In the last few days, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was coordinating with Big Tech on correcting "misinformation." This is censorship. They are doing this with increasing frequency. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The Biden Administration, Big Tech, and other organizations will go to almost any extreme, including propaganda, to promote their priorities. Their efforts on COVID vaccines may be a trial run for what we may see for the next three years on a range of issues. With vaccines, we have already seen social media censor those who have raised legitimate concerns or objections to various COVID vaccines.
"Now we need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oftentimes, door to door — literally knocking on doors — to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus," President Biden said.
"Trusted" local leaders could be going door-to-door to discuss getting vaccinated. The administration also may enlist Big Tech companies to manage our views countless issues, by controlling our access to information.
Make no mistake about it, this is a huge propaganda effort, and it is troubling. A campaign that "suppresses the conversation; the man opposite is no longer an interlocutor but an enemy," French philosopher Jacques Ellul wrote in his book Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes. Taken together, the administration's efforts paint a picture of an emerging, out-of-control police state. Those of us who disagree with the administration are no longer citizens, it seems we have become enemies of the state.
How America is changing. In my 18 years as a Congressman, I frequently met with constituents who voiced opinions on policies. Our views differed many times, but even then, we were able to discuss our differences in a constructive and civil manner. Contrast that with how the current administration treats those who disagree with them on their key priorities, including COVID vaccines.
Skeptics have been vilified, which the administration apparently now believes necessitates and justifies retaliatory action. Just in the last few days, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was working with Big Tech on correcting "misinformation." This is censorship. They are doing this with increasing frequency, banning President Trump, originally banning discussion of the origins of the COVID virus (reversing their wrong decision a year later), and shadow banning conservative writers and groups. They are setting themselves up as the arbiters of truth. Americans used to be in the position where they could decide for themselves.
The Biden Administration, however, appears ready to go further. They will enlist "trusted messengers who are part of the community" to go "door-to-door," Dr. Anthony Fauci said. Do not come to my door! Americans do not want so-called community messengers -- picked by who knows who -- knocking on our doors asking personal questions about health or much else.
I have knocked on plenty of doors during my political career and experienced quite personally how strongly people feel about the sanctity of their home. Mr. President, this is a really bad idea that should be cancelled.
As Charlie Kirk's group, Turning Point USA, recently said in an email blast to its supporters:
"Throughout history, dictators have sent government agents to intimidate members of the public in their own homes ... forcing them to comply with the edicts of the government. The result of these brutal tactics has always been less freedom and forced compliance...."
So, this administration no longer trusts its citizens' personal judgment, and wants to come into your homes to "change your mind." While these first two steps are rather open and obvious, the third part of their strategy might be the scariest. They could begin employing breakthrough social media technology developed on the battlefield against anyone who disagrees with their "official" policies, label those people "extremists," then use this technology against their newly designated internal enemies.
In the ongoing war against ISIS and al-Qaeda, technology wizards have developed technology to identify potential terrorists (the enemy) through engagement on the internet. These wizards then manage potential terrorist's social media interactions, attempting to control and direct the content terrorists receive to dissuade them from radicalizing -- an admirable and laudable goal we need in order to defeat real enemies and terrorists.
My fear is that President Biden or others may use these same strategies against individuals who are opposed to administration policies. When individuals engage with social media, the federal government, in coordination with Big Tech, will have planned responses that will move them to sites designed to give them the "right" answer.
Sound far-fetched? Moonshot CVE, a company backed by Google that works with the Pentagon, says it uses "targeted advertising to connect people searching the internet for violent extremist content with constructive alternative messages." It goes on to say it has deployed its methodology in partnership with tech companies, governments and grassroots organization to challenge ISIS and Al Qaeda and violent far-right narratives. Just interchange conservative, anti-vaccine activist, or even libertarian where you see ISIS or extremists and you begin to understand the challenge we face.
Rather than the federal government using its massive power to facilitate our access to knowledge and information, thus enhancing our individual freedom and decision-making, the Biden administration appears to be seeking to become a behemoth propaganda machine targeting its perceived enemies.
This is the stuff of civil liberties nightmares. And it is not just big-name conservatives the Biden administration might be going after; they might be coming for you.
Pete Hoekstra is a former Representative in Congress from Michigan. He served as the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. More recently he was U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.