Steve January 12, 2021

Last week’s massive social media purges – starting with President
Trump’s permanent ban from Twitter and other outlets – was shocking
and chilling, particularly to those of us who value free expression and the
free exchange of ideas. The justifications given for the silencing of wide swaths
of public opinion made no sense and the process was anything but transparent.
Nowhere in Tweety McTreason’s two “offending” Tweets, for example,
was a call for violence expressed explicitly or implicitly. It was a classic
example of sentence first, verdict later.

Many Americans viewed this assault on social media accounts as a liberal or
Democrat attack on conservatives and Republicans, but they are missing the point.
The narrowing of allowable opinion in the virtual public square is no conspiracy
against conservatives. As progressives like Glenn Greenwald have pointed out,
this is a wider assault on any opinion that veers from the acceptable parameters
of the mainstream elite, which is made up of both Democrats and Republicans.

Yes, this is partly an attempt to erase the Trump movement from the pages of
history, but it is also an attempt to silence any criticism of the emerging
political consensus in the coming Biden era that may come from progressive or
antiwar circles.

After all, a look at Biden’s incoming “experts” shows that they
will be the same failed neoconservative interventionists who gave us weekly
kill lists, endless drone attacks and coups overseas, and even US government
killing of American citizens abroad. Progressives who complain about this “back
to the future” foreign policy are also sure to find their voices silenced.

Those who continue to argue that the social media companies are purely private
ventures acting independent of US government interests are ignoring reality.
The corporatist merger of “private” US social media companies with
US government foreign policy goals has a long history and is deeply steeped
in the hyper-interventionism of the Obama/Biden era.

“Big Tech” long ago partnered with the Obama/Biden/Clinton State
Department to lend their tools to US “soft power” goals overseas.
Whether it was ongoing regime change attempts against Iran, the 2009 coup in
Honduras, the disastrous US-led coup in Ukraine, “Arab Spring,” the
destruction of Syria and Libya, and so many more, the big US tech firms were
happy to partner up with the State Department and US intelligence to provide
the tools to empower those the US wanted to seize power and to silence those
out of favor.

In short, US government elites have been partnering with “Big Tech”
overseas for years to decide who has the right to speak and who must be silenced.
What has changed now is that this deployment of “soft power” in the
service of Washington’s hard power has come home to roost.

So what is to be done? Even pro-free speech alternative social media outlets
are under attack from the Big Tech/government Leviathan. There are no easy solutions.
But we must think back to the dissidents in the era of Soviet tyranny. They
had no Internet. They had no social media. They had no ability to communicate
with thousands and millions of like-minded, freedom lovers. Yet they used incredible
creativity in the face of incredible adversity to continue pushing their ideas.
Because no army – not even Big Tech partnered with Big Government – can
stop an idea whose time has come. And Liberty is that idea. We must move forward
with creativity and confidence!

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute
for Peace & Prosperity

Author: Ron Paul

Ron PaulRon Paul is a former Republican congressman from Texas. He was the 1988 Libertarian Party candidate for president.
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