While Everyone Frets About State Censorship, Corporate Censorship Tightens The Noose

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readAug 14, 2017


Glenn Greenwald, who as my regular readers know is the subject of my endless adoration and entirely inappropriate sexual obsession, has written an article titled “The Misguided Attacks on ACLU for Defending Neo-Nazis’ Free Speech Rights in Charlottesville”, and it is the first article of his that I have no intention of ever reading. Not because I think he’s incorrect to defend the ACLU and argue against the censorship of hate speech, but because I only have so much time in my day and I see the debate over government censorship as an irrelevant red herring right now.

It is true that it is the most controversial and repulsive speech which is most severely in need of protection, and that a government which is granted the power to silence Nazis can be expected to use that power to silence political dissent. But there is no danger of this ever happening in the United States, because corporate censorship can be used to silence anti-establishment voices with far less pushback.

The US government isn’t about to start censoring speech. It will not happen. If American politicians ever got close to doing so in any meaningful way, their plutocratic bosses would order them to stand down, because it would shatter the illusion of freedom that America’s unelected power establishment has worked so hard to build up. The US oligarchs do not rule with an iron fist like the kings of old by mutilating and torturing dissidents to death in the town square, they rule by hiding their existence and duping the public into thinking they live in a free and democratic republic. Their whole playbook revolves around this strategy, and their entire dynasty depends upon it.

It’s like how you’ll never see the US suddenly seize the Canadian province of Ontario and annex it as the 51st state; the world would react with horror, like it did when Russia annexed Crimea. Civilized nations simply do not do such things anymore! What does Putin think this is, 1912? But the nationless power establishment that is loosely centralized in the United States will not hesitate to co-opt foundational elements of nations covertly and unofficially by means of treaties, alliances, trade deals, coups, CIA operations, and of course “humanitarian” interventionism when all else fails, on a much wider scale than any mere land grab. My own nation Australia is controlled in every meaningful way by that same power establishment, but if the official US government ever started forcing us to fly the star-spangled banner here everyone would lose their shit at America’s brazen imperialism.

In precisely the same way, Americans would flip out if their government ever started overtly censoring the First Amendment rights of any group, and then you’d have unrest throughout the nation with a risk of full-scale revolution from a large and heavily-armed populace. Much easier and more effective to use the private corporations that these same plutocrats own to censor speech which threatens their rule instead.

In an article titled “Google Censors Block Access to CounterPunch and Other Progressive Sites,” CounterPunch reports that lefty outlets like itself and World Socialist Website have seen immense decreases in Google traffic due to the search engine’s new policies, as has the nonpartisan WikiLeaks. Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller reports that anti-establishment conservative voices have been subject to an abrupt demonetization on Youtube, which is owned by Google. Matt Agorist of Activist Post writes the following:

“If you get your news from mostly far left sources, chances are you’ve heard YouTube and Google are censoring or blacklisting left and progressive sites and content. Conversely, if you get your news from far right sources, chances are you’ve heard YouTube and Google are censoring their content as well. If you want to know which side is being truthful in trying to expose their censorship, it is both of them.”

In a corporatist oligarchy, corporate censorship is government censorship, since corporate power is not separated in any meaningful way from government power. An extensive 2014 study by Princeton University showed that ordinary Americans have no influence whatsoever over the way their government behaves, but the wealthy have a great deal of influence due to legalized bribery in the form of corporate lobbying and campaign donations. The owners of gargantuan multinational corporations and banks dictate how Official Washington behaves, and if they own large chunks of media they help control the way mainstream America thinks and votes as well.

Corporate censorship is the way of the future for these ruling elites, and we’re seeing more and more of it online in Youtube, Google, Facebook, Twitter and in the slow strangulation of net neutrality. As artificial intelligence becomes more refined their ability to manipulate and control information will become far more advanced, too advanced for human intelligence to keep up with all the high-level manipulations. If you ever feel like scaring yourself, listen to Julian Assange musing about the future of AI and the way it will likely dance with propaganda, existing power structures, and the future of human thought:

Already we’re seeing billionaires like George Soros and Pierre Omidyar pouring shocking amounts of money into this endeavor; The Guardian reports that an AI “fact checking” system is being developed in the UK “as part of a global fightback against fake news,” with extensive amounts of funding from Soros and Omidyar. The software, ostensibly designed to report if a politician is lying for the benefit of journalists and a well-informed populace, can enable whoever controls it to set themselves up as the official arbiters of truth, with a programmed bias against any facts which are generally excluded from official narratives. So it makes sense that these immensely powerful plutocrats would be salivating over such a thing.

This high-level corporate censorship is all legal under current US law, and it’s something we’re all going to have to deal with as a species. Even if we manage to avoid extinction via nuclear holocaust or climate chaos, if these plutocrats keep advancing their ability to manipulate the way we think we’re looking at a future that isn’t much brighter than if we go the way of the dinosaurs. If these elites succeed in boxing in the way future generations are able to access information, they’ll be able to literally control what ideas people will have in their heads about what’s happening in the world and how their society really works. They’ll be able to screw the lid of the aforementioned illusion of freedom all the way down and lock it shut forever, leaving rank-and-file humans a vapid, unthinking slave class who only exist to turn the gears of the corporate machine on the oligarchs’ terms with no say in the direction our species will move.

The time to fight corporate censorship is now. This is not a simple matter of private companies doing what they like with their own property, this is billions upon billions of dollars being poured by the true rulers of the world into funneling people through an intellectual conformity mill while still letting us feel like we’re free. Let’s skip that dystopia, please. Let’s start building something better right now.

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