Marc Andreessen invented the web browser which made it possible for non-technical people to navigate the internet. It is easily one of the most consequential inventions of all time. He is not happy that former President Barack Obama called on tech companies and the government to suppress free speech yesterday and called him out.
Marc has a unique perspective on this important topic and it is worth hearing his thoughts. He said before Obama spoke: “Will Mr. Obama, speaking at our second most important university and to his acolytes in our modern aristocratic laptop class, stand for truth to power, or power to truth?
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“Will Mr. Obama have the stiffness of spine and clarity of virtue to stand for the American values of free speech and free thought, or for their opposites, censorship and repression Will Mr. Obama stand today for Socrates, or for the men who condemned Socrates?
“No, Marc, you don’t understand, it’s not about freedom of speech, it’s about freedom of reach, distribution, foreign disinformation… Oh, no, I understand. It’s about freedom of speech.
“Always remember that the prime urge of every society is to expunge the truth-teller. Socrates had it coming.
“In the early ’90s, such speech suppression demands came from one political side, now they come from the other. But honestly, they’re the same people.
“No, Marc, you don’t understand, you need to have run Internet services to understand the issues here!
“Well, I’ve been running and participating in running Internet services at scale since [squints, checks draft of memoirs] 1992. Holy Lord, thirty years!
“No, Marc, you don’t understand, the guy whose speech we need to ban is no Socrates.”
“Well, first, who are you to decide that? Second, how do such assessments by authority figures like you tend to hold up through history?
“No, Marc, you don’t understand, it’s not suppression of free speech when private companies do it!”
“Well, the guy onstage today is a former President and at least the second most important person in our dominant political party, if not the first… huh.
“No, Marc, you don’t understand, we can’t have freedom of speech right now, we must prevent fascism!”
“Ah, so tell me, when fascism arrives, does it…eliminate free speech?
“If fascism eliminates free speech, but we must eliminate free speech to prevent fascism, then… huh.
After Obama’s speech a disappointed Andreesen said:
“Everyone knows it’s all about free speech.
“You know it, I know it, they know it.
“They’re not fooling anyone, they’re not even fooling themselves.
“It’s about– Free speech.
“It’s about free speech. It’s always about free speech.
“Shut up,” Obama explained.
Now, this is a serious topic that deserves a serious discussion but as the reporter points out below, Obama and his team were the first to really utilize social media politically.
They reinvented the game and were proud of how they did it. They didn’t want anyone messing with it either because they were so successful at using it.
Until Trump and the GOP started to use social media the same way. And were better at it. It is impossible to have clean hands in this, at last for a politician or a business leader. Who gets to decide what is a trruth?
Who has the perfect track record? Not the media, not the tech companies, not the GOP, and not the Dems. So who gets to decide. It is a slippery slope and the one thing that guarantees we will always beat China or Russia or whoever is our freedoms.
You take that away and you kill the golden goose.