Daily Archives: January 24, 2021

Improbable Allies

Are you worried for the future of the First Amendment in the United States? Do you fear the attack on your religious freedom from the Tech Lords? Can you foresee Big Tech trying to shut you up, or make it impossible for your children to go to a decent school, if you profess your Catholic beliefs?

Well, you might just have found an improbable ally.

The EU appears to be moving towards demanding that Biden starts a credible regulating regime on Big Tech, or they will be doing it themselves.

Look, for a moment, beyond the Anti-Trump rhetoric of Von der Leyen and her ilk. Forget, for a minute, the despicable contempt for half of the United States. Focus, instead, on the following words after President Trump was banned from Twitter:

such serious interference with freedom of expression should be based on laws and not on company rules. It should be based on decisions of politicians and parliaments and not of Silicon Valley managers.”

Do not underestimate the reach of these words: a President of the European Commission tends to use such words only when a decision has been made, and a plan of action has been outlined.

Also, do not underestimate the mistrust of the European Union for big American corporations. I remember their confrontation with Microsoft at the beginning of the Century, and Microsoft would certainly have wanted to avoid that. Despise the EU as much as you want (I do!), but make no mistake: they know how to bite.

The concept of freedom of expression that Van der Leyen expresses is, for those of you who don’t know, even stronger in Europe than it is in the US. For the moment, and with some notable exceptions, you can say that, in Europe, no one can be fired not only by his own Government, but by his own private employer, for expressing his opinion. There are some exceptions because of particular rules ( I remember the time Caritas Deutschland, a Catholic organisation, fired a guy for professing his atheism. They won in court. I wonder how that would end now….), but you get my drift. This might change in some way and you never know how stupid European voters may become (see: so-called “hate” legislation). However, one thing seems clear: any deterioration of European rights will be driven by their own elected representatives (who are elected in serious election; nowehere, in Europe, are there third world-style elections like in the USA), not by the power of big corporations.

To this, you must add a cultural element that many of my American readers (the vast majority of the total) might not entirely grasp: the great satisfaction European politicians have every time they can punch their bigger cousin in the face. We have seen this in the past, and we will, I think, see it again now.

EU politicians are, far too often, biased unChristian operatives.

But their understanding of Freedom still wildly surpasses the one of the Zuckerbergs and Dorseys of the world.

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