Gutenberg’s Press

Before Johann Gutenberg’s press, most medieval Europeans depended on oral communication to spread just about any message. Perhaps only 30 percent of Europeans were even literate. Gutenberg changed all of that—and changed history. Before Gutenberg, the creation and spread of ideas were painstaking, slow, halted, and inviscid. After Gutenberg, ideas could be generated and spread far more rapidly. It is hard to imagine the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, or the American Revolution without the printing press. It was the key innovation that facilitated all of them.

But the printing press could also be put to nefarious uses. Very quickly, authoritarians and would-be-revolutionaries figured out that in order to solidify or upset the status quo, controlling the means of producing ideas was essential to the maintenance or seizure of power. Control the means of producing ideas and disseminating them, and one controls the ideas themselves. Perhaps the first attempt at this in the age of the printing press was the “Index of Banned Books”—the early modern Catholic Church’s attempt to control the dissemination of heretical views.

Today, the means of transmitting explosive ideas is found in the digital world. Instead of the printing press or the radio station, now the means of spreading ideas are found on Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Those who are able to use these mediums are able to achieve things that would have been impossible before their advent. Try to imagine the Arab Spring, the election of Donald Trump, Brexit, or Black Lives Matter protests without the opening of this digital frontier.

But the gatekeepers of today’s corporations are on to this now and they see no reason to continue playing fair. Instead, they seek to constrain the limits of the conversation so as to advance the ends of the religion I call cultural liberalism or the social justice cult.

Far from being neutral observers, today’s internet giants actively suppress the ideas of those who would undermine their own commitment toward advancing that religious faith we call liberalism: unbounded profits plus social progressivism. Take a look at the ideological leanings of today’s internet technology and internet media workers through their political donations and their own statements. This religion has to squelch free discussion to make sure that potential acolytes are not drawn astray by heresy.

The Hill reports that, “A Wired analysis of about 125,000 donations from employees of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft found that [96] percent of all donations made during the first nine months of 2018 went to Democratic candidates or Democratic groups, while just [4] percent went to Republicans.” That’s $23 to Democrats for every $1 to Republicans. Today’s progressive liberals love to lecture us about “diversity,” claiming “Representation Matters.” Well, where is the representation of traditionalists and conservatives among these people?

In the Federalist, Madison and Hamilton argued that the only way to counteract ambitious ideologues and factions was to group opposing ideologues and factions against them, allowing the two sides to fight it out with no clear winners. But how is that possible with these monopolistic giants? The same Hill article goes on to mention this pattern is not of recent vintage: the analysis largely follows a trend previously reported during the 2016 election, when more than 80 percent of direct candidate or group donations from tech workers were reported to have gone to Democratic-aligned causes.

Break it down more and the pattern is clear. The major tech companies show their true colors in the way they donate their earnings for political activity. Take Facebook. Since 2006, according to Open Secrets, Facebook workers have given $2 to Democrats for every dollar they have given to Republicans. I wonder how many of those Republican dollars were given to social traditionalists who uphold the nuclear family and the sanctity of unborn life? It’s no secret that Facebook workers are openly hostile to conservatives. One of the few actual conservative employees at Facebook, in an anonymous Gizmodo interview, said that as a curator in charge of determining what showed up on the Facebook newsfeed, “depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending.”

In 2016, Facebook employees openly posed poll questions that sought to get the internet giant to prevent the election of Donald Trump. That makes sense when you realize that Facebook is used by almost half of the entire American citizenry. A tool like that has tremendous power to influence public opinion and sway individual minds.

Twitter follows the same lines. If the Supreme Court is right in Citizens United that political donations are speech, the employees of Twitter speak fairly loudly and clearly about their political preferences. Between 2008 and today, Twitter’s employees gave over 70 percent of their cash to Democrats; and in the 2018 election cycle in isolation, they gave 97 percent of their cash to Democrats. Are we really so dull as to think they wouldn’t allow these biases to creep into their business model?

Religious groups 500 years ago feared the spread of heretical thought and actively sought to suppress it. True to form, Twitter follows suit.

Vice News, no paragon of tradition or conservatism found in a recent investigation that Twitter has engaged in a process of “shadow banning” prominent conservatives. Instead of an Index of Banned Books, we have an index of banned conservatives. Vice’s investigation found in 2018 that,

the Republican Party chair Ronna McDaniel, several conservative Republican congressmen, and Donald Trump Jr.’s spokesman no longer appear in the auto-populated drop-down search box on Twitter . . . The(ir) profiles continue to appear when conducting a full search, but not in the more convenient and visible drop-down bar. Democrats are not being “shadow banned” in the same way, according to a VICE News review. McDaniel’s counterpart, Democratic Party chair Tom Perez, and liberal members of Congress — including Reps. Maxine Waters, Joe Kennedy III, Keith Ellison, and Mark Pocan—all continue to appear in drop-down search results. Not a single member of the 78-person Progressive Caucus faces the same situation in Twitter’s search.

Twitter responded with pablum about trying to modify the discourse on their platform to be less conducive toward “hate speech” and “fake news,” a sleight of hand to avoid the fact that most workers at Twitter view traditional and conservative values about family, sexuality, marriage and raising children to be about as truthful as John Calvin thought Catholic doctrines were. Geneva’s 16th-century theocracy didn’t allow heresy through its gates; Twitter doesn’t permit heresy either.

Admittedly, Twitter doesn’t burn people at the stake for heresy like Michael Servetus (yet?) but saying that marriage is an institution that is for procreation between heterosexual couples or that children are best served growing up in said households is about as acceptable to your average Twitter apparatchik as saying that the Immaculate Conception was true doctrine to Calvin. It cannot be tolerated. Especially when almost 40 percent of people ages 18 to 29 use Twitter. The Athenian Assembly had Socrates kill himself for “corrupting the young;” if only they had the ability to deplatform him by shadow banning, perhaps they could have saved the hemlock.

According to one study, over 70 percent of internet searches are done using the godlike algorithm that Google created. Who decides what shows up at the top of that internet search? No matter what the subject matter, there are thousands, tens of thousands, millions of potential websites that come up. Google’s algorithm decides who you see, what you see; and conversely who you don’t see and what you don’t see when trying to find information online.

In the 2016 and 2018 election cycles, Google affiliates gave over 70 percent of their cash to Democrats. Might this correlate with what shows up on your Google search? Several studies offer an unsurprising answer: the highly educated tech geniuses at Google have developed programming that hides conservative traffic and promotes liberal traffic. According to research by Leo Goldstein, “Google’s search functionality ‘is found to be biased in favor of left/liberal domains,’ and ‘against conservative domains’ with what he calls a confidence of 95 percent.”

How many millions of people are hearing only one side of the story? How many children in schools—even the bastions of traditional faith outside of the public schools—drink daily from left-leaning information curated by a faceless legion of leftists working in Mountain View? Do today’s traditionalists and conservatives even perceive how grave their situation is? Will the modern big tech CEOs and their employees succeed where the censors of yesteryear failed?

The stakes are too high to our technological overlords who don’t want to allow us to choose our ideas. They want to manage those ideas. That means saving us from ourselves. Saving young men from being corrupted by Jordan Peterson’s message of personal responsibility. Saving the children of immigrants from Reihan Salam who argues that the United States needs to take a break from mass migration to help us cohere. Saving women from Camille Paglia who denounces intersectional feminism. Saving “people of color” from Thomas Sowell and Glenn Loury who deny the victim pyramid. Saving women considering abortions from information that might convince them it’s a huge mistake. Saving consumers from believing that innovation and market-based solutions can solve the problem of “climate change.” The success or failure of the leftist cultural revolution depends on the control and transmission of ideas.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

About Karl Cox

Karl Cox is a pseudonym for an American high school teacher & coach with a Bachelor of Arts from an Ivy League University and a Master's in Teaching from a Jesuit college on the West Coast. A teacher of the year in his first school district, he holds a National Board Certificate for Adult and Youth Social Studies. He has an interest in politics, religion, economics, and military history.

Support Free & Independent Journalism Your support helps protect our independence so that American Greatness can keep delivering top-quality, independent journalism that's free to everyone. Every contribution, however big or small, helps secure our future. If you can, please consider a recurring monthly donation.

Want news updates?

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.

Comments are closed.