At a time when RINOs like Mitt Romney and the ones that voted for gun control seem to be selling out their party and its goals in the name of being “bipartisan,” it can be easy to grow disgusted with all conservatives and Republicans in D.C.. The actions of a miserable few can make it seem like all of them are willing to sell us down the river in order to earn a few brownie points on the Georgetown cocktail circuit. That would be a mistake. Some of them, despite not being as populist-leaning as their supporters and/or voters, still do the right thing. For example, the Heritage Foundation turned down Big Tech donations because it wants to start fighting Big Tech tyranny.
According to Axios, the Heritage Foundation “turned down a pair of six-figure contributions last year from tech giants Google and Facebook.” Reportedly, it did so in two letters, one of which rejected a $225,000 donation from the tech titans at Google and in another letter in which it rejected a potential $150,000 donation from Facebook. Heritage’s outgoing president, Kay James, said that Heritage turned down Big Tech donations because it “cannot in good conscience take money from a company that repeatedly, and blatantly, suppresses conservative speech on your platforms.”
Heritage has taken Big Tech money in the past. Again according to Axios, those amounts totaled $1.55 million from Google and $275,000 from Facebook.
However, while it can’t undo those past mistakes, it should be praised for what it’s doing in the present. It couldn’t have been easy for Heritage to have turned down $375,000 in donations during a pandemic year in which many non-profit organizations experienced a decrease in funding and donations. Yet, despite the year of involuntary cutbacks, the Heritage Foundation turned down Big Tech donations because it knew that doing so was the right thing. We should absolutely praise it for that; it’s full of true conservatives that recognize the threat to free speech that Big Tech poses.
Now, some of you might be wondering why it matters. If Big Tech wants to waste its money by writing checks to a conservative organization that’s going to speak out against it, shouldn’t we just take their money and use it against them? Well, if conservatives were better at living and acting in the way recommended by The Prince and 48 Laws of Power, then perhaps that would have been a workable strategy.
But, even if Heritage could have accepted the money and spurned the donor, that would have only lasted for a year and Heritage would have appeared hypocritical or disingenuous for taking Big Tech’s money and then speaking ill of those companies. Also, it is likely that Heritage would have started pushing at least some of the Big Tech talking points (most likely the “it’s a private company” hogwash) in an attempt to keep garnering such donations in the future.
Furthermore, the importance is in the symbolism. The fact that the Heritage Foundation turned down Big Tech donations is an important symbolic move that shows a) conservative organizations are started to adopt the views of the conservative-populist movement spawned by Trump and b) that Big Tech and its interests will not be controlling Heritage.
Perhaps this is an inflection point in the culture war. In the past, when faced with Big Tech censorship, conservatives have simply said “they’re private companies.” No more. Now, we’re fighting back against them and standing up for free speech, one of the most important values of the American Republic. Heritage is shunning them, conservative voters are boycotting them, and the entire conservative movement is finally starting to recognize the massive threat posed by Big Tech censorship to free speech. Thank goodness the tide is finally turning for the better.
Image at top from: By Ser Amantio di Nicolao – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33596357
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