Napolitano on Trump's Lawsuit Against 'Big Tech'

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Andrew Napolitano has written the most succinct and accessible column I have yet seen in mainstream media criticizing Donald Trump's lawsuit against the social media companies that recently denied him accounts.

The piece correctly notes that freedom of speech is a right derivative from our nature as human beings, that the law bars government from interfering with that that right, but not private individuals from taking actions within their rights, including property, against others for what they say:

Image by Marcos Luiz Photograph, via Unsplash, license.
Thus, the post office cannot kick me out of its buildings because of my political opinions or the color of my polo shirt, but you can kick me out of your garden party for either reason.

As you are free to invite me onto your private property, you are free to exclude me. The legal definition of private property has three branches: the right to use it as the owner sees fit, the right to alienate (sell or lease or pledge) it, and the right to exclude everyone -- even the government -- from it. Without the right to exclude, the property is not truly private.

The platforms that Trump has sued are indisputably private...
It is a relief to hear someone this prominent make this argument. Furthermore, Napolitano describes Trump's legal strategy to get around the private property "problem" he's facing, and the danger it poses to all of us, by opening the door to the government compelling speech. (This strategy is, incidentally, made possible -- and wrongly normalized by -- by the fact that government improperly owns or controls such venues as post offices and sports venues.)

Donald Trump richly deserves to lose this lawsuit, and should be stripped of whatever is left of his undeserved reputation as a friend of capitalism: This dangerous stunt seriously threatens our freedom.

-- CAV


Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, yep.

More on point, the first thing I want to ask the conservatives and their hangers-on like Capt. Cully is, wait, wasn't Reagan so great because he got rid of the Fairness Doctrine? So you want to bring it back why exactly? Basically because they think this time it'll be their side ruling the roost, while at the same time going on and on about how so very powerful the malign forces of the Deep State and lefterati are. And so they wish to toss one of the remaining institutional safeguards against censorship because they think they can beat the enemy by joining them. But but but, they're common carriers or platforms or whatever surfeit of dubiety they've absorbed by osmosis from the lefties, so they need to be regulated by government! So again, the lefties win the intellectual battle, and even self-proclaimed Objectivists demonstrate yet again they didn't understand what she wrote even while quoting her. (I remember one of Capt. Cully's pellets of ballast, very heavy lead indeed, popping up commenting against Tracinski that as a platform, Facebook needs to be regulated by the government as multinational corporations getting rich off the little guy under dubious First Amendment protections. Someone asked for a quote that they are "platforms," and why that entails regulation under US law, and the poor little thing replied, "Do not send me to links. I'm not interested in your links. They are meaningless and distractionary." And thus she wishes to quite blindly fight the left by swallowing their arguments hook line and sinker, somehow believing that if she destroys every protection her side can claim in law, then they'll somehow defeat the people who've spend decades laying the groundwork for eliminating those protections in the name of the proletariat or social justice or valiant guardians of the snail darter. Heaven protect us from our supposed allies.) The failure to think in principle (which Capt. Cully sneers at as "rationalism" whenever he is argued against) is appalling.

Gus Van Horn said...

Both "sides" in our current political milieu are indeed astoundingly short-sighted. The left is winning mainly because it pretends to have the moral high ground unchallenged, but also because it does think longer-term, at least in terms of obtaining power, although what they use it for is, to borrow a term they like and use it correctly -- unsustainable.