Does the Yearning for Political Freedom Apply to Big Tech?
Why is freedom so important? It appears self-evident that everyone would want freedom. When it comes down to it, we need political freedom to survive and defy the grip of censorship and oppression. As a religious concept, free thought, free belief, and freedom of worship allows societies to operate in a way that is more open and inclusive. But freedom itself is never assured.
President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
If we take it as true that freedom is always in danger in a free society, it seems therefore obvious that the leading liberal institutions should take the initiative to fight for and protect freedom.
Especially when the hyper concentration of wealth by certain technology corporations has begun, we would expect those corporations to abide by the liberalist credo. There have been ruminations about applying anti-monopoly laws or other regulations upon these corporations, but that issue is quite separate from the issue of human freedom.
The combined market value Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft has surpassed 7 trillion dollars. If the companies merged and were compared against nations, they would have the third largest GDP in the world, ahead of Japan, Germany, India, and the UK.
For the last 50 years, the United Nations, the G7, and other intergovernmental oversight groups pressure nations to follow liberalist standards. Yet we have rarely seen corporate giants with so much influence over the World Order as today. If that's the case, why wouldn't such giants be pressured the same way that nations are?
Political scientist Hannah Arendt said, “Freedom. . . is actually the reason that men live together in political organization at all. Without it, life as such would be meaningless. The raison d’être of politics is freedom, and its field of experience is action."
That desire for freedom has been present in nearly all the greatest stories, fables, and legacies throughout history. We still see it today as a guiding principle in all kinds of Hollywood dramas. We see it in activists and revolutionaries who oppose government oppression. It is nearly always celebrated by like-minded individuals around the world.
It is a wonder if and when we will see similar feelings arise towards Big Tech.