Jack Dorsey’s decision to step down as Twitter CEO won’t change Big Tech’s fundamental problems. Silicon Valley is still on track to control public discourse, economic innovation, cultural norms, and America’s future. If it isn’t stopped, an intolerant leftist domination of society seems assured. Yet those of us who recognize this struggle — whether conservatives, libertarians, or sane liberals — are largely neglecting the key front.
We’re focused on destroying Big Tech through regulation and legislation, when we should be focused on creating New Tech altogether. Systemic, deliberate entrepreneurship is the best way to beat Big Tech.
The situation is dire. Big Tech is tearing apart the country by tearing down the principles and practices that undergird American life and unite our people. That fact is understood on both sides of the aisle, and the most common solutions being offered are “Section 230” this, “trust bust” that, or some variation of legislation, regulation, and lawsuits.
It’s worth talking about these policies, but it’s also worth asking: What would happen if the smash-and-sue approach works? Less than we hope. We could shatter Facebook into a thousand companies, force Google to change its advertising practices, and mandate that Amazon carry Judeo-Christian books, but the next wave of tech companies will surely have the same basic issues.
That makes sense: Tech will still be envisioned, underwritten, and assembled by the same Silicon Valley set — a group that’s radicalized, ideologically uniform, and overtly hostile to anything and anyone who thinks differently. The new fruit would be poisoned the same as the old, because it springs from the same tainted soil.
Instead of turning to government, which can only cull and trim, the focus should be on planting and harvesting New Tech. A new generation of apps, algorithms, and platforms are inevitable, and they need to be built on a firmer foundation: A deep respect for human dignity, free speech, privacy, democracy, religious belief, individual liberty, and the limitless potential of every person.
There’s already some limited movement toward New Tech. Companies like Parler and President Trump’s Truth Social indicate a growing desire to build different and better platforms. A similar message is being sent by Elon Musk, Cathie Wood, and the dozens of prominent entrepreneurs and investors, including me, who’ve moved themselves or their companies from the West Coast to places like Texas and Florida. Yet starting Twitter and Facebook replacements and moving corporate headquarters isn’t enough. We need new and better companies across the entire tech landscape, until every Silicon Valley giant has a real competitor with the right principles.
We’re far from that goal. I estimate that at least 80% of tech’s venture funding, innovation, and hiring still happens in West Coast hubs. That means start-ups must still rely on Big Tech’s tolerance, which can be removed — see Parler’s struggles after Amazon Web Services banned the company from the cloud, Apple and Google-controlled Android removed it from app stores, and Stripe stopped processing its payments. When that happens, companies must settle for second-rate platforms and back-end systems or reject their principles to use best-in-class options. It’s a loss either way — for the companies and the country.
All who share concerns about Big Tech’s consolidation and control should catalyze new tech across the entire digital landscape and every corner of the country. Investors and philanthropists should create new funding vehicles to compete with existing and mostly leftist venture capital firms. Freed from the constraints of ideology and geography, they could quickly invest in the countless innovators who are undoubtedly being overlooked by Silicon Valley.
As more companies take off, tech employees could migrate to employers who respect cultural and political diversity, instead of being stuck in an ideological bubble. Philanthropists should simultaneously set up new schools and programs at existing institutions — K-12 and collegiate — to train the workforce that New Tech will need.
The moral necessity is massive — and so is the business opportunity. People are turning on Big Tech, which means there’s a huge opening for New Tech that empowers, uplifts, and upholds individual rights. Plus, the competition would give consumers and tech talent far more options, putting market pressure on Silicon Valley to become more humane and enlightened.
Creating New Tech must start immediately. Based on the recent history of tech innovation, initial investments could bear fruit in 1-3 years, with major societal gains perhaps 7-10 years down the road, hopefully sooner. The worst thing we can do is wait and continue to put our hope primarily in government action, as important as that is. Americans have wanted to confront Big Tech and the radical leftists who run it since long before Jack Dorsey stepped down as Twitter CEO. This is a fight we have to win, and it’s time we tried a winning strategy.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Mr. Rex is founder and CEO of Rex, which builds and invests in tech companies.