No private action is an act of censorship.
Only governments can censor.
No private individual or platform, no magazine or press, no agency or business may rightfully suppress another publication by force. (Competition or competitive advantage does not equal force.) Only governments have the power to enforce silence and suppress with impunity.
When governments do this, it is an act of censorship.
Private companies can ban or reject whomever they decide. It is their right.
Nobody has a right to a Facebook page or a Twitter profile or a Tiktok application or whatever.
In the same way — and for the same reason — that nobody has the right to an organ transplant, so nobody has the right to a social media platform.
It is a voluntary transaction consensually entered into.
It is an arrangement you are free not to enter.
When and to the extent that a private platform or publication does conspire or collude with government to silence and suppress, it then becomes censorship. This is precisely what happened in Mussolini’s Italy: the state and the corporations were wed by force, so that businesses were no longer private. This was Mussolini’s version of Syndicalism, which is a thoroughly leftist-socialist economic doctrine.
It is pure poison. It is also sometimes known as cronyism, which is a leftist ideology, tacitly sanctioned by the right.
If you wish to see the precise way in which the left nullifies and usurps private-property rights — including the right to ban people from a private platform — keep watching. The great myth that fascism is “rightwing” will evaporate before your very eyes, and I predict also that you will discover the true meaning of the word “privilege,” which is far from the bastardized version you’ve had hammered into your head these past several years: i.e. hatred of any and all successful people, even if you’re a billionaire, like Oprah Winfrey, or a former President of the United States, like Barack Obama — the homeless bag-lady has more “privilege” than even these two because she is white. (Forget the systematic abuse and destitution this white woman grew up among, she is nevertheless more privileged.)
The collusion of government and business creates actual privilege.
In such a case, government’s role is no longer the protection of individual rights. Government is now officially in the business of granting privileges — or not — and in such businesses, which is also known as cronyism, the prospects go on forever.
I ask you to please never forget this: socialism in any and all of its forms, whether democratic or not, is by definition an ideology of force: in order to implement any of its stated goals, socialism must expropriate.
It can operate in no other way.
It can function by no other means.
Force is the handmaiden of any and all forms of socialism.
It must expropriate.
Expropriation is utter, unadulterated force, and so is nationalization.
Socialism is force.
Socialism is the negation of voluntary human action.
Socialism is the boot that stomps out consensual choice.
Socialism destroys the incentive to innovate and invent.
Socialism creates shortages.
I promise I am not wrong about this. I promise you.
The destruction of the philosophy of freedom was accomplished by means of a century-long system of state-financed education, one generation to the next, which has successfully inculcated into the minds of a majority the deadly doctrine that we all must be forced (by the state) to live for one another. State-forced egalitarianism — and not private initiative, not success and the right to keep what others have voluntarily paid you for because they value your work — state-forced egalitarianism is the total goal.
The enforcers are the ones who permit us to exist.
Because humans do not exist by right. The only alternative to acting by right is acting by permission.
The only alternative to acting by right is acting by permission.
The only alternative to acting by right is acting by permission.
Ask yourself: whose permission? And why?
In the history of the entire world, no good answer has ever been given to that question, and do you know the reason?
The reason is that no good answer for it exists.
The doctrine that destroyed freedom can be summed up in this one word: anti-individualism.
When egalitarianism is the goal, individual choice is not permitted and cannot be permitted.
Voluntary transactions cannot be permitted.
Consensual interactions are deemed illegal.
And why is that?
Because when humans are left free, humans naturally stratify. This is healthy and it is good, and it creates vibrancy and diversity and fosters ingenuity and invention.
The reason the anti-individualism lie proliferated and won-out in the minds of so many is that the principle was conceded by the left and right alike: the principle that each individual human being does exist by right. They let it go. They were unable to defend it against the onslaught of attacks.
That is the thing all major political parties have conceded.
Individuals exist not by right but only by government permission.
Individuals are either granted the privilege to exist or not.
The greatest threat to free speech isn’t Facebook or Twitter or AWS or Snapchat or Instagram or any of the others. It is the near-unanimous call, from all sides of the spectrum, for government control of these platforms.
Censorship, I repeat, means the forcible prohibition of speech, and this is something of which only governments are capable.
Freedom of speech guarantees that no one may rightfully silence you. It doesn’t guarantee you a publication or platform — not any more than the right to freely exchange guarantees that you’ll have customers.
Discovering a platform and building an audience for your words (i.e. your speech) is no simple task. Social media, however, has made it much simpler — and so has Amazon — and they’ve done so free of charge (Amazon takes a percentage after sale). The result: people using these very platforms to call for the destruction of the platforms they’re using.
It is a sad but incontrovertible fact that twitter and all the others have without any doubt derailed themselves. They’ve undermined their cause and case — specifically, I mean, in their total inconsistency and their inability to take a principled moral stand: let us ban Donald Trump, they say, but let us still allow the full proliferation of horrific Chinese propaganda and the full-throated voice of Iranian tyrants, who call for the deaths of all infidels and the forced mutilation of the female sex. Let us expunge any and all suggestions of violence made by right-wingers, but let us tolerate all such violent calls from leftwingers. Let us profit from freedom, while simultaneously supporting and funding explicitly anti-freedom viewpoints, like those expressed by Robin DeAngelo and Ta-Nehisi Paul Coates.
These contradictions are embarrassing and enormously destructive, and yet even this does not warrant state-control of social media.
Just as individuals do not relinquish their rights if and when they exercise their rights in an irrational manner, so social media does not become a “public utility” in providing a platform for billions of people. If this were the case, it would mean that government alone determines all online speech. (A public company on the stock market does not mean what many think: it only means that anyone can buy into that company and own shares in it.) And if that were the case, it would mean that the likes of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Donald Trump — they, I repeat, and not Jack Dorsey, are in charge of twitter. They, not the open market, grant Parler and Gab the privilege to exist and to compete, or not.
In such a nightmarish scenario, all companies and all businesses — even one-person businesses, no matter the industry — exist only when government grants them the privilege. All private enterprise is state-determined. All of it.
That, reader, is the total nullification of human freedom. It should horrify you senseless.
There is no issue now more important to freedom than free speech. This right acts as a guardian to all other rights. Today’s cancel culture and woke mobs desire nothing more vehemently than to shut-off and silence all speech they deem incorrect or unacceptable or hateful. Their opponents likewise want to forcibly compel social media to promote their speech.
The political function of the right to free speech is not to subsidize people and their speaking platforms — that, I emphasize, is not included — but rather to protect dissenting voices and unpopular minority views from forcible suppression, either by government or other people. Many if not most lawyers and judges, as I’ve recently discovered, do not know this. But even more disheartening and appalling is the level of their apathy concerning the overwhelming importance of such issues.
Here is small sampling of what America would look like without the absolute and inalienable right to free speech, which does include so-called hate speech:
Then, there are the thirty Turkish journalists currently facing consecutive life sentences for their anti-government articles, as well as the Kyrgyz author imprisoned for “inciting hatred between religious groups” for publishing a book questioning God’s form.
Don’t forget about Germany, where just this year police raided dozens of people’s homes for “hateful postings over social media,” or the United Kingdom, where a man was convicted for his anti-military Facebook comments, or France, where a man was fined for holding up a sign saying “Get lost, jerk” to French President Nicolas Sarkozy — words Sarkozy himself said to a critic who refused to shake his hand during a public event.
In response to the objection that such oppression would never happen in the United States, we at FIRE would argue that, well, it already has: Look no further than efforts to address hate speech on American colleges campuses, which have ensnared a professor for blogging about same-sex marriage, students for their racially-themed humor at a party, a student-created satirical play promoted as “offensive or inflammatory to all audiences,” and a student newspaper for printing political satire.
But what if outlawing such expression is the price we must pay for a more tolerant society? If only that were true.
Those urging a crackdown on hateful speech must explain why such laws are routinely used to target minority viewpoints and have done nothing to reduce levels of hate or intolerance in other countries. A 2014 article in The Daily Beast makes a salient point about how such laws actually have the opposite effect:
So one would assume that racial discrimination has been dumped on the ash heap of history in France, considering racist thoughts and symbols have been made illegal. How, then, does one explain that the National Front, whose former leader Jean-Marie Le Pen was found guilty of Holocaust denial, is now the most popular party in the country?
Advocates of hate speech bans should not be surprised to find that governments, when given the immense power to punish intolerance, have used this weapon against their critics. Investigative journalists, controversial politicians, political activists — these are the most frequent targets of hate speech laws. Even nongovernmental actors, such as Facebook, are inclined to use their hate speech policies to censor marginalized users.
Bad ideas, reprehensible ideas, evil ideas — they only pose a threat when people don’t articulate and stand up for good ideas.
It is my opinion that socialist-progressive doctrine has only been successful — successfully indoctrinated into the minds of the majority, whether explicitly consciously realized or not, beginning in grade school — because of this one thing more than any other: the opposition’s inability to fully ground (fully, intellectually, and philosophically ground) the inalienable fact and nature individual rights, which are rooted in the human quiddity: our individuality and the individual reasoning mind, which possesses the faculty of volition, which gives rise to rights.
The rub is that the spirt of individuality and free-enterprise — the right to exist by right, as distinguished from government permission, and the right to succeed and grow wealthy and make something of yourself and provide wealth and prosperity for your loved ones — it is all still such a deep part of the American psyche and spirit and fabric that the attempt to supplant this spirit of independence and individuality with socialist dogma and force (precisely what the corrupt regime coming into power has already begun), it will tear the United States asunder.
It won’t be absorbed.
Even in spite of the Herculean effort and the relentless campaign of indoctrination and dogma, which is one-hundred years old or more, it simply won’t be absorbed.
Nor should it be.
The attempt will create another civil war.