Shapes of things (8)

Classicist and historian Victor Davis Hanson, now of the Hoover Institution, takes up the subject of this series in his column “Assault on the Capitol has let loose the electronic octopus.” Seeking to suss out the new standards, he considers the contradictions:

After all, the Vicki Osterweil book “In Defense of Looting,” a justification for theft and property destruction, came out last summer amidst the antifa and Black Lives Matter unrest. The author was even featured on National Public Radio in a largely sympathetic interview.

Is Madonna banned from social media? Shortly after the 2017 inauguration, she voiced a desire to blow up the White House with the Trump family in it.

Is AK-47-toting rapper Raz Simone banned from social media? He took over a swath of downtown Seattle last June and declared it an autonomous zone. For weeks, his armed guards reigned supreme without worry of police. There were at least four shootings and two deaths in or around Simone’s kingdom. He was neither prosecuted nor deplatformed from social media. The lyrics of his song “Shoot at Everyone” are full of allusions to violence, racial slurs and stereotypes. The song is posted on YouTube, and Simone still enjoys a large social media presence.

So, why did Big Tech, the media, the publishing industry, a host of corporations and a growing number of campuses double down on censoring some free speech? Why now blacklist, censor and cancel thousands of people?

He recalls how progressive trustbusters broke up the industrial monopolies of old. That was then, this is now:

Today…progressive politicians, Wall Street, the media, academia, Hollywood and professional sports are all on the side of the mega-rich tech cartels. Partnering with Big Tech is both politically useful and financially lucrative.

So the values of the 19th-century rail and oil monopolies are back. But now they are married to the 20th-century leftist totalitarianism of George Orwell’s “1984.” And they are further powered by the 21st-century instant reach of the internet.

This time around there will be no progressive trustbusters or muckrakers. They are in league with, or bought off by, the new electronic octopus.

And its tentacles are strangling the thoughts and speech of an increasingly unfree America.

An image of Orwell’s Big Brother sets the theme of this series.

More to come.

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