The Road To A New McCarthyism

Mar 29, 2024 | Political News

I wonder how many people have recoiled with horror at what happened in the House of Representatives recently. I am referring to the decision, effectively, to ban the social media platform, TikTok, in the United States (to ‘protect Americans from foreign adversaries’), because it supposedly affords the Chinese government the opportunity to ‘spy’ on Americans and manipulate their thinking. 

Well, one thing is sure – judging by the margin by which this motion was adopted by the House, and the quality of some of the opinions aired on the topic (that I have listened to), there was precious little thinking going on around the room, with some notable exceptions (352 votes for, 65 against), such as Representative Thomas Massie (R) of Kentucky. What thinking there was – such as the excellent argument put forward by Massie – was not sufficient to sway the rest of the delegates in the direction of common sense. 

So what was this non-debate about TikTok all about? Most readers would probably already know about it, but it bears repeating, lest the intricacies of the hidden assumptions escape one’s attention. In sum, as mentioned earlier, it comes down to the claim that China is using TikTok to spy on American citizens, and in addition to influence their thinking and behaviour. This, despite the glaring fact that – as Clayton and Natali Morris argue in the first video linked above – the US spies on its own citizens with impunity, not to mention that it also conducts espionage on China.