The Tyranny of Big Tech: The Book That Almost Wasn’t

On May 4, Regnery Publishing released The Tyranny of Big Tech, a book written by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) uncovering the deceptive and antitrust practices of companies like Facebook and Google, and laying out a policy plan to break up the monopolies and protect the interests of America’s common men and women.

The book has done well. In its first week, it became the number one bestseller in three separate categories on Amazon lists, and it made the Publisher’s Weekly list of hardcover nonfiction at No. 6.

“Big Tech represents today’s robber barons,” Hawley writes in the first chapter, “who are draining prosperity and power away from the great middle of our society and creating, as they do, a new oligarchy.”

It’s an ominous yet hopeful book, scathing of the monopolistic power of the biggest technology companies in America while also acting as a clarion call to the ordinary American man and woman to take a stand against monopolies and corruption.

But Hawley’s message had to go through its own drama before finding its way into the hands of readers.

Book Deal

In October 2020, Simon & Schuster (America’s third-largest trade publisher) announced that they would be publishing a book on the threats posed by Big Tech, written by the country’s then-youngest Senator, Josh Hawley.

Since entering Congress in 2019, Hawley has made himself known as a critic of and opponent to Big Tech power. He has introduced legislation to protect children from internet surveillance, to ban social media’s addictive features, and to eliminate automatic immunity provided social media companies via Section 230.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO)

As Missouri’s Attorney General prior to his election to Congress, Hawley launched investigations into both Facebook and Google in 2018 for violations of antitrust and consumer protection laws. He was specifically targeting the collection of private information, and how the companies were using that data.

November brought the chaotic 2020 presidential election, and in late December, Hawley became the first Senator to announce that he would object to the Electoral College certification process on January 6.

“I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws,” said Hawley on December 30. He also cited Big Tech’s interference in elections, and Congress’s failure to investigate voter fraud allegations.

“For these reasons, I will follow the same practice Democrat members of Congress have in years past and object during the certification process on January 6 to raise these critical issues.”

Canceled

On the morning of January 6, Hawley entered the Capitol building to participate in the certification proceedings. On his way in, he gave a fist pump to peaceful protesters gathered behind the barricades, hours before protesting activity turned into any illegal behavior.

That afternoon, an unlawful group of protesters interrupted the Congressional certification proceedings when they broke into the Capitol building in what is now called by the mainstream media an act of insurrection.

While much blame was laid at the feet of former President Donald Trump for the actions of some of his supporters, fingers also pointed to Hawley. The Kansas City Star even wrote that Hawley “has blood on his hands” because of his objection to the certification process and the fist pump captured on camera.

The next day, Simon & Schuster canceled their book agreement with Hawley, alleging that he had a leading role in the riotous events of January 6:

As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: at the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.

Hawley recently appeared on The Megyn Kelly Show in which they discussed Hawley’s decision to object to the certification and the events of January 6:

Kelly: Sitting here now, in May, do you have any regrets?

Hawley: No, I don’t regret what I did, Megyn. What I did was object to the State of Pennsylvania. I filed an objection to the State of Pennsylvania during the Electoral Certification process. And this is something that our law explicitly permits and provides for. And by the way, it’s been done many times before. The Democrats have done it in the last three presidential elections when a Republican was elected, and they’ve actually objected to eleven different states. What happens is it triggers a debate, and I thought we needed to have a debate about election integrity and maybe more importantly, my voters thought we needed to have a debate about election integrity, and my job is to represent them and their views.

…I wasn’t going to allow the criminal riot, which was unbelievable and wrong and a violation of the law, and as a former prosecutor, I’ve got zero sympathy for anybody who breaks the law, assaults cops. So all of those people who engaged in that ought to go to prison, they ought to do the time. But I wasn’t going to allow that, then, to throw me off track and to change what I told my voters I would do.

Here’s the thing, Megyn: My voters’ concerns, my constituents’ concerns, don’t have anything to do with the criminal psychos who came to the Capitol and tried to interrupt the very debate that I and others were attempting to have.

They even addressed the infamous fist pump:

Hawley: There were tens of thousands of demonstrators in the city and I had just driven in the city and seen them everywhere. And so as we drove up there and got to the Capitol they were well-off the plaza, the police had barricaded them off the plaza, and they were standing there behind the barricade peacefully, waving American flags. And as I was walking, I waved to them, some of them started to call out my name, so I waved to them and I gave them, I think, the thumbs-up and I pumped my fist at them. You know, that was like, “Hey, how’s it going?” and “Good for you for being here!” Because it is their First Amendment right. It is their First Amendment right to demonstrate. It is their First Amendment right to gather.

Were any of those folks who I saw there, did any of them go on to riot? I have no idea. If they did, I hope they’re being prosecuted…

Later that day, Hawley posted a statement to Twitter condemning the afternoon’s violence and calling on anyone who engaged in illegal activity to be prosecuted.

Nevertheless, Simon & Schuster made their decision and Hawley was left without a publisher.

Regnery to the Rescue

A few weeks later, Regnery Publishing announced they would pick up Hawley’s book. Though smaller than Simon & Schuster, Regnery boasts a great collection of publications from big names over their 70-year existence – names like William F. Buckley, Jr., Whittaker Chambers, Gad Saad, and the father of intelligent design Phillip E. Johnson.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published January 18, Regnery president Thomas Spence defended Hawley’s “legal right to object to Congress’s certification of electoral votes” and denounced the sudden “blacklisting” trend among publishers.

“We’re proud to publish Mr. Hawley’s book, which his original publisher has made more important than ever. We don’t have to agree with everything – or anything – Mr. Hawley does. We ask only if his book is well-crafted and has something true and worthwhile to say. The answer is yes.” 

In the wake of the book’s success, critics came after Hawley for using an iPhone to thank his Twitter followers for making the book a success on Amazon, despite the book’s point that these companies belong to a monopolistic elite that must be broken up. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), for instance, urged his followers to “cancel this loser” for “phony” claims of Big Tech tyranny.

“This is what we call a monopoly,” Hawley’s office told Fox News shortly after the book’s release. “Of course Josh is selling books on Amazon – the overwhelming number of books purchased in America are purchased there. Amazon is a monopoly platform. If critics want to do something about that, they should support Josh’s plans to break up Big Tech.”

“What’s funny is that they’re only highlighting the problem,” writes Joe Allen at The Federalist. “For all practical purposes, there’s no other way to reach the public en masse.”

Next: Reviewing Hawley’s The Tyranny of Big Tech: What threat do technological monopolies pose to the American people? And what can ordinary people do about a seemingly unstoppable corporate elite?

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