Josh Hawley is one of those people who the only thing I can pin down about is that he’s a con-artist and an authoritarian. You know how some Republicans say they’re “conservatives first Republicans second”? Well Hawley is a con-artist first, an idiot second, an authoritarian third, a populist fourth, and a Republican fifth. Luckily for him, these five things seem to ooze into each other the same way meaningless platitudes ooze into everything Marianne Williamson says.
What does this Senator want to do now? Ban YouTube autoplays. I’m not joking.
Today the Missouri Republican introduced a bill that would ban the feature in the name of fighting social media “addiction.” The bill, which Hawley has dubbed the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology — or SMART — Act, would also outlaw such features as infinite scroll and Snapchat’s “streaks,” which encourage users to engage in unbroken communications with friends. The bill would additionally require social media companies to install time-use dashboards, and it would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Health and Human Services the power to regulate other features in the future.
Wow, that’s a lot of regulation. And remember, Josh Hawely also told NBC:
I also like how Peter Suderman, the author of this article, had to open it by making sure the audience knew he was being serious:
America faces some big problems, from endless wars to congressional dysfunction to police abuse to the spiraling cost of health care, housing, and education. Now Josh Hawley, from his perch in the United States Senate, has decided to focus his precious attention on a problem that only the power of the federal government can solve: YouTube’s autoplay feature. No, I am not kidding.
I also can’t help but notice the Senator has done nothing to address TV addiction. Where’s his bill against two part episodes? How about a bill banning TV shows from having ongoing story lines? Why not regulate how long a TV channel can play the same show in the same time slot?
Of course, Hawley grew up with TV so he doesn’t see it as a big deal. Just as the next Josh Hawley won’t see social media as a big deal, but be panicking over whatever the new thing is at the time.
The truth is, the only way to get rid of addiction is to get rid of joy. We are all addicted to something. Not all addictions are as bad as others, don’t get me wrong, but no one is above simply enjoying something so much they want to do it over and over again.
Oh no, I think I just gave Josh Hawley a new idea. Now he’ll introduce legislation banning happiness.