I have devoted my “Shapes of Things” series to the problem of Big Tech and free speech and have used an avatar of Big Brother to anchor the series (as I do on the home page for this post). Seeking to deepen our view of the problem that the series illustrates, I have chosen to preview Daniel Oliver’s essay “From Big Tech to Big Brother” from the new (Spring) issue of the Claremont Review of Books.
Among other things, Oliver is former chairman of Federal Trade Commission (1986-1990). He is familiar with the the virtues of competition and the depredations of monopoly power. In his essay Oliver reviews and proposes to resolve the Big Tech/Free Speech problem: “We need either new legislation requiring the breakup of the [Big Tech] companies, or a law prohibiting them from engaging in viewpoint discrimination, or both.” Although the conclusion of Oliver’s analysis is unsurprising, it has the advantage of being true.