by Brandon Smith
As I have noted in the past, in order to be a conservative one has to stick to certain principles. For example, you have to stand against big government and state intrusions into individual lives, you have to support our constitutional framework and defend civil liberties, and you also have to uphold the rights of private property. Websites are indeed private property, as much as a person’s home is private property. There is no such thing as free speech rights in another person’s home, and there is no such thing as free speech rights on a website.
That said, there are some exceptions. When a corporation or a collective of corporations holds a monopoly over a certain form of communication, then legal questions come into play when they try to censor the viewpoints of an entire group of people. Corporations exist due to government sponsored charters; they are creations of government and enjoy certain legal protections through government, such as limited liability and corporate personhood. Corporations are a product of socialism, not free market capitalism; and when they become monopolies, they are subject to regulation and possible demarcation.
Many corporations have also received extensive government bailouts (taxpayer money) and corporate welfare. Google and Facebook, for example rake in billions in state and federal subsidies over the course of a few years. Google doesn’t even pay for the massive bandwidth it uses. So, it is not outlandish to suggest that if a company receives the full protection of government from the legal realm to the financial realm then they fall under the category of a public service. If they are allowed to continue to monopolize communication while also being coddled by the government as “too big to fail”, then they become a public menace instead.
This is not to say that I support the idea of nationalization. On the contrary, the disasters of socialism cannot be cured with even more socialism. However, monopolies are a poison to free markets and to free speech and must be deconstructed or abolished.
Beyond corporate monopolies, there is also the danger of ideological monopolies. Consider this – The vast majority of silicon valley companies that control the lion’s share of social media platforms are run by extreme political leftists and globalists that are openly hostile to conservative and moderate values.
Case in point: Three of the largest platforms on the internet – Reddit, Twitch, and YouTube just acted simultaneously in a single day to shut down tens of thousands of forums, streamers and video channels, the majority of which espouse conservative arguments which the media refers to as “hate speech”.
To be sure, at least a few of the outlets shut down probably argue from a position of race superiority. However, I keep seeing the mainstream media making accusations that all the people being silenced right now deserve it due to “racism” and “calls for violence”, and I have yet to see them offer a single piece of evidence supporting any of these claims.
A recent article from the hyper-leftist Salon is a perfect example of the hypocrisy and madness of the social justice left in action. It’s titled ‘Twitch, YouTube And Reddit Punished Trump And Other Racists – And That’s A Great Thing For Freedom’. Here are a few excerpts with my commentary:
Salon: “Freedom is impossible for everyone when viewpoints prevail that dehumanize anyone. And it appears that several big social media platforms agree, judging from recent bans or suspensions of racist accounts across YouTube, Twitch, and Reddit.”
Freedom cannot be taken away by another person’s viewpoint. Every individual has complete control over whether or not they “feel” marginalized and no amount of disapproval can silence a person unless they allow it to. If you are weak minded or weak willed, then grow a backbone instead of expecting the rest of the world to stay quiet and keep you comfortable.
Remember when the political left was the bastion of the free speech debate against the censorship of the religious right? Well, now the leftists have a religion (or cult) of their own and they have changed their minds on the importance of open dialogue.
Salon: “For those who are dehumanized — whether by racism, sexism, classism, ableism, anti-LGBTQ sentiment or any other prejudices — their voices are diminished or outright silenced, and in the process they lose their ability to fully participate in our democracy. We all need to live in a society where hate is discouraged, discredited and whenever possible scrubbed out completely from our discourse. This doesn’t mean we should label all ideas as hateful simply because we disagree with them; to do that runs afoul of President Dwight Eisenhower’s famous statement, “In a democracy debate is the breath of life”. When actual hate enters the dialogue, however, it acts as a toxic smoke in the air of debate, suffocating some voices and weakening the rest.”
Where do I begin with this steaming pile of woke nonsense? First, it’s impossible to be “dehumanized” by another person’s opinion of you. If they are wrong, or an idiot, then their opinion carries no weight and should be ignored. Your value is not determined by their opinion. No one can be “silenced” by another person’s viewpoint unless they allow themselves to be silenced. If they are right about you and are telling you something you don’t want to hear, then that is your problem, not theirs. No one in this world is entitled to protection from other people’s opinions. Period.
It should not surprise anyone though that leftists are actively attempting to silence all dissent while accusing conservatives of stifling free speech. This is what they do; they play the victim while they seek to victimize. They have no principles. They do not care about being right, they only care about “winning”.
Under the 1st Amendment, ALL speech is protected, including what leftists arbitrarily label “hate speech”. Unless you are knowingly defaming a specific person or threatening specific violence against a specific person, your rights are protected. Interpreting broad speech as a “threat” because of how it might make certain people feel simply will not hold up in a court of law. Or at least, it should not hold up…
Political leftists have declared themselves the arbiters of what constitutes “hate speech”, the problem is they see EVERYTHING that is conservative as racist, sexist, misogynistic, etc. No human being or group of human beings is pure enough or objective enough to sit in judgment of what encompasses fair or acceptable speech. Therefore, all speech must be allowed in order to avoid tyranny.
If an idea is unjust, then by all means, the political left has every right to counter it with their own ideas and arguments. “Scrubbing” all opposing ideas from the public discourse is unacceptable, and this is exactly what the social justice movement is attempting to do. If you want to erase these ideas from your own home, or your personal website, then you are perfectly within your rights to do so, but you DO NOT have the right to assert a monopoly on speech and the political narrative.
Generally, when a group of zealots is trying to erase opposing ideals from the discussion, it usually means their own ideals don’t hold up to scrutiny. If your ideology is so pure and correct in its form, there should be no need to trick the masses into accepting it by scrubbing the internet.
Finally, America was not founded as a democracy, we are a republic, and with good reason. A democracy is tyranny by the majority; a collectivist hell where power is centralized into the hands of whoever can con 51% of the population to their side. Marxists and communists love the idea of “democracy” and speak about it often because they think they are keenly equipped to manipulate the masses and form a majority. But, in a republic, individual rights are protected REGARDLESS of what the majority happens to believe at any given time, and this includes the right to free speech.
In the same breath, Solon pretends to value free discussion, then calls for the destruction of free speech and opposing ideas in the name of protecting people’s thin-skinned sensitivities. In other words, free speech is good, unless it’s a viewpoint they don’t like, then it becomes hate speech and must be suppressed.
Solon: “Reddit referred Salon to a statement explaining,”We committed to closing the gap between our values and our policies to explicitly address hate” and that “ultimately, it’s our responsibility to support our communities by taking stronger action against those who try to weaponize parts of Reddit against other people.””
In other words, they don’t like conservatives using their platforms against them, and since the political left is unable to present any valid arguments to defend their beliefs and they are losing the culture war, they are going for broke and seeking to erase all conservatives from their platforms instead. The “hate speech” excuse is merely a false rationale. Social justice warriors stand on top of a dung heap and pretend it’s the moral high ground.
Solon: “No one who understands Constitutional law can argue that these corporate decisions violate the First Amendment which only protects speech from government repression. Professor Rick Hasen at the University of California, Irvine Law School told Salon by email that “private companies running websites are not subject to being sued for violating the First Amendment. The companies are private actors who can include whatever content they want unless there is a law preventing them from doing so.”
Again, this is not entirely true. Corporations are constructs of government and receive special privileges from government. If corporations form a monopoly over a certain form of communication and they attempt to censor all opposing views from that platform then they can be broken up by government to prevent destruction of the marketplace. Also, government can rescind the limited liability and corporate personhood of these companies as punishment for violating the public trust. And finally, any company that relies on taxpayer dollars or special tax break incentives to survive can and should have those dollars taken away when attempting to assert a monopoly.
Yes, there are alternative platforms for people to go to, but what is to stop leftist/globalist monopolies from buying up every other social media and standard media platform (as they have been doing for the past decade)? What is to stop leftist/globalist interests from using the “hate speech” argument to put pressure on ALL other web platforms including service and domain providers to cancel conservatives?
Finally, just because something is technically legal does not necessarily make it right. Corporations exploit government protection, yet claim they are not subject to government regulation? The left hates corporate America, yet they happily defend corporations when they are censoring conservatives? This is insane.
The Salon author then goes on a blathering diatribe about how he was once a victim of racism (all SJWs measure personal value according to how much more victimized someone is compared to others). His claims are irrelevant to the argument at hand, then he continues…
Salon: “Trump threatening to use the government power to retaliate against those companies, on the other hand, is a threat to both the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment. He and his supporters are not being stopped from disseminating their views on other platforms…”
Here is the only area where I partially agree with Salon. All of my readers know I do not put any faith in Donald Trump to do the right thing, mostly because of the elitists he surrounds himself with in his cabinet. When it comes down to it, Trump will act in THIER best interests, not in the public’s best interests. Giving him (or the FCC) the power to dictate speech rules on the internet is a bad idea. Also, for those that think the election process still matters, what if we gift such powers to the government today and then the political left enters the White House tomorrow? Yikes! Then we’ll have no room to complain as they will most certainly flip-flop and use government power to silence their opposition.
Of course, if the roles were reversed and corporations were deplatforming thousands of social justice forums and videos, the leftists would be screaming bloody murder about “corporate censorship” and “discrimination”. For now, in their minds, racial discrimination = bad. Politicial discrimination = good.
The monopoly issue still stands, though, and an ideological monopoly coupled with a unified corporate monopoly is a monstrosity that cannot be tolerated. Government can and should break up such monopolies without going down the rabbit hole of nationalization.
Yes, we can go to small startup platforms and leave Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, etc. behind. I have been saying for years that conservatives with the capital should start their own alternative social media. In fact, that is exactly what is fianlly happening. There has been a mass exodus of users from mainstream websites lately. I say, let the SJWs have their echo chambers and maybe these companies will collapse. Get Woke Go Broke still applies.
But, government can no longer protect these corporations, either. With the government raining down bailout cash and corporate welfare on media companies, voting with your feet and your wallet does not have the same effect or send the same message.
The future of this situation is bleak. I have no doubt that leftists and globalists will attempt to purge ALL conservative discussion from the internet, to the point of attempting to shut down private conservative websites through service providers. The final outcome of the purge is predictable: Civil war; an issue I will be discussing in my next article.
Leftists accuse conservatives of hate, but social justice adherents seem to hate almost everything. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a group of people more obsessed with visiting misery on others, and they will never be satisfied or satiated. That which is normal speech today will be labeled as hate speech tomorrow. The cult must continue to justify its own existence. I for one am not going to live my life walking on eggshells around a clique of narcissistic sociopaths. Cancel culture is mob rule, and mob rule is at its core the true evil here; far more evil than any mere words spoken by any “white supremacist” on any forum or video ever.