The antitrust movement came about during the Robber Baron era in order to tackle companies like Standard Oil that were destroying competition and gouging consumers. Back then, Republicans like President Teddy Roosevelt and Senator John Sherman led the antitrust charge and were the original trust busters.

  • We are living in a new Gilded Age only this time the Robber Barons wear hoodies and live in Silicon Valley.  The last Gilded Age gave birth to the antitrust movement in America and today’s Gilded Age should spur an antitrust revival.
  • Antitrust is the great American solution to the problem of undue political and market power. Rather than impose regulations on every company in a sector using a regulatory hammer, antitrust goes after only those companies that are distorting markets using a scalpel.  As conservatives, we believe that antitrust is a better approach to take than heavy-handed regulation.
  • Today’s Robber Barons are the Big Tech companies, Google, Facebook and Amazon.  In fact, today’s Big Tech companies are even more powerful than Standard Oil. They permeate every nook and cranny of our lives in a way that Standard Oil could only have dreamt of doing. Further, Big Tech invades our daily using data we provide to the platforms.  In the past decade, Big Tech has weaponized our data to invade our privacy and security and the platforms have even allowed themselves to be weaponized by malign state actors such as Russia.
  • As if this wasn’t enough, today’s Big Tech Robber Barons see themselves as more than just companies. They proclaim that they are connecting the world, creating communities, and doing no evil. In reality, they are aristocrats and elitists and they don’t even know it.
  • Big Tech’s business model is not like Standard Oil’s either. Internet platforms like Google do not make anything and they build their businesses off the backs of other entrepreneurs. They take data from consumers, copyrighted works from creators, distribution networks from carriers, all of whom have invested heavily in their businesses only to see their value wiped out by Big Tech.
  • It is time for today’s Republicans to take on Big Tech using antitrust, just like Roosevelt and Sherman before them.  Starting 40 years ago, the original antitrust movement was highjacked in the name of crony capitalism has become a shadow of its former self. This is particularly so when it comes to Big Tech.  This reality hit home when in 2014 the Obama FTC closed its antitrust investigation into Google amid allegations of political interference.

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