Debate: Can the Free Market Provide National Defense? 5

This is a great discussion between Todd Lewis and Bob Murphy about the viability of non-state/private “national defense” services. I have an old essay about this topic here.


Economist Bob Murphy (Ph.D., NYU) and podcaster Todd Lewis square off in the central debate of anarcho-capitalism: is government truly necessary for national defense, or could the free market provide this service?

Whither the Antiwar Movement? Reply

This article provides a pretty good overview of why the antiwar movement is so tiny and ineffectual. The antiwar movement of the early 2000s was a cover for an anti-Republican movement, that quickly disappeared when Barack Obama was elected, even if there were no substantive changes in US foreign policy. Here are some of the author’s main points:

“The rallies and protests in the early 2000s attracted significant numbers but they were weighed down by far-left organizations like the World Workers Party, which brought with them myriad other issues beyond war like global warming and poverty. There was also long-held and fairly broad skepticism about the intentions of United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, which organized most of the big protests over the last 17 years. This was due to the “big tent” affiliations of some of their steering committee members, which critics say led to a dilution of the message and drove the anti-war movement further from the mainstream. “

What the author is saying that the massive antiwar rallies of the early 2000s were frequently organized by Commie-front groups, for the sake of creating a revolutionary leftist movement under their leadership, and not opposing imperialist aggression per se. The antiwar movement was only a vehicle for advancing revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, and trying to bring other left movements under their umbrella as well. Hence, the emphasis on the “big tent” that you find at leftist antiwar rallies, where antiwar banners and signs will be displayed along with banners about a multitude of other issues, from climate change to transgender rights. This is a standard Marxist-Leninist organizing technique, and one that is very familiar to those of us with decades of experience with the far left.

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SJW vs. Sargon: Showdown at Milwaukee Atheist Conference 2

This Smith guy sounds like a weenie and a crybaby, although I’m not a huge fan of Sargon’s centrist “conservative libertarianism,” either.

By Andy Ngo

Areomagazine.Com

Sparks flew at the 2017 MythCon conference on Saturday when British YouTuber and cultural critic Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad, exchanged verbal blows and jabs with his interviewer, Thomas Smith, an atheist and skeptic podcast host. The heated exchange on intersectional feminism, social justice activism and Black Lives Matter was marred by insults which frequently bled into Smith yelling at the audience. The tumultuous debate culminated in Smith storming off the stage after repeatedly accusing Sargon of holding misogynistic and racist views. Tensions continued to mount even after the conference, resulting in security removing angry attendees from the venue.

“Atheism plus” meets “atheism minus”

Held at the Pabst Theatre in downtown Milwaukee and organized by Mythicist Milwaukee, a secular and free inquiry group, the conference was surrounded in controversy weeks leading up to the event. Activists and feminists on social media took issue with the speaker lineup bringing to the forefront the growing chasm in the secular community between social justice humanism, sometimes branded as “atheism plus,” and a more libertarian or classical liberal skepticism. The event featured several atheist speakers of the latter-kind, including feminism critic Sargon and fellow video bloggers Gregory Fluhrer aka Armoured Skeptic and June Lapine aka Shoe0nHead.

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Cliches of Statism, and How to Answer Them 5

Tom Woods and Stefan Molyneux discuss many of the cliches libertarians find themselves having to answer, involving child labor, labor unions, monopolies, the environment, and more. Listen here.

I generally agree with the content of this discussion, except, like most mainstream libertarians, they’re going far too easy on historic capitalism in terms of the role of the state in fostering it, and the degree to which corporatism and statism continue to be interconnected.

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Pure Black: An Emerging Consensus Among Some Comrades? Reply

Apparently, there is a new form of anarchism developing that is a hybrid of post-left anarchism and anarchism without adjectives called “black anarchism,” not to be confused with another kind of “black anarchism” associated with African-American anarchists. This tendency has been described to me as “like how you have red anarchists, green anarchists, yellow anarchists, etc. And “black” means just the anarchist part.” Sounds like a move in the right direction, although almost anything is preferable to the Antifa/SJW versions of anarchism (although, ironically, I still consider those to be legitimate versions of anarchism, just misdirected and sometimes malevolent).

Anarchist News

The term “black” anarchist has been thrown around recently in a number of international milieux and journals. Indeed during the last few years of my travels throughout North and South America and Europe I have noted repeated attempts to define, through action and theory, the ideas associated with black anarchy. Following is a brief, incomplete outline of some of the more common aspects of what black anarchists think and do. These tendencies are numbered for convenience, and not to show priority or importance.

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Would Libertarianism Make People Fat? 4

In the spirit of Paul LaFargue and Bob Black. This is precisely the kind of libertarianism we need, not bourgeois conservatism or SJW ninnyism. “But freedom will make people lazy and decadent!” Response” “Yeah? What of it?”

Anarcho-Dictator

Without all the taxes and regulations that force people to continuously generate income to survive, it’s quite possible that many people would be even lazier than they are today. If one could simply build on land or buy it, and had to pay for nothing but repairs and vittles for themselves, many people might find themselves at work two or four hour days and spend the rest of their time watching hentai and drinking beer.

An increase in economic prosperity has led to an increasingly slothful and self-indulgent population in every case I can think of. A large, free trade economy might produce hordes of people for whom survival is so simple as to make effort almost superfluous.

Such an environment would also open the pathway to many low-efficiency lifestyles – the wealthier you are, the more you can indulge cult superstitions, smoke crack and alienate everyone without risk of starving to death. Imagine all the ‘anarcho-primitivists’ with their camping gear shipped into the Amazon by Amazon drones – making a few dollars a day selling pictures of the rain forest to advertising firms.

The Rebel Left Has Vanished—and Diversity of Thought Has Vanished With It Reply

The Left as it should be.

In many ways it is defamatory of the historic Left to refer to the trash that passes for “leftism” today as actual “leftism.” Today’s “left” consists of two basic wings. One is the mainstream Democratic Party center-left. This “left” is rooted in late 19th/early 20th century “progressivism” (i.e. the public administration state and scientism). Let’s not forget that it was these folks that brought about such “genius” ideas as eugenics and Prohibition. It’s historic figures are Woodrow Wilson (of WW1, Red Scare, Jim Crow, and labor suppression fame), Franklin D. Roosevelt (who placed Japanese-Americans in concentration camps), Harry Truman (incinerator of cities), and Lyndon B. Johnson (Vietnam War). Fuck all that. The “radical left” of today consists of “identity politics” (tribalism), “no platforming” (mob action against unpopular people), and a Church lady-like phobia that someone, somewhere might be saying bad words or promoting bad ideas. Precisely the same characteristics that are traditionally identified with right-wing authoritarian states and movements. To concede the label of “left” to these cretins is really to dishonor the legacy and achievements of the historic Left.

The antiwar Left in the US is essentially non-existent with the exception of a handful of individuals, groups, and outlets such as Medea Benjamin, Counterpunch, the Greens, the old guard commie anti-imperialists, and journalists associated with foreign media outlets. The labor Left barely exists. Union membership is at an all-time low. The economic Left amounts to little more than “single payer health care.” The civil liberties Left seems to be very marginal. The “left” today is basically technocratic centrist progressivism and neoliberal economics in the mainstream, environmentalism and veganism, and these “left-fascist” tendencies on the margins.“Fascists are divided into two categories: the fascists and the anti-fascists.”– Ennio Flaiano.

We very much need a “new New Left” in the spirit of folks like Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, and Hunter S. Thompson, i..e a party of outlaws and heretics, not do-gooders.

By Ryan Blacketter

The Observer

I occasionally despair of the loss of the 1960s rebellious left in American life. Many 60s writers refused a total allegiance to their politics. They found singular voices through dissonance, ambiguity, and contradiction—as individuals often do. It’s not surprising that Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, and Hunter S. Thompson explored free expression on so many of their pages.

What made these authors so attractive was their willingness to embrace ideology only so far. They kept plenty of room in their minds to pursue other beliefs. Also, they rejected certain ideas on the left, as they saw fit—and without drastic consequence. Outside of extreme cases, the 60s alternative culture allowed for such diversity of thought.

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Shane Burley & Mark Bray on Fascism Today and Antifa 3

What’s most interesting about this presentation is that these guys admit that “fascism” is a very small, marginal, and unpopular tendency in mainstream society. And yet it’s somehow a grave threat to civilization. Being an “anti-fascist” in 21st century Western civilization is about as sensible as being a McCarthyite (although the mainstream center-left is trying to bring that back as well with the “Russia-gate” hysteria). These guys might as well be Civil War reenactors. If folks like this would put as much energy into fighting the state that we actually have with it’s worldwide massacres of brown people, and its domestic police-prosecutorial-prison state, they might actually have something. What a joke.

“Authors Mark Bray (Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook) and Shane Burley (Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It) will be discussing the rise of fascist politics in the U.S. and the movement’s that are fighting it. In ANTIFA: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, organizer and historian Mark Bray provides a compelling, meticulous history that details the early days of the movement — when it was formed almost simultaneously with fascism itself, to fight Hitler and Mussolini — up to the present day. The book also acts as a handbook to tactics and strategies, key organizations and the core philosophies of the movement, suggesting what role citizens can play today in combating the rise of the far right. Fascism Today looks at the changing world of the far right in Donald Trump’s America. Examining the modern fascist movement’s various strains, Shane Burley has written an accessible primer about what its adherents believe, how they organize, and what future they have in the United States. The ascension of Trump has introduced a whole new vocabulary into our political lexicon—white nationalism, race realism, Identitarianism, and a slew of others. Burley breaks it all down. From the tech-savvy trolls of the alt-right to esoteric Aryan mystics, from full-fledged Nazis to well-groomed neofascists like Richard Spencer, he shows how these racists and authoritarians have reinvented themselves in order to recruit new members and grow. Just as importantly, Fascism Today shows how they can be fought and beaten. It highlights groups that have successfully opposed these twisted forces and outlines the elements needed to build powerful mass movements to confront the institutionalization of fascist ideas, protect marginalized communities, and ultimately stop the fascist threat.” ‘Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It’ book by Shane Burley: https://www.amazon.com/Fascism-Today-… ‘Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook’ book by Mark Bray: https://www.amazon.com/Antifa-Anti-Fa…

Calling for Radical Alliances Among Anti Authoritarians Reply

From Ancaps and Ancoms, to Syndicalists and Individualists, Mutualists and Agorists, Voluntaryists and Market Anarchists, Panarchists and Anarchists without Adjectives, and other self-identified radicals – this talk is aimed at those who are against Authoritarianism, Statism, and Oppression in all forms. This talk is aimed at those who recognize the power of the Individual and seek to work together as a whole. On Sunday October 11th Derrick Broze spoke at Libertyfest in NYC about the history of the word Libertarian, the history of alliances between radicals on the left and right, a highlight of the work of Karl Hess and Samuel Konkin III, and the need for less ego and dogma in the interest of building new alliances between radicals across the political spectrum. Radical means taking a direct action approach to your activism.
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Dave Rubin on the Left’s Drift, and Striking Out on His Own Reply

Dave Rubin is interviewed by Tom Woods. Listen here.

Rubin talks about how the Left has become a totalitarian monolith, while conservatives and libertarians are now the free speech/diversity of ideas camp. I’d argue that this is because the Left is an ascendant force, and the Right is shrinking demographically, culturally, and generationally. The groups who are out of power are usually the ones who are the most pro-freedom. During the period between the 1950s and 1980s, it was the Left that tended to be the pro-freedom forces. That started to change with the ascendancy of neoliberalism in the 1990s, and the rise of PC on the Left during the same period.

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Dave Rubin, host of the hugely successful Rubin Report, alienated former colleagues (e.g., at The Young Turks Network, where he had been an on-air host) when he openly disapproved of what he saw as an authoritarian, anti-free-speech drift among the Left. Today his YouTube channel has nearly 567,000 subscribers and his show reaches an enormous audience.

The Greatest Mass-Death Regimes in History Reply

Some more interesting comments from Dick Moore. I would agree that US imperialism at present is far more pernicious than anything the Russians or Chinese are currently doing. For one thing, it has a much, much wider reach. Russia’s present foreign policy is a traditional Russian foreign policy, i.e. maintain buffer zones in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and formulate a Eurasian/Global South alliance for the purpose of countering Western imperialism and moving towards multipolarity. Chinese foreign policy is also fairly traditional Chinese foreign policy, i.e. maintaining buffer zones and avoid cultural contamination, with an additional emphasis on economic development. American foreign policy at present is also a fairly traditional American, i.e. aggressive expansionism and domination of international trade.

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Even if you leave out actual shooting and bombing people, the US Empire is one of the greatest mass-death regimes in history. The political-economic kleptocracy uses its hegemonic power and military threats to alter the legal and economic environments of foreign nations from Panama to Formosa. It regularly uses both its own military and its puppet agencies such as the United Nations to blockade and sanction foreign countries, and to prop-up thuggish regimes who are compliant with the needs of the Corporate Super-Class. The indirect effect this has on domestic regimes’ political and economic environment has resulted in the deaths of literally tens of millions of people who are being deprived of access to medical, food and other resources that would otherwise have been available to them. Even if you think some ‘alternative’ source of starvation and tyranny would have filled the vacuum had the USA not been the one doing it, they are still responsible for what they actually are doing.

If one counts the Ukraine famine and the actions of the Kyrgiz Socialist Republic in the death total of Stalin, I don’t see why we shouldn’t count these murder-by-sanction and murder-by-proxy against the US Empire. Which would make the USA right up there with Chairman Mao for total body count – if not higher. The difference is that the USSR and Chinese Communist death totals were largely confined to the domestic spheres of the old Russian and Chinese empires, whereas the USA is murdering and starving people on a global scale.

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Why State Provision of Social Services is a Bad Idea, Even in the Context of Corporate Plutocracy Reply

Some interesting comments from “Dick Moore” on Facebook.

I wanted to write a little bit about the question of ‘social services’ provided by the State as alleged ‘alternatives’ to for-profit systems.

To start with I will admit (as more sophisticated libertarians do) that really-existing capitalism and its major appendages – the international joint-stock corporation – benefit in a myriad of ways from state intervention, both direct (subsidy, tariff and government contracts) as well as indirect (the creation of ‘friendly business environments’ in foreign lands through political pressure by the American state, intellectual property, and so forth). Existing corporations, even if they provide really valuable services, are almost certainly far more profitable and extensive that would be possible in a market of free competition and without State control of access to credit and so forth.

Many liberals and socialists demand, as an antidote, that many social services should be provided by the government rather than left to the whims of the corporate oligarchy.

‘Obamacare’ has resulted in the funneling of money into huge insurance companies and a further disconnection between patients and care providers, with no apparent improvement in the cost or availability of medical care. After the failure of Obamacare (which even some leftists admit) the solution usually offered is a single-payer system, that is full state operation of medical services, or at least a system of free state-run hospitals for those who cannot afford private services.

Yet is this really an antidote? The almost entirely state-operated school system provides billions a year to corporations – through construction contracts, purchase of computers, purchase of Microsoft Windows, purchase of internet access through FCC-regulated-and-connected agencies such as Time-Warner. And because of this these corporations are raking in huge sums of money without being responsible, while schools can draw potentially infinite funds without any reference to outcomes.

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President Trump’s 2017 Report Card (first draft) 2

When Trump was running for President, I predicted that he would govern about like a moderate Republican in the Nixon-Rockefeller tradition, or as a centrist Democrat in the style of Bill Clinton. Apparently, I was right. It’s rather embarrassing that so many in the various “anarchist” camps have bought into the anti-Trump hysteria. Trumpism is an enemy, but only a peripheral one. The real enemy is the establishment center. Serious anarchists should be just as opposed to neoliberal and progressive Democrats as they are to conservative or populist Republicans.

By Scott Adams

As we approach the holiday season there will be much debate on how President Trump has performed for his first calendar year. As a populist president, I think the best way to judge his performance is by focusing on the issues voters say are their top priorities. Pew Research polled voters to determine their political priorities for 2017. Let’s see how President Trump is doing so far on the top ten priorities according to the public.

Terrorism (76% rated top priority)

ISIS is on the run, thanks in part to President Trump’s loosening of the rules of military engagement, as well as pivoting from a Whack-a-Mole strategy to a total annihilation strategy with no withdrawal date. Both moves are good persuasion. And while President Trump’s “extreme vetting” is unpopular with many citizens, it has probably reduced risk to the homeland. And General Mattis is widely considered to be a strong hire.

     Grade: A

Economy (73% rated top priority)

I’ll give President Obama 75% credit for the strong economy. But I think consumer confidence and the stock market tell us there is optimism about the current administration. That confidence is buoyed by Trump’s reduction in regulations via executive orders, his tough talk on trade, and his persuasion toward a higher GDP that is already becoming self-fulfilling. If people believe the economy will be better next year than this year, they invest this year, thus making next year better. We might see something good come out of tax reform, but I don’t think it will matter as much as people assume.

     Grade: A

 

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The danger of race-based politics 2

Kotkin’s class analysis, his recognition that progressives are just as bad on class issues as conservatives, and his stating the obvious fact that racial demagoguery is a bad idea are all spot on. However, he seems to retreat into a naive civic nationalism that’s likely to prove increasingly untenable as class, cultural, racial, political and other divisions grow. The United States of the future will likely continue to be a wealth, technologically advanced society that is increasingly diverse in terms of population demographics. The society will become increasingly integrated as well (more Buddhists in Congress, etc). However, the emerging class system is one that resembles the kind of class structure traditionally found in Latin America, and social conflict between contending demographics will likely continue to escalate as well. The role of the increasingly all-pervasive public administration state will be in part to manage that conflict, largely through unprincipled means like buying off the loyalty of some groups, suppressing others, playing different groups off against each other, negotiating or forcing settlements between rival groups, etc.

By Joel Kotkin

Orange County Register

Overall, perceptions of worsening racial relations have been building since the Obama years. And now, with everything from the Kate Steinle murder verdict to President Trump’s dog-whistling Muslim tweets, they see destined to worsen further.

Ironically the strongest demand for racial exclusion comes mostly not from traditional racists — still not extinct — but from a campus left determined to address the evils of “whiteness” through policies of racial separation not seen since Jim Crow days. At some campuses, events are held that whites are excluded from and racially separate dorms are being developed. Even at the high school level, there are attempts to be “racially conscious” towards students, essentially teaching them to their racial “profile,” with dubious educational benefits.

President Trump’s unfortunate tendency to go out of his way to offend non-whites, whether they be Navajo war heroes, Hispanics or inner-city African Americans, makes this all worse. The president and the radical racialists both seem to find common purpose in the creation of kindling for racial bonfires.

Race in not the fundamental problem — class is

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8 numbers out of Alabama that should terrify Republicans Reply

This is an interesting analysis of Roy Moore’s defeat from CNN.

Some of this polling data would seem to bear out what I have been saying for quite some time. For around 15 years, I have been arguing that conventional “right-wing” politics of the kind associated with racism, religious fundamentalism, social conservatism, Chamber of Commerce types, or traditional WASP social norms is slowly being killed off by cultural, demographic, and generational changes. Instead, this older form of “conservatism” is being replaced by a new kind of “conservatism” rooted in newer, high-tech industries and a rising upper middle class that is ostensibly “liberal” or cosmopolitan in its cultural outlook but no less to committed imperialism, statism, and capitalism than its “right-wing” predecessors. Obviously, this rising class of New Elites is already dominant in the Blue Zones. However, the influence of the Blue Tribe continues to expand, even in surprising ways. My own state of Virginia was once one of the reddest of the Red Zones, but has now turned Blue.

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National Precious Metals Company Announces Sound Money Scholarship Winners Reply

By J.P. Cortez

December 13, 2017 (Eagle, Idaho) — A national precious metals dealer has selected four outstanding students to receive tuition assistance from America’s first gold-backed scholarship fund.

Beginning last year, Money Metals Exchange, a national precious metals dealer recently ranked “Best in the USA,” teamed up with the Sound Money Defense League and well known members of acedemia and freedom-minded non-profits to offer the first gold-backed scholarship of the modern era.

The groups set aside 100 ounces of physical gold to reward outstanding students who display a thorough understanding of monetary policy, sound money, and the damage caused by the Federal Reserve system.

After a blue-ribbon panel examined nearly 100 applications submitted this year, Money Metals Exchange & Sound Money Defense League today revealed the 2017 winners:

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Social Class and State Power: Exploring an Alternative Radical Tradition Reply

This looks to be quite good. Available at Amazon.Com.

This book explores the idea of social class in the liberal tradition. It collects classical and contemporary texts illustrating and examining the liberal origins of class analysis―often associated with Marxism but actually rooted in the work of liberal theorists. Liberal class analysis emphasizes the constitutive connection between state power and class position. Social Class and State Power documents the rich tradition of liberal class theory, its rediscovery in the twentieth century, and the possibilities it opens up for research in the new millenium.

How Russia-gate Rationalizes Censorship Reply

By Joe Lauria

Consortium News

At the end of October, I wrote an article for Consortiumnews about the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign paying for unvetted opposition research that became the basis for much of the disputed story about Russia allegedly interfering in the 2016 presidential election on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The piece showed that the Democrats’ two paid-for sources that have engendered belief in Russia-gate are at best shaky. First was former British spy Christopher Steele’s largely unverified dossier of second- and third-hand opposition research portraying Donald Trump as something of a Russian Manchurian candidate.

And the second was CrowdStrike, an anti-Putin private company, examining the DNC’s computer server to dubiously claim discovery of a Russian “hack.” In a similar examination of an alleged hack of a Ukrainian artillery app, CrowdStrike also blamed Russia but used faulty data for its report that it was later forced to rewrite. CrowdStrike was hired after the DNC refused to allow the FBI to look at the server.

My piece also described the dangerous consequences of partisan Democratic faith in Russia-gate: a sharp increase in geopolitical tensions between nuclear-armed Russia and the U.S., and a New McCarthyism that is spreading fear — especially in academia, journalism and civil rights organizations — about questioning the enforced orthodoxy of Russia’s alleged guilt.

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Posting or Hosting Sex Ads Could Mean 25 Years in Federal Prison Under New Republican Proposal Reply

More creeping Stalinism.

By Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Reason

Looking forward to a future when federal agents monitor Tinder? We won’t be far off if some folks in Congress get their way.

Under a proposal from Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R–Va.), anyone posting or hosting digital content that leads to an act of prostitution could face serious federal prison time as well as civil penalties. This is obviously bad news for sex workers, but it would also leave digital platforms—including dating apps, social media, and classifieds sites such as Craigslist—open to serious legal liability for the things users post.

In effect, it would give government agents more incentive and authority to monitor sex-related apps, ads, forums, and sites of all sorts. And it would give digital platforms a huge incentive to track and regulate user speech more closely.

Goodlatte’s measure was offered as an amendment to another House bill, this one from the Missouri Republican Ann Wagner. The House Judiciary Committee will consider both bills on Tuesday.

Wagner’s legislation (H.R. 1865) would open digital platforms to criminal and civil liability not just for future sex crimes that result from user posts or interactions but also for past harms brokered by the platforms in some way. So platforms that followed previous federal rules (which encouraged less content moderation in order to avoid liability) would now be especially vulnerable to charges and lawsuits.

The bill currently has 171 co-sponsors, including ample numbers of both Republicans and Democrats.

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