Thomas Gallatin / Jan. 12, 2021

Dems, Big Tech Don’t Value Free Speech

Americans’ rights are currently under attack because Big Tech sees them as problematic.

If one does not value something, one will not act to preserve it. Worse, one might even oppose it. What America has witnessed in recent days — Big Tech’s swift and thorough purge in banning President Donald Trump coupled with a coordinated effort to eliminate a social media competitor, Parler — is the reality that these Silicon Valley tycoons don’t value freedom of speech at all. In fact, Big Tech, encouraged by Democrats, a party that ironically derives its name from democracy, attacked the very spirit of free speech by limiting and even eliminating the speech of those they disagree with — all under the guise of preventing “incitement to violence.” Such is the disingenuous justification of totalitarians.

The sad reality is that the West has seen this type of speech-trampling rhetoric before, and the results have never produced greater Liberty. Quite the opposite.

The Left loves to argue these Big Tech companies are private enterprises that aren’t bound by the First Amendment. As such, they are free to run their companies as they see fit, including banning or limiting the free speech of those who use their platform. Yet as David Harsanyi observes, “If you say that targeted deplatforming, though not Stalinist, is troubling, the same people who want to compel everyone to buy state-mandated health insurance, who want to dictate how corporations compensate their employees, who want to force nuns to buy abortifacients, and who want to destroy the lives of bakers and florists who run businesses according to long-held religious beliefs will vigorously defend the value of free-association rights that allow corporations to act this way. So I’m pretty skeptical that most of these people are genuine champions of individual market choices, and aren’t just super excited about silencing people.”

Big Tech companies are not merely banning speech with which they disagree; they are working beyond the confines of their private business context to actively encroach on the speech rights of those in other businesses with whom they disagree politically. On Monday, AR15.com, the world’s largest online firearms forum, was suddenly deplatformed by web host GoDaddy. The rationale was of course an unfounded and ambiguous allegation without any evidence provided of a violation of GoDaddy’s terms of service. Furthermore, GoDaddy’s decision was final, with no opportunity for recourse or method of appeal offered. It was simply a “we decided you’re guilty and the sentence is immediate elimination.”

One of the greatest ironies is Big Tech’s use of the “incitement to violence” canard to justify banning and deplatforming individuals and organizations while it has done little against Black Lives Matter and antifa activists who promoted and directly engaged in months of leftist violence and rioting across the country this past summer. Democrat politicians who actively supported the riotous mobs were not banned by these platforms either.

Just yesterday, Facebook announced that it would ban any messages containing the phrase “stop the steal.” The reason? To stop “harmful” misinformation. “We’re removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook & Instagram,” the company announced. Since when is “stop the steal” an incitement to violence? Since Democrats, Big Tech, and the Leftmedia declared it so, that’s when. Funny how when someone like Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims, as she did in May of 2017, that “our election was hijacked,” no one claimed she was “inciting violence” and should be banned.

To bring it back around to values, free speech is something Americans, maybe even particularly on the left side of the aisle, have long treasured, to sometimes ridiculous extent. Remember when flag burning was the preferred method of “speech”? Now only one side of the political divide truly values free speech. And the other side is doing everything in its vast power to crush it.

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