Claiming political bias against conservatives by Google and other tech giants, President Trump is suggesting he might favor antitrust action after backing away last week from threats of regulation.
But George Gilder, the author of the new bestseller “Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy,” warns the “powers of government can be devastating” and contends antitrust action isn’t necessary.
In an interview with WND, he argued that historically, antitrust action tends to be “mobilized just at the point that the companies are going over the hill.”
“Whether it’s Standard Oil, AT&T, Digital Equipment, IBM – they were criticized and targeted for antitrust at the very point their so-called monopoly power was disappearing,” he said.
“And I think that the same thing is true about Google and these other companies,” he said, while noting Amazon is “still ascendant.”
But he argued the online retail giant “is breaking up more monopolies than it is establishing.”
Long before any other news organization, WND was exposing the coordinated campaign by the “Internet Cartel” – Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and others – to silence free speech by censoring and suppressing independent, conservative and Christian expression on the Internet. Here are highlights of WND’s groundbreaking news and analysis of what has been called the 21st century’s greatest assault on America’s fundamental freedoms of speech, press and religion.
Gilder contends there is no antitrust case against Google’s parent, Alphabet, which “already has broken itself down into a whole bunch of separate entities.”
“For us to pile on with the Europeans in attacking the American companies that now constitute the four biggest market cap entities on the face of the earth – a brilliant triumph for American technology – is so perverse, and I don’t think we should be doing it,” he said.
“The Europeans are jealous and are invidiously attacking Google for trivial little offenses that really don’t make any difference,” asserted Gilder, referring to the European Union’s record $5.1 billion fine in July for alleged abuse of power in the mobile phone market.
The fine was was almost double the EU’s fine against Google last year over alleged unfair favoring of its own services in internet search results.
Gilder emphasized the government “should stay out as much as possible.”
“If we’re going to win these debates, conservatives can’t expect some antitrust action to solve our problem,” he said.
“Their effort should be to clarify and simplify the legal structure so it represents a reliable and secure environment toward creative enterprise.”
Gilder’s 1981 book “Wealth and Poverty” was Ronald Reagan’s guidebook for his economic revolution, and his 1990 book “Life After Television” predicted the current digital world with astounding specificity. The 1994 revised version described a future personal digital device that sounded almost exactly like the iPhone that was introduced 13 years later by Steve Jobs, who read Gilder’s book.
In a recent three-part, WND interview series, Gilder explained what he sees as Silicon Valley’s “fundamental flaw,” showed why Google’s “free stuff” isn’t free” and described a new internet, “after Google,” of limitless entrepreneurship and prosperity rooted in human creativity.
Too much credit
Gilder acknowledges that Silicon Valley leans far to the left. In his new book, in fact, he predicts the tech giants and their centralized, top-down hierarchical world is about to end, largely because their “neo-Marxist, deterministic” worldview is “fundamentally flawed.”
He contends the Google searches come up with overwhelmingly anti-Trump news not because political bias is baked into the algorithms, but because the codes give more weight to “previously established power centers.”
“That magnifies the influence institutions such as the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN that Trump and all the rest of us know are in a hysterical kind of panic over Donald Trump and the possibility that he might have an effective conservative administration,” he said.
He added, however, that Google and the other tech giants “are inviting regulation by making absurd claims about artificial intelligence that eclipses human minds” and leads to a new utopian world.
“They should just perform their functions and they will be better off,” he said.
In his book, he argues that the vision of Google’s founders goes far beyond profits and technological progress, noting they speak of their aims in prophetic and religious terms.
Their ultimate objective is to create a new “system of the world,” he said, in which all of its data is compiled in a single “place” to be analyzed by increasingly sophisticated algorithms that transcend the human mind’s capabilities.
But Gilder contends this “flat-universe theory of materialism” is the fundamental flaw, describing it as a deterministic “neo-Marxist political ideology” that considers the universe sheer matter, ruled by physics and chemistry, leaving little room for human consciousness and creativity.
Gilder believes the demands of many members of Congress to regulate “fake news,” effectively politicizing search and other delivery systems, have opened up a Pandora’s box.
“The worst thing that can happen is the government makes these companies responsible for the content of the billions of posts that they carry,” said Gilder.
“That’s not their business. Imagine we required the phone companies to suppress fraudulent phone calls.”
Trump: Issue ‘will be addressed’
President Trump waded into the issue last Tuesday, accusing Google of altering search results against him and conservative voices and vowing that the issue “will be addressed.”
“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media,” the president said.
Later Tuesday, Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow was asked by reporters whether or not the White House was considering pursuing some kind of government regulation of Google.
Kudlow replied: “We’ll let you know. We’re taking a look at it. We’ll let you know.”
Google responded Tuesday to Trump’s tweets with a statement insisting there is no “political agenda” or “bias” in its search results.
“When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds,” the company statement said. “Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology. Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users’ queries. We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”
On Thursday, President Trump walked back his threats of regulation, but he said, without elaboration, that Facebook, Google and Amazon may be in a “very antitrust situation.”
“Not regulation. We want fairness,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, on the same day, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google’s search and advertising practices over antitrust concerns.