Minerva @ Midnight: Josh Hawley whines, “Help, I'm being repressed… by Big Tech.”
Because Hawley’s whines about Big Tech while promoting sales of his book on Amazon, the epitome of …. Big Tech.
“Don’t try to censor, cancel, and silence me here,” the senator Josh Hawley exclaimed during a Washington Post live stream.
Reporter Cat Zakrzewski calmly retorted: “Senator, we’re hosting you here.” https://t.co/t9Eppz4wQn
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) May 10, 2021
Josh Hawley is a United States senator, published author, and frequent guest on Fox News, the most-watched U.S. cable-news network. Despite this, he has complained for months now that he is one of the biggest victims of so-called “cancel culture” and has been “silenced” by the “woke” mob.
And, of course, most of the time he has delivered these complaints on large public platforms with large audiences, something one reporter threw back in his face on Tuesday after he accused her of trying to “censor” and “cancel” him during a chat.
The Missouri senator was invited onto The Washington Post’s live stream on Tuesday to discuss his latest book, The Tyranny of Big Tech. (The Republican lawmaker had already been mocked recently for urging his supporters to buy the anti-“Big Tech” book on Amazon via promotions on Twitter.)
During their conversation, Washington Post reporter Cat Zakrzewski brought up his objection to President Joe Biden’s electoral victory over Donald Trump, asking whether the senator currently believes Biden is the “legitimately elected” president. (Insurrectionists, incited by Trump, stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an attempt to stop congressional certification of Biden’s win.)
Brian Williams scoffed “His book, by the way, is called ‘The Tyranny of Big Tech.’ Apparently the title “Gaslighting For Idiots” was taken.”
Reading it is a strange experience if only because rather than taking on an anemic culture-war issue, Hawley has seized on a subject of real importance: the growing power of the U.S. technology industry. Beyond that base insight, the book is a mess, if a potentially important one, as it attempts to blaze a trail of right-wing opposition to Big Tech.
To Josh Hawley, labor is more a cultural affectation, not an issue of basic sustenance, dignity, and survival. https://t.co/RVS9L3Nyzx
— The New Republic (@newrepublic) May 10, 2021
In its vague pining for a bygone era of individual liberty led by the “common man”—a phrase that appears, always with great reverence, 35 times in this short book—Hawley’s daydream almost hangs together. But when he gets down to specifics, The Tyranny of Tech betrays its own ideological priors and slapdash research. As other critics have pointed out, Hawley’s chronicle of early trust-busting is filled with inaccuracies, and his refusal to engage with the efforts by FDR and other twentieth-century administrations to tame corporate power shows how selective his historical interpretations are. Like many Republican commentators, Hawley also seems to have little idea that much of the American experiment he idealizes was an exercise in denying political power to women, Black people, Native Americans, and other marginalized groups. The pre-corporate political era he would like to resurrect was one in which the franchise was largely guaranteed to white men.
Beyond that important caveat, early America represents a wholly unrecognizable mode of political economy, one in which most of the country lived in rural areas and worked in agriculture and in which slavery was widespread. Whatever latent Maoist hopes Hawley might harbor, there’s no returning to a nation of smallholders and cottage industries.
For Hawley’s purposes, those details are irrelevant. In the senator’s view—one shared widely in the American political scene—the Founders were nearly infallible, bequeathing a noble experiment in democratic governance and self-administered republicanism. Through them, we received “that most cherished of American ideals, liberty.” Slavery merits some mention, but rather than being the diabolical economic engine that built the country and contributed to enormous accumulation of generational white wealth, it’s quickly dismissed as a parochial affair, with most slave plantations having far smaller workforces than, in Hawley’s example, Northern factories.
Josh Hawley claims he doesn’t know whether the people he egged on at the Capitol on Jan. 6 “participated in the criminal riot.”
— Lauren Windsor (@lawindsor) May 7, 2021