Glenn Greenwald points out that Congress and the progressive left are pressuring Big Tech to do their censorship dirty work for them. That's a very dire and very slippery slope.
Over the course of five-plus hours on Thursday [March 25th], a House Committee along with two subcommittees badgered three tech CEOs, repeatedly demanding that they censor more political content from their platforms and vowing legislative retaliation if they fail to comply. The hearing ... was one of the most stunning displays of the growing authoritarian effort in Congress to commandeer the control which these companies wield over political discourse for their own political interests and purposes.
As I noted when I reported last month on the scheduling of this hearing, this was “the third time in less than five months that the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content from their platforms.”
. . .
... it is vital not to lose sight of how truly despotic hearings like this are. It is easy to overlook because we have become so accustomed to political leaders successfully demanding that social media companies censor the internet in accordance with their whims ... At the last pro-censorship hearing convened by Congress, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) explicitly declared that the Democrats’ grievance is not that these companies are censoring too much but rather not enough. One Democrat after the next at Thursday’s hearing described all the content on the internet they want gone: or else. Many of them said this explicitly.
At one point toward the end of the hearing, Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), in the context of the January 6 riot, actually suggested that the government should create a list of groups they unilaterally deem to be “domestic terror organizations” and then provide it to tech companies as guidance for what discussions they should “track and remove”: in other words, treat these groups the same was as ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Words cannot convey how chilling and authoritarian this all is: watching government officials, hour after hour, demand censorship of political speech and threaten punishment for failures to obey. As I detailed last month, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the state violates the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee when they coerce private actors to censor for them — exactly the tyrannical goal to which these hearings are singularly devoted.
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They want the worst of all worlds: to maintain Silicon Valley monopoly power but transfer the immense, menacing power to police our discourse from those companies into the hands of the Democratic-controlled Congress and Executive Branch.
And as I have repeatedly documented, it is not just Democratic politicians agitating for greater political censorship but also their liberal journalistic allies, who cannot tolerate that there may be any places on the internet that they cannot control.
. . .
We are taught from childhood that a defining hallmark of repressive regimes is that political officials wield power to silence ideas and people they dislike, and that, conversely, what makes the U.S. a “free” society is the guarantee that American leaders are barred from doing so. It is impossible to reconcile that claim with what happened in that House hearing room over the course of five hours on Thursday.
There's more at the link.
I should point out that Greenwald is a left-wing journalist, not out of sympathy with many of the left's political philosophies and talking points. He's no conservative, and doesn't write from a right-wing perspective. However, he's brutally objective and honest in his analysis, spearing sacred cows on both the left and the right of the political spectrum. I wish there were more journalists like him! In this case, he unerringly homes in on the dictatorial dangers of the left's obsession with shutting down all speech except that of which they approve.
This, we should note, is the same Congress that wants to pass oppressive anti-gun legislation, which they expect will, over time, effectively disarm the American people. There's an old saying that's become a modern meme: "Why would they want to take your guns, unless they plan to do something for which you might want to shoot them?" Something like shutting down free speech, for example?
Makes you think, doesn't it?