You’re totally prepared to fight your longstanding enemies in pitched battle, but are you ready to be wooed by them?
The Republican Party’s recently elected members — as well as whoever assumes the gavels in the House — better be mentally primed to be confronted by Big Tech, and not by its daggers, but rather by its sweetest of entreaties. The Silicon Valley behemoths have been at this game for a long time and have resources to burn. Not only do they outspend the defense industrial complex in lobbyists, but they have also think tanks and academics on their payroll to launder their business positions into academic and policy pablum.
In the wake of the first installment of “The Twitter Files” — which confirm just how much the tech executives despise the political right — the Big Tech Reunion Tour has kicked off.
The House hasn’t even elected its speaker, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has already descended upon Capitol Hill to meet with top Republican lawmakers. Apple is facing the specter of at least one antitrust bill that could curb its monopolistic practices, so its future market cap is likely tied to how effectively the corporation’s captain can cozy up to the new sheriffs in town.
The GOP must go into these “discussions” with Cook not merely with eyes wide open, but set to face gushing talk of “shared values” and perhaps too what resembles apologies for past behavior. Despite what Cook might mouth, Apple has no intention of acting as a good-faith partner with the conservative movement.
Look no further than how quickly Apple moved to kneecap the social media company, Parler, from its App Store, despite no evidence that Parler’s users “organized” the Jan. 6 riots any more than users on Facebook and YouTube. In fact, charging documents from the Department of Justice cite posts on Facebook and YouTube at a higher rate than posts on Parler, but Facebook and Google (which owns YouTube) were never threatened by Apple with de-platforming.
Apple is now facing calls from activists and the corporate media to do the same thing to Twitter now that it’s owned by Elon Musk. Despite what Apple might try to sell to lawmakers, it is not a neutral market access point for social media apps. Together with Google, Apple monopolizes the distribution of apps and wields its power ideologically.
This makes sense when you consider that Apple is staffed primarily by leftists. According to an analysis by Open Secrets, almost 90 percent of political donations from Apple employees went to Democrats last cycle. This has been the balance for a while. Two years ago, even the left-leaning CNBC named Apple one of America’s “most liberal tech companies” based on employees’ political donations.
Partisan leanings alone don’t trigger a policy response. But lopsided political donations should smack Republicans with the clear message that Apple employees? Yeah, they’re just not that into you.
Apple’s kowtowing to China is also gravely disturbing. Even as the CCP further tightens its authoritarian grip, evidenced by its latest round of lockdowns and the jailing of pro-democracy journalists like Jimmy Lai, Apple brashly displays its eagerness to continue making a buck. This past week, amidst arguably the most widespread unrest since 1989, Apple restricted AirDrop for iPhones sold in mainland China. The file-sharing feature had been widely used by protesters.
Moreover, Apple reportedly lobbied against a bill in 2020 that would have effectively prohibited American companies from using slaves to make products. Then last year, investigative reporters and human-rights groups accused seven Apple suppliers of being linked to suspected forced labor of Uyghur Muslims and other persecuted groups.
What’s clear is that Apple’s current “values” are neither of the conservative movement nor our nation as a whole. Anti-competitive bullying, let alone blatant disregard for intrinsic human rights, is foreign to the American creed.
Now, conservatives, so accustomed to being reviled and spurned by the leading institutions of popular culture, have shown themselves easily swooned by the most minor pleasantries, and embarrassingly eager to meet with the celebrity CEOs who, in every other context, hate us. It’s a scene straight out of the movie “Mean Girls,” where the high school nerd gets punched in the face by the popular girl and joyfully exclaims, “It was awesome!”
The GOP should know that its constituents are watching closely the outcome with Big Tech, and we’ll punish it in the public square and at the ballot box for lacking a backbone. To our new members and future leadership, we say, don’t hoodwink our movement, don’t stiff America, and please — stop protecting the companies who so openly despise us.