Are we ready to live in our new digital environment?
Big Tech’s Puppet Show
Partisan platforms made us a captive audience. Now there’s a way out of the cave.
Because of advances in technology, our daily affairs run like clockwork. The unknown and the daunting have been largely tamed and, in many cases, bent to our will. It’s blissful. We can cross the country with every turn, cue up any movie ever made in seconds, keep in touch with old friends by just posting photos, and swipe to find new ones. The world is a better place every day.
But what do you see when you peer beyond the online bread and circuses? What happens when you veer off script? And what’s the consequence of questioning what’s around you because something seems a bit off? Big Tech has disfigured the Internet. And the Internet is inseparable from our daily lives. The power it has amassed through providing a never-ending offering of new tools and gadgets gives the handful of companies that comprise it the ability to remove any of us who nudge off message.
Big Tech has turned the Internet from “the information superhighway” into a narrow lane that abruptly ends in deplatforming, demonetizing, and outright cancelling. For some, questioning technology means asking why it’s necessary to have cameras everywhere, or asking how much our physical and digital movements are being tracked. For others, it means asking why a handful of unelected elites have the ability to cut off communication between duly elected officials and their constituents.
How did we get here? Big Tech’s omnipotence ingeniously convinced many that the companies that make up its cartel are the Internet. Millions assume, for example, that the Internet is part of Google when, in reality, Google is just one platform on the Internet. Big Tech’s dominance has bred complacency and ignorance. With people eager to skip the fine print on Terms of Service, Big Tech rushed into our lives, filled voids intrinsic to human nature, and hooked us.
Its companies knew that by the time people caught on to what they had sacrificed in terms of privacy and liberty, it would be very late in the day. Once a critical mass of “users” had become attached to devices and apps—and to the ease they produce—they’d be willing to give up much of what makes us human and free in exchange for convenience.
Consequently, Big Tech is on its way to transforming America. The spectrum of acceptable expression in America has suddenly and considerably contracted. We’re stuck in a paradoxical and impossible situation. Speech is “violence” while not speaking—“silence”—is also “violence.”
So now what?
Let’s begin by remembering—or, for those who are younger, learning for the first time—that the Internet was not meant to be an umpire, calling balls and strikes according to the ruling ideology. It was intended to expand voluntary communication, the wellspring of our daily political and economic life. Parameters for behavior were set by ourselves as citizens, through self-imposed duties and obligations in the private realms of family and community.
The realization that there’s a chasm between what the Internet was supposed to do—and what it does now—should spur a shift in thought. Let’s use the Internet, but reconstruct it with tools rooted in the elegant, simple, and purposeful premises enshrined within the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. These documents were the framework that nourished the greatest nation on earth, which built the greatest economy known to man. Once this happens, Americans will be eager to pursue not just legislative reforms, but also demand a reclaiming of the very infrastructure that Big Tech has hijacked and exploited to serve its own ends.
Those of us at RightForge concluded that our nation couldn’t wait a second longer. Since this interconnected system of computer networks is the Internet of (all) Things—that it is, to be sure, woven into the fabric of society, the economy, into our laws, and political processes—we recognized the need to re-establish the old paradigm that was more aligned with the spirit of America.
RightForge is literally re-platforming and re-founding America by owning and controlling a separate, self-contained stack—the data centers, the hardware, the code, and the cloud-hosting services—that provides the infrastructure for a new Internet. This is no pipe dream. We are up and running and safeguarding against deplatforming.
Today, we host one of the ten largest peer-to-peer networks in the world. Once on our network, your site can be accessed within 12 milliseconds from anywhere with a solid Internet connection. We’re in hundreds of locations across the globe, with key hubs in Ashburn, Chicago, San Jose, Miami, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. So in addition to a massive stateside framework, we can deploy a site to the frontiers of political censorship. This allows us to project our core company and American values as a service both for individuals here at home and abroad. And now we’re expanding our infrastructure with tools that allow liberty-minded entrepreneurs and innovators the ability to realize their own visions.
Every human being now faces this question: Will I continue to give away my liberty voluntarily by tying myself to what’s most familiar, even if it’s oppressive and an existential threat to liberty, or will I reaffirm my independence and chart a new course of freedom?
Big Tech understands all too well that freedom is merely a slogan for many—that human nature actually craves predictability and direction. If we’re still more than merely “Americans” in name only, rather than a people who yearn for creativity and exploration, we’ll start a revolution to save our magnificent republic that begins with the hard but imperative work of building a new Internet.
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.
The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.