There’s a war brewing, one that is sure to heat up if Republicans make the gains predicted in the 2022 midterm elections. But this war is not across the aisle, it’s a bit more internecine on the political right, between the libertarians and the traditional conservatives specifically, and it will revolve around regulation of private companies. The Biden administration is paying attention to this war and is very likely stoking its flames (because the right fighting amongst itself is very good for a demoralized and weakened left).
Among the terms that will define this war — and you should’ve heard them by now — are: “Antitrust,” “Big Tech,” “Censorship,” “Public Square,” “Market Power,” etc.
And now, thanks to the Biden administration’s said stoking, another term will enter the pantheon used to frame the narrative: “Meat Conglomerate”
(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden will announce plans Monday to combat the market power of the giant conglomerates that dominate meat and poultry processing, ratcheting up a months-long campaign that has blamed anti-competitive practices for contributing to surging inflation.
— Josh Wingrove (@josh_wingrove) January 3, 2022
So what does the Big Meat have to do with Big Tech? Well, the discussion of market power of tech companies has been contentiously discussed on the right as Twitter and Facebook de-platform and censor unorthodox opinions, while Amazon crowds out retail sellers who had to suffer the pandemic in a way Amazon never did. And the right is squabbling over the issue. Libertarians believe addressing the issue by reforming or outright jettisoning Section 230 (which allows tech platforms the ability to curate without consequence) is anti-business, while more traditional conservatives see the proverbial town square of discourse being owned and manipulated by companies that have grown too big to be good for the Republic.
The rise of sociocorporate tyranny, unanimously adhering to a subjugationist ruling class impulse and weaponizing the communications networks that now constitute our 21st-century public square, demonstrates why libertarian takes like this have never been more irrelevant. https://t.co/XpjmXV5rhy
— Josh Hammer (@josh_hammer) January 3, 2022
As Hammer wrote at American Compass back in January 2021:
The problem of Big Tech represents the tip of the broader “woke capital” iceberg—an accelerating and harrowing phenomenon that, taken to its logical conclusion, could unravel America at the seams by effectively segregating the citizenry’s enjoyment of its most quotidian activities (where to shop, where to dine, where to bank, where to seek medical advice, and so forth) by political ideology or partisan affiliation. We are rapidly approaching the point where simply being a registered Republican might be deemed a “cancelable” offense in large swaths of Polite Society™.
How to forestall such a societal unraveling is of course an immensely complex question—though at a bare minimum, ceasing from actively stoking the flames where such flame-stoking can reasonably be avoided is prudent and necessary. Sometimes, it seems like praying for another Great Awakening is our best hope (and perhaps it is). But a more tangible place to begin would be a concerted effort, on behalf of “We the People,” to reclaim from the machines, the digital medium, and the Silicon Valley oligarchs the republican self-governance—rightfully ours—of which the Constitution’s Preamble so famously speaks.
And Biden, aware that wrapped in these coming discussions will be talk of market power, barriers to entry, and antitrust behavior, has decided to shift the focus away from the solidly left-leaning tech industry (remember: Zuckerberg was a BIG help to Biden in 2020) and place the blame on “Big Meat,” despite the fact that heretofore no one even suspected there was such a thing as “Big Meat” (probably because if there was, it wasn’t much of a threat to our way of life).
Biden: "Four big corporations control more than half the markets in beef, pork & poultry. These middlemen, that they buy from, farmers & ranchers, & sell the processors. Excuse me sell the process — excuse me sell the processed product, to grocery stores. That’s the way it works” pic.twitter.com/wUpKb5b9oj
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 3, 2022
My colleague Bonchie wrote earlier today about how this new “Big Meat” overhaul is a way for Biden to blame the inflation we’re all suffering on something other than his own disastrous decisions. But it’s something else, too: it’s a way to fan the flames of contention between well-meaning factions on the right — to keep the issue of unchecked corporate power on their lips and in their quivers — while surreptitiously moving the discussion away from the Dem-friendly industry flagrantly and actually abusing their power: Big Tech.
Biden’s been an abject failure as President but Americans should never forget he is as savvy and unethical a politician as the country has ever seen.