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Who Exactly is Trying to Take Down Joe Rogan?

I wrote this in February 2022. I'm happy with it in light of what we're learning in 2024.

“We must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”
Dwight Eisenhower (Farewell Address, 1961).

The full-court breakdown of Joe Rogan has begun.

Neil Young started it when he demanded Spotify remove his music because Rogan permits a compelling COVID narrative to exist that violates the official narrative. The compelling COVID narrative is supposedly wrong and because we’re in a pandemic (which is waning, according to my most-recent issue of The Kiplinger Letter), it’s dangerous. Because it’s dangerous, it must be stopped.

That’s how the Neil Young logic runs.

And now we’re learning that he has significant financial ties to Pfizer. I guess Pfizer owns his music catalog, which presumably means there’s a financial symbiosis between Neil Young and Pfizer, but the heck if I know.

All I know is, Spotify and Rogan both blinked: Rogan apologized, in his own way; Spotify started taking down old Joe Rogan episodes.

Then an old video about Joe Rogan using the N-word re-surfaced and is being pushed to the public (a video that a friend tells me is “a fifth-grade level hit piece": it apparently just takes a bunch of N-word references out of context and pastes them together).

If you haven’t been paying attention, that is the bogeyman. It’s the new Pinko Fascist. If you wanted to discredit someone from, say, 1920 to 1960, you called him a “Pinko Commie” If you wanted to discredit someone from about 1960 through 1990, you called him a “Fascist.” From 1990 through 2022, you call him a “racist” (its replacement hasn’t arrived yet; “climate-change denier” didn’t stick, probably because it’s more than three syllables).

And nothing proves a person is a racist like the N-word. You’re caught using the N-word? That’s like someone finding a Communist Party card in your desk drawer in the 1940s. The circumstances don’t matter.

Is this McCarthyism Redux?

I honestly don’t care if you like Joe Rogan or not. The take-down ought to disturb you, just as honest people on both sides of the political aisle were disturbed by McCarthyism in the 1950s.

But this McCarthyism isn’t the government. Even if this is a coordinated campaign against Joe Rogan in favor of the official COVID narrative, it’s private citizens like Neil Young and private corporations like Pfizer and Facebook and Google that are promoting it.

It’s an important difference.

The problem is, there’s not much difference in the results. McCarthyism wasn’t about putting people in jail (though a few Soviet agents like Alger Hiss did time).

It was about putting public persons on the blacklist so they could no longer earn a living. To this day, “McCarthyism” and “blacklist” go together like “salt and pepper.”

That’s exactly what is happening today. There are coordinated efforts among private corporations and rich individuals who discredit public persons who promote a narrative that conflicts with the official government narrative. It can’t be denied, and it ought to be carefully considered.

Powerful private interests promote the official narrative.

You ought to find that unsettling.

Very unsettling.

Big Business-Big Government: Clandestine

Here’s the thing: Big business and big government have been working together for years. It goes back at least to the Glorious Revolution of 1688 when the English Parliament wrested complete government control from the King and immediately started to use it to promote mercantile interests and create problems (like the Great Gin Craze).

Back then, it was just the way things were. I’m not sure anyone thought much about it. Tariffs, public-private loans, government charters: it was just the early days of capitalism, fueled by the government. By the turn of the century, the U.S. government was fully on board with the arrangement. Exhibit A: the U.S. military propping up banana republics in Central America to protect private corporate interests.

But the disturbing thing by 1900 was: the whole arrangement wasn’t talked about anymore. It was “clandestine.” There’s a reason writers like G.K. Chesterton wrote about the dangerous collaboration between big business and big government: people needed to be reminded.

Is Google the Historical Clandestine Efforts on Steroids?

Here’s my concern: the big government/big business arrangement is now even more clandestine.

So clandestine, in fact, that I’m wearing my tin-foil cap as I write this.

Maybe Google is directly controlled by the federal government. I think it’s possible, though absolutely unprovable since we rely on the Internet for our information and Google search results control virtually every web browser out there (something I didn’t realize until recently . . . Brave is the one exception).

Pause a moment and think: If the federal government is controlling the Google search results, and burying or removing sites from its search results altogether, the federal government has pulled off a coup that would impress the most successful totalitarian.

That might be happening. There’s evidence that it is (e.g., Google’s meteoric rise; Eric Schmidt’s “remarkably-close” relationship to the Obama administration), but nothing remotely provable. Heck, I don’t even believe it. I just think it’s possible. Such a claim would be extraordinary, and extraordinary claims, Carl Sagan liked to say, require extraordinary evidence. We have virtually none.

And in the most problematic paradox of all: we aren’t going to be able to get much evidence because the nature of the claim presupposes that the evidence wouldn’t be available: Google, at the government’s direction, is burying it.

Fortunately, the claim doesn’t have to be extraordinary. It’s not necessary to show that Google is effectively a wholly-owned subsidiary of the federal government. There are all sorts of looser forms of control or relationship that can accomplish similar things, many of which aren’t extraordinary and, indeed, are natural.

Maybe Google execs just hang out with politicians, along with folks from Wall Street, Amazon, and the media conglomerates. They walk in the same social circles; they belong to the same clubs; they text each other funny memes. . . .

And like any group of friends, when one talks, the others listen. When one needs help, the others pitch in.

They're cronies, in other words.

Then combine that natural scenario with the cozy relationship between the federal government and American businesses in Central America in the first half of the 1900s. Combine that with the government's history of cronyism.

Surely, you find that unsettling.

Just Keep All This in Mind. That’s All I’m Saying

Maybe you don’t find it unsettling.

Maybe the logical response is, “By your own admission, this has been going on for over 300 years and everything is doing fine.”


But for 300 years we’ve been aware of it, at least at some level.

Increasingly, we’re not aware of it. Increasingly, there’s not a column in society to make us aware of it. And when a column starts to get erected, it gets torn down by an effort that certainly appears coordinated.

Yet many of us don’t notice or don’t care, just as long as our own narrative is the one being preserved.

I’m not claiming Google is the Federal government. I’m not saying Joe Rogan is being persecuted by government action behind the scenes.

But we know such things have happened in the past. In fact, such things have often been the norm.

We need to be aware of it. That’s all I’m saying.