In recent years, Congressman Ken Buck has emerged as one of the most vocal opponents of online censorship. In his latest book, Crushed: Big Tech’s War on Free Speech, Buck unloads on Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon, alleging that these companies are gatekeepers that make the rules of what we see, read and buy.
Buck’s proposed solution? Antitrust legislation. Buck has joined progressives in Congress and the federal bureaucracy in advocating for far-reaching antitrust powers and regulations to “rein in Big Tech.”
While insisting to his readers that he believes in “free and unregulated markets,” Buck goes on to list a number of bills and regulations as the solution, like empowering the Federal Trade Commission and reintroducing Klobuchar’s progressive pet project, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.
“The two government agencies that investigate and approve mergers, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), must rethink their guidelines… these agencies must rethink the burden—or lack thereof—placed on mergers involving dominant monopolies” (153).
He even goes as far as saying, “our government watchdogs must act more like attack dogs” (154).
Buck also dabbles in crony capitalism, advocating that regulators, “waive antitrust laws so newspapers can negotiate with Google… Newspapers need the right to band together and seek fair compensation for their content” (200-1). He would rather have progressive bureaucrats prop up their favored companies and media outlets in the market, and he feels increased government intervention is necessary overall.
On data privacy, Buck cites the European Union’s draconian General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s intense Consumer Privacy Act and Privacy Rights Act as positive legislation to emulate (133-4). And on government jawboning of social media platforms, he considers this good “oversight” by the Biden administration, simply “[telling] social media companies what to do” (113).
While Buck prides himself on not having an account, his book is available for purchase on Amazon.
Buck’s Crushed reads more like it was authored by FTC Chair Lina Khan, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other progressives than by a “free market” conservative. If Buck had his way, he’d hand congressional Democrats legislative victories and empower the radical progressive wing of the Biden administration. In other words, it seems as though Buck would rather give more power to the government to control the U.S. economy and coerce speech online rather than empowering Americans to make their own choices for themselves and their families.