Hey, everyone. Hey, everyone. Welcome to the all-in pod.
Your illustrious moderator, Jason Kalkanis, has been purged.
He’s been canceled. We canceled him for his constant interruptions and low IQ comments.
We decided that the minimum IQ required to be on this pod is 140, 150.
He did not make the cut. And so now, it is just me, Chamath, and Freeberg.
He is, uh, Jason is away. He is actively implementing our jerk-off-to-win strategy to solve the pandemic and free speech.
Hey, everybody. Hey, everybody. It is an emergency podcast.
Episode 16 hit number two in the rankings on the Apple iTunes podcasting store.
Clearly, we hit a nerve. It’s been an insane week.
And the dictator dictated that he was not satisfied with doing our podcast once every two weeks.
And so here we are on a Sunday.
The queen of quinoa, Rain Man himself, David Sachs, and the dictator chopping it up for you, the loyal, confused, angry, infuriated audience of all-in.
It’s the craziest week of our lives.
Jason, please don’t describe to the audience the characteristics that describe yourself.
Okay, this has been a crazy 72 hours.
Can anybody remember a week that has been more crazy in their life, with the exception, I guess, 9-11, the financial crisis?
I’m trying to think of this level of crazy.
Jason, I think we should start with what happened after the last all-in podcast between you and Sachs over text.
We should get it all out there.
We should share it publicly.
No, no, no.
No, I think it’s worth doing.
We talked about this before you joined us.
Chamath and I are having an intervention, and I’m going to say something real quick.
I think it’s worth highlighting that one of the things that I think we have the opportunity to do as a group is to kind of elevate the conversation a bit and not frame things as being black and white and not frame them as being one or zero or partisan or left or right.
And everyone in this conversation has nuanced opinions about a lot of different topics.
And when you sum up all those opinions, it doesn’t define a left or a right person or Democrat or Republican.
I think that’s what makes us a compelling and interesting group to talk to.
Sachs has been characterized as the Trump guy.
He took offense to that, and in particular, the heated conversation you guys had last time.
And I do think it’s worth kind of sharing that with everyone and letting you guys reconcile publicly.
Yeah, and reframe kind of how we talk about each other and how so that we can kind of set a bit of an example on how to do this.
Well, I can start.
You can start, David.
I’ll start because I’m the one who has the objection.
You’re the aggrieved.
I mean, so look, I think that that J.
Cal does an amazing job monitoring the pod, and it’s a difficult job.
And so I don’t want to this is not something I’m trying to blame him for, but I do have an objection to being labeled in a certain way.
I think anybody would.
We don’t want to be misconstrued and we want to be able to characterize our own views.
We don’t want to be labeled in a certain way.
Now, I think Jason has sort of branded me as a Trump guy because, frankly, it’s amusing to him.
I think he’s mainly trolling me.
But the audience doesn’t necessarily understand that.
I mean, if you go back and look at my Twitter feed or my blogs, I haven’t written about Trump for years.
I mean, I haven’t said anything really about it.
That’s not my agenda.
You know, and I think I don’t have a pro Trump agenda, but I also don’t have a pro resistance agenda.
I’ve described my position as anti hysteria.
Sometimes that means criticizing Trump like I did in the last pod.
Sometimes it means criticizing the resistance.
So I just don’t like being labeled a certain way.
And I think Jason and I sort of, you know, kind of resolve this.
You know, if I were labeled by politics, you know, Jason calls me the conservative.
I think that’s more accurate.
But the question is, you know, what am I conserving exactly?
And I would describe myself more as like a 1960s style liberal.
You know, I’m a believer in free speech, you know, ACLU style.
I’m a believer in King’s dream of a colorblind society.
You know, if I’m against all these foreign wars and interventions, if I had been around the 1960s, I would have been protesting Vietnam.
That’s kind of more where I’m coming from.
And I guess the reason I’m a conservative now is because the political debate has moved so far away from that.
But if I’m trying to conserve anything, it’s really the liberal victories of the 1960s.
So in any event, I don’t think that qualifies me in any way as a Trumper, per se.
And I just don’t want, you know, Jason making jokes to somehow have the audience get the wrong idea because I want to be heard.
And I know Trump’s an extremely polarizing figure.
And the second you tell somebody you’re frankly pro or con Trump, the other half just doesn’t even want to listen to you.
And so my views are more complicated than that.
Well, thanks to everybody for tuning in to the All In Podcast.
It’s been an amazing episode 17.
Your emergency pod thanks to our sponsors.
Listen, I think what makes this podcast great is the diversity of opinion and the respect that we show for each other.
If my breaking chops, which is, as everybody knows here, my superpower in life and along with talking, has pigeonholed you into being something you’re not.
Or if you felt I’ve taken a cheap shot at you in any way, I apologize.
And it was not my intent.
My intent is to keep the conversation flowing.
To entertain the audience, certainly, but not at anybody’s expense, David, and certainly not yours, because I do consider you one of the best friends I’ve had in my life and one of the most supportive people in my life.
And I think we all feel that way about each other that we go to bat for each other, support each other.
I do think that this highlights and dovetails with what we, and I’ve given it a lot of thought, actually.
I’ve really spent, since the last podcast, a lot of time thinking about your position, David, and where you’re coming from.
And then also where the people who maybe, you know, you maybe agreed with some of Trump’s victories, and certainly you’re a conservative.
I don’t know if you voted for him or not, or if you’re willing to say if you did.
I’ll put that aside for a moment.
But I do think that we’re all seeing in our families, in our lives, and now as a nation, what is the off-ramp here to the people who supported Trump up until this coup attempt and this ugliness?
And then how do we reconcile it?
The grand reconciliation here is the thing that has me very concerned, because we’re a microcosm, David.
You and I are unbelievably close friends for a very long period of time, and we struggle with, I think, Trump.
Trump is, as I was saying in our group chat earlier, it’s like the trolley car problem.
People will be pulling up, how do you deal with Trump as the example of, you know, what do you do if the trolley car, you know, it’s going to kill one person or five, and, you know, the brake’s broken kind of situation.
And I think Jack and the platforms also have a difficult task.
Do you leave this person up after what we saw on Wednesday?
And a lot has changed since Wednesday.
Can I just say something?
I’ll leave it at that, and then I’ll throw it to Chamath.
I don’t want to monopolize.
No, Jason, here’s the thing.
I think that we all have views, and I think the thing that I respect the most about Sachs is that his views are independent of the candidate du jour.
And I think his views, quite honestly, are in many cases the most well-reasoned and well-thought-out, because he’s frankly, you know, one of the smartest people in our friend group, if not probably the smartest.
I think what it speaks to is the fact that you can have these momentary sort of pauses where you have these people that are so polarizing that you forget that there are legitimate views on both sides.
I mean, I would characterize my political views as, in some cases, like deeply conservative, meaning get the government out of the way.
They’re a bunch of incompetent fucking buffoons.
And on the other side, on some issues, I think that they should be extremely interventional, like in healthcare or in climate change, because it’s just so dire and there needs to be a public mandate in order to drive change.
I don’t know where I fit anymore, especially because it’s harder to be nuanced, as Friedberg said at the beginning, without sounding like a complete crazy person, because one word triggers the other side against you.
So I think the thing that I just want all the listeners to appreciate, not just amongst the four of us, but also amongst their own friends, is having a little patience and tolerance here is really important, because we cannot become the worst of ourselves, especially because of a single person who will be rendered with an enormous asterisk beside his name, and by him I mean Trump, for the rest of our natural lives.
And so let’s just not allow what one person has been able to do to malign all of our natural ability to just not be completely stupid, quite honestly.
So I just think it’s important to realize that we all have completely, completely nuanced perspectives.
They’re all worth listening to, and I would just tell people, don’t fall for the simple easy out to assume that being a conservative means you’re a Trump supporter, or being a liberal means you’re not a Trump supporter, because I think that there’s issues in which, frankly, look, let’s be honest.
The Wall Street Journal opinion by, was it Lisa Lasser?
What was her name?
Amy Lassell, somebody?
Skyposted into the group chat.
Nick, can you find it?
I can’t remember it.
Sassel or Lassell is her last name.
Oh, Kim Strassel.
In the Wall Street Journal.
She had a paragraph intro where, and again, I wasn’t a Trump supporter, have never been a Trump supporter.
I do have, though, some sympathy to some of the things he did, and the way that she described his four years, although she was selective, it was impressive, actually, meaning getting the rhetoric right on China, getting the rhetoric on trade right, the deregulation that he’s created in some ways.
There is very much a reasonable narrative up until the Capitol storming, where the glass was definitely half full.
It could have legitimately been viewed half full, and it was just a matter of opinion, because he was just such a crazy person, and his style was so shitty.
I think the thing, and David said this in the last part, after storming the Capitol, it is very clear 100% categorically this guy is just a complete piece of shit.
Now the people that stand with him are extremely isolated.
I just want us to remember that there is probably something to learn from everybody.
He actually did some reasonable things intelligently well until he fucking self-immolated himself.
Let’s just not give in to our basic instincts here.
I think there’s a lot to learn from everybody.
The frustration of a lot of people is some people saw this coming.
Some people, when Peter Thiel said things like, hey, don’t take Trump literally and all this kind of stuff, some of us were taking him literally, and some of us were very concerned.
People were saying, oh, you’re being hyperbolic.
He’s not Hitler.
He’s not dangerous.
You know what?
He is dangerous, and you should take him literally.
I think a lot of the folks who enabled him and who thought it was funny, who weren’t on the other side of his vindictiveness, his dog whistling, and the anger and the violence he put out into the world, and he consistently did this.
He started by saying, get that person the hell out of here.
In the old days, the cops would have thrown him down the stairs kind of thing.
He is like Tony Soprano or any other mob boss who knows how to incite people to do dangerous things without having the culpability himself.
As you pointed out, Chamath, he might be the one who gets off scot-free while they’re rounding up all these people, and you got the prediction right, Chamath.
These people are going to go to jail.
There’s multiple felonies.
He’s not going to get off scot-free.
He’s not going to get off scot-free.
Well, I mean, do you think he’s going to jail, and do you think the people who broke into the –
You think Trump’s going to jail?
Oh, my Lord.
I’m not sure about that, but I do think that, like I said last time, Trump is now the first sitting president to cost his party the presidency, the House, and the Senate since Herbert Hoover.
Jason, if you’re right about Trump, I mean, the voters have certainly been able to see that, and they’ve punished him and his party at the polls.
I do think that whatever you do to Trump individually at this point is sort of redundant with that.
He has now cost his party any share of the power –
Any share of the power in Washington.
Can I ask you a question, David?
When I made that point about Peter Thiel and the people who supported him early, do you have any regrets in your own thinking about being supportive of Trump in his early years?
You’re coming at this from a place I’ve never even come at it from, which is I’m not a partisan person.
When Trump won the election in 2016, my first reaction was not, is this right or wrong?
Which side am I on?
My first reaction was, why did this happen?
I tried to understand it.
I read the Hillbilly LG author.
My surprise at that happening caused me to ask questions.
What I think became really clear is that Trump won despite his manifest flaws because of the failure of the elites.
He’s a sort of outsider populist, and the country was trying to send the elites – bipartisan, I should say, bipartisan elites –
Everybody wanted a change.
What was that message?
To Shamas’ point, for the last 20 years, the bipartisan consensus in Washington has been to feed this Chinese tiger until it is now potentially on the cusp of supplanting us as the richest economy in the world.
We have mired ourselves in these forever wars in the Middle East.
Again, these were things that both Democrats and Republicans got us into.
My reaction was first and foremost to try and understand it.
Then once he was in the presidency, I didn’t see my job as being to be part of some crazy resistance.
There needed to be a rational opposition to Trump, and there was never a rational opposition.
People would basically object to anything he said just because he said it.
Which then made your side – and I’m going to say your side, the conservative side, I won’t say your side – the conservative side dug in.
Because they were like, well, the left’s being hysterical, we’re going to dig in.
I mean, if you’ve been reading National Review for the last few years, and especially the last two months, there’s been plenty of criticism of Trump.
Well, I was thinking more Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, all these people who said they would be never Trumpers became right-in-line Trump supporters.
They’re politicians. They’re part of the party.
For people who care about ideas, what I would say is I didn’t change my ideas one way or another because Trump might happen to agree with one of them.
Freedberg, what’s your take?
I don’t like talking about Trump.
Well, that is kind of, I think, where we’re getting to.
What’s the off-ramp here, Freedberg?
What’s the endgame?
You guys remember how the emperor came to power in Star Wars?
Palpatine turned the republic against itself and then he –
Look, to Sax’s point, I care more deeply.
I care very little about Trump, the person.
And I care more deeply about the motivations of people that want a person like that in power.
And I care more deeply about the way the dialogue is happening to resolve ideas and to resolve the decisions in this country right now.
That is why I think that my vote last year in our last two podcasts ago, which seems like 10 years ago, was that the biggest political failure of 2020 is the Institute of American Democracy.
And it’s only gotten worse in the last two weeks.
And I think that the mechanism by which we have debate is lost.
It’s from everyone from the Republican to the Democratic leadership.
It is attacking and finger pointing.
And there is no resolve for forgiveness.
There is no – everything is all about justice and winning.
And there is no resolve for objectivity and discovering the truth and doing the best thing for people, not the best thing for party.
And doing the best thing for country.
And that’s really easy to say and really, really hard to do as I think everyone is realizing.
Because as soon as you say, let’s bring the country together, half the country raises their hand and says, but I want justice.
And we can’t come together until we have justice.
And so at what point do you break the cycle?
Revenge never ends until someone steps down first and says, you know what, I give up.
I’m not going to – I’m going to end up in the losing position.
But at that point, maybe reconciliation can begin.
And I’m more concerned about the heat, the temperature.
And everyone says turn it down, but no one is actually turning it down.
And so the legacy of Trump, I honestly care less about.
I care much more about going forward.
How do we resolve to decisions that aren’t all about the Democrats overrunning?
And I was actually upset about Georgia.
Because I do think it’s a problem if you have a one-party state.
And we don’t have balance and we don’t have a forum for conversation.
And we don’t have a forum for coming to kind of objective sentiment that’s best for the people.
And so I’m much more interested in flipping the conversation away from Trump
and trying to think about going forward, what are the things, what are the forums,
what are the mechanisms that we can have to create equity in the country,
to create reconciliation, to create balance in decision-making,
and to turn down the temperature so that Chancellor Palpatine doesn’t become the evil emperor.
And that we don’t lose to China.
And all the things that are kind of emerging as being the unfortunate outcomes.
We have three or four major wars we need to solve.
The pandemic, China, wealth inequality, global warming.
Chamath, do you think at this point in the podcast,
we should walk through what’s happened since Wednesday
vis-a-vis Trump being deplatformed?
Or do you think we should talk a little bit about and skip to reconciliation?
I think we have a fork in the road here.
As the moderator, I’ll just ask Chamath, maybe you could pick which direction we go.
Well, I think it’s important to talk about what happened.
And I’ll frame this in the context of Peter Thiel.
He has a philosopher that he’s talked a lot about, René Girard.
Basically, the Girardian philosophy is essentially that
people come into conflict because they’re extremely similar.
And they effectively want the same things,
and they’re competing for the same sort of essentially scarce resources.
And the way that you resolve that is through some sort of cathartic sacrifice, right?
Meaning like there needs to be a grand crime, a grand act.
And I think that we’re at this point, to Friedberg’s sort of earlier statement,
where you got a choice, which is you either throw democracy under the bus,
or you actually throw DJT under the bus.
And you don’t have a choice.
And sort of like, it’s not just even the United States.
It’s almost like sort of democracy as an institution’s hand was forced this past week.
And so it is probably important to look at what’s happened in the last few days
through that lens, which is, you know,
it’s almost like people first were shocked.
And then now we’re in the midst of that reflexive reaction
to what is a simple choice, which is you can basically forgive the guy,
or you can reaffirm the institution, which means to sacrifice the guy.
And I think that’s the thing that’s happening in real time.
And it’s going to be, I think, over the next few weeks,
a super messy conversation.
Because you’re going to have a bunch of dumb decisions.
You’re going to have a bunch of overreaching.
You’re going to have a bunch of dramatic sort of bellyaching on both sides.
There was this thing today where Devin Nunes was like screaming
about how he had lost his 3,000 followers on Parler,
or 3 million followers on Parler.
But he was saying it on Fox News, which is distribution to millions of people.
Can I ask a question about this reality now we’re all facing?
Because the event that occurred on Wednesday,
we are all still trying to process, and new information is coming in.
As people get the videos and as we let the dust settle,
the dust is settling.
I’m curious, Sax, how do you look at what happened on Wednesday?
Do you view it as a coup?
Because some of the information that’s come out about
they were trying to get to Pence, and that they wanted to kidnap people.
That dovetails with the kidnapping schemes that were going on.
There were pipe bombs, and a police officer was beaten to death with a pipe,
and his skull was crushed or something.
We don’t have all the details yet.
A fire extinguisher.
He was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher.
Some of the videos I’ve seen of police being dragged,
that counteract the selfie police.
So many different things occurred on Wednesday.
I think we all have to just think about what happened on Wednesday.
How do we each feel about what happened on Wednesday?
I’ll go to you first, Sax.
And not because I’m framing you as anything,
just because you haven’t talked yet.
I already gave my thoughts in the last pod, that it was outrageous.
It was a travesty.
It was a rally that turned into a riot,
that turned into some sort of insurrection, I guess you could call it.
It was a rebellion against authority.
I think coup is potentially a strong word,
because nobody ever had their hands on the levers of power.
I mean, the fate of the Republic was never in question.
I know there were even people tweeting about how these marauders,
whatever you want to call them,
almost got their hands on the electors’ ballots.
I mean, yeah, but we all know how they’re voting,
even if they had gotten them, we would just have gotten new ones.
I mean, that was sort of a ceremonial thing.
But look, it was an absolute outrage.
But I do think that there is a thing happening now called threat inflation,
where using language like going from riot to insurrection to now coup,
there is a type of inflation happening
that is then used to justify the reaction by the other side to it,
which is now basically the ending of freedom of speech,
which is really, I think, the big thing that’s happened since the last pod.
It’s the reason why we are having this emergency pod, I think,
is because of what’s happened there.
I think the emergency pod was just to make sure that the pod wasn’t ending
because of you and I getting in a big fight.
I think that was people’s concern,
was that the Beatles were breaking up.
Yeah, well, that’s true.
Look, just keeping the pod together with four big egos on it, you’re right.
It’s hard. It is like the Beatles.
One day it’s going to break up, but not yet, not yet.
But I want to tie in this issue with what you said about the off-ramp,
which is what is the off-ramp from this?
Look, everybody understands, I think,
regardless of what side of the political spectrum you’re on,
that we are caught in a cycle of insane hyper-partisan warfare
and tit-for-tat retaliation.
And that is the thing that we need to –
that is the ledge we need to walk back from.
But the problem that everybody has is that
they can only see the other side doing it.
They can’t see themselves doing it.
This is a two-way street. Both sides are doing it.
And that’s how de-escalation works,
is both sides have to concede something.
Yes, and unless you concede when your side is doing it,
we’re never going to break the cycle.
Now, the thing that is happening right now,
now what Trump did was absolutely outrageous.
And I think it brought him to an ignominious end in American politics.
He will pay for it in the history books, if not in a court of law.
But now what has happened is the next step in the tit-for-tat retaliation,
the storming of the Capitol has now been used
to implement a sweeping attack on free speech.
The Twitter employees who sent that letter to Jack,
who have been demanding this for years,
have finally gotten their way.
And there is a widespread purge going on.
And not just of Trump, not just a permanent ban on Trump,
and then a whole bunch of other people, conservatives.
There are now liberal accounts.
There’s an account that I wasn’t even aware of called Red Scare.
They’re basically pretty much on the left.
No one can say exactly what it was that got them banned.
They had Steve Bannon on their podcast.
They are suddenly banned from Twitter.
Nobody knows why.
I subscribe to the Red Scare podcast.
It’s called the Dirtbag Left.
They’re kind of like socialists trying to be public intellectuals,
and it’s oddly compelling.
I’ll leave it at that.
But they are now banned from Twitter.
Let’s pause for a second on DJT getting banned from Twitter.
This is close to 100 million followers.
It’s a billion dollars in value.
He just had the PGA say they’ll never do a Trump golf course again.
So the real-world ramifications for Trump are
his businesses are going to be devastated.
His platform is gone.
And I was very pro-Trump staying on Twitter.
I thought it was insane to think that the president of the United States
would have their Twitter handle removed.
That seemed crazy to me.
However, it’s a crazy concept.
That being said, Trump knows how to dance right up to the line
on the terms of service.
Here’s the thing.
I think there’s imminent danger,
and I think what we don’t know is what is concerning to me.
The fact that all of these services have turned him off,
I believe is indicative of Wednesday was under-hyped
and that they really did intend to kidnap folks and blow off bombs.
And the Proud Boys founder was arrested days before
with selling large magazine weapons.
I think that they wanted to kill and kidnap people
and perhaps even hang the vice president.
I know that sounds crazy, but that’s what I think is going on with Twitter.
I think they showed them the receipts.
Honestly, let’s not fucking fear monger.
We’re no better than anybody else with that bullshit.
We don’t know any of that crap.
And the reality is that if they were doing that,
they are not stupid enough to do it on a platform
where you basically follow anybody you want.
If that were the case, then fucking ISIS would be using Twitter.
They don’t use Twitter.
They use Telegram.
Jamal, they live-streamed storming of the Capitol.
These people are not smart.
We’ve established that.
Anyways, let’s not do the left version of QAnon.
Let’s not have now the left’s version of the crazy conspiracy theories.
Here’s, I think, what is worth talking about.
We really reflexively, all of a sudden,
started to push back on free speech in a way that doesn’t make any sense.
Meaning, I really was surprised.
Why are these Silicon Valley companies reacting now?
If you had a reason to do it,
it had been building for years and years and years.
In many ways, it was kind of like this random moment.
I mean random because I just don’t think that
everything up until that point was not equally violent,
disgusting under the same lens that that moment was.
Had you had a reason to ban him,
you would have banned him already.
But then doing it in the way you did
and then having this cascading effect on folks on the left and the right
just getting basically pushed out the door,
to me was just completely reactive and not rooted in anything.
To me, it didn’t make any sense.
I don’t know.
I was very frustrated and a little taken aback.
Can I jump in on that because I’ve been tweeting a lot about this.
The last thing is they let Donald Trump hit a one-outer.
He was painted in a quarter to be a complete demagogue
and instead now it has been wrapped in a free speech issue
where now more people are talking about free speech than what a scumbag he is.
How did we let that happen?
Big tech blundered into it again.
I mean we had a unanimity across the political spectrum
that what happened at the Capitol was wrong
and Donald Trump was responsible for it.
Chamath, exactly like you said,
the topic has now changed to censorship by big tech,
which is a real issue.
I mean look, our freedom of speech is enshrined in the Constitution
in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
It’s the first fucking one.
It’s the one the framers of the Constitution cared about the most
because free speech is not just necessary and important for democracy.
It’s the reason why we have our freedom
is so that we can think and speak and worship as we please.
And that is legitimately under threat.
And by the way, it’s not just the permanent ban on Trump.
You had simultaneous to that.
It wasn’t just the banning of all these accounts.
You also had the deplatforming of Parler,
which is sort of the Twitter alternative,
by Google and Apple at the same time and Amazon.
And so you’re talking about really deplatforming not just Trump
but millions of people.
And so the amazing thing is that we’ve had this sweeping appropriation
of power by half a dozen oligarchs
who now have the right to determine what we see and read.
And people are cheering because they hate Trump so much.
They can’t see that the biggest power grab in history has happened.
I want to say something on this because I’m not sure I really fully agree.
I think that the point that Sachs is making about freedom of speech
applies to what you’re legally allowed to say.
Sachs, we’re talking about private services that a user chooses to use
and the service provider chooses to make available to that user in a market space.
And in that context, it feels to me like everyone has a choice of where to go
and what services to use.
And frankly, if there aren’t good services to use,
and there’s a lot of people that want to use one,
the free market will resolve to create one.
And we’re already seeing that with Signal being the number one app
on the App Store today, that emerging new platforms will win in a marketplace
where old service providers are no longer catering to the market demands
for a service.
I’ll also say that…
Wait, can I respond to that one?
Yeah, and then I’ll make one more point, but go ahead.
So I understand the First Amendment only applies to government, okay?
It doesn’t apply to private companies.
But here’s the thing is that when the framers of the Constitution wrote that,
freedom of speech was something that took place in the town square, right?
You would go to the courthouse steps and put down your soapbox.
You could speak to people, gather a crowd.
That is why the right to assemble is part of the First Amendment
is because assembling is tantamount to free speech.
Where do people assemble today?
Online, on these monopoly network services like a Facebook, like Twitter.
And again, it’s not…
And to your point, couldn’t they go to some other site?
Well, they did.
They went to Parler.
Guess what happened?
The operating systems just banned Parler.
And so, you know, I hear this argument…
There’s an open web, Sax.
You know, you don’t need to go to Apple’s App Store or Google’s Google Play.
You can put an app on Android.
You just don’t need to do it through Google Play.
And if you don’t want to use Apple’s OS, you can use another phone.
And by the way, everyone can access the internet.
The internet is free and open.
And anyone can create a new network node on the internet.
And anyone can put any information they want on that node
provided it’s within the boundaries and constraints of the law.
And they can make it available to anyone else.
Maybe for now, but you can’t use AWS.
And Google might not make you show up in search results.
You could turn your iMac at home into a web server
and you could make it available on the internet.
If Google and Amazon and Apple have censored you at the operating system level
and removed you from Google search results,
how in the world is anybody supposed to find you?
Yeah, you’re going to have…
How many people have been removed from Google search results?
Let me just… I think it’s important.
The app stores.
So, I do think that there’s still an open market
and there’s an open internet that people can access information freely
and use the internet freely without being dependent on a handful of,
you’re right, highly scaled services and highly scaled platforms.
But there’s certainly a marketplace and an opportunity for innovation there.
I’ll also say that the platforms that made these decisions
to ban these accounts and kick people off
are not doing so under the demand of law.
And I think that is a really…
And so, I think to some extent, I’m probably on your side in this context,
but the standard is not a legal standard.
The standard is a judgment.
It is a moral or some principled standard
that is sitting above and beyond the legal standard
that they’re required to comply with.
This is the point.
And this is really scary, right?
Because at that point,
it becomes a subjective decision about who you kick off
based on your interpretation of what they said
and what they intended when they said it.
And that leads to the infinite slippery slope.
You nailed it 1,000%.
That is the exact issue.
It’s not necessarily about free speech.
It is that when you have accumulated power
and you effectively have a quasi-governmental organization
that gets to operate in the free market when it wants to,
but then operate like a quasi-governmental monopoly when it wants to,
all of a sudden, the power becomes in the shadows, right?
There is a random VP someplace who actually controls this decision.
And the problem is today,
if a politician does something
or a political body or a government body does something,
you have redress, right?
You can sue that entity.
You know who it is.
There’s a pathway through the courts,
through the law, through the constitution.
The problem with this is all of a sudden it becomes murky.
And look, you flip a coin 50% of the time, guys,
you’re going to get your way.
The other 50% of the time,
who the fuck knows what will happen
and you may be completely on the wrong side of it.
And this is, I think, the problem.
I just want to read you guys something.
There was this manifesto or memo.
This woman who was a former Facebook data scientist,
Sophie Zhang, she wrote.
I’m just going to read this
because I think it’s really interesting here.
The 6,600-word memo written by former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang
is filled with concrete examples of heads of government
and political parties in Azerbaijan and Honduras
using fake accounts or misrepresenting themselves
to sway public opinion.
In countries including India, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador,
she found evidence of coordinated campaigns of varying sizes
to boost or hinder political candidates or outcomes,
though she did not always conclude who was behind them.
She said, in the three years I’ve spent at Facebook,
I’ve found multiple blatant attempts
by foreign national governments to abuse our platform
on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry
and cause international amuse on multiple occasions.
Now, let me just stop there.
Replace the United States with all those countries, and we care.
But there are people in all of those countries
where those countries mean more to them
than what’s happening in the United States.
That represents the problem.
That’s what we’re dealing with.
The social suasion that is influencing the leaders of the tech companies
are largely their Democrat employees that live in the Bay Area.
That’s a big part of why the decisions are being made
in the way that they’re being made and the priorities are being set
is because, as you pointed out, I think it was Sokka put it on Twitter,
and Jason, you’ve talked about this,
but talent is everything in Silicon Valley.
And if your employees tell you they’re going to quit working for you
or they’re not going to do their jobs,
you’re going to take that to heart.
And there’s not a lot of influence or suasion
that citizens of Bolivia and Uruguay can have
with executives at Facebook and Twitter,
but people in the Bay Area have a lot of suasion.
Do any of us have a fucking clue about the politics in Azerbaijan or Bolivia?
Does any one of us have a point of view?
And I think that’s the point.
As soon as you add judgment to the equation,
you’re going to be wrong with some people
and you’re going to be right with some people
versus using an absolute standard.
And if the issue is that the law,
if the law doesn’t define the absolute standard,
then you need to go and change the law.
I think there’s going to be a couple of free market solutions
that come here because even as difficult as this decision can be,
you layer it onto it,
somebody who is completely insincere
and manipulating the system on purpose
and, to your point, David, in the last podcast,
is sitting in the President of the United States seat,
it carries different weight.
And if you look at the words that Trump used or Rudy used,
we want to have trial by combat,
somebody’s got to make a judgment call.
Is that an incitement to violence?
Or do you just look at what occurred after they said the words?
It’s a very difficult thing to do.
There are free market solutions that will emerge.
Bitcoin is something we’ve talked about.
It’s an incredible run.
Nobody’s controlling that.
There is Masterdon and plenty of other peer-to-peer software
that will be deployed, I predict,
and that will put up competition now for these services.
And it will be impossible to ban those peer-to-peer platforms
and so we’ll have some products emerge.
One universal truth is information wants to be free.
So if there is an opinion, if there is a voice,
if there is information out there…
Yeah, so there will be a free market response to Parler being shut down.
I sincerely believe that a lot of these decisions are being made
not just at the behest of the employees.
I do agree they have tremendous power,
and I’ve said that obviously many times.
I think what’s going on here is people believe that Trump,
and you said it yourself, David,
there’s going to be a white-knuckle 10 days,
and I don’t know if you still believe that there’s a chance on the 17th
or 19th or whatever that there could be more unrest.
I actually think a lot of people woke up and said,
I don’t know if I want to give this guy the ability to say
the next three or four crazy things that make people show up
at a person’s home or, you know, the dog whistling.
And, you know, if Trump’s comments on Wednesday at that rally
and Rudy Giuliani’s and Donald Trump Jr.’s,
the people who really incited this,
and they’re going to face some amount of civil and criminal charges,
I believe, if they did that on Twitter or Facebook or YouTube
or Periscope or whatever it happens to be,
and then this happened, would those platforms have some liability?
Especially after, you know, what’s happened.
I think that they’re just, and part of this is covering their asses.
I think they should have just done a 30-day ban, not a permanent ban.
So at least they would have the cover of saying,
listen, this is too heated.
We’re going to pause for 30 days,
and then we’ll reassess it February 1st or February 15th.
Right, well, so part of the problem here is that there is no policy, right?
The policy is public outcry.
And if there’s enough public outcry
and there’s enough pressure or letter writing from the employees
or there’s enough saber rattling by the people who are going to run
the Senate Judiciary Committee next year.
Or the language was so clear.
It’s, but there is, so three months ago I wrote a blog post
about the policy that I thought the social media companies should take.
I said for moderation.
And what I said is there actually is a moderation policy
consistent with the First Amendment that could be implemented.
The First Amendment does not protect many categories
of basically dangerous speech.
There’s like nine major categories.
It includes incitement of violence.
It includes, you know, trying to, you know,
trying to provoke a crime.
It includes fraud. It includes defamation.
There are many categories of speech that aren’t protected by the First Amendment.
And social media companies could have said, listen, this is our policy.
We’re going to try and be broadly consistent with the First Amendment.
But if somebody goes outside of those lines, then we will remove it.
So there was a way to your point, Jason.
I think there was a way to remove some of Trump’s tweets for incitement
consistent with the First Amendment.
But that’s not what they did.
And maybe that would, instead what they did is a lifetime ban
combined with rounding up twice the usual number of suspects
combined with a de-platforming, not at the account level,
but now at the application level by Google, Apple, and Amazon.
And none of this has been explained.
There is no policy. What it is is an appropriation of power by oligarchs.
No, no, there is a policy.
The problem is, as we’ve just discussed, it’s an interpretation that must occur.
And the interpretation of Wednesday’s comments on a tweet might be,
OK, yeah, they’re borderline, but not enough to shut his account down.
And these folks know how to do it.
When Rudy Giuliani says, I want a trial by combat,
or if Trump says, you’re not going to have a country unless you fight,
and you have to fight, and we’re never going to accept these results,
is that inciting or not?
Well, it did incite people.
The policy that I want is something broadly consistent with the First Amendment.
But in those phrases I just told you,
are those inciting or are those on the borderline,
if you were making the decision?
Right, so putting my lawyer hat on for a second,
there’s questions of law and questions of fact, OK?
And we can debate what you’re describing are questions of fact.
What I’m trying to say is, well, what is the law?
What is the policy that we’re trying to implement?
Well, the law would say those were not direct incitement.
No, there is no policy.
These social media companies don’t have any policy.
They’re making it up as they go along based on the pressure they get.
What would you do, David?
What would you do with Trump’s comments from Wednesday if they were in tweets?
Yeah, I’ll tell you.
So first of all, I would have implemented a moderation policy
broadly consistent with the First Amendment,
and then certain tweets that were inciting violence
while there was writing on the Capitol,
I would have been OK taking those down.
I would have taken those down.
And I think even doing something until the inauguration,
if you think that Trump poses a threat,
I think that’s OK.
I think that’s OK.
So you would have been fine with a 30-day ban or something?
Well, like a 10-day ban or whatever, but a lifetime ban?
On what basis, on what constitutional grounds do you justify that?
And look, I know it’s a private company,
but my point is our free speech rights got privatized.
The town square got digitized and centralized.
We used to have thousands.
We used to have town squares where people could convene all over this country.
We had a multiplicity of newspapers.
All of that got replaced by a handful of tech monopolists.
Our free speech rights got digitized.
If they take away our ability to speak, we don’t have free speech rights.
Who do we appeal to when we get canceled by a Google or Apple?
What court can we go to?
There is none. You have to create a competing product.
By the way, I think this is the best argument for having an Internet court.
And if you think about the standards that are being applied,
they’re being applied haphazardly, randomly, by these companies
in response to near-term market forces.
What is everyone saying they have to do?
Or what are their employees rallying for them to do?
Their securities law.
Well, there’s privacy laws that say that companies,
that digital companies cannot take certain types of data.
And why not have laws around which you—
There are hate speech laws out there as well.
And why not be more specific and then let an Internet court adjudicate
and make the decision about what to take down and what not to take down?
They are very responsive to warrants when there’s a criminal act underway.
And so why not let an Internet court be responsive to take down requests or to—
What do you think, Chamath?
Internet court? Good idea?
No, it’s mandatory. And again, this goes back to—
And it centralizes the standards, right?
So you don’t have to have ad hoc, random decisions.
And if what Sachs is saying is true,
it creates a standard that everyone has to abide by
and that every consumer can trust them to abide by.
First, we need a bill of rights, right?
First, we need to say that we as citizens have rights that the court can defend.
That is the problem. We don’t have any rights.
These companies are acting willy-nilly,
canceling people, depriving them of their speech rights.
And don’t tell me that you can still speak somewhere if you get canceled.
Here’s the thought exercise.
And I want everybody listening who’s on the left to think about this exact issue.
Your favorite social media company is trying to get a really, really big deal closed.
And they are trying to curry favor with a bunch of brands and a bunch of governments.
And those governments and brands—
Let’s just say it’s in India, right?
Huge market, 1.2 billion people.
They say, you know what?
We’re a little tepid on abortion.
And so the deal is you need to dial down any ad from Planned Parenthood.
You need to prevent Planned Parenthood groups from amplifying,
from being able to fundraise.
Think about that exact issue now and ask yourself, is it okay?
Because there’s a lot of people that are pro-choice that listen to this.
And I’m sure right now your blood is fucking boiling.
But there is no distinction between that decision and what happened over the last few days.
It doesn’t necessarily make any sense.
There is no way to readdress it.
And that’s the biggest problem with all of this thing.
It just creates—
There’s a concept that newspapers used to have in a budsman.
And the New York Times had one up until, I think, 2017.
And then they got rid of it because I think it was causing too much headaches.
But it’s a person who works for the organization but has complete independence
and sits outside of it to comment on these kind of situations.
And I think that’s what these companies should do.
Jason, they have these things, but those are fig leaves.
And those are just meant to basically distract dumb politicians.
No, no, they don’t have it in the sense of a budsman because it’s not—
Jason, they have a fucking council.
Facebook has a council with all these—
It’s not transparent.
and talk to the public directly about it.
I think that you can look to securities law.
There are some examples in securities law, which I think are really interesting,
which is that a CFO and a CEO has to certify quarterly results, right?
Meaning, for people who have issues with a company
and with the statement of their earnings,
which is the sort of atomic unit of value creation in financial reporting,
they have a mechanism to redress it because you’re certifying that something is true, right?
You’re certifying a set of decisions have been made.
An audit has been done.
The software works, the blah, blah, blah.
What is the version of that for all of this other stuff,
which is that where are the people?
Who are they actually that make the decisions?
You can’t point to Jack and Zuck and say,
those guys are the decision makers.
I think in these examples, what you have to point to is
there was a petition of potentially several hundred or a few thousand engineers.
And depending on how important they were, they may have gotten their way.
That’s crazy, guys.
Well, and Trump served it up to him.
I mean, if you…
No, and then the worst part is…
No, but the worst part is these people who are probably very left of center
completely fucked the left.
And then they basically let Donald Trump off the hook
because now we’re going to completely be talking about free speech,
whereas the odds that Donald Trump would have gone to jail and been prosecuted
was basically, in my opinion, a fucking stone cold lock.
And then now after this happened,
there’s a bunch of those people who are going to basically like him and Ha,
and now they’re not going to necessarily go along with it.
And Jason, you’re right.
So good fucking job, guys.
You got the exact opposite of what you wanted.
And here’s the thing, Jason, you’re right.
Trump’s outrage gave the censors the excuse to impose this.
That’s the way that censorship always works.
If you are censoring somebody popular, it would never happen.
Censorship always starts by censoring some outrage
that everybody agrees should be censored.
And no one even notices that what’s happening is you’re handing power
to a group of people that they can now use against you in the future.
Censorship always starts as something you like,
and it ends as something you don’t like when it finally gets turned against you.
What is the policy of the people who are now canceling willy-nilly?
It’s cancel culture.
It’s not the First Amendment.
Well, I think you’ve got to not say willy-nilly after Trump incited riots.
If there’s enough public outcry, you get canceled.
It might have been an overreaction, but I think it’s the proper reaction.
You agree it’s the proper reaction just so people understand clearly.
It’s the proper reaction to maybe do a 30-day suspension,
but maybe not indefinitely on all platforms.
Forget about Trump for a second.
There are all these random fucking useless accounts
with 60,000 people that were basically suspended.
Well, a lot of them were bots.
What’s going on?
It makes no sense.
Jason, you used to be a member of the press.
No one believed in the First Amendment more than you,
and you’re letting your outrage—
I still do.
You still do, but you’re letting your outrage—
I don’t have full information.
But you’re letting your outrage at Trump—
—cause you to pull your punches on censorship.
I’ll be totally clear.
I think they should have an ombudsman.
I think they should lean towards allowing speech.
I was anti-kicking Trump off the platform
when the entire left was asking for it to be.
And you can look at the receipts.
I’ve been saying for four years,
it’s insane to take POTUS off.
I actually, in my heart of hearts,
believe that there is imminent risk
in keeping him able to communicate
with this group of people,
and there should have been a 30-day timeout for him.
And I don’t think it should have been indefinite.
It should have been a 30-day timeout.
And I think we should do what folks said.
I don’t know who said it on the last pod,
or if I heard it somewhere else.
Like, actually, if we actually were to audit
some of these claims and create an independent council
to audit the election,
that might be a way to heal things.
And I think giving Trump a…
Friedberg said that.
Who said, Friedberg said it? Yeah.
So I think that’s like a power move as well.
But I’m still pro-freedom of speech.
I think there’s imminent danger.
And I don’t think it’s willy-nilly.
This is where I think sometimes you get,
you misrepresent yourself, David.
And we started this off with me misrepresenting you.
But when you say it’s willy-nilly,
it’s not willy-nilly.
It’s not willy-nilly.
We just had this act of treason
and this violence at the Capitol.
It is not a willy-nilly.
Jason, Jason, you have to admit…
It is an overreaction, I agree,
but it’s not willy-nilly.
Jason, you have to admit, though,
the entire world had Donald Trump in a corner,
debt to rights,
and he hit a one-otter.
It’s a bad strategy.
And he hit a one-otter.
It’s a bad strategy to deplatform him to this level.
And then to include…
The reason they’re going after Parler, by the way,
is that this guy, Lin Wood, threatened…
He said that they should take Vice President Pence out
and shoot him.
And I think that actually…
Lin Wood’s insane.
Lin Wood is insane.
But they literally didn’t take it down.
Well, that was incitement to violence.
And under the First Amendment,
you can clearly prohibit that.
I would have taken it down.
And Parler didn’t take it down.
They dragged their feet taking it down.
And he said it’s a metaphor
to go take Pence out and shoot him.
And this is Donald Trump’s lawyer,
or one of his lawyers, previous lawyers.
In my view, that doesn’t justify what’s happened.
What I mean by willy-nilly is,
why has Red Scare been taken down?
So, left-wing site.
I don’t know.
Why has Dan Bongino been taken down?
He’s like a Fox commentator.
I’ve heard him.
I mean, he’s sort of…
I don’t know.
He’s kind of a pretty middle-of-the-road Fox-type guy.
I don’t really know what he did.
We have no transparency
into why people are being taken down.
I can’t go evaluate for myself what they said
to see if it, you know, if it warranted censorship.
A cynic might say that this overreaction
was playing into the hands of the…
Jason, what happens if…
Left-controlled Senate, Congress…
Jason, what happens if, like, a big pharma company
who wants to do a big ad buy on Facebook
says, hey, guys,
you got to really dial down anti-vax content?
Now, I’m not an anti-vaxxer,
but do I, at some level, believe in their right
to talk about being an anti-vaxxer?
I think it’s insane,
but should they have a right to do it?
Yeah, I’m a fan of the labeling.
I thought the labeling was the right direction to go in,
But, Sax, you did talk about how,
for the last 60 days,
Trump fermented this insane conspiracy theory.
So I guess the question is,
do you think that insane conspiracy theory
or the question we have to ask all of ourselves,
I’m not pinning it on you,
and I’m sensitive to you being pinned
as the president’s answer
for all of Trump’s bad behavior.
But you did say,
and you did say this is a two-month process
of indoctrinating people into thinking this was all stolen,
and then they put labels on it,
and then the capital gets stormed.
So I think these companies are being put
in a very uncomfortable position,
which is, at what point do you stop this maniac
if he’s lying constantly?
We were talking about these challenges on the pod
for the last couple of months,
and we were laughing.
I mean, we were laughing at how ridiculous they were
and how ridiculous the things that Rudy was doing,
and it was crazy.
But not to his supporters.
Well, but here’s the thing.
One of which is dead, or four of which are dead.
I understand, and here’s the thing.
Democracy takes work.
I mean, we have to spend the time
to actually dispel these views.
And it would be nice to be able to wave a magic wand
and just censor the things that we don’t like,
but here’s the thing.
None of us has a monopoly on the truth.
And we knew what the truth was in this particular instance,
but there are other cases where we don’t.
And the question is really, who has the power to decide?
So I’ll tell you just a real quick story.
When I went to law school all those years ago,
the very first class that I had in law school,
it’s this very arcane class called civil procedure,
which is about what court you take a case to, okay?
And, you know, I was kind of wondering,
well, why is this like the first thing we learn in law school?
And I’ll tell you the reason why is because
the first question in the law is who decides?
Who has the power to decide an issue?
And here’s the thing.
I would love for Lin Wood to be canceled
and to not be able to spout these insane theories,
but who are we going to give the power to,
to make those decisions?
And what we’ve done this week by,
we had this feel good moment, you know,
at least in the tech community of being able to say
Donald Trump banned for life
and all these other people we hate,
but we have now handed this enormous power
to this big tech cartel, and it’s not going to end here.
This is not the end, it’s the beginning.
Look, I don’t think that the leadership at big tech
want to be in this position.
You know, I think it’s easy to blame the individuals,
Zuck, Jack, Susan, Sundar, whomever.
You know, I worked at Google when it was a small,
when it was a private company.
You know, Chamath knows, worked with Zuck.
I think we’ve all had experience with these individuals.
And I think one thing, having spent time with all of them,
I can tell you is that I believe that all of them
want information to be freely available and accessible.
And that’s a really core principle.
And the challenge that they’re facing is that there is,
you know, as we talked about this social pressure
to move away from that core principle
because there is always an argument to be made.
And there is no universal or unifying kind of court of law
that says this is the way things should be done by law.
And as a result, the pressure is what changes the behavior.
And that pressure will change. The tides will shift.
And it’s a very kind of ugly circumstance.
But, you know, I think characterizing the individuals
as being in charge of this sex or, you know,
trying to handcuff, to make them feel like
they should be handcuffed in some way
is a bit of a mischaracterization.
And we saw that even in the congressional hearings last July,
just what an absolute joke it was to see Congress
try and question these folks because the answers they have,
I think, were reasonable and rational.
And as we all know, as technologists,
like Congress doesn’t understand this stuff.
The biggest observation to me is that the law
hasn’t kept up with the Internet.
And, you know, if you look at how the DMCA was written,
the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,
shortly after it was written,
YouTube, with all this user-generated content,
saw a lot of copyright content show up.
And they would get a takedown notice,
which is the legal process by which you remove copyright content.
And then as soon as they took it down,
someone else would post the same content.
And then someone else would post the same content.
And then suddenly, you know, Viacom sued Google
because they were like, look, our copyrighted content
is being continuously displayed on your site, on your platform.
And that’s because the mechanism defined in the DMCA
did not keep up with the law.
The biggest issue, I think, is a legal one,
which is, you know, how do we create laws
and how do we create a private-industry-meets-government
that, you know, allows these organizations to operate?
Can I say something?
Just one sentence.
I mean, apply First Amendment obligations
to these monopolists.
That’s what my blog post was about.
I’ll tell you where this could go in a bad direction.
If you think about what social media has become,
I would put it on the top of the list
that includes other critical national resources
that any country has.
So, for example, if you look at in Bolivia,
you know, as it turns out,
Bolivia has incredible access to lithium, right?
And lithium is like an incredible…
We all knew that.
We want to medicate Trump with lithium?
Is that what you’re saying?
No, lithium, the input into lithium-ion batteries.
But it also turns out that at every step along the way,
Bolivia has basically nationalized
every single private investment of a lithium mine.
In countries all around the world,
there’s numerous examples of this privatization
turning into nationalization
when something becomes important enough.
And part of, I think, what we’re struggling with here is,
you know, there’s going to be this crazy push-pull
in social media.
What do you think happens if, you know,
India actually says,
hey, you know what,
you’re going to have to nationalize
the rails of WhatsApp or the rails of Facebook
if you want to be in my country?
Why is that so inconceivable?
I think you’re right that that is a second-order consequence
of censorship that nobody even thinks about.
You have the leaders of many countries across the world
using Twitter as a channel.
Do you think they are now going to want to rely on that
given that Twitter can censor them at any time?
They’re going to hand that lever of national power
to Jack Dorsey? No way.
They’re going to look at this.
Not even Jack Dorsey, David.
Somebody in, like, the bowels of the user access group.
Some rando VP someplace is going to stop
the president or the prime minister of a country
in communicating to their people.
It’s not possible.
And this is exactly the kind of second-order consequence
that the people who, I think, engage in this feel-good moment
of censoring Trump didn’t even think through.
Didn’t even think through.
This is exactly why the best solution
would have been a temporary pause on these accounts
to let the dust settle.
But any of these completely fundamental decisions
that you can’t go back from,
what is the technical difference between saying
it’s banned forever and it’s banned for 10 days today?
Technically, it’s the same decision.
But exactly what David said.
You feed into this emotion,
just like the people that stormed the Capitol
fed into their emotion,
and then you wake up the next day with this hangover
and you realize to yourself,
what the fuck did I just do?
And I think that’s what we’re going to have to sort out now
is you cannot unscramble this fucking egg.
Because irrespective of whatever happens
in the United States,
there are 2 to 3 billion monthly active users,
daily active users on these products.
They all report to different people.
And none of those people that they report to
are Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg.
They are the presidents and prime ministers,
duly elected individuals of these countries.
And so you’re not going to allow
these 2 private citizens to disrupt power.
We have so much information we don’t know
about what occurred this past week.
I think it’s all going to get investigated.
It’s going to be like a 9-11 commission all over again
or Ukraine, etc.
And I think that’s why a pause would be really good
to find out exactly.
Trump’s been telling people to come to this rally.
It’s going to be a hell of a show
and it’s going to be incredible
and you got to be there on the 6th.
It’s going to be out of control.
How much did they know?
That’s what I really want to know.
How much did they know about what was going to go down
and why are these people carrying zip ties and pipe bombs?
This could have been a lot worse.
I think that’s why people are responding this way.
I saw something today that I thought was particularly interesting
and dovetails with reconciliation
which is what the country’s got to do in 2021 and 2022.
We’ve got to reconcile this shit
because there’s bigger fish to fry like China
and the pandemic and global warming.
One of these people at the airport
who was coming home from the rally
is now on the do not fly list.
They’re taking this group of domestic terrorists
is how they’re putting these American citizens
who got whipped up into a frenzy by Trump and Giuliani.
They’re calling them domestic terrorists now.
Some of them maybe.
Maybe some of them are just got caught up in the wrong mob.
They’re on the do not fly list.
This guy couldn’t get home and he’s freaking out
and then I don’t know if you saw Lindsey Graham
with 20 of the people who are going home from the rallies
chanting at him that this is never going to end
and that seemed like a very volatile situation
and so the escalation continues.
Go ahead, Freeberg.
I’ll tell you, it feels to me like this past week
has been nothing but fuel for both sides
because there isn’t a black and white circumstance here
and there isn’t a black and white objective truth
about what took place and what motivations were
and what the connections were.
When I was 16 years old, I went to a rave in downtown LA
for New Year’s Eve.
How old were you?
And the rave got shut down half an hour before midnight
because there was some illegal drug being widely circulated for free.
So you guys can watch videos of this on YouTube.
It’s called Circa 1996.
The cops came in and they shut down the rave.
It was outdoors in downtown LA and we rioted.
And so everyone left the rave and I participated.
I think I passed the period where they can prosecute me.
Oh my God, 7,000.
Yeah, I participated in the…
No, no, don’t say that. Don’t say that on the show.
I witnessed, participated in the sense that I was there,
and I saw all this activity.
But when you’re standing next to these people,
there was absolutely no thought around what to do and when
and what the next step was.
And I think if you watch the videos,
yeah, if you watch the videos of the Capitol,
there’s a lot of videos on YouTube that you can watch now.
And you can watch the interviews of people coming out of the Capitol building.
It’s like, what were you doing in there?
We were fighting for, you know, it’s a revolution, right?
I mean, we’re taking back the country.
And then some people were saying, well,
we’re trying to stop the certification of Joe Biden.
And other people were saying we’re taking over the Capitol.
There was no uniform sense of what the objective of the mission was.
And there was many interpretations.
If you look at all the parlor messages that have been copied and published
there were many interpretations about Trump’s words and Rudy Giuliani’s words.
And so everyone has a different point of view.
And I think that’s the biggest challenge we’re going to have is we’re all
going to try and, you know,
get to the truth and everyone’s going to cast this as a different point.
They’re going to take what happened.
They’re going to take some set of events that happened.
And they’re going to highlight that this is what the connections were.
And this is the reason why it happened.
And this just creates fuel.
It doesn’t create, you know,
there is not going to be some objective outcome here.
We’re all going to feel better.
No one’s going to feel better at the end of the day.
And we’ve basically just thrown a whole bunch of gas on,
on a fire that was already burning.
What do you think, Sax?
That was my point was just like, it’s all, it’s all grace.
No mob behavior.
I mean, it’s crazy.
Burned whatever photos you took.
Sax, what do you think of this VP, you know,
Pence and Trump and their relationship vis-a-vis pardons in this end game
Because it does seem like Pence was upset,
obviously at what occurred and that Trump didn’t even call to check on him
and what was going on.
And then a number of these people, cause there are QAnon people there.
There are, you know, I’m sure Antifa people there,
but it was mainly Trump folks.
They wanted to capture the VP.
That was for some of them,
the explicit purpose of this was to get the vice president and to hold him
accountable. And, you know,
there are some speculations to do bodily harm to him.
What are your thoughts on that?
I think one of the most insane aspects of what Trump did was the way that he
Who’s been the model of a loyal VP.
certainly the other side has criticized him for that,
for being sort of almost a toady.
No one could have been more loyal than Pence or to Trump the last four years.
And Pence simply told him, look,
I don’t have the power to cancel this vote of the electors, you know,
and for that fact, you know, just for speaking truth about that,
Trump denounced him in front of this, this Bob and,
and made him a target.
And that is one of the more insane aspects of what Trump did.
And, you know, I truck no sympathy for that.
Again, this was an act of, of demagoguery.
And this is an endemonious end for, for Trump’s presidency.
But in terms of like, you know,
I want to go back to what Freeberg just said about how he got kind of caught
up in this, in that mob. I think that, that was true.
I think for 90 something percent of the people who are there is they went to
this Trump rally and protest and it turned into a riot and they got caught
up in it. And then in addition to that, there were,
I think hidden in that crowd,
some serious agitators who were there to carry out violence and mayhem and
had crazy plans, you know, hanging my pants, shooting Pelosi.
I mean, there really were, you know, a small number of those people.
I don’t know what the percentage is, probably one or 2%.
What do you think? It’s not the majority.
What do you think will happen if they actually did shoot Pelosi or they did
hang pens? It is a possibility.
But see, no, but see that’s threat inflation.
What you’re doing right there, Jason is exactly what you’re doing.
I think it’s an actual could have happened.
What if one of the people who died was a Senator?
Yes, it could have happened, but here’s the problem.
People are acting as if everything that could have happened,
but didn’t actually happened or may still happen to the later date.
That is what I call threat inflation.
And it’s the biggest tool the sensors have for seizing power.
It because it, it, it convinces you.
Yourself said these people had those plans. So we,
we do have to think about it. I mean,
the first time we tried to blow up the world trade center,
it didn’t come down, David, but the second time it did come down.
I understand that by constantly beating the drum,
we needed to inflate that threat, didn’t we?
But, but by constantly beating the drum of these threats,
it’s encouraging people to give up.
No, we did not need to do anything.
There was a national security apparatus who needed to do it.
Their job isn’t to inflate threats.
Their job is to investigate a politically get to the bottom of shit and fix
it. They fucking failed on nine 11. Okay. We know that conclusively.
So talking about it and amping people up, Jason doesn’t do anything.
I’m saying we need to call it what it was.
A better, a better example of threat inflation would be the Iraq war.
Remember that we got to go. Absolutely.
Because of WMD,
that was threat inflation threat whipping people up, you know,
and making the worst.
I’m just talking to three of my besties and asking you what you think about
what would have happened if a Senator died? I think it’s a valid,
it came close to happening, but it came close.
this is the thing that is, is convincing people,
helping to convince people to give up liberties that they should want to hold
I’m not saying everybody and I’m not saying we need to be on edge that this
is going to happen every day of our lives.
We can’t live in fear like that, but that’s almost what happened.
There were people who went there with that intent.
We don’t, we don’t, we don’t, we don’t know any of this.
Now we’re now we’re no better than anybody else.
You had, you had a maniac who was a vessel.
He basically spilled over.
There was a small fraction of the people that probably came to that thing with
And then there was a large number of people that got pulled into the
All of their lives will be ruined because of one individual.
And at the end of the day, there was, in my opinion,
one singular person to blame Donald Trump.
And then a handful of people who were his accomplices,
Josh Holly, Ted Cruz, Rudy Giuliani.
We know who all of these characters are in this terrible play.
And then there were all these people that were caught in the undertow.
And I would rather just deal with it that way because it actually allows us
to have some sympathy.
I felt sympathy.
So all I’m saying is let’s just get back to the core issue at hand.
Something bad happened.
And then something really,
really stupid that is actually even worse also happened.
And by that you mean the banning of Trump on all platforms for all time.
No, that, that there is a fair,
there was an arbitrariness to the decision making around free speech.
And I’m telling you guys,
I know that you may think banning him from Twitter is so much lower than
this attack on the Capitol.
And I’m telling you it’s not because the slippery slope of event,
event number one is so obvious.
The prosecution of that is so obvious.
The law is so completely clear.
But we’ve shifted now into this realm where things are arbitrary,
where things are gray and it’s a worldwide problem.
There are 180 some odd countries in the world, right?
That these sites operate in with 180 different leaders multiplied by,
you know, two or three political parties each.
Like there are now hundreds and hundreds of people who are trying to figure
out chess games.
It’s so I just think we’ve now made the problem.
I just think we’ve made the problem so much worse.
Yeah, I agree.
And, and, you know,
earlier today our heated conversation extended to one of our friends in our
chat group who was telling us that, you know,
there’s a group of SAS companies that are talking about de-platforming
parlor as well from just using ordinary software as a service and other
sites like it.
And, you know, and, and again, it’s a little bit like,
it’s just like the censorship thing.
It’s like a red scare.
It’s like a red scare.
It’s like a red scare.
Not the podcast.
The actual red scare that occurred.
Like Joe McCarthy.
We’re literally going to go after anybody who writes a screenplay,
who went to a communist or socialist meeting.
But let me ask you guys, how much do you guys,
so I think that there’s severely there’s a severe amount of pressure on the
leaders of these companies to do well by their employees and that employees
are all Bay Area based and Bay Area base is a very heavy Democrat area.
And so, so, so this is the argument a lot of, you know,
conservatives make, which is the tech companies in general,
as a result act in the best interest of, of, of, you know,
of the, the liberal movements.
And Chamath, I mean, and Jason,
do you guys think that it is an employee driven kind of a set of actions
that we’re seeing and that the motivation is,
is in part to kind of appease the employees at these companies?
I think that more than 70% or 80% of the impetus for these last ditch
efforts was internally driven.
And this is where I think it’s a complete crisis of leadership,
because if you had just gotten up in front of your employees and said,
guys, if we do this,
we will shift focus away from what actually is the problem.
So I think the right solution is temporary ban while we evaluate,
while we strengthen policy,
like some bullshit fucking statement and allow the legal court system to
do their job.
they acted like vigilantes in a way that basically appeased nobody.
And all of a sudden shifted the focus away from the person that all these
hundreds of employees wanted to basically have, you know,
have been found guilty and pointed to one individual.
They all wanted one individual to be held culpable.
And now he’s not going to.
A hundred percent.
And, and, and,
and the proof of that is the fact that these employees have been calling for
this policy for years and now they finally got the excuse to do it.
And so I agree.
Jack is leading Twitter from behind.
The mob runs Twitter now.
And they have for some time.
And to Freebrook’s point,
it’s like Padme Padme,
I guess in the great,
the great America,
who said this is how democracy dies to a thunderous applause.
everybody’s clapping over this censorship.
the prequels are underrated.
I have to say,
if you watch revenge of the Sith,
I don’t know.
The last three were the best,
but the last three were the worst,
but can I,
I just want to get sex.
I’m just going to add to it.
so since your mouth is a hundred percent,
There’s one thing I would add to that though,
which is if just a few months ago,
we had this Senate hearing on section 230.
And both Jack and suck were berated by the senators,
most notably Senator Blumenthal,
who was basically arguing for censorship.
He was telling him,
you got to crack down.
And so I also think there’s not just pressure from below.
There’s pressure from above.
These guys know who’s coming into power in January.
And I think especially Zuck,
who has to be terrified of being broken up right now.
So he is thinking about how do I mollify and appease these
politicians who now have the power and can break me up.
And I got news for him.
It’s too little,
They’re going to break you up anyway,
You’re going to get broken up anyway.
And by the way,
I now agree with it.
I got to say,
on previous pods,
I’ve defended these tech companies,
but I have come around.
They are too powerful and they are using their powerful,
their power in too indiscriminate a way without power.
And the sooner we break them up,
But you didn’t say that.
Let me just,
let me just point something out,
You didn’t say that before it affected the conservative
movement’s ability to have a voice,
don’t call it Saks.
but I want to point out,
and a lot of people are having this reaction,
which is once it affects.
And I just want to point this out.
Once it affects you personally,
once it affects the way the system is operating right now,
a lot of people make,
make fun of this,
but a few months ago or weeks ago,
there was a porn website called Pornhub and Visa MasterCard and
Discover stopped processing payments for them because the New York
Times put out an opinion article about.
how do you spell that?
it’s just autofilled about 30 URLs,
You just autofilled 30 URLs.
Go to your bookmark.
go to your bookmark and go down to number two.
And I want to just point out like,
the electronic frontier foundation was the only organization that really
made a stink about this,
this behavior from these monopoly payment processing networks,
stepping in and blocking their ability to run as a business,
not on any legal grounds and not on any grounds based on some court
making a decision.
it was an opinion piece and suddenly everyone’s waking up because now
Trump is being silenced.
And this is why no,
I personally am not that upset about Trump per se being censored.
I’m upset about this new,
to pass policy of censorship,
including deployed forming,
not just Trump but parler.
you’re talking about millions of people.
And the fact that they’re conservative is not the reason.
If this was happening to a liberal app,
I promise you,
I’d be acting the exact same way for me.
Free speech is the most cherished value that we have.
It’s the first amendment of the constitution.
It’s the first right in the bill of rights.
That’s the thing that has me upset.
This is not a partisan thing.
and to your point,
you asked us,
what do we think is going on here at these companies?
I think there’s three things and we just heard two of them and,
and sacks stole my thunder because I was going to say,
who I believe I’m very cynical about.
I think he is thinking,
how do I piece the left now after having appeased Trump for all these
Now Trump’s out of office.
how do I piece the left?
I have to ban him for life.
And remember Trump was,
Zach was the first to give the lifetime ban,
who has previously been in Trump’s corner is now not,
the third factor.
So the first factor is obviously the employees.
Second factor is,
getting broken up and appeasing all the centers.
I think the third one is,
I think that there could be information that we are not privy to that.
They are privy to that.
that is leading them to overreact here.
because I’m going to disagree.
I’m going to disagree too.
it would not have come out in that way.
It would have said we are,
pausing the account or suspending the account.
It wouldn’t have been this next step of saying you’re deplatformed forever.
I think in Jack’s,
it would have been necessary.
If it was a real security issue.
it was not.
The other thing I’ll say,
can I just say one thing,
which is that I’ve been in the bowels of these companies.
I helped build one.
my team was probably the most instrumental in getting one of these things to
real mega scale.
I think that these companies are complicated enough that everybody needs to
realize that it is beyond the capability of any one person to manage in a
And these businesses are,
They exist in too many countries with too many different standards that
ultimately all comes back to one unified code base.
If Facebook was actually 182 different products on a country by country basis
and Twitter was the same,
there was actually be a path here,
And each one had a country level CEO that actually had power.
Maybe this could be different,
but the problem is that if all roads go back to Menlo Park in San Francisco
and you’re putting the power in the hands of 15 or 20,000 people over a
multimillion line code base,
it’s an impossible task for even the smartest of the smart people.
These companies need to get broken up.
I think we’re all going to agree on that.
I do think you guys are missing a piece of another point.
You guys are missing a piece of information.
I’m just going to read to you what,
from the Washington post,
Twitter specifically raised the possibility that Trump’s recent tweets could
mobilize his supporters to commit acts of violence around president elect Joe
Biden’s inauguration and analysis that experts saw as a major expansion of the
I don’t know.
and so they specifically cited that they said they were,
and the tweet that they were concerned about was this one,
that got taken down very quickly.
American patriots will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way,
shape or form.
And then he announced right after that,
that he’s not going to the inauguration.
So what Twitter believes is that that was some sort of a dog whistle to go do
violence at the inauguration.
And that’s what they said in their lifetime ban is they felt Trump was,
So that may be,
and just to point out,
you could interpret it that way and you could also interpret it the other
which is the problem of Trump.
Like he knows how to do this.
It’s the problem of using judgment.
can I ask you a question?
Would you be supportive of,
So for example,
the messaging infrastructure that supports Facebook and Twitter,
have to be unified in a way.
so that there is,
that was originally called like there was RSS.
there’s a lot of open communication protocols that exist out there.
signal has made an attempt at doing this as well with,
with their approach and open sourcing everything.
I’m just thinking,
I’m just asking what is the technical solution if not to break them up to
make them more,
predictable portability of your profile.
I think you could pass a law.
we do have a government,
we can pass the law.
So you can pass a law that says,
if you’re going to operate a communication platform,
here are the rules you have to abide by.
And here’s how you have to,
and now you’re a regulated entity and you could regulate them.
And you could even create a regulatory body to oversee them and make sure
that standards of free speech are applied universally.
and in an absolute way,
and give them a chance to correct,
By the way,
given that it may be so technically difficult to break them up,
that may be one of the points,
one of the paths of resolution.
And we’re going to find out the next two to three years,
because I don’t think that anyone on the left or the right likes big tech as
they call it,
and the way it’s operating today.
But I think technically having been in these organizations,
it is impossible to break them up.
And I will say something controversial.
I also think consumers benefit from the scale that they operate at.
And I don’t think that they should be broken up.
And I think that there’s economic value to having Google be at the scale
it’s at and Amazon being at the scale it’s at and Facebook being a skill
And it doesn’t harm consumers.
I think it helps in aggregate in terms of pricing and service availability.
but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be regulated in a way that
everyone can kind of feel like there’s some absolute universal standard
I know I’m in the minority on that.
I would say,
my view about antitrust used to be that it was all about consumer harm.
And I’ve actually come around to more of the liberal point of view on this,
it can’t just be about consumer harm.
It’s also gotta be about power and not just market power,
but democratic power.
And the fact of the matter is these companies have just gotten too large and
too powerful and they have too much influence on our democracy and it’s
So what if they got regulated,
what if they got regulated like a utility sacks?
So like we have regulatory bodies for utilities for both telecommunications
and for power and energy.
What if we had a regulatory body for internet services?
first and foremost,
I want to know my rights.
I want to know what my rights are online,
that these tech,
this cartel of technopolies cannot take away from me because something is a
If it only,
if it can’t be taken away.
And right now it can all be taken away.
your online identity,
your right to participate in the public conversation can be taken away with
no explanation by these companies.
We have no rights.
what would you do if your online presence is taken away?
Like that is a huge part of the modern world.
What is going on in Trump’s mind?
Do you think right now having lost his ability to communicate with a billion
like he had this ability to control the conversation and now he’s,
I don’t even know if people will put them on air.
That’s why I think something is brewing with him.
he is not going to sit tight and,
and wind out the last 10 days here.
whether it’s some ad hoc press conference,
he calls tomorrow and just rants on TV,
or he tries to declare some,
pass some law without Congress’s approval or does something.
this guy is never proven himself to be able to sit quietly and to not be in
the spotlight or to be told that he’s wrong.
And all three of those things are being imposed upon him right now.
So he is squirming like a,
like a cat being put in the bath.
it seems like they’re doing some last ditch stuff.
Pompeo lifted restrictions for us,
I don’t know if you saw that.
That was a little bit of an interesting thing that was slid in the last
couple of days.
little jab to the Chinese on the way out.
Where do you think sacks last 10 days?
the zip tie guy apparently got arrested.
I want to know what’s going on with him.
these guys having zip ties with them is just,
but this is incredible that how systematically they’ve been able to
a lot of these folks.
I will tell you,
I will tell you the one thing we got going for us is the deep state.
thank God for folks who are loyal to the constitution and to the rule of
law in this country.
And the FBI is incredible.
the civil servants who have been career civil servants in government,
as much as we make fun of the bureaucracy and the bullshit that goes on,
it’s great to be an American and to know that there’s,
that there’s these,
these folks out there looking out for,
for this was like being in the final stages of a stress test.
It’s like the final.
by the way,
as I predicted on the last pod,
I said there would be major,
everyone was saying that,
that these protests are being treated with kid gloves compared to BLM.
And I was like,
there’s going to be arrests.
And sure enough,
they’re rounding up these people quick.
A lot of charges.
I think the most genius thing was,
I don’t know who said,
who said it was a honey pot,
the parlor post that said,
it’s incredible sacks,
sacks pointed this out.
So I’ll give him full credit for this.
But there was a parlor post where it was like the,
the title of the person was like,
office of the,
the president’s pardon attorney.
send me your name and phone number and email.
If you want to be pardoned for what happened in the Capitol.
And so I was like,
and name the crime you committed.
I just set up a website called capital riots,
So please go to capital riots,
And tell us what you did.
if you outline each of the crimes you outlined that you did,
you will get amnesty for those crimes,
but you have to outline in detail what you did and give us any
photographic and video proof you have of your crimes.
The reason I suspected that was a honey pot is because,
Jimmy Carter pardoned,
after the Vietnam war,
he pardoned everyone who had dodged the draft as part of the
He did that as a blanket pardon without naming any names.
So it seemed very suspect to me that Trump would need
individual names and crimes to be able to pardon them.
I do think.
And that was ceremonial,
That was like a healing a wound move by Jimmy Carter.
No one was going after that.
Cause we weren’t prosecuting those.
but it was never litigated.
So it became a precedent.
I think I do think that Trump probably,
this would be a very interesting court case,
but I do think he could issue a blanket pardon and everyone on
the mall that day.
I’m not saying he should,
I think it’s a terrible.
As opposed to deescalation,
being our lawyer and our historian,
what is the origin of the presidential pardon?
How is that even legal?
And how did we end up in a place in this country where any law
could be superseded by the president telling you it’s okay for you to
break this law and pardon you after the fact,
or even before the fact.
It’s it’s it’s it exists because it’s in the constitution and the
framers of the constitution put it in there.
I don’t know what their thinking was.
I’ve never really seen it.
I don’t know.
It is a,
almost a residue of,
or a vestigial monarchical power that somehow was included in the
the intention of it,
my understanding was to correct injustices that occurred so that it
would be a backstop against somebody who was by the judgment of the
by the judgment of the courts.
It’s like crazy that like,
it would be a backstop against somebody who was by the judgment of the
by the judgment of the courts.
It’s like crazy that like,
it relies on tradition.
It relies on,
people buying into America.
and I think that’s the Trump stress test.
And I can’t wait till we don’t talk about this guy anymore.
I’d love to see an amendment getting rid of the pardon powers.
I don’t know.
I never feel good about it.
I feel like the court should be where you should adjudicate,
appeals and such,
but all right,
we’ve beaten this today.
Can I end on something?
Let’s end on something.
a bunch of SPACs public,
at the end of last year.
And on Friday,
one of the vehicles that I’m the CEO of merged with SoFi.
and I want to tell you something about the CEO of SoFi,
and I think he’ll be okay.
Cause he shared this story a couple of times,
his parents got divorced when he was three years old.
grew up on welfare,
sort of free lunch kids until middle school,
went to the,
the West Point,
was an all-star stock analyst,
was the CFO of the NFL,
was a CFO of Twitter than the COO of Twitter.
you guys know my story,
ended up in the United States after growing up in Canada,
after escaping a civil war.
I grew up on welfare and I said to Anthony,
what are the odds that two kids who grew up that way could have ended up in a
moment where we were part of doing something really amazing that,
for each of us was a meaningful accomplishment.
And he said,
only in America and,
only in America.
This is the single best fucking country in the goddamn world.
A hundred percent.
and it’s worth fighting for and it’s worth having these debates and I think
it’s worth doing the pod.
And so I’d like to suggest the American constitution,
the pod going.
The American constitution is the most incredible fucking document because
that is the foundation on which all of these things are built.
It’s just the most amazing thing.
So I am really glad that we’re all having this conversation.
And I would just say,
keep the faith.
Let’s put the light back on Donald Trump.
I would have as much sympathy as possible for as many of those folks in the
Maybe not the folks that were intending to do harm,
maybe not zip tie guy,
but there’s a lot of other people that are,
that just got caught in the undertow.
I would try to have sympathy for them.
and I would really don’t lose focus.
stay fucking vigilante.
I would also love you guys.
Think about doing something for someone else this week.
Let’s all do something nice.
I love you guys.
God damn it.
This is the time.
You can say it.
And it said,
we open sourced it to the fans,
and they’ve just gone crazy with it.
Queen of Kinhwa.
Besties are gone.
That’s my dog taking a notice in your driveway,
We should all just get a room
and just have one big huge orgy,
because they’re all just useless.
It’s like sexual tension,
but they just need to release somehow.
You’re a B.
You’re a B.
You’re a B.
We need to get merch.
Besties are gone.
I’m doing all in.
I’m doing all in.
I’m doing all in.