If you have something …you can bet that
somebody, somewhere is trying to figure out
how to appropriate, expropriate, steal, or
simply take it away from you. And most of those
schemers will be college professors and politicians.
The Continuing Fall of Social Media: Update
by Sean Gangol
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
I was going to write the update on the original article, but so much has happened since then that I decided to write a separate article. I have heard many on the right, which includes the staff of Breitbart.com and Tucker Carlson, calling for the regulation of Google, Facebook and just about any other social media platform like we do any other utility. It”s not to say that I don”t know where they are coming from, but I still believe that begging the government for more regulations is by far the worst course of action that one could possibly take.
Recently there have been hearings on Capitol Hill where Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by members of Congress on everything from the so-called fake news sites that supposedly swung the 2016 election to his policies on censorship to the reckless way that he has handled the private information of his users. It”s not to say that I didn”t somewhat agree with the Congressmen when it came to issues such as privacy and censorship. Yes, they have been flat out reckless when it comes to handing people”s personal information. I am also not at all fond of the way that Facebook censers conservative and libertarian uses, while giving radical leftists such as ANTIFA and various Islamic extremists a free pass. The problem is that I don”t like the idea of using the force of government to keep the social media providers in line. To be honest I don”t even think the government has any constitutional authority to stick its nose in the affairs of social media or its users. I know that many conservatives would role their eyes at me, but they can”t deny that there is nothing in the constitution that allows Congress to stick its nose in the affairs of private businesses that rely on the voluntary participation of its customers. I know there are some who scream about Facebook being a monopoly and that is what gives the government the right to regulate it, though nobody has been able to show me the part of Constitution that gives the government the power to break up monopiles either.
Besides the lack of constitutionality on the issue of regulating social media companies, there is a long list of reasons why government regulation is the wrong course of action to take. I will start with Mark Zuckerberg. Contrary to the deer in the headlights look that he has on his face whenever he is given a hard question by Congress, Zuckerberg isn”t at all afraid of having more regulations in the social media market. As a matter of fact, he probably welcomes the possibility of having more government interference in the market that he currently dominates. Now, I”m pretty sure that most libertarians and economic literates out there already know why powerhouses such as Facebook actually favor having a more regulated market. Though I will explain to those who aren”t quite versed in the area of basic economics.
If you take a look at big business people such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, you will find that these men support stricter regulations and higher taxes in the market place. Why? Because it creates a greater cost burden for their smaller competitors, who are already struggling to keep up with these giants in the market. Bigger companies can absorb regularity costs better than smaller companies that are just starting out. Take a look at the Meat Markets in the early part of the 20th century. Contrary to what the little snippets in government school text books have told us, the large meatpacking companies at the time actually supported the regulations that were brought about thanks to Upton Sinclair”s The Jungle. Why? For the same reasons that Buffett and Gates support having more regulations in the market. What”s funny is that Sinclair was always disappointed that his book was used as a rallying cry for meat market regulation, when he was really hoping that his exposé of corrupt company bosses would ignite some sort of socialist revolution. He also understood that the new regulations passed by Congress would actually benefit the larger companies that he was trying to take down, so he refused to advocate for them. It”s amazing how someone as economically illiterate as a socialist was able to see the big picture that seems to elude no-nonsense conservatives such as Tucker Carlson.
For that matter how is it that no-nonsense conservatives such as Tucker Carlson can be so naïve when it comes to the government? After all my years of observing the government first hand, I can honestly say that on a good day the government is incompetent. On a bad day they are downright corrupt. Do you really expect this same government who can barely deliver mail or maintain roads to properly regulate internet companies? On top of that there never seems to be a stopping point for government bureaucrats, when it comes to regulation. We start off with regulations that seem reasonable, but it never stops there. Soon we end up with regulations that are both too excessive and complex that forces companies to hire lawyers just to understand them. This is yet another cost burden that smaller businesses have to face.
I remember when conservatives railed against Net Neutrality because they didn”t want the government to interfere with one of the few frontiers that they haven”t gotten their power-hungry hands on. What happened to that? I remember Tucker Carlson talking about how the days of tech companies starting off in their garages being a thing of the past with all the regulations that they now have to face. Well that”s where the actual problem lies. Instead of begging the government for more regulations, we should be demanding that they loosen them. A pipedream, you say? I would say no more then expecting fairness or efficiency from the government. One of the reasons why our economy has finally picked up after eight years of stagnation is because Trump decided to cut both taxes and unnecessary regulations. Maybe we should ask him to do the same for up and coming tech companies.
It's also worth mentioning that contrary to what Tucker Carlson and the people of Breitbart.com keep telling us, Facebook does have competition. As libertarian YouTuber, Shane Killian pointed out Facebook has been slowly losing younger users to social media sites such as Snapchat and there are many companies who are starting to pull their ads because it is no longer profitable to advertise on a site that is slowly losing market share. As I have said before, Facebook is not the only party in town and neither is Twitter or YouTube. We just need to find these alternaative sites, set up accounts and encourage others to join us.
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