American social movements have often been compared to tectonic plates. They slowly, imperceptibly build up pressure below ground – often for years – before exploding to the surface with extraordinary ferocity and energy. In the last few months, we’ve witnessed such an earthquake as the online uprising against the unrestrained power and arrogance of Silicon Valley monopolies has burst to the surface.
To the untrained eye, these events may appear to be isolated and unrelated, but it’s becoming clearer that Silicon Valley is using its power to advance their own agenda. We saw this with their opposition to bills that would combat sex trafficking, their support of Obama-era “net neutrality” rules that have been used to censor conservatives, and the firing of James Damore that showed they have no tolerance for dissenting views within their ranks.
Thankfully, Republicans AND Democrats have seemingly had enough of their antics.
This pressure has been building slowly for years as Silicon Valley grew drunk with power. Rather than simply providing unbiased information, companies like Google and Facebook couldn’t resist putting their fingers on the scale to subtly push their preferred ideological and political narratives on an increasingly doubtful and dubious public.
On the political front, Google’s support of liberal causes and candidates has been even more brazen. The company’s love affair with President Obama was so incestuous that it was often difficult to tell the difference between Google and the Obama administration. The company virtually lived at the White House during the Obama years, visiting more than 425 times during Obama’s two terms. Almost 250 people moved from government service to Google’s headquarters or vice versa during the course of Obama’s administration.
On the cultural front too, Silicon Valley elites consistently go out of their way to offend the normal sensibilities of average Americans. What Silicon Valley’s elites have forgotten is that the overwhelming majority of its users don’t inhabit such rarefied domains. They live in a different universe where Kid Rock videos celebrating traditional “Po Dunk” values (7 million YouTube views) take precedence over the elitist progressive nonsense emanating from Mountain View.
The tech-elites’ window of dominance is closing quickly and they know it.
In 2012, Google’s Vic Gundotra remarked “[I]f we break users’ trust, we can lose to competitors very quickly.” That user trust has now been repeatedly broken in both subtle and manifestly explicit ways. The beauty of the internet is that it will always find ways to route around inefficiency. The tectonic plates have indeed shifted, and the consequences for Silicon Valley’s dominant companies will be severe.