The Road To A New McCarthyism

The Road To A New McCarthyism

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Authored by Bert Olivier via The Brownstone Institute,

I wonder how many people have recoiled with horror at what happened in the House of Representatives recently. I am referring to the decision, effectively, to ban the social media platform, TikTok, in the United States (to ‘protect Americans from foreign adversaries’), because it supposedly affords the Chinese government the opportunity to ‘spy’ on Americans and manipulate their thinking.

Well, one thing is sure – judging by the margin by which this motion was adopted by the House, and the quality of some of the opinions aired on the topic (that I have listened to), there was precious little thinking going on around the room, with some notable exceptions (352 votes for, 65 against), such as Representative Thomas Massie (R) of Kentucky. What thinking there was – such as the excellent argument put forward by Massie – was not sufficient to sway the rest of the delegates in the direction of common sense.

So what was this non-debate about TikTok all about? Most readers would probably already know about it, but it bears repeating, lest the intricacies of the hidden assumptions escape one’s attention. In sum, as mentioned earlier, it comes down to the claim that China is using TikTok to spy on American citizens, and in addition to influence their thinking and behaviour. This, despite the glaring fact that – as Clayton and Natali Morris argue in the first video linked above – the US spies on its own citizens with impunity, not to mention that it also conducts espionage on China.

The two investigative reporters of Redacted further highlight the remarkable speed with which the US Congress has addressed the putatively urgent issue concerning TikTok, while allowing the arguably far more urgent matter of thousands of illegal immigrants streaming across the American border to continue unabated. The further irony is, of course – also stressed by the Morris duo – that these illegal immigrants include a far more salient ‘Chinese threat;’ namely, the large numbers of young, ‘military age’ Chinese men. And yet, the border issue is clearly not seen in the same light of urgency as TikTok!

Should the US Senate confirm the House’s vote to ban this short video app (application) – which is likely – thousands, if not millions of Americans who depend on it for their livelihood, would be left high and dry. This does not seem to have bothered the members of the House either. 

But most egregiously, it is either lost on the members of the House, or they wittingly connive at the fact that this Act will endow the American President – Joe Biden, at present – with tremendous powers to control anything deemed to be under the influence of so-called ‘foreign adversaries,’ real or imagined. ‘Anything’ here includes not only comparable apps, but internet platforms and websites too. So, if X (formerly Twitter) is regarded by the incumbent of the presidency, for whatever reason, as posing a threat to US citizens in terms of influence or ‘manipulation’ by ‘foreign adversaries,’ it could be banned. It is redundant to emphasise the dictatorial potential of such a situation, but we’ll get to it later, anyway.

In Thomas Massie’s speech to the House he makes a telling distinction: while other speakers described TikTok as a Chinese ‘Trojan horse,’ he perspicaciously turns this metaphor back on the bill itself, insisting that it is itself the real Trojan horse. On March 12 he warned that anyone who thought it was not a Trojan horse would have to explain why there is a very telling exclusion in it, namely (quoting from the bill):

The term ‘covered company’ does not include an entity that operates a website, desktop application, mobile application, or augmented or immersive technology application whose primary purpose is to allow users to post product reviews, business reviews, or travel information and reviews.

This exclusion hides more than it shows Why? Because the exclusion pertains to ‘entities’ that are innocuous from a political point of view. But what about platforms like Rumble, X, or BitChute which, unlike YouTube and Facebook, are not censored, and therefore include many items to which the current regime (being part of the neo-fascist cabal) is hugely allergic? In other words, once signed into law, this Trojan horse bill could attack Americans from inside the walls of Troy, as it were, at the whim of the head honcho in the White House. And one need not add that, in the hands of its present occupant it would be a weapon of mass despotism.

Ironically, Senator Rand Paul’s insights concerning the House decision bring to light the unacknowledged lies and cover-ups lurking behind the ostensibly ‘open’ debate preceding the voting. He did not waste any time commenting (in the first video linked above) that:

Reactionaries who want to ban TikTok claim the data can’t be secured because the ‘algorithm’ is in China.

Not true.

The truth is the algorithm runs in the US in Oracle cloud with their review of the code. (NOT in China.)

Maybe we should examine the facts before committing violations of the 1st and 5th Amendments.

They want to ban TikTok because it’s ‘owned by China.’

Not true.

60% of the company is owned by US and international investors.

20% is owned by the company founders.

20% is owned by company employees, including over 7,000 Americans.

The CEO of TikTok is from Singapore, not China.

So ask yourself why they keep repeating this lie to scare you?

In characteristically courageous fashion, Rand Paul did not hesitate to expose the lies that were bandied about in the House, neatly repudiating them by providing the true state of affairs in each case. But he did not stop there. This was followed by:

My statement on the House TikTok ban.

The passage of the House TikTok ban is not just a misguided overreach; it’s a draconian measure that stifles free expression, tramples constitutional rights, and disrupts the economic pursuits of millions of Americans.

With an iron fist, Congress dictated an unrealistic and narrow path for divestment, effectively banning TikTok and ignoring its substantial investments in data security.

This act is not securing our nation – it’s a disturbing gift of unprecedented authority to President Biden and the Surveillance State that threatens the very core of American digital innovation and free expression.

Joe Biden must be overjoyed, licking his lips at the thought of having been gifted with the dubious means to silence his critics and opponents at will, at the cost of Americans and people in the rest of the world being informed through available sources of their choice. It would amount to a situation hardly distinguishable from one where the state owns all the media – in other words, an unadulterated dictatorship. That is, unless it is stopped at the Senate level, which is unlikely.

One wonders whether the outcome of Murthy vs. Missouri, before the Supreme Court today (March 18), dealing as it does with the troubling issue of censorship (and therefore with the implications and purview of the First Amendment), would have a noticeable retrospective effect on the TikTok ban, which – at bottom – relates to the same question.

What is astonishing about all of this is the apparent ease and rapidity with which the bill passed through the House, as Clayton Morris points out in the first video, linked above, highlighting the contrasting lack of interest in actively tackling the undeniable problem of unchecked ingress of illegal immigrants at American borders (referred to earlier). In a country which has always boasted about having the First Amendment, or rather, what it stands for – freedom of speech – which implies guaranteeing the continued existence of those sources of information which make freedom of expression possible, one might have expected the results of the vote to have been the other way around.

As it stands, is it far-fetched to read in these results the degree to which the collective mindset in the US has already morphed into one that is, incomprehensible as it may seem, receptive to despotic rule? I think not. The neo-fascist technocrats, who must surely have regarded the United States as the biggest hurdle to cross in their quest for world domination, must be writhing with uncontrollable convulsions of glee at present. After all, they are witnessing the crumbling of this erstwhile ‘bastion of freedom,’ which their puppet in the White House and his minions have set in motion with relative ease, it would seem.

A situation such as the one briefly sketched above as a distinct possibility, would eerily resemble what was the case in the early 1950s in the United States, which went by the name of the ‘Red Scare.’ The Eisenhower Library (online) provides this useful sketch of this lamentable episode in American history:

Senator Joseph R. McCarthy was a little-known junior senator from Wisconsin until February 1950 when he claimed to possess a list of 205 card-carrying Communists employed in the US Department of State. From that moment Senator McCarthy became a tireless crusader against Communism in the early 1950s, a period that has been commonly referred to as the ‘Red Scare.’ As chairman of the Senate Permanent Investigation Subcommittee, Senator McCarthy conducted hearings on communist subversion in America and investigated alleged communist infiltration of the Armed Forces. His subsequent exile from politics coincided with a conversion of his name into a modern English noun ‘McCarthyism,’ or adjective, ‘McCarthy tactics,’ when describing similar witch hunts in recent American history. [The American Heritage Dictionary gives the definition of McCarthyism as: 1. The political practice of publicizing accusations of disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence; and 2. The use of methods of investigation and accusation regarded as unfair, in order to suppress opposition. Senator McCarthy was censured by the US Senate on December 2, 1954 and died May 2, 1957.]

Several things strike one in this excerpt, the first of which is the phrase ‘witch hunts,’ with its disquieting connotations of persecuting people on the basis of flimsy, but ‘useful’ evidence of supposed malpractice of some kind – such as having a black cat, metaphorically speaking, equivalents of which could include ‘misinformation,’ disinformation,’ and even (God forbid) ‘malinformation,’ all of which have been thoroughly tainted, from a mainstream perspective, with connotations of proverbial witchcraft. The TikTok ban would allow members of the Biden Inquisition to scream ‘Witch!’ at anything which does not gel with the official narrative, such as the items found on X, Children’s Health Defense, or BitChute, to mention only some likely candidates.

Then there is the related American Heritage Dictionary’s illuminating description, quoted in the excerpt above, which links McCarthyism explicitly with the ‘political practice of publicizing accusations of disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence’ as well as with ‘the use of methods of investigation and accusation regarded as unfair, in order to suppress opposition.’ To anyone with a modicum of comprehension of what is at stake, this would appear to be uncannily apposite. Given its track record, could anyone expect of the Biden administration any ‘regard to (contrary) evidence’ where accusations of disinformation are concerned? Or the employment of ‘methods of investigation’ that are fair? Give me a break!

To sum up by using a currently popular term, Biden and his DOJ would ‘weaponise’ the TikTok ban to the hilt, to the detriment of the citizens of the US as well as American democracy. And make no mistake: democracy may never recover from what threatens to become nothing less than McCarthyism on steroids. While one has access to the means for resisting this conspicuous act of usurping the constitutionally ‘guaranteed’ rights and freedoms of the American people, one must avail oneself of these – before they disappear.

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