Conservatives Warned About Facebook

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A timely article in the Washington Examiner warns conservatives working to regulate Facebook and other social media companies that they could well get what they wish for -- in the form of more than they bargained for:

Not for long if America forgets and abandons what made it great. (Markus Spiske, via Unsplash, license.)
The writing is on the wall that some sort of major action will likely be taken against Big Tech in the near future. Conservatives concerned about bias in content moderation may cheer these developments, but they should be careful what they wish for. While the Trump administration may be sympathetic to conservative values, they won't always be in power. A future Democratic administration could easily pervert the proposed Section 230 tweaks to pressure platforms to take down "hate speech" and "misinformation" -- code words for speech they disagree with. [bold added]
The article makes other, similar points, but it omitted a very important one: It only incidentally -- and incorrectly -- brings up "censorship," the excuse many conservatives are making for such regulations.

This is a crucial point, because too many conservatives apparently don't know (or care) about the difference between a private company moderating discussion on its own forum and actual censorship.

Fortunately, Ayn Rand made that distinction quite clear many years ago, so I shall bring it up now:
"Censorship" is a term pertaining only to governmental action. No private action is censorship. No private individual or agency can silence a man or suppress a publication; only the government can do so. The freedom of speech of private individuals includes the right not to agree, not to listen and not to finance one's own antagonists. [bold added]
It is bad enough that conservatives apparently can't imagine the shoe being on the other foot when they propose tinkering with a law that arguably made many of their own fora and media empires possible in the first place.

But it is alarming -- especially in light of how anti-American and frankly dangerous the left has become -- that our supposed political alternative would need to be reminded of the values of freedom of speech and property rights.

Proposals such as Josh Hawley's would violate both, and set the table for tyranny.

-- CAV


Peter Smith said...

I think the mistake lies in still considering conservatives any kind of "political alternative" to the left.
On the contrary, they are just a religious and even more confused arm of the left wing.

Gus Van Horn said...

Amen, so to speak.