Censorship

The Moral Scolds of the New Illiberal Right Are Coming For Your Internet

From Sohrab Ahmari to Josh Hawley, what the new right really wants is to squelch free expression.

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It is probably not an accident that the first word in the titles of the two most notable pieces outlining the tenets of the post-liberal right—Sohrab Ahmari's recent First Things essay "Against David French-ism," and an earlier manifesto, "Against the Dead Consensus," also in First Things—is "against." The post-liberals know definitively what they oppose. The question is: What are they for

As National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke wrote last week in a sharply argued piece, there is something profoundly incoherent to the post-liberal ideology, a lack of discrete and practical steps that might be taken to achieve their ends, or anything like a concrete sense of what that end might look like, were it to be achieved. It's remarkably unclear what, exactly, the post-liberals actually want. 

The Dead Consensus manifesto leans heavily on hopelessly vague generalities like, "We stand with the American citizen" and "We oppose the soulless society of individual affluence." The manifesto has a distinctive vibe, but it's not exactly a to-do list. Ahmari's anti-French essay argues for "[fighting] the culture war with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good." Ah, yes—not only the common good but also the Highest Good. Surely that won't be too difficult to determine. Everyone knows and agrees on exactly what that is, and why it deserves to be capitalized. 

And yet it is possible to detect something that connects the post-liberal worldview, a shared sensibility that is, if not a platform or a program, at least a sort of guidepost suggesting a way forward. And that is an underlying sense of censoriousness. It is a prevailing belief that free expression has simply gone too far, and that the state should probably do something about it. 

Think of the incident that prompted Ahmari's essay about French-ism, a Facebook ad for a "drag queen story hour" at a Sacramento public library. This was the display, the cultural occasion, that sparked his ire: Not a restriction on religious liberty or an imposition on his faith, but a positive depiction of a lifestyle he disagrees with in a public venue. This is the sort of thing a David French-ist might not fundamentally object to, but that Ahmari would. Ahmari, in other words, is against a public square that is open to forms of personal expression he doesn't approve of. 

You could see the same censorious tendency at play in Ahmari's now-deleted Twitter post praising Alabama public television for refusing to air an episode of Arthur, an animated PBS kids show about an aardvark, because it depicted a gay wedding. 

Perhaps the right compromise here is that there shouldn't be publicly funded television or libraries. But the proper role of public funding is not what Ahmari is arguing about. 

What he and the post-liberals like him want is a popular culture shorn of the images and ideas and lifestyles they deem wrong for society, or just plain don't like. Which helps explain why First Things editor Matthew Schmitz, in defending Ahmari's worldview, chided French for watching and referring to "an explicit TV series, Game of Thrones." This isn't a dispute about public funding for libraries; it's about casting scorn on forms of cultural expression that the post-liberals regard as ugly and indecent. It's an argument that some forms of expression cross the line of social acceptability.  

Combine this with their stated willingness to use the force of government to achieve their ends and their distaste for individual autonomy, and it becomes clear that much of what they are after is a kind of soft censorship, in which the post-liberals use state power to discourage, if not actively suppress, disfavored forms of expression for political, religious, and personal ends. It's about controlling what people say. 

Which brings us to Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.). In Washington Free Beacon Editor Matthew Continetti's recent taxonomy of the right, he identified Hawley as "closest the post-liberals have to a spokesman in the Senate," noting that the young senator "has already established himself as a social conservative unafraid of government power." 

As if on cue, Hawley last week introduced a bill to revoke current protections afforded to large internet companies by Section 230, which essentially indemnifies tech businesses from material posted by their users. In order to keep those protections in place, Hawley's proposal would force large tech companies to obtain a certification from the Federal Trade Commission that they are politically neutral. 

Hawley has framed his proposal as a way of preventing censorship, arguing that the largest and most powerful technology companies are biased against conservatives. His bill is thus predicated on a convenient misunderstanding of what censorship is: A private company, like Facebook or Twitter, suspending an account or deleting a post is no more censorship than a bar owner kicking out an unwelcome patron is censorship. 

But when the government sets up a board of political appointees as the arbiter of what is and isn't politically "neutral" on the internet's largest platforms for personal expression, a recurring process that effectively determines their right to exist, it may not quite be censorship in the strictest sense—but it's awfully close. It's a way of giving the government control, a de facto veto power, over privately-owned forums for self-expression. It's a proposal driven by the same censorious impulse that drives so much of the post-liberal right. 

Hawley's legislation probably won't pass, at least not any time soon. The passage of legislation may not even be the point. But even if that's the case, the introduction of the bill is, at minimum, intended to put tech companies on notice, to bully them, in the way that only a sitting senator in the U.S. Congress can bully, into setting speech rules that are more to the liking of, well, Josh Hawley, and those who think like him. 

That is what the post-liberal right wants, perhaps more than anything else: To control the venues for speech, both public and private, and to discourage and punish lifestyles and ideas and expressive acts they view as unpleasant or depraved or inappropriate or immoral, using the force of the government if necessary. They are pursuing this campaign under the usual social-conservative guise of helping families and protecting children and restoring decency to an immodest and vulgar nation…presumably with someone modest and tasteful, like Donald Trump—who Ahmari praised as someone whose "instinct has been to shift the cultural and political mix, ever so slightly, away from autonomy-above-all toward order, continuity, and social cohesion"—as president. This isn't about families, not really. It's about power. 

The post-liberal worldview is priggish and intolerant, an ideology rooted in a moralizing authoritarianism. For it is predicated on the assumption—the assumption that the censorious always make—that the world would be better if people weren't free to speak and live peacefully as they choose, because they, the enlightened few, know best. 

NEXT: America First = American Imperialism

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  1. Perhaps they are just pandering to the woketarians.

    1. The dark cloud of fascism is always descending upon Republicans but it always turns out to be composed of progressives and Democrats. You won’t hear about this story from Suderman though.


      He brought an American flag to protest fascism in Portland. Then antifa attacked him

      Quote:
      Paul Welch came to the downtown protest Aug. 4 to let his political leanings be known.

      With pride he clutched his U.S. flag as he moved among the crowd of like-thinking demonstrators.

      Soon a group of black-clad anti-fascist protesters, also known as antifa, demanded he lose the flag, calling it a fascist symbol. Welch refused, and a tug-of-war ensued.

      Video captured by Mike Bivins, a freelance journalist, shows what happened next.

      As Welch and the counter-protesters wrangle over the flag, another masked counter-protester begins to strike Welch’s body from behind using a weapon concealed in black fabric.

      That person then uses the weapon to club Welch on the back of the head, causing him to collapse instantly. The demonstrator with the weapon wanders off.

      1. One example does not support the use of the word “always.”

        1. Seems to be the threshold for most Reason pieces.

          #bothsides

          1. Here at NYU, we have consistently used one example—one we are proud to have been instrumental in bringing about—to express our view that the “free speech” nonsense we keep hearing about from certain quarters is a pile of baloney. See the documentation of our nation’s leading criminal “parody” case at:

            https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

            It should be noted, incidentally, that in reaching this conclusion we agree both with the left and with the so-called “new” right, which is actually not quite so new. Everyone knows that certain forms of “speech” simply cannot be accepted on our nation’s college campuses. Hopefully, criminal libel will be reenacted soon everywhere in the country, so we can make this entirely clear to any of our students who might have inappropriately “satirical” inclinations.

            1. One day maybe I’ll read this. But probably not, given the unending insertion of this link and mantra into so many threads it seems more and more like the omnipresent “I work for google at home an earned $8723 last month!” links.

              1. Indeed, you should certainly not read the linked material, which will hopefully soon be suppressed, blocked and banned from access, especially in college libraries anywhere in this great nation.

        2. A second example is better?
          The dark cloud of fascism is always descending upon Republicans but it always turns out to be composed of progressives and Democrats.

          Portland Food Cart Shuts Down Following Harassment by Occupy ICE Protesters

          Quote:
          A Portland food cart is closing down following harassment and alleged threats of violence from protestors who objected to the business serving federal immigration agents.

          Video taken by a female Happy Camper employee shows a demonstrator using a megaphone to call the staffer a “bitch” and accuse her of laughing at the victims of U.S. immigration laws.

          According to Scott Hakes, the last straw came when protestors threatened his 21-year-old daughter for serving food to a DHS employee. “If they catch her outside the cart, they’re going to hurt her. They’re constantly cussing at her and screaming at her,” he told KGW. According to the owners, protestors also threatened to burn down the cart.

    2. Bravo! Not everyone who looks at these issues could have seen the real threat is some minor kerfluffle over a public funded access channel in Bumfuck AL with a viewership in the dozens when millions of people are being demonetized, deplatformed, and driven from social media with their accounts revoked. It takes a keen mind to overlook how the tech oligarchs and leftist CEO’s of banks and payment processors are colluding to revoke the accounts of people engaged in wrongthink and implementing nothing short of a Digital Jim Crow in denying access to the financial system and the modern version of the public square when the real threat to our liberty is that someone doesn’t want tax dollars to fund the appearance of mentally ill perverts in our public libraries, which are again patronized by untold dozens of people.

      I am sure we all sleep better knowing that the stalwarts at Reason are standing astride the barricades applauding the erasure of the public presence of millions of Americans so that the David French’s of the world will not have to be exposed to dissenting views. Defending the outsourcing of government’s censorship function to leftwing flunkies has to be libertarianism’s finest hour, and Reason can proudly say they were there — defending a regime of censorship so effective that it would have been a Stasi agent’s wet dream. Now if only the phone companies would be allowed to decide which views could be expressed through their platform we would finally achieve the goal of every libertarian — at least according to Reason.

      You guys are a bunch of dumbasses, and you have to be getting paid off to embarrass yourselves this way. Even S&M freaks wouldn’t debase themselves this way without getting paid for it.

  2. >>>The post-liberal worldview is priggish and intolerant

    won’t last. unsustainable. truth will out.

    1. Post-liberals (formerly known as social conservatives) seem to have a lot in common with SJW progressives. Both want to ban things that make them feel icky for the « common good » about the only thing they probably disagree on is abortion and LGBTQ

      1. They also disagree about *what* makes them feel icky.

  3. “”For it is predicated on the assumption—the assumption that the censorious always make—that the world would be better if people weren’t free to speak and live peacefully as they choose, because they, the enlightened few, know best. “”

    I do see a group of people that think they are so enlightened that they know best for everyone and demand, sometimes by protest, that everyone becomes enlightened just like them. And it’s not the republicans.

    1. It’s these Republicans *too*. Bad actors on one side does not excuse bad actors on the other side.

      1. Mayor Pete, Reason’s preferred presidential candidate, wants some sort of conscripted service indoctrination camp. Meanwhile, somebody named Hawley introduced a bill, which will likely be voted down, reining Sec. 230, which should be repealed, back into some semblance of balance.

        Both sides.

        1. The right isn’t full of assholes because the left is full of giant assholes.

          1. Assholes are everywhere and there’s not enough time in the day to deal with them all, giant ones are the most intrusive and offensive and deserve priority.

            1. And while doing so we must ignore the other assholes.

            2. What’s worse, one giant asshole or a hundred little assholes?

              1. The proposed social indoctrination camps from Democratic candidates for President, two-terms running. That’s worse.

              2. One thousand giant or one hundred little, you mean.

              3. By one giant asshole do you mean google, the tech giant that has billions in government contracts and also donates to the democrats?

          2. Strangely we rarely hear about those left assholes in exclusion. #bothsides only comes out when the narrative is struggling.

        2. There’s a very clear and obvious threat, and someone’s being paranoid about whether other, smaller threats might be the thing that kills you.

          Imagine standing there with a tank rolling toward you, and the person behind you keeps tapping you on the shoulder, pointing at some teenager and worrying that he might have a pistol in his backpack.

          1. Imagine standing there with a tank rolling toward you, and the person behind you keeps tapping you on the shoulder, pointing at some teenager and worrying that he might have a pistol in his backpack.

            And, even if the tank doesn’t win the nomination, it’s the running against an attack helicopter and an artillery unit… but there might be 100 teenagers with 100 pistols in their backpacks so you’ve really got to worry about everyone equally.

      2. I don’t see the republicans claiming to be enlightened. Sure they are another group that want me to live by their morals.

        Woke is the code word one group uses to signal their enlightenment and that’s not team red.

    2. People are underestimating just how powerful tech companies like Google really are. This isn’t just about censoring someone on a social media site. Google has a monopoly on Search and intends to use that position of influence to interfere and change the results of elections with the search results they return. Considering that the votes of many people will be decided by what information they see and what information they don’t see – and because Google controls that flow of information – this isn’t hyperbole.

      1. ” Google has a monopoly on Search ”

        I’m don’t think that means what you think it means. It is perfectly possible to never use Google for search by using DuckDuckGo or Bing. Changing the default from Google to DDG is one of the easiest things to do. I rarely use google for search anymore.

        Further, there are plenty of other providers of free or dirt cheap email, so no one has to use gmail. If you like videos, I guess you’re largely stuck with YouTube, but there are other platforms.

        Google is a huge company with lots of attractive services, and has huge market share in most of their service areas. But it’s not really a monopoly when it is fairly easy to bypass them.

        1. It’s that huge market share that makes the other thing you say problematic.

        2. Google has its tentacles into an enormous number of non-Google services. Read this article:

          I Cut Google Out Of My Life. It Screwed Up Everything
          https://gizmodo.com/i-cut-google-out-of-my-life-it-screwed-up-everything-1830565500

  4. Missouri is dumb. Hawley when they could have had Petersen.

  5. “a positive depiction of a lifestyle he disagrees with in a public venue”

    That’s a rather dishonest reading of indoctrinating children with postmodern, neo-Marxist gender ideology.

    1. C’mon only parents who believe in postmodern neo-Marxist gender ideology will bring their kids to these events. They would be “indoctrinated” at home anyway. You can’t prevent it by shutting down speech in libraries.

      1. You can discourage degeneracy in society. Protesting public events like this is perfectly acceptable. It’s not like we’re talking about RWDS yet.

        1. You are advocating for shutting down speech on public property that you don’t like. That’s an argument that you can’t back up, no matter the speech.

          1. Your kids are going to love my speech on the benefits of heroin. Don’t worry, it’ll be in a public place… FREE SPEECH…. and I won’t give them heroin, it’ll just be around while I show them proper use.

            1. Go ahead and give that speech. I wouldn’t let my kids go anywhere near you.

              1. Oh don’t worry, you’ll have no idea. Much like parents who think their kids are going to a library to get books but are actually going to get indoctrinated in trannyism

                1. That’s a ridiculous situation which has most likely never happened. Now public schooling is a different question. Why again are we so focused on Google when my kids are being told trannyism bullshit by the government?

            2. go ahead. the world would be a lot better place if we had more such discussions about how to properly use intoxicants rather than the shit show we have now.

  6. I just can’t even with the National Review alliance.

    1. dude this. won’t somebody please think of the children?

    2. Can’t even what?

    3. The NRA?

  7. Here’s how you express your disagreement with cultural item: Express your disagreement. Drag queens reading stories, gay aardvarks getting married, people not wearing MAGA hats, etc. You’re free to express you disagreement.

    Here’s how NOT to express your disagreement: Pass a law.

    1. Here’s how NOT to express your disagreement: Pass a law.

      So, the amendment protecting your right to petition your government for redress of grievances should be repealed?

      1. No, he is saying that you shouldn’t pass a law to silence your critics. One would think that it goes without saying on a libertarian board that “you should not” is not equivalent to “you must not.”

        1. “he is saying that you shouldn’t pass a law to silence your critic”

          Section 230 does precisely that

          1. People like Reason defending 230 leaves the door open for asshokes like Hawley to make a worse law.

            Section 230 is trash from a libertarian perspective. But libertarians must defend the status quo, or something.

            1. As I understand it, section 230 is the article that allows reason to have a comment section. Without it, some idiot could leave a comment about Judges and wood chippers and reason would be liable for the content.

        2. No, he is saying that you shouldn’t pass a law to silence your critics. One would think that it goes without saying on a libertarian board that “you should not” is not equivalent to “you must not.”

          Nobody’s passing a law to silence their critics. Hawley’s passing a law that adds conditions for receiving government protections and the other guy is tweeting about peeves.

          1. The law quite literally adds a layer of government oversight to private companies. You must really hate these people to think that’s a good idea.

            1. The law quite literally adds a layer of government oversight to private companies so that they abide by the conditions set forth that allowed them the liability exemptions needed for their own creation

              1. Project Veritas is showing how Google is linking Shapiro and Peterson to fucking Nazis as a way to limit searches hitting their information.

                Yeah, let’s keep THESE idiots in charge of public discourse. Only thing worse than government regulation is SJW tech moron regulation.

                1. >>Only thing worse than government regulation is SJW tech moron regulation.

                  should be billboards.

                2. Cyberpunk full bytes ahead.

            2. The law quite literally adds a layer of government oversight to private companies. You must really hate these people to think that’s a good idea.

              You must really be naive to think that these companies, working on government defense contracts, openly and actively not just accommodating but supporting regulations of both our own government and others, with protections issued by Congress in any way faithfully represent any notion of ‘private company’.

              1. Immunity from civil action.

                Section 230 grants these companies power that individuals do not have. The government is granting this power.

                Hawleys fix sucks, but he is better than reason in at least understanding that there is a problem.

                1. Hawleys fix sucks, but he is better than reason in at least understanding that there is a problem.

                  This. Hawley recognizes there is a problem and can point to its source, Reason’s hack-style stance is indistinguishable from defending the source of the problem.

    2. Finally! A true free thinker! As a conservative, not a Republican, I disagree with government funding of MANY things. But private companies, like Google, Facebook, etc. can do what they want—however, I think it MAY be fair to have them use a disclaimer that states they reserve the right to filter information. Our schools are indoctrination machines, but most parents are oblivious to it. Just watch and old clip of Jay Leno interviewing on the street—makes me sad. I love honest discussions on issues—i can’t stand illiteracy.

  8. “New” Illiberal Right?

    Uh, almost by definition the conservative/right view derives from illiberal sources, from the king to the church to the tribal elders. Any sense that the right broadly embraced liberalism was probably wishful thinking.

    As for Ahmari’s goal of orienting people for the Highest Good, that was probably a typo–supposed to read Highest God.

    1. Yeah, Mises, Hayek, Spooner, Rothbard. No freedom here. It is the Marxists who are the ones in favor of freedom.

      1. So Mather, Nation, Falwell, Robertson, etc.–all Marxists?

  9. Section 230 is extra legal protections. It is a government benefit. The attachments to said benefit that Hawley is asking for are relatively minor. The business has to be fairly large and it has go be honest in its application of the ToS. Companies are free to censor and hide behind vague terms, they just wont get extra legal benefits. I dont get why reason is so up in arms about giving favored protections out. The sites can even censor willingly with 230 protections as long as they are open and honest about how they censor their platforms. That is what google and others are not being.

    Next is reason going to argue against food ingredient labels?

    Usually libertarians want openness and honesty, yet here they are fine with open deceptiveness and an one sided contractual obligation in favor of large corporations. It’s just strange.

    1. Google is censoring Project Veritas reporting on their wrongdoing.

      Yup, we need to protect Google more. Clearly.

      1. https://www.dailywire.com/news/48824/youtube-pulls-project-veritas-video-google-bias-james-barrett

        Google’s own head of “Responsible Innovation” thinks they are “tasked with preventing” the next Trump election. “Fairness” means making sure only 1 side gets out.

        And I am supposed to worry about Hawley culling back Sec 230 and rightfully treating these companies as publishers

        1. Google is not scrutinized enough because they’re up to no good.

          Still a bad idea here though.

        2. She only said those things in a private lunch where she thought she was showing off for friends of her movement. She never would have said those things if she thought they would be quoted and investigated.

          Picking on Gennai over what she said in a private conversation is just stupid. It would be like withdrawing someone’s acceptance to Harvard because they acted like an asshole in a chatroom.

    2. Section 230 is extra legal protections. It is a government benefit.

      Regardless of whether it’s a benefit or a punishment as a law passed by Congress governing free speech and restricting the people’s right to petition, it violates the 1A several times over.

    3. They’ve actually had multiple articles about the problems with such labels over the years.

      1. I’ve never seen an article decrying ingredient labels, but other safety labels like food may make you fat. Honesty in advertising is fundamental in libertarian and free market ideals.

  10. much of what they are after is a kind of soft censorship, in which the post-liberals use state power to discourage, if not actively suppress, disfavored forms of expression for political, religious, and personal ends. It’s about controlling what people say.

    THAT’S DIFFERENT! THEY STARTED IT! ANY MEANS NECESSARY!

  11. I’m not for telling individuals what they can and cannot say, however, I do think that when large corporations step into the public space by taking over the public square, they should become subject to the restrictions that the 1st amendment puts on the government.

    I believe this would enable more speech for individuals, not less. The only “speech” this limits is the large corporations – it limits their speech by telling them they cannot remove content (technically this can be speech I think?) unless it is explicitly illegal.

    1. I’m down with that. Similar to “don’t be so open minded that your brains fall out,” while I’m libertarian, we shouldn’t be so libertarian that we turn a blind eye to Facebook censoring content because they’re a “private company after all.”

      1. I don’t see why Reason thinks Google or Facebook are BETTER for protecting freedoms et al than the government.

        They aren’t any better. Government oversight is hardly a panacaea. We need a MASSIVE breakup of these firms…make them so small they can be drowned with no effort.

        1. OK damikesc got any ideas of how to “break up these firms…and make them so small” OTHER than government? Maybe a sledgehammer or wood chipper? What other method is there?

          1. Anti-trust. Have Google split up into many smaller parts that become independent companies. YouTube becomes its own publicly traded company, and has to buy services and sells ads just like any Google competitor.

          2. Repeal Section 230. Not conditionally, with continued government oversight. Repeal it altogether.

    2. So you can have freedom of speech… but only so long as you aren’t too successful.

      Got it.

      1. We already apply this standard with regard to the freedom of action for companies should they monopolize any other market. And this seems to me to be inevitable because in the real world absent counterweights to such power they will use regulatory capture to make government their enforcer.

      2. Yes. Once you cross an arbitrary threshold of success, you should become subject to different rules. Kind of how socialism works in groups of 150 or less, but completely breaks down in large-scale civilizations. We need different rules for different sized groups.

        We don’t go around protecting the government’s freedoms. We protect our freedoms FROM the government because it is large and in charge. We must protect our freedoms from massive corporations that are also large and in charge. Its not that hard of a concept to grasp.

  12. What Hawley has said he wants are social platform rules that are more content neutral then what we are getting now from the post liberal leftists who are dominating those companies policies. There is a reasonable case to be made that the law he has proposed will not work the way he thinks it will, but that is not a reason to lump him in with the post liberal right.

    Ahmari’s screed does not read like a coherent program because it is born of frustration of fighting the post liberal left with what feels like one hand tied behind the back. The one ŕ that is using the force of law to run Catholic Charities out of adoption services for not wanting to place children with same sex couples. For wanting to punish bakers, florists and photographers for not serving dame sex weddings. For the SJWs trying to run businesses out of town for daring to have a shoplifters who happen to be black.

    But Ahmari’s movement, such as it is, are gnats. However they seem to engage in more hand wringing by Suderman than all the illiberal Left.

  13. Suderman was post-liberal before it was cool to be post-liberal.

    1. Suderman is a dishonest hack. Somehow, Drag Queen Story Hour merits a mention in this piece, but Google rigging all their searches to prevent political outcomes they don’t like, doesn’t.
      Nor does Youtube suppressing the evidence

      1. Nor the 400+ employees who cycled back and forth between Google and the Obama admin

        1. They’ll wait til the election happens then pretend like its some new revelation

  14. It’s the fraud part, where they claim to be non-partisan while taking a hard left view, which invites government action.

    Even in a libertarian utopia, the force of law is both desireable and required to suppress fraud.

    1. Reason is weak on fraud. Most libertarians are, tbh.

      But fraud is on par with force in the damage it does to freedom and liberty. Bastiat pointed this out.

  15. Honestly, the fact that Ahmari’s attacks on David French (a neoconservative and non-ally to the libertarian movement) have generated more condemnation than the leftists aiming to level contemporary society with their “woke” forms of indoctrination (almost always directed at children) speaks volumes. People are more worried about Ahmari and his camp than they are by the prevailing cultural hegemons who seek to make mainstream obvious lies about gender.

    1. Suderman does seem to have a “No enemies on the Left” attitude.

      1. You think Google won’t suppress Libertarian ideas that have a chance at winning elections? Not that there is anything particularly Libertarian about Suderman, French is more libertarian

        1. I am fully aware that if the Libertarian Party were a threat to win elections over the Dems, the propaganda against them would be fierce. If anything the Left hates actual libertarian philosophy more than conservative thinking.

        2. They would.Reason has already been ‘Marked for Death’. They just don’t know it.

          And no but ‘we issued so many to be sures to show balance!” will help them when illiberal forces with great power come for them.

          We’re all alt-right now and must tread carefully.

      2. That’s because he represents the faction within libertarianism for which the sacred “we’re above the left/right fray” claim is more important than any actual principles.

        The Left is plainly far more terrible than the Right is from a libertarian perspective, so the work of maintaining the “balance” requires constant attacks on the Right.

    2. Yeah. Suderman frames the debate, “arguing that the largest and most powerful technology companies are biased against conservatives” but a good number of people who are ‘arguing’ aren’t conservative and are distinctly arguing that many of the views being expressed aren’t conservative. Unless speculative conjecture like “Maybe women are the reason women aren’t as good at some jobs as men.” is, somehow, conservative. Pool and Rogan made a distinct point about this wrt transgenderism and Twitter with Dorsey(‘s attorney).

      1. Pool’s comment on Twitter’s “misgendering” policy is quite good. The entire policy is a political statement.

        How can one argue that saying a biological male is a male is “misgendering” while calling him a female because he “feels” like one today is not?

    3. I’ve honestly never heard of Ahmari outside of Reason’s discussion of him. Does anyone have a good sense of what kind of following this guy has? I’m picturing him giving lectures to half-empty community theaters, or having a youtube channel with 2400 subscribers.

      1. I have no idea who he is and have never heard the name anywhere besides this site

      2. So I found him on twitter and he’s got like 52k followers. So he’s got at least a small following. I was trying to find an equally obscure personality on the left and it just evaded me. I came up with Mark Bray, who I think is the author of the Antifa handbook, who has about 10,000 twitter followers.

        I guess what I learned is that there’s a ton of people out there too obscure for me to really know about.

        1. I was trying to find an equally obscure personality on the left and it just evaded me.

          Maddow will probably continue doing that until 2021, after which point she’ll evade everyone’s consciousness altogether.

          1. I don’t think she’s very obscure. I think she still has the top rated program on CNBC, and it’s one of the top rated cable news/opinion programs outside of Fox News. That’s perhaps an indictment of the current state of television.

            At any rate, I’ve certainly heard of her beyond the hallowed grounds of Reason.com, which I cannot say of Sohrab Ahmari. I suspect he doesn’t get much coverage outside the five burrows of New York.

            1. I was kidding. Cable news is becoming increasingly obscure.

    4. What would you people do with yourselves if you didn’t play dress-up as perpetual victims of a phantom “left” conspiracy? You need it. It is your fuel.

      Do let me know when they bash down your door and take you away for being pro-Trump.

      1. Me? Pro-Trump?

        You’re even stupider than your reputation suggests, Anthony.

        1. Tony’s brain is limited to simple thoughts like “if you’re not for my preciousssss governmentses you must be pro-Trump”. Nothing really going on in that noggin.

      2. If the left is allowed to get away with silencing the pro-Trumpers, taking them away is not far behind.
        First they came for…

  16. I do find it odd that you can pick a handful of people on the right and the vast hordes on the left and draw a “both sides” comparison, nevertheless, you’re talking about unleashing a tiger to kill a rat and what happens when the rat turns out to be smart enough to team up with the tiger and turn on you? Because you know that’s exactly what’s going to happen because that’s what always happens. When Facebook and Twitter and Google and Amazon all start calling for “reasonable, common-sense” government regulation of the internet you know who’s going to be writing the regulations and you know it ain’t gonna be you.

  17. Peter I suppose has to refer to christian fascism or national socialism by some neuter euphemism pleasing to them. But Hawley’s proposal is hardly new. Eugenics laws approved by O. Wendel Holmes were eagerly taken up in Germany to neuter undesirable inherited traits such as lack of altruism or tendency toward 1930 American liberalism. So why act surprised that the modern strain of that same ideology now strikes out at thought itself? Thoughtcrime has been in the vernacular since 1948.

    1. Holmes was one of the great progressive justices in history. Hank, did your parents have any children who lived?

      1. Holmes was a blowhard tyrant. Fact.

  18. Why focus on actual left wing suppression of speech when you can speculate about the possibility of right wing oppression, right Suderman?

    1. You left out the private company bit

      1. You left out the part about government insulating them from liability for their editorial positions.

        Letting someone post a bunch of stuff onn your ‘platform’, but then deciding that this bit or that bit needs to be deleted is no different than what the publishers of this website are doing with the authors.

        1. If FNC isn’t having its freedoms curtailed by liability, why would Facebook or YouTube be any different?

        2. It’s their platform. They created it. Why do I have the right to use their service is they don’t want me to?

          1. “It is an open forum, feel free to discuss whatever you want!”

            Years later

            “Except that, and that, and certainly not this and…”

            1. Why do you have the right to tell them that they cannot police their own platform?

              1. They can certainly do so. But then they are acting as a publisher and should be liable for defamation and slander posted on their platform, just like any other publisher.

                1. But they aren’t a publisher. They don’t pay their users as writers or endorse their speech. They have created a platform for speech that they like. If you don’t like it, find another platform.

                  1. You choose strange petard longhand your hats on. I’m calling you new Jeff.

                    Once again… companies are free to be censorious assholes. They wont get extra benefits if they choose to be.

                  2. They don’t pay their users as writers or endorse their speech.

                    You don’t have to pay anyone to be a publisher.

                    And if you fail to prohibit certain speech while aggressively and extensively censoring other kinds of speech, that seems to be endorsement of the speech that remains.

          2. Because if you say something libelous about me and they leave it up, I can’t sue them as a party to the libel. They enjoy this protection because they are just a platform and the person creating content is the de facto publisher as well. If they are in a position to suppress content they don’t like, they’re also in a position to take responsibility for the content they allow.

          3. They can do whatever they want. But the federal government shouldn’t step in obliterate centuries-old, just causes of action, overriding all state and local authority just to give these asshats a big handout.

    2. But its a private company that is doing it, so its totes cool. Put the public square in private hands, and *poof* goes your ability to petition the government, oh, and your pesky ideas too!

      Libertarianism.

      1. Oh my bad, you’re right. I’ll just trust the fucking American federal government to do this one thing correctly that happens to be the impossible task of policing speech on the internet. It’s not like they have messed up everything in the past and present.

        1. We are currently in the process of seceding the public square to a small group of people in California. I’m willing to take my chances with the federal government.

          1. Also, I’m not calling for the federal government to police speech on the internet, nor have I ever called for such legislation.

          2. Okay well continue to vote Republican and I’ll stick with the market. For the record, I’m not a fan of how tech companies are handling their speech issues but I can only imagine that it’s a difficult task.

            1. Because they choose to make it one.

              If they didn’t censor as much as they do, nobody would call or anything.

              Hands off is exceedingly easy. You don’t see Sprint, T-Mobile, VZW, or AT&T whining about the difficulty in handling THEIR speech issues and, lord knows, they have plenty of speech on their platform.

              1. I mean you’re saying that everyone has a right to a companies private platform regardless of the companies wishes. Is the censorship so important that you want to create this standard?

                1. You keep being dishonest with your arguments new Jeff. These platforms built their userbase by promising open and free dialogue. They are now changing those terms arbitrarily. If they had started out ad censorious assholes, that’s one thing. They did not. They have cultivated users and sold their information based on fraud. They receive excess legal protections despite thos behavior. Let them go back to extra protections if they choose to continue.

              2. If Sprint, T-Mobile, VZW and AT&T started recording every telephone conversation and putting them up for public display, I suspect they’d suddenly find great difficulty in handling their speech issues.

            2. If you’re not a fan of what the tech companies are doing… why are you so vociferous in defending their extra legal benefits that most people dont get?

              1. He hides behind principles. Apparently his principles are to suck the dicks of major corporations while they burn down the public square.

            3. No, it’s an easy task. If someone puts something up, you leave it up. If somebody complains, you say, “Sorry, I’m a platform, I allow publication of anything not against the law. If you put up something they don’t like, I’ll leave that up too.”

              1. Along with “you are welcome to mute/block any user for any reason whatsoever”.

        2. I just realized you think I’m in support of Hawley’s piece of shit legislation. I am not.

          This is what I think we should do:

          I’m not for telling individuals what they can and cannot say, however, I do think that when large corporations step into the public space by taking over the public square, they should become subject to the restrictions that the 1st amendment puts on the government.

          I believe this would enable more speech for individuals, not less. The only “speech” this limits is the large corporations – it limits their speech by telling them they cannot remove content (technically this can be speech I think?) unless it is explicitly illegal.

          1. Large corporations are individuals and they are the only individuals with power that rivals our horrible government. Also, what about the issue of speech that is protected by the 1A but that is reasonably disallowed on social media like targeted bullying or doxxing?

            1. Corporations should not be treated like individuals, especially when they have so much concentrated power (I believe somewhere else yesterday I claimed that you are in support of large corporations at the expense of individual, and you told me my argument was in bad faith. Interesting). When they become this big, they become defacto governments.

              Under my proposal, illegal content would not be allowed because it is not protected under the 1A. If the targeted bullying crosses the line into legally-defined harassment, it can be removed and prosecuted since it is not protected under the 1A. If the doxxing is found to be unprotected by the 1A and is also illegal, than it can be removed and prosecuted.

              If you are being bullied, you are also welcome to use that helpful little “ignore/mute” button these social media platforms have if people are bothering you. There are even 3rd party apps that will mute people that are friends with people you’ve muted. None of that would be in conflict with what I have proposed here.

              1. I apologize if I insulted you for supporting business but I doubt that’s what I meant.

                Your proposal is far more drastic and would take away all private company autonomy to monitor the contents on their platform. I can’t support it. But if we are all Google slaves one day feel free to ask me how my principles are doing then.

                1. “Your proposal is far more drastic and would take away all private company autonomy to monitor the contents on their platform.”

                  It would completely resolve the “issues” they have with controlling the “speech” they deal with. They would allow what is legal and disallow that which is not, provided a court order obligates them to do so.

                  Don’t both complain that they have difficulties in handling speech issues and then complain about legislation that can remove ALL of them if they simply stop censoring.

                  1. This doesn’t answer my question about protected speech that is reasonably controlled on social media like bullying or doxxing. You are proposing removing all platform control from all social media companies because a few bad actors have de-platformed a few conservatives (often very indefensible conservatives). Yes, that seems drastic.

                    1. Your dishonest exams is dishonest. None of these platforms remove all bullying or doxing. They remove it capriciously and in a seemingly biased manner.

                2. No, it would only take away that autonomy from companies that claim protection from lawsuits over their users’ content.

                3. No. My proposal is a light touch proposal that takes content editing out of the hands of social media companies completely. The government is just as limited in its ability to regulate speech. The way these complaints would be handled would be through the court system – so if a social media company violates your freedom of speech you can take it up in court just like you would with the government.

          2. I believe that anyone who exercises editorial control over publicly communicated content – regardless of the mode of communication – should be exposed to the same degree of liability.

            Maybe that’s what Ron Wyden thought he was saying with Section 230, but the reality of how it is being interpreted is quite different.

            1. So the proposal would treat social networks like publishers unless they proved that they are completely politically neutral?

              1. Stop with the strawman arguments.

                It’s not a question of any sort of viewpoint (be it political or otherwise) ‘neutrality’ you either exert editorial control, or you don’t.

                That is the only sort of neutrality in question.

                1. Consider Twitter’s character limit – that is an entirely neutral limitation.

                  Once they start telling you what words (or emojis) you can or cannot use, they cease to be neutral.

                  1. Twitter said you cannot reference Alex Jones unless it is to criticize him.

                    How is that not an editorial decision, pure and simple?

                  2. I wasn’t trying to strawman I thought that’s what you meant. I don’t think your analogy works in this case. Isn’t any limitation neutral if they apply it equally to all users. Like I thought the dividing line was political views in consideration with the notable conservatives who have been de-platformed. In your case, it seems like they can’t make limitations concerning stuff like bullying or doxxing as well.

                    1. That is exactly his point. If they apply moderation it needs to be in a content neutral manner. Section 230 gives them special protections that allow them to essentially engage in defamation without the consequences.

                      Reason hates consequences (well, against ppl they like) so they naturally frame the law as something it isn’t.

                    2. Well you haven’t convinced me. I still think private companies can do what they like with their creation and no one has the right to their platform. This is an interesting debate though, too bad reason is capping this thread.

                    3. Private companies CAN do what they want and they are RESPONSIBLE for their actions. That is all that is being discussed here.

                    4. No matter how many times it’s been said to you, Melvin, you’re still not getting it.
                      As Skippy and MANY others have been saying, private companies can moderate their content as they see fit. If they exercise editorial control, they bear responsibility for their editorial decisions. At least they should.
                      You are conflating not being able to have your cake and eat it too with not being able to either have or eat your cake.

                    5. New jeff still doesnt get that the companies can censor however they want, they should just lose their excess protections. Why he refuses to acknowledge the argument is very Jeff like.

              2. No, it would treat social networks like platforms unless it was proved that they weren’t viewpoint neutral.

          3. These companies didn’t step into the public square and take over. These companies created these virtual squares for the public, funded by a private business model, just like a restaurant or theater. They have grown so large because people like their services, not because there is no other choice. Think the food at your favorite hangout has been declining, complain to the manager or go somewhere else and invite some friends. Don’t like FB content moderation, same thing: complain to management, then make good on your threat to go somewhere else and invite your friends. Businesses will respond to consumer demand. If Twitter doesn’t value the consumers that insist on pointing out that a person’s genitals do not correspond to their preferred pronouns, some other platform will. You don’t have a right to use YouTube to amplify your message any more than you have the right to hang out in a vegan restaurant and hold up pictures of slaughtered animals without being kicked out.
            Content moderation at scale is not simple, regardless of how much you will the tech companies to nerd harder. Right now it’s still a challenge to distinguish between documentation of crimes against humanity and propaganda encouraging it.

            1. So they deserve crony protections by the federal government.
              They’re special.
              Great call

        3. I’ll just trust the fucking American federal government to do this one thing correctly that happens to be the impossible task of policing speech on the internet. It’s not like they have messed up everything in the past and present.

          Retard–what we’re after is having NO ONE “policing speech”. NO ONE. Not the government, not leftist idiots, NO ONE.

          What the fuck is so hard about that for you people?

  19. “…chided French for watching and referring to ‘an explicit TV series, Game of Thrones.‘“

    Would he have preferred an implicit TV series?

  20. So much support here for an ideological Republican just because he is going after politics you don’t like. I think a better idea is to let private individuals do what they want and let the market sort itself out, or are those principles too restrictive when Republicans control the Presidency and Senate?

    1. “I think a better idea is to let private individuals do what they want and let the market sort itself out”

      What about google and the government working together to quash people and ideas they dont like? Cool with that? Because that’s what’s going on

      1. No man of course not. I don’t want government involved in the markets and this policy does exactly that!

        1. …except when alternatives appear — see Gab — the tech monopolies then work together to squash them with the help of banks.

          1. Yes that was unfortunate.

            1. It was actually exactly the sort of quashing of competition by a monopoly power that anti-trust was created to stop.

        2. There was so little noise about google cozying up with Obama, and so much noise about solutions to that problem. If you want the government out, insist that news providers like Reason shout on top of the rooftops about the original problem.

          But they won’t, they’ll just bitch about conservatives trying to square up the game.

    2. I’ve only seen a few people on this site express full support of the legislator’s solutions as they are currently written/explained. But there is certainly some support here to revise section 230 and/or make large social media companies subject to the restrictions put forward by the 1st amendment.

      I think there are plenty of people here that (1) reject the idea of a new “fairness doctrine for the internet” while (2) supporting a few light touch changes to increase access for individuals to express themselves in the newly created public square.

      1. I would love that to be the case but I just can’t support a federal legislation on the matter. While I don’t think there has been a market failure, I had hoped some more libertarian competitors to tech companies would come along by now but that hasn’t happened either. There’s still hope though (see Thinkspot).

        1. Many people here certain support your argument that we should do nothing, let California continue to suppress speech and make sure something like 2016 never happens again (recent story) and pray to the market for a solution.

          I find this to be an argument of faith. I’m not big on faith. I will continue to put forward actionable solutions instead.

          1. It’s an argument of principles that I won’t give up.

            1. Indeed, your principals are more important that your children’s rights.

              1. That’s a stretch. You’re concern is that private social media companies are becoming too powerful and controlling that we need the government to step in and I don’t share that concern. I am not saying I’m not worried though, but I’ll keep advocating for free markets and see where it takes me. Not like anyone listens anyway.

                1. HEY! Y’all don’t say that. This thread is super important.

                  Per usual, progressives used government to create a problem, and now that conservatives want to use government to stop it, people want to chastise conservatives for reacting. The solution would be for Reason and other news providers to speak the honest truth about what progressives are doing. Since that will never happen, you’re going to see a conservative backlash.

                  The Cathedral lives on

            2. It isn’t a principle. Defamation isn’t protected by 1A. Labeling speech you don’t like “hate speech” and censoring it and then decrying removing special protections that no other publisher has as “censorship” is beyond ironic.

              1. Answer me this, Skippy: should people have the right to use a private company’s service regardless of the wishes of the company?

                1. Answer me this, mel, is defamation bad?

                  1. Do I detect a leading question? Maybe I’m not the one to ask about this. Yes, I guess it’s bad. However, I asked a very direct question that is not answered.

                    1. Your question evaded the central point. My question merely redirected you back to my original point. So if defamation is bad why do you support exempting ONLY online publishers from it as long as they pretend they aren’t?

                  2. Hint: how free is a market really when some of its participant are protected from tort?

                    1. Can we not define a difference between Facebook and The New York Times. Has Reason head-hunted me to defend their position in this comment section? Is your grandma a paid Facebook writer? There is a difference between a publisher and a forum. Non of us want the government to hold forums responsible for the content of the users so why would you hold that punishment against them. Either come right out and seize their platforms to distribute them equally to the masses like the communists you sound like or stay out of it entirely like a libertarian should.

                    2. No, we can’t. Somehow you’ve convinced yourself that the NYT isn’t responsible for everything they publish including letters to the editor. They actually are. And by dint of the fact that google and facebook and twitter have shown great efficiency in their censorship efforts that reflects that what appears on their platforms is exactly what they want just as in the case of the NYT. But the NYT isn’t granted special protections by the government, google et al are. Seems pretty unlibertarian to call for unequal protection of the law.

                      Thishas been explained to you multiple times on this thread yet you wilfully disregard the point. Why?

                    3. And not moderating a forum is an absolute protection. Why do you and Reason continue to deny this?

                      The only ones supporting totalitarians here would be you and reason.

                    4. I’m starting to wonder what melvins free market definition actually is. Can a company lie about what is in their drink even if their is a toxic chemical in it? That’s the level of free market new Jeff seems to understand.

                      Libertarians dont ignore negative externalities. they expect truth and honesty on markets. Google and FB have not been honest members. On top of that they practice actual anti competitive actions in the market such ad theft and buy and kill.

                      New jeff seems naive.

                2. Depends on the service. I reckon there’d be some hollering if AT&T refused to let Al Sharpton have a phone number.

            3. Your principles are shit and based in naivete.

            4. If you allow your principles to be used against you to undermine your principles, you do not have principles, you have an ego.

        2. Melvin – you ARE supporting federal legislation on the matter.
          That’s the status quo.
          Specifically, you’re supporting federal legislation that shields the most powerful corps in the world from liability that everyone else is subject to.

          1. New jeff isnt understanding the basics of the argument. he knows what he knows and cant be convinced otherwise.

        3. There is 100% a market failure due to the anti competitive actions of these companies. That’s the other issue reason refuses to acknowledge. These companies are notorious for stealing IP when they cant buy and kill competition.

    3. Here’s the problem with your take:

      Section 230 stripping away the common law actions of libel and slander isn’t “letting the market sort itself out.” It’s the opposite. It’s big government interventionism, and worse, it’s at the federal level in the US.

  21. […] the illiberal right—for which Hawley is acting as a sort of “spokesman in the Senate,” according to […]

  22. Face it folks: censorship is contagious. Success breeds imitation. Once one “side” demonstrates that it can silence speakers it doesn’t like, others will be encouraged to do likewise, particularly in an environment of partisans who see themselves as advocates for a “team” rather than as defenders of individual rights or a constitutional tradition.

    Thus, seeing the “post-liberal” right (whatever the hell that means) mimicking the left and pursuing censorship as a tactic does not surprise me.

    1. Youtube is part of Silicon Valley which itself is a left-wing Democrat bastion. It has taken to silence, demonetize or shutdown channels almost arbitrarily and seemingly incoherently.

      Their actions not only assault free speech but it actually negatively impacts or even effectively ruin the lives of people who worked hard building their channels and subs up.

      Gee, I wonder why….something, something….alt-right and 2020.

      It’s really evil shit if you ask me.

    2. And yet the progressives have no mainstream push back for their google/ government relationship. It’s always conservatives who have to take it up the ass with a smile.

      1. The perks of totalitarianism

  23. “a positive depiction of a lifestyle he disagrees with in a public venue”

    That’s a rather dishonest reading of indoctrinating children with postmodern, neo-Marxist gender ideology.

    thanks alot.
    http://1musics.com

  24. “The post-liberal worldview is priggish and intolerant, an ideology rooted in a moralizing authoritarianism.”

    As opposed to the Progressive/Liberal worldview? The one that says “You may not object to our spending tax money on messages of which you disapprove?”. The one that feels just fine invoking the heckler’s veto? The one that has masked thugs in the streets attacking people with whom they disagree?

    Is there an intolerant and priggish segment of the Right, and of the evangelical Christian community (they aren’t one and the same, though overlap exists)? Sure. But let’s not conflate the impulse too say “That you may not say or print” (which exists throughout the political spectrum) with “I don’t want that broadcast by this station for which I am responsible.” or even “I don’t want to broadcast this, because I know damn well it will offend the community on which I depend for support.”

    The “We’re going to teach your children that Gay marriage is swell, no matter what you believe” impulse would be a good deal less irritating if the people who gave in to it were targeting Muslim communities, too, BTW.

    1. Masked thugs. Get a grip.

      And just brush aside rightwing intolerance and censorious tendencies as if they aren’t the gold standard, because Laura Ingraham found some asshole on a college campus somewhere to rebut the entire history of religious conservative tyranny.

      And don’t forget to piss off the Muslims!

      1. #antifa
        #resistance

        1. #proudboys
          #teaparty

          1. You can point to the violence conducted by the Tea Party, of course…

            1. poor flounder probably didn’t even like tea.

      2. Masked thugs. Get a grip.

        Antifa: The Rise of the Violent Left – by The Atlantic

        Quote:

        Antifa’s violent tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left.

  25. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for conservatives to just not get fucked up the butt if they don’t want to.

    1. I don’t know why liberals can’t help being fascists.

    2. You’re going to love four more years of Trump

      1. I’m REALLY going to love seeing the look on your face when Trump loses all the Rust Belt states and at least one reliably red state because of how his tariffs screwed American farmers.

        1. Show us in the inflation data where they got screwed. Or show us a bankrupt farm.

    3. Because they can’t help being a bunch of nosy busy-bodies while waving their “Don’t Tread On Me” flags to show off their “love of freedom.”

  26. Combine this with their stated willingness to use the force of government to achieve their ends and their distaste for individual autonomy, … use state power to discourage, if not actively suppress, disfavored forms of expression for political, religious, and personal ends. It’s about controlling what people say.

    Reads like Google’s mission statement.

  27. This is the same Reason that pissed itself when trump suggested kapernick be canned. This is the same Reason that shit its pants when trump called the press the enemy of the people. Remind me just how principled they are when it comes to free speech.

  28. When was Reason bought out by Ingsoc?

  29. These religious goons are skating on their typical run of the mill victim-pageantry: “Someone else got the same rights as me! I’m being oppressed!”

    1. Bake the cake!

    2. BS. The commies aren’t trying to get equal rights… They already have those. They want special privileges for various groups, many of which already have such things enshrined in law, AND they want to FORCE everybody to APPROVE of their views in their hearts.

      It’s like how in 1984 it wasn’t enough to obey the state, you had to TRULY LOVE BIG BROTHER.

  30. only the far left is working to supress speech…STOP YOUR LIES

  31. At least the bloke who wrote this doesn’t hide his Bolshevism.
    Forward Comrade!

  32. Wow, this Suderman guy is stupid as shit.

    “What he and the post-liberals like him want is a popular culture shorn of the images and ideas and lifestyles they deem wrong for society. . This isn’t a dispute about public funding for libraries; it’s about casting scorn on forms of cultural expression that the post-liberals regard as ugly and indecent. It’s an argument that some forms of expression cross the line of social acceptability.”

    Yeah . . . this isn’t censorship. This is just pushing for a CULTURE that is virtuous and good or whatever, in their opinion, not by government controlling what the culture is, but by speaking their mind and celebrating what they like and shaming and shunning what they find harmful in order to influence POPULAR opinion and demand which thereby influences POPULAR culture.

    “a bill to revoke current protections afforded to large internet companies by Section 230, which essentially indemnifies tech businesses from material posted by their users.”

    So here the government is INTERFERING and MEDDLING with well-developed centuries-old legal precedent of libel and slander, stepping in to indemnify private parties! It’s indefensible. The only way it makes sense is to be justified as necessary for a new and novel form of technology, the “platform.” But if these companies are not going to behave anything like a platform, like a network of telephone wires, then having the government “indemnify” (completely wrong legal term usage here btw) is just ridiculous corporatism of the type that will have people getting out the guillotines.

    And no, censorship is NOT just government, private parties censor too. It’s just that’s their right, generally speaking.

    1. Yup.

      Social shaming is THE libertarian solution to getting rid of laws about most things. LOTS of things shouldn’t be illegal, but will still be looked down on by people… And rightfully so. Beating off in public should NEVER be acceptable behavior… But it doesn’t violate the NAP… So what’s a libertarian to do? Scold the fuck out of the person, and get all your neighbors to do it too, until they don’t do it.

      There is no requirement that people accept weird/freaky/degenerate behavior in a legally free society. The commies certainly don’t do this, so why should people of other opinions?

  33. How does Reason write shit like this when James O’Keefe and Project Veritas just uncovered massive censorship and election meddling against conservatives and libertarians on YouTube and Google?

    No Republican has ever told me to my face to shut the fuck up or attempted to shut down my speech but my former progtard in-laws sure as hell consistently did and they’re modern progressives.

    This place sucks. When did Buzzfeed News take over this website?

    1. One of the most telling things about Reason is the things they DON’T cover… Which is almost always the most interesting, and damning things that shit on their narrative. The left is clearly out of control, yet they just can’t give up on the “it’s both sides” thing… It’s technically true. Both sides are not perfect… But the right is like a 2 on the shittiness scale, and the left is a 9.5.

      The fact that they thing the left is somehow better gives away the whole game on where their heads are at.

  34. The question is: What are they for?
    Total control of everything you listen to, watch, read, or think.

  35. This is a fairly muddled reading of what is happening. It conflates things that really don’t have anything to do with one another – to the detriment of understanding.

    First, there are social conservatives and religious conservatives who want a polite, restrained and conservative society. They’ve always been here. Tipper Gore was on the bandwagon decades ago. Before that there were scares about comic books. And pinball machines. And they’ve been largely beaten back… but they haven’t disappeared. And they’d like you to keep your private life private and pretend that you are a monk in public. And if you fail in that pretending, they’ll point and screech like the pod people from invasion of the body snatchers. That’s probably not going to change. They haven’t been winning much lately though.

    Then there is another thing happening. The far left has been attacking the public square – which in this day and age is television and the internet. They’ve been coming hard after things they disagree with. At first it was loud protests and posturing about reviving the “fairness doctrine” – an attempt to silence voices on the right who had fled to AM radio, having been squeezed out elsewhere. There was “gamergate” and science fiction book awards and college speeches…. it generated a lot of argument and it got folks riled up… but they didn’t reach the success they wanted.

    Then things changed. Obama weaponized the banking system to go after “undesirables”, trying to put gun stores and check cashing companies out of business by threatening the banks that do business with them. They also came after porn actresses and producers…. all manner of undesirables.

    And at the same time, tech giants were getting political. The Chairman of Google formed a company (The Groundwork) specifically designed to integrate with the back end of Google and other tech companies to benefit democrat candidates – Hillary Clinton in particular. There were a lot of articles in 2015 and 2016 glowing with praise about how tech savvy the democrats were and how their use of the internet was going to cement their control. They used Facebook and Twitter and had armies of bots and paid posters pushing their message.

    And then Trump happened. Despite their massive monetary and technical lead and open sympathy from all of the tech leaders, Trump beat Clinton. And then all hell broke loose.

    Despite democrats having spent a half a billion dollars on gaming social media, the message that won the day was the Russians spending a few hundred grand on social media stole the election from Hillary. And that was intolerable.

    Movements to control online speech that had been building for a decade kicked into overdrive. Democrat-run fact-check organizations became “truth commissions” for facebook, which assuaged an ongoing push among democrats in congress for the government to step in do something worse. This won much praise from the left… but putting far-left activists on committees that would rule on what information would be allowed on social media signaled loudly to the political right what was really happening.

    Then conservative voices began to be silenced. Rumors of “shadow bans” circulated and were documented. What had been an overt and open plan by the social media companies went dark. They no longer had a pretense of an open “fact based” process. They rarely confirmed that they had even taken action.

    And then the final straw…. the tech giants of social media began openly colluding on political speech. They announced coordinated bans of right-wing voices. (some crazy, some not so much)

    And when those voices tried to move to other platforms, they followed the Obama playbook and worked to have them deplatformed by stopping hosting companies from hosting their servers, ISPs from carrying their content and banks from processing their payments.

    This is the context of the “regulate the internet” movement you are so worried about.

    You can argue about libertarian principles and companies being free to associate how they please until the cows come home – but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a reaction to a concerted effort to censor conservative voices. The nexus with government regulators under Operation Choke Point gave this movement a powerful lever – and sympathetic individuals throughout the regulatory bureaucracy helped make sure that the momentum carried onward.

    This is no “meet speech with more speech” debate… The far-left is not pointing out areas of disagreement or telling us why they are right and their opposition is wrong… they are attacking those who would carry any message they disagree with, and they are succeeding in getting those voices squelched. And it isn’t simply some broad popular movement by individuals – this is a concerted and well funded campaign that is being directed from progressive think-tanks and activist organizations.

    So, while you might disagree with using the power of government to counter this thrust against the free exchange of ideas, it is not an honest reading to call this the “new illiberal right”, any more than calling Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement “illiberal” because they sought to use the power of government to counter the encroachment of racists upon their rights.

    As in any fight, “he started it” is going to sound like a weak excuse to an outside observer. Even more so to the other party in the fight. But the fact that some are choosing the wrong venue to address what is a multi-pronged assault on their right to participate in the public square doesn’t mean one should carve out that small part of the overall war and claim that it describes the issues at play. It doesn’t.

    1. You are correct on all counts.

      As I have been saying for awhile, sane people need to give up on playing by the rules. The enemy has been fighting dirty, and sane people have tried to maintain the high ground… Problem is when your opponent is willing to cheat, and you are not, you lose.

      That needs to end. We’re basically at the point of “by any means necessary” IMO. We need to be on proverbial war footing. The rules for peacetime are different than during times of war for a reason. This is a cold civil war right now, and if we want to avoid it going hot, we have to step up our verbal aggression level, and start winning the fight.

      Otherwise free society is GONE. Probably for good.

    2. Exactly right.

      Employee Lawsuit Reveals Google as Intolerant Race Cult

      Quotes (but read the whole article and linked complaint):
      Google engineer James Damore’s class action complaint describes a creepy cult-like orthodoxy at Google, where dissent is smashed, and the color of your skin is far more important than the content of your character. Reading the complaint is a deep dive into wicked, racial groupthink, and a frightening reminder that it really can happen here. At Google, it does.

      This article cannot possibly capture all of the rancid, racialist, thuggish things going on at Google, so I’d urge you to take time to read the whole complaint. It’s like reading Solzhenitsyn’s travel log from Ekibastuze. It reveals nothing short of the psychologies of totalitarianism in their timeless forms. The purges. The moral relativism. The threats. The lists of enemies. The upside-down world of the wicked justifying their wickedness.

      1. Yup. I live in a tech hub, and all these people are straight out of the NPC meme. It is creepy how retarded and brainwashed they all are. 100% group think.

  36. In other words, they’ve decided to fight fire with fire? Because all of those things the left has been doing a LOT harder for a LOT longer.

    You don’t think that driving people who DON’T like trannies out of the public square is the exact same thing?????????????

    I don’t agree with the particular things these dudes are into most likely, but I DO agree that conservatives and libertarians need to abandon the useless “maintain the moral high ground” bullshit, and focus on crushing the enemy. Losing with dignity is a stupid idea. Especially with the fate of civilization on the line.

    Also, I DO approve of social shaming. I don’t believe in government force though. Social shaming is THE libertarian solution to deciding what is or is not “allowed” in society without laws. Every society has standards beyond the NAP, most of which are agreed on by an overwhelming majority of people.

    Like it not being cool for a 65 year old man to beat off staring into a school playground at recess.

    That is no different than arguing about whether or not trannies should be reading books to kids. In neither case is anybody actually physically harmed. So in a libertarian society it is up to the market of social pressure to decide what happens. This involves shaming of those with views outside the acceptable range. People don’t like freaks for the most part… Deal with it.

  37. […] this line from Peter Suderman’s piece, critiquing Sen. Josh Hawley and Sohrab Ahmari, titled “The Moral Scolds of the New Illiberal Right Are Coming For Your Internet”: “A private company, like Facebook or Twitter, suspending an account or deleting a post is no […]

  38. […] this line from Peter Suderman’s piece, critiquing Sen. Josh Hawley and Sohrab Ahmari, titled “The Moral Scolds of the New Illiberal Right Are Coming For Your Internet”: “A private company, like Facebook or Twitter, suspending an account or deleting a post is no […]

  39. […] More recently, following the lead of a president who is awful on the issue, some conservatives are leaping at the opportunity to put the federal government in charge of figuring out what is and isn’t a neutral speech […]

  40. […] this line from Peter Suderman’s piece, critiquing Sen. Josh Hawley and Sohrab Ahmari, titled “The Moral Scolds of the New Illiberal Right Are Coming For Your Internet”: “A private company, like Facebook or Twitter, suspending an account or deleting a post is no […]

  41. […] More recently, following the lead of a president who is awful on the issue, some conservatives are leaping at the opportunity to put the federal government in charge of figuring out what is and isn’t a neutral speech […]

  42. […] this line from Peter Suderman’s piece, critiquing Sen. Josh Hawley and Sohrab Ahmari, titled “The Moral Scolds of the New Illiberal Right Are Coming For Your Internet”: “A private company, like Facebook or Twitter, suspending an account or deleting a post is no […]

  43. This is just so rich. After decades of telling everyone we need to simultaneously ban everything they find offensive (aka “non-Christian”), deminizing “victimhood” and “identity politics,” championing private property rights (supposedly) and “personal liberty (which in their case means “freedom to discriminate against people and avoid taxes because God”), championing corporate freedom, and also crying wolf over the power of the government, so-called conservatives pulled one of the most head-scratching double moves in history:

    *electing a man who literally personifies the opposite of nearly all the classic “Christian values,” and handwaving away every disgusting act he does
    * playing victim
    *failing to recognize the difference between “freedom of speech” versus the government (1st Amendment) and “freedom from being criticized for saying stupid things”
    *crying out for Big Daddy government to save them (which also flies in the face of individual choice/responsibility and letting parents decide what is right for their kids individually)

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. You made a deal, now live with it. You can have Trump and Kavanaugh. But you threw away your (already weak) standing to claim moral superiority over anyone in the process. You claimed corporate freedom was good when it lined your pockets and allowed worker exploitation but it just drives you nuts that now tech companies are doing what they feel like with their websites and products.

    This guy Ahmari may be small potatoes, but the fact that a guy who LITERALLY wants to enshrine religious beliefs into law and use government force to enforce his “moral codes” has any traction at all in 2019 is scary. Especially when juxtaposed against the behavior of the absolute pig of a man that is now sitting in the Oval Office due to conservatives’ supporting him so strongly.

  44. […] this line from Peter Suderman’s piece, critiquing Sen. Josh Hawley and Sohrab Ahmari, titled “The Moral Scolds of the New Illiberal Right Are Coming For Your Internet”: “A private company, like Facebook or Twitter, suspending an account or deleting a post is no […]

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