By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) — Tech companies are promoting libertarian values and they are becoming a part of our everyday lives says author and former New York Times tech columnist, Noam Cohen.

Cohen, who recently published ‘The Know-It-Alls’ called these ideas Silicon Valley values.  “The idea that government regulation is inherently bad and needs to be disrupted” has been “normalized” by tech companies, Cohen explained to WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller.

Extreme freedom of speech was another “fringe” idea that is now generally accepted, said Cohen. “That there should be no limits on what people say, even if platforms like Twitter become inhospitable to women and minorities.”

Keller asked: Has there been any resistance?

According to Cohen, resistance from the general public has been minimal but is growing. Tech companies have also provided many advancing good and services so they are often viewed positively.

Politicians are starting to take notice though, “I think there’s potential for a bipartisan–if I could dare say that word– kind of consensus that this is getting a little out of hand.”

Part 2 of Noam Cohen’s Interview With Jon Keller

For tech companies, economic power transfers into policial power, Cohen said.

He also pointed out that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had the foresight to take on the internet’s retail exchange early and now the company is moving back to offline goods with the purchase of Whole Foods. Could this be the beginning of a monopoly?

Boston has placed a bid to become home for Amazon’s second headquarters and is reportedly one of the frontrunners.

But should Bostonians fear the mogul? Keller asked.

Amazon focuses not on profits, said Cohen, but on the network effect, “grow for growth sake, the more you grow the more power you are going to have and the more people are going to need to use you.”

Share your opinion via email at, or you can reach me on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.


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