Trump vs. Amazon is the fight that will determine our future
Jeff Bezos, the brain behind Amazon.com, owns top media companies like The Washington Post, top food companies like Whole Foods, and can sell you virtually any entertainment, from books to streaming television, that your heart desires. With tendrils in media, food and retail, Amazon resembles a grand sky-octopus suspended over the world, slowly monopolizing every function and faculty of human consumption.
And our President, Donald Trump, has serious problems with him.
Trump's rhetoric on free trade, coupled with The Washington Post's negative coverage of his Presidency, have made Amazon's Jeff Bezos a natural enemy. Yet, it is curious to think that a newspaper with Democracy Dies in Darkness as its flagship phrase is actually owned by a billionaire with conflicts of interest in half a dozen different business categories. How have we gone so off the foundations that a company which feverishly pushed for the horrific Iraq War, owned by corporate America, is seen as our last defense against an insane President?
Twitter comedian KrangTNelson nailed it when it came to Amazon's true purpose:
Any corporation that is slowly becoming a total system is cause for concern. While the mainstream media and Donald Trump wage war on one another, Amazon is slowly buying up all the remaining frontiers of the world. After media, food and entertainment, will they create algorithms for filtering online content? Machine intelligence that severs the web into 'real' and 'fake' news? As corporations put every strand of information we have before our eyes, how can we possibly apprehend what is actually true?
This is Trump's defiant brand of nationalism. By opposing NAFTA, by opposing free trade, by calling out Amazon, he appeals to the fears of both conservatives and leftists alike who fear the slow loss of jobs at the hands of men like Bezos, who operate in the shadows and never face scrutiny for what amounts to the crystallization of 21st century monopolies.
As we watch the Trump show, the gears of Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple may easily interlock behind the scenes and produce a total system. The definition of totalitarianism is that nothing exists outside of it, the totalitarian system contains virtually everything in society. Any system that contains everything is inherently abusive. Trump will be gone in 4 to 8 years. The same cannot be said for these companies.
The debate surrounding free speech hits on this issue precisely. Trump and Neo-Nazis are so horrifying that we end up in a state of perpetual panic. Out of panic, we turn toward Google, Amazon and Facebook to rescue us from fake news, to censor the internet, to put an end to Nazis - but at what cost? We can live in a perfectly sleek, controlled world with no dissenting speech fairly easily. If the internet is censored by corporations, Nazis will be the least of our worries. We will have sleepwalked into bad dystopian fiction.
But that's where the animosity between Trump and Bezos is supposed to lead us. The cry of the far right, against globalism, will pit nationalism and borders against the open international oligarchy of Amazon. Then, Amazon will propose corporate ownership, corporate culture, and ruthless capitalism with a nice face on it as the future beyond Donald Trump. Both of these outcomes are horrific.
What do you think?