It’s frankly not surprising that writers for The Atlantic are anxious to put some distance between a new piece claiming that in the debate over freedom on the internet, “China was largely correct, and the U.S. was wrong.”

Of course, the piece is written by two academics, Jack Goldsmith, Harvard Law School professor, and Andrew Keane Woods, professor of law at the University of Arizona College of Law. They write:

But the “extraordinary” measures we are seeing are not all that extraordinary. Powerful forces were pushing toward greater censorship and surveillance of digital networks long before the coronavirus jumped out of the wet markets in Wuhan, China, and they will continue to do so once the crisis passes. The practices that American tech platforms have undertaken during the pandemic represent not a break from prior developments, but an acceleration of them.

In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong. Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.

Crazy to think that college professors would believe the communist Chinese are doing things right. We will give them credit for still believing the coronavirus originated in the wet markets (at least they’re not buying the Chinese story that the U.S. military infected them), but one of our alarm bells is their second wake-up call”: “The second wake-up call was Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.” Yeah, Facebook ads?

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