Trading Conservative tech policy successes | texasinsider

By IPI President, Tom Giovanetti.

The rest of the world is envious of the amount of creativity and innovation that seems to happen almost magically in the United States. European countries in particular often wonder why, despite their best efforts, they have been unable to innovate and develop new technologies on par with the United States?

The answer is that it is NOT a mystery: the policy choices that resulted from a conservative, free-market approach deserve credit for America’s strong tech industry.

Allowing commerce over the Internet was controversial at first, but free market arguments won out. The Clinton administration wanted to ban encryption, but individual freedom arguments won out. Republicans have drafted and passed digital electronic signature legislation. Republicans have won the argument for a moratorium on internet sales taxes. Property rights protections for digital assets were established by a Republican Congress.

Free-market arguments have prevailed over light regulation of the internet, fighting net neutrality regulation, and making abundant wireless spectrum available for private sector innovation.

Perhaps most importantly, the “consumer welfare standard,” described and championed by noted conservative jurist Robert Bork, became the dominant antitrust philosophy for a generation, destroying the idea that “big” is bad, which has enabled American companies to seek and achieve global dominance. on a large scale as long as that scale offered significant benefits to consumers.

All political choices involve trade-offs. The trade-off for allowing a large degree of economic freedom is that sometimes companies are going to make decisions that you might disagree with. But forcing corporations to operate in a limited, government-directed way involves the trade-off between more government, more regulation, and less economic freedom.

That is why it is shocking today to see some conservatives demanding a reversal of these successful Conservative and Liberal policies in order to punish corporations for perceived wrongdoing.

Recently, DirectTV decided not to renew the distribution of a minor conservative opinion network, One America News, infuriating some conservatives. Allowing cable and satellite companies the freedom to voluntarily contract with whomever they choose, instead of having a government carrier mandate, involves the compromise of companies making choices you might not like. But the alternative is government-mandated transport regulation and less freedom of contract.

We all know the conservative complaints about the moderation of social media content. But trading our essential protections against government-mandated speech to settle scores with social media would be a terrible trade-off, because it’s the same protection Colorado baker Jack Phillips relies on to protect speech on his platform. -shape – his cakes.

Just last week, at a panel hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, panelists endorsed neutral speech and viewpoint regulations — a boon for litigators thanks to the broadening private rights of action – lowering the standard of consumer welfare, including the “breaking of Big Tech”. One panelist compared the “threat” posed by Big Tech to the threat posed by China. Not a single panelist expressed the slightest hesitation in giving Big Government the power to settle their complaints against Big Tech, which would be a 180° turnaround for conservatives.

The sweeping compromises that some conservatives seem willing to make to settle scores with Big Tech would be extremely unwise. Trading massive, generational political successes to settle minor political scores is a compromise conservatives would regret.

Today’s TechByte was written by President of the IPI, Tom Giovanetti.

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