When I saw that Obama was announcing his upcoming visit to Stanford University, I was very happy. I said to myself, “He’s finally going to learn something, never say never.” But I was wrong. It turns out that he did not go to learn but to teach. However, being a conference about misinformation, I think it is a good idea to have an expert like him.
Be that as it may, in the CEMEX Auditorium, Obama said there is more and more misinformation because of social networks. “I’ve already seen demonstrations of deep fake technology that show what looks like me on a screen, saying stuff I did not say. It’s a strange experience people,” he revealed without realizing that, in reality, it is a much stranger experience to hear the real Obama speak. Like, for example, when he said he was unaware that Hillary Clinton used a private email server to send classified information, and subsequent leaks showed that he not only knew because he had received emails from that server, but that he was actually worried about it.
The conclusion of the former president’s talk is so predictable that, if that’s where he was going, he might as well have saved himself the trip. He spoke over 7,000 words to end up saying that the solution to online disinformation is regulation. He has never stopped being a socialist. Whether you ask him about the problem of inequality, how to curb inflation, the war in Ukraine, or how to unclog the toilet, his answer will always be the same: more regulation.
However, he does not know it, but what he so clumsily put on the table is not a controversy about online mass manipulation, but the great freedom issue, which is as old as mankind. I believe that America’s historical greatness lies in having understood much better than the rest what is most genuine and unique to human nature: freedom, as a sacred and profoundly human good.
To be human is to be free. And that is much more ancient and real than any role we want to attribute to the State, a much later creation and, in a way, even imaginary. Within each man, even in the most absolute solitude, lies his freedom. No man, not even Obama, keeps the State inside that deepest corner of his soul.
Of course, no freedom is absolute, it has a triple limitation: physical, psychological, and moral. That is why Obama cannot reach the moon in one leap; he cannot direct the thinking of other people (he finds this especially annoying); and he cannot take advantage of his privileged position to deceive people (Oh, wait…). In a way, the limit of man’s will is the limit of his being. That is what conditions the success of the mystery of freedom.
Marxism, that great machine for mincing human flesh, tried to convince us that man is nothing more than a material accident that is part of a social whole, a theory that leaves no room for individual freedom. It is the State that grants rights and decides values. It is the State that regulates everything. Obama, now in his umpteenth regulatory diatribe, completely ignores the Western tradition of the idea of freedom, and surrenders, as usual, to Marxist materialism.
Beyond the existing laws that safeguard honor or guarantee peace, the only regulation we can demand from users of social networks is the one suggested by the inseparable companion of freedom: responsibility. Unfortunately, the left not only hates freedom, but has completely wiped responsibility off the map. For decades they have worked hard to avoid taking responsibility for any of the evils they cause, starting with the victims that communism and socialism have made all over the world, and now they are unwilling to contemplate the possibility that every man must deal with those two aspects of his condition every time he opens his mouth: the freedom to do as he pleases, and the responsibility to bear the consequences.
The left’s attempts to regulate free speech have always been a failure for individual freedom. Obama should know that had Twitter existed in the Soviet Union, it would have only one registered user: the socialist federal state, the biggest spreader of fake news in history.
Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist, and author. He has written nine books on topics as diverse as politics, music, and smart appliances. His most recent book is Todo Iba Bien. He is a contributor to the Daily Beast, the Daily Caller, National Review, the American Conservative, The American Spectator, and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and is a columnist for several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an adviser to the Ministry for Education, Culture, and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website: www.itxudiaz.com.
Translated by Joel Dalmau