Biden’s Ministry of Truth Board Highlights the Central Threat to Americans’ Online Liberty
The attempt by the Biden administration to crackdown on the free flow of information online was stymied on May 18th when the Disinformation Governance Board was “paused”. Headed up by Nina Jankowicz, the Board took considerable heat from both the right and the left.. A subsequent whistleblower account provided by Senators Chuck Grassley and Josh Hawley claims that the Department of Homeland Security, in which the board would be located, was preparing to share information with Big Tech which would “[enable] them to remove content”. This scrutiny exposed the plot as a thinly veiled Ministry of Truth highlighting just how Orwellian it was that the United States federal government would officially get in the business of policing disinformation online in conjunction with Big Tech. Americans must continue to recognize that the central threat to their right to free speech, particularly online, comes not just from the federal government, but also from Big Tech.
In America, our government may not punish the free exercise of speech, meaning it must allow the criticisms thrown its way by aggrieved citizens. When citizens are free to point out the shortcomings, hypocrisies, and injustices perpetrated by Big Government, its hold on the levers of power are weakened. It is much harder to keep up a lie when people can speak the truth.
The federal government is thankfully still bound to its founding documents, so it must export its punishment for wrong think. In its early days, the internet was a sprawling and novel digital landscape that contained the promise of an imminent epoch of diffused information channels. With the opening of the public square to more dissident voices, it seemed difficult if not impossible for the government to find a way to export their censorship. As the digital landscape evolved and coalesced into a group of very influential few, the enforcement arm of Big Government came into being. In exchange for patrolling the halls of online speech, tech and social media companies receive beneficial regulation and no challenges to their unparalleled influence.
In this way, the constitutional shackles appear to be effective, giving Big Government the veneer of legitimacy. However, this outsourcing has become staggeringly blatant in recent years. Due to extreme instability caused by unprecedented social unrest and the response to a once in a century pandemic, the merger of Big Government and Big Tech became unmistakable. In the early days of the pandemic, you would risk permanent expulsion from all online platforms if you were to challenge the government’s approved narrative on vaccines.
We can see how the Disinformation Board would have expedited this outsourcing. Nina Jankowicz, who would have been in charge of indirectly determining what is disinformation online, proposed that verified Twitter users like herself should be able to edit the tweets of others to provide context, including the sitting President. This self-appointment of arbiter of truth is extremely concerning given her dismissal of the credible Hunter Biden laptop story and promotions of major falsehoods such as Trump colluding with Russia during his campaign or having a secret communication channel with a Russian bank.
Our government now has the ability to retain power through Big Tech’s regulation of speech and endorsement of state approved messaging. Big Tech hides behind their platform designation, despite obviously acting as publishers, to promote regime positive news. They also downgrade opposition narratives and even censor political and economic rivals. A chilling effect on speech cascades as a result. People with views not deemed politically correct are self-censoring to avoid sticking out and losing their jobs, online following, or even their ability to use internet services like banking or lodging rentals.
Big Tech and Big Government have made a mutually beneficial deal. Big Government gains immense powers over speech never intended for them to wield. In return, Big Tech enjoys special protections that ensure supremacy in their respective markets. Leaders of both sides of this nefarious deal are ideologically and politically aligned, furthering their resolve to usher in their anointed visions of how the world ought to be. In this quest for power, many institutions that provided a bedrock foundation for American society have been undermined and tarnished. The American public is losing trust in these systems, resulting in a deteriorating society left to wander in search of truth and meaning that is not even allowed online.
Biden’s Ministry of Truth is simply on hold, and risks being resurrected. If established, it would cement Big Government’s control over Big Tech. The Disinformation Board is a toe in the water, testing the resolve of the American people to resist authoritarianism in the name of healthy online discourse. This deal hurts America and the West, and it is the central threat that Americans must be vigilant against if they wish to stop the tide of censorship. If this great experiment of a nation is to continue, the relationship these two entities enjoy must be severed.