “censorship”… and how it’s a destructive “Deep State” tool…
Rachel Bodden, managing editor, Casey Research: Last time we spoke, we discussed the role Google, Apple, and Amazon had in pulling down Parler, as well as Facebook and Twitter shutting down Trump’s accounts. Some people are saying this is censorship. Is this a harbinger of something more serious?
Doug Casey, founder, Casey Research: A lot of this has to do with the idea of monopoly. A lot of people are saying that the Big Tech companies are monopolies. That allegation, and the concept of monopoly itself, is worth looking at.
There are essentially two types of monopolies. You can have a market monopoly or a government monopoly.
In a socialist system, like that in the old USSR, everything was a monopoly owned by the government. In the U.S., we have a “mixed,” or Mussolini-style fascist, system, as I explained last week. Most monopolies in the U.S. are granted by, and enforced by, the State. For instance, the government gave AT&T a monopoly on U.S. telecommunications until it was broken up in 1982. The U.S. Postal Service has had a government monopoly for over 200 years, although Federal Express and UPS compete with it around the edges.
Are there any market monopolies? Yes. Any company that can provide a good or service better and cheaper than its competitors can establish a monopoly, at least for a while. But as soon as anyone else can do it better or cheaper, they’ll lose their monopoly. There have always been de facto monopolies – they’re a natural market phenomenon, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them.
The problem is de jure government monopolies, where the State uses its power to keep out competition and protect its cronies.
Any kind of government monopoly is destructive.
But when it comes to the means of communication, government monopoly is especially dangerous.
Rachel: Why’s that?
Doug: Well frankly, you’re only as alive as you’re able to communicate. Let’s briefly look at the history of real and imagined monopoly and censorship.
From the Dark Ages up until the Enlightenment, the church basically had a de jure monopoly on all information, including what was thought and what was said. That was a major reason the world went basically nowhere for a thousand years.
During the 19th century, people complained about press barons owning dozens of newspapers that all had the same editorials and spin on the news. They were accused of being monopolies – but they weren’t. There were many, many other newspapers competing with them. Hearst and Pulitzer were simply more successful at telling the kind of stories the capite censi liked to read.
During the 1950s, courtesy of the government, there were only three major television networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC. Not a pure monopoly. But TV and radio stations had to – and still do – stay in line, or the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will pull their licenses. Of course there shouldn’t be any FCC licensing. Why not? Because one group shouldn’t have de jure control over what others can say.
Before the American Revolution there were many “Committees of Correspondence” organized, which enabled those who wanted to overthrow the British Government. In today’s world, the internet can serve that function – which is why the Deep State wants to keep it under control. That’s not “conspiracy theory,” it’s simply the way the world of politics works.
The Big Tech corporations – Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google, Twitter, and many others – are intimate with the State. They share the same worldview and generally the same interests. They’ve evolved to where they relate to the common American much the way the British Crown did in the late 1700s.
Rachel: Which is to say not at all, right?
Doug: Right. Some people like to control other people. That’s nothing new; it’s been true since Day One. But with all the capital and technology available today, it’s easier than ever. These corporations work together partly because their owners and management share the same views. But also because, thanks largely to the tidal wave of money spewing from the Federal Reserve, they’re filthy rich too. They definitely want to stay that way.
One consequence of all that power and money is that they’ve become arrogant. They’re no longer just Twinkie-eating nerds burning the midnight oil to write interesting computer code. They see themselves as Masters of the Universe. Geeks who’ve transformed themselves from dwellers in mom’s basement to superheroes. As a result, they’re no longer really taking care of business.
Rachel: So what do you think is going to happen?
Doug: I’ll bet that Google, Facebook, and the rest of them are going to self-destruct because their owners are now more interested in promoting woke ideology than they are in improving the business by giving the little people what they need and want. In fact, the hoi polloi increasingly fear and hate them. So I’d say those companies’ stocks look like good short sales in the making.
Yes, they’re both obnoxious and dangerous, and they’re a problem. A lot of people want to see them regulated. But regulation is not the answer. Regulation comes from the government, which is their friend.
The big danger isn’t the corporate world. As much damage as they can do, they still can’t legally hold a gun to your head, tax you, or put you in jail. Only the government can do that. The problem is that they work hand-in-glove with the government.
People asking for regulation to solve the problem are just feeding more power to the government. That will just make things worse.
Rachel: Thanks as always for your insights today, Doug.
Doug: Until next time, Rachel.