Free Speech

Government Censorship Is the Worst Cancel Culture of All

Politicians on the right and the left are coming for your free speech.

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Almost a year to the day that Louisville police officers killed Breonna Taylor during a no-knock raid, the Kentucky Senate passed a bill which makes it a crime to insult and taunt cops. If S.B. 211 becomes law, you could get up to three months in jail and a $250 fine if you flip off the fuzz in a way "that would have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response from the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person."

It's just one example of a slew of proposed new laws that are chilling free speech. While freethinkers are rightly worried that private online platforms such as Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook are increasingly—and often arbitrarily—cracking down on speech for political reasons, the much graver threat comes from governments at all levels seeking to ban or compel speech. 

If Amazon won't stock your book, you can still hawk it at Barnes & Noble or on your own site, but when the government says no, there's nowhere else to go.

Earlier this year, lawmakers in Kentucky also introduced legislation that "would make a user entitled to damages if a social media platform deletes or 'censors' religious or political posts." Conservatives who rightly yelled bloody murder when Christian bakers were forced to make cakes for same-sex weddings are now trying to stop social media platforms from running their businesses the way they see fit.

In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has proposed legislation that would ban Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms from suspending the accounts of political candidates. They would face fines of up to $100,000 a day and the new law would also allow regular users to sue platforms for damages if they feel they've been treated unfairly.

Similar legislation has been proposed in Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Texas, where Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has said, without citing actual evidence, that conservative viewpoints are being systematically silenced. "Pretty soon," he promises, such supposed censorship is "going to be against the law in the state of Texas." That law, S.B. 12, is poised to pass the state Senate.

Back in the pre-internet days, you could count on conservative Republicans to scream about the need to regulate sex and drugs on TV and in music but these days they seem to want social media companies to do no moderating of content. So maybe that's progress.

At the same time, liberal Democrats, who themselves used to scream about violent video games, are pushing for more regulation of speech they don't like. In Colorado, a proposed law would create a "digital communications commission" that would investigate platforms to make sure they don't allow "hate speech," "undermine election integrity," or "disseminate intentional disinformation, conspiracy theories, or fake news"—all exceptionally vague terms that aren't even defined in the legislation. The commission would have the ability to order changes in the way platforms operate.

At the national level, two congressional Democrats—Rep. Anna Eshoo (D–Calif.) and Rep. Jerry McNerney (D–Calif.)—have sent letters to the heads of Comcast, Verizon, Dish, and other cable and satellite companies demanding to know why such private services carry Fox News, Newsmax, and other supposed purveyors of "misinformation." As Reason's Robby Soave put it, the letter "was an act of intimidation." It's a rare week when high-wattage politicians such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) or Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) don't threaten Big Tech with some sort of reprimand because they don't like what's popular on Facebook or Twitter.

The good news is that laws seeking to control individuals and platforms are blatantly unconstitutional because they compel the speech of private actors and because Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act allows broad discretion in running websites and platforms. When challenged in court, they'll almost certainly be struck down.

The bad news is that the laws just keep coming, because politicians of all stripes want to control speech in a way that favors their agendas and they don't care about whether a law respects the First Amendment.

We should loudly criticize platforms for kicking people off in arbitrary ways that diminish our ability to freely argue and disagree about politics and culture. We want more participation, not less. But it's even more important to recognize private citizens' and businesses' right to freely associate with whomever they want.

I find it disturbing as hell that a member of the band Mumford & Sons felt compelled to cancel himself for the "pain he caused" after saying he liked a book by the controversial journalist Andy Ngo. I'm deeply bothered that eBay has delisted old copies of Dr. Seuss books and that Amazon, which once aspired to sell every book in print, sees fit to drop titles that rub some activists the wrong way. I'm outraged that Twitter and Facebook banned Donald Trump essentially for being an asshole.

But far worse than such private cancel culture is when politicians tell us we don't have a right to insult cops, or when they're the ones setting the rules about what we must prohibit—or allow. That way madness lies and it makes the online outrage of the day look absolutely trivial by comparison.

NEXT: The Media Got It Wrong: Police Captain Didn’t Say the Atlanta Spa Killer Was Having a ‘Bad Day’

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  1. “The bad news is that the laws just keep coming, because politicians of all stripes want to control speech in a way that favors their agendas and they don’t care about whether a law respects the First Amendment.”

    So, Reason compiles a giant list of the ways in which free speech has come under attack and, yet again, conspicuously fails to mention the fact that Douglass Mackey is, at present, being prosecuted by the DOJ and is facing ten years in a federal prison for the unspeakable crime of posting memes.

    Social media bickering and the cancel culture olympics are troubling trends but — to be clear — absolute child’s play compared to the government attempting to imprison a man for posting content that rubbed it the wrong way … four (4) years after the fact. This is the most blatant example of a politicized prosecution in violation of the First Amendment that we have seen in decades. This type of prosecution is completely unprecedented.

    Where is the libertarian outrage? Why does this not matter?

    1. Libertarians tend to be opposed to violating people’s rights, including the right to vote.

      1. You just violated my right to vote with that comment. When are you getting swatted at 1 AM?

        1. So I fraudulently posed as a member of a campaign telling you how to vote in an invalid manner, with the intent of persuading you not to vote in a valid manner? Really? Wow that was a lot of work for one sentence.

          1. Professor Volokh’s analysis is available here:

            https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/douglass-mackey-ricky-vaughn-memes-first-amendment

            Ignore chemjeff. He is a troll.

            1. Our resident sealion.
              Under every article he starts the exact same discredited arguments over and over and over again.

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          2. That should be “tricking”, not persuading.

            If Mackey had only persuaded people not to vote, it would be one thing. That would be totally protected speech. KMW does that sort of thing all the time.

            But he didn’t. He fraudulently deceived people into thinking they had voted, when they really hadn’t.

            1. Professor Volokh’s analysis is available here:

              https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/douglass-mackey-ricky-vaughn-memes-first-amendment

              Ignore chemjeff. He is a troll.

            2. The radical individualist argument against the 1st Amendment. Well done Lying Jeffy.

            3. If someone is stupid enough to believe that post, then they are too stupid to vote. I, personally, don’t want stupid people voting. Why do you want stupid people to vote?

              1. I’ve tried that argument with ChemJeff. Apparently, it is too much trouble to do a simple google search while one is on Facebook. I did one. Guess what popped up at the top?

                https://www.usa.gov/how-to-vote

                The government is now responsible for eliminating all speech that might be construed by someone stupid as real.

                1. “The government is now responsible for eliminating all speech that might be construed by someone stupid as real.

                  I think this modified restatement aligns much more with Chemflake’s political disposition.

              2. “…Why do you want stupid people to vote?”

                Well, he’s beyond stupid and wishes other stupid people would vote for the candidate stupid people favor.

              3. You just disqualified yourself from voting by your own argument. Claiming that stupid people should not be allowed to vote as a serious argument most certainly indicates that you would be one of the people barred from voting. It’s like that Twilight episode about the guy who wants to make all the evil people two feet tall through sheer force of will, only to find he ended up shrinking himself.

                1. Not a shock that Chipper Morning Dipshit weighed in with his usual kindergarten-level analysis.

                2. Chip, DenverJ’s not claiming anyone shouldn’t be allowed to vote nor barring anyone from voting. You’re adding a layer that is not in his comment.

                  The question is rhetorical and can be phrased another way

                  Do you think it is in the best interests of our country and its citizens that a person who reads a meme about voting by text and can’t be bothered to understand how to really vote, votes?

              4. The lawyers like fancy words… “Egregious” comes to mind. “Egregious” = utterly over-the-top outrageous (theft by deception, theft of the right to vote in this case).

                Hey DenverJ… I go up to your senile elderly mother, tell her that I am a doctor, and give her some cyanide pills, and tell her that her taking the pills will help her health troubles, and she dies after taking the pills BECAUSE I LIED TO HER (I stole her life by deception), ya gonna excuse it because in your mind, you’re kind of OK with stupid people not living? HOW DEEP does your evil go?

      2. The right to vote is a positive right that does not derive from the non-aggression principle and is therefore of no concern whatsoever to libertarians as a philosophical matter, but merely a practical concern of the citizen of a particular jurisdiction.

        And that aside posting a joke telling people they can vote by SMS does not violate anyone’s right to vote.

        Not only are you not a libertarian, but you’re also incredibly stupid.

        1. Mackey himself did not regard it as a joke. Read the complaint. It was a completely serious attempt to suppress the vote among certain demographics that he thought would be likely to vote for Hillary. If Mackey himself didn’t think it was a joke, why are you thinking it was a joke?

          And it does constitute depriving someone of their right to vote because those who were deceived were tricked into not voting on Election Day. It is no different in principle than if someone stole a completed absentee ballot from your mailbox. You thought you had voted in a valid manner, but in reality, your vote was never recorded, because of the thief. If it is illegal to steal physical votes in this way, it should be illegal to steal votes virtually via memes.

          1. Here is Professor Volokh’s analysis.

            https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/douglass-mackey-ricky-vaughn-memes-first-amendment

            Anybody interested in a detailed legal analysis of the issues and facts should refer to this post. A discussion of the unprecedented nature of the current prosecution is also included.

            Ignore chemjeff. He is a troll.

          2. Mackey himself did not regard it as a joke. Read the complaint. It was a completely serious attempt to suppress the vote among certain demographics that he thought would be likely to vote for Hillary.

            So then he is being prosecuted for his motivation rather than the actual language he used? I know you are a Canadian with only the vaguest possible comprehension of American jurisprudence, but motivation does not constitute a crime, although thanks to little Eichmanns like yourself it is commonly used in the enhancement of sentencing for a crime that otherwise did take place. Posting dishonest information on the internet is not a crime.

            And it does constitute depriving someone of their right to vote because those who were deceived were tricked into not voting on Election Day.

            Their right to cast a vote on election day was not affected by their falling for a joke on the internet and failing to exercise that right anymore than my right to vote on election day was affected by my reading Katherine Mangu-Ward’s piece on not voting and deciding not to vote on election day. Unless you attempt to vote when you are otherwise eligible to do so and are prevented from doing so by a government or private agent who has the power to compel you, your right to vote has not been violated. Beating someone up outside the polling station is depriving them of their right to vote. A poll worker turning away an eligible voter when they arrive to cast a vote is depriving them of their right to vote. Telling someone an obvious lie such as “Did you know that you can vote telepathically? Just think of your favorite candidate at 3:00 PM on October 19th and your vote will be cast” is not depriving them of their right to vote, even if they foolishly attempt to vote by telepathy.

            Let’s also reiterate one more time that Mr. Mackey is not being charged with “depriving someone of their right to vote”, which isn’t even an enumerated crime in the United States code.

          3. You’re not a libertarian Lying Jeffy. You don’t understand individual rights, which is ironic given your name. Find the nearest cliff, turn around, and fall backwards with the faith that Dee will catch you

            1. Whoa! Back it up, dude.

              I don’t think you are fully appreciating the ramifications of your dangerous statement. You see, Jeff might think you are being serious and, based on his subjective assessment of your satirical instruction, promptly decide that jumping off a cliff is, indeed, a good idea. Then, once he dies, he will have been deprived of his right to vote and you, my friend, will have earned yourself ten years in a federal penitentiary.

        2. “The right to vote is a positive right that does not derive from the non-aggression principle and is therefore of no concern whatsoever to libertarians as a philosophical matter, but merely a practical concern of the citizen of a particular jurisdiction.”

          This. Voting is, at most a civil right. It is not a natural or essential right.

          You can only vote if there is an election, any election of significance requires the participation of others. The NAP would require that any such participation be consensual for all parties.

          Therefore elections are always subject to some group agreement. As such elections are a form of contract and voting is merely an element thereof and nothing more.

      3. You dumb ass. Maybe I post “Bernie Bros don’t actually have to vote because the socialist vote is already accounted for.” If you are too stupid to understand the joke, then you shouldn’t be voting in the first place.

      4. God. You’re still on this ignorant narrative? What a fucking joke of a person you are. Please keep justifying 10 years for posting a joke that has been used by many many people on both sides.

        Youre such a statist fuck.

      5. Except nobody’s RIGHT to vote was taken away.

        And you wonder why most everyone here thinks you’re a disingenuous fuck.

      6. Guys you can greatly help fighting all this nonsense. https://igg.me/at/spiktok

    2. Why don’t you tell us why you think attempting to steal people’s votes through fraudulent speech should be a form of protected speech.

      1. Your deceitful description — the same deceitful description you repeat ad nauseum every time I bring up the subject — does not comport with the facts of the case, it does not comport with the legal elements of the statute under which Mackey is being charged, and it does not comport with the charges themselves.

        You are defending the government prosecuting someone for their speech under a statute that has never been used for such purposes and, which, in fact, does not contain any provision authorizing the prosecution.

        Professor Volokh agrees:

        https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/douglass-mackey-ricky-vaughn-memes-first-amendment

        You, on the other hand, have no idea what you are talking about.

        1. What I am opposing, is using outright fraud to deprive people of the right to vote. Are you?

          1. If you do not understand the law, and do not understand the facts, and are not willing to assess the ramifications of the government’s position in light of the law and the facts, you are not equipped to have any discussion on this subject.

            Your present attempt at sea lioning for lack of a cogent response is noted.

            In case you do not understand what sea lioning is, this link should help:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sealioning

            1. What I am opposing, is using outright fraud to deprive people of the right to vote. Are you?

              1. See above response.

                1. Right, so you are in favor of using fraud to deprive people of the right to vote. So much for ‘election integrity’.

                  1. See above response.

                  2. You see sarcasmic, this is how you strawman.

                  3. Last time you argued fraud I responded with an actual article describing current precedence on fraud and you quickly denied you meant fraud you dishonest fuck.

                    Why do you ignore that jokes and meme like this have been done by comics, politicians, and even government workers with them never being prosecuted before? You support political prosecutions. Full stop.

                    1. “You support political prosecutions. Full stop.”

                      He absolutely does — provided, of course, that the people being prosecuted are those he perceives to be his political adversaries. I am sure that if he were to be prosecuted for posting an irreverent meme, or one of his leftist idols, he would be singing an entirely different tune. But, that is the way it goes with hypocrites. They are utterly incapable of seeing beyond the present moment and believe that they will always be the hammer, never the nail.

          2. Lol. I smacked you the fuck down last time you tried to switch to fraud by pointing to USSC precedence.

            We get it, you hate free speech you statist fuck.

        2. If you don’t feed it, it will go away…

      2. this is a pretty moronic argument chemjeff. please define “attempting to steal people’s votes”? what the hell does that mean?

        1. I’ll be happy to. What Douglass Mackey did, was conspire with a bunch of his loser buddies in 2016 to post memes, targeted at certain demographics that he thought would vote for Hillary, that encouraged them to “vote by text” or “vote by hashtag”, so that they would not cast a legal vote, thereby depressing voter turnout. Those that were tricked into thinking they had cast a legitimate “vote by text” would therefore not show up on Election Day and were therefore robbed of their right to vote.

          They were not just ordinary memes either, some slapdash editing of some well known picture, they were deliberately constructed to look like they came from the Hillary campaign. Here’s one of them:

          https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tasneemnashrulla/ricky-vaughn-twitter-troll-arrested-election-interference

          So he posed as an agent of Hillary’s campaign encouraging her supporters to “vote” via an invalid method.

          Mackey’s defenders here, like GG above, want to pretend that this is some authoritarian impulse by the Evil Democrats to throw someone in jail who merely said mean things about Hillary. No, no it wasn’t. It was about robbing people of their right to vote and that’s wrong.

          1. This is copy pasta. Ignore the troll.

          2. Buzz feed. Lol. God damn. Couldn’t be a bigger joke of a person.

        2. Here is the FBI complaint against Mackey:

          https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1360816/download

          So read it for yourself and judge whether you think what Mackey did was protected speech or not.

          Note that gaslighters like GG above will never tell you truthfully about what Mackey actually did, they instead construct a narrative of unjust oppression and demand that you accept it at face value.

          1. Ignore the troll.

            1. That would be you, GG, who instead tries to gaslight people with naked assertions and narrative pushing, no facts, no evidence, and insults instead.

              Why don’t you try to defend why you think Mackey’s speech should be regarded as protected speech, even though it is clearly fraudulent and attempts to deprive people of the right to vote.

              Oh right, you have no interest in constructing an argument, only in pushing an oppression narrative.

              1. Here is Professor Volokh’s analysis.

                https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/douglass-mackey-ricky-vaughn-memes-first-amendment

                Anybody interested in a detailed legal analysis of the issues and facts should refer to this post.

                Ignore chemjeff. He is a troll.

                1. Go ahead and read Prof. Volokh’s analysis. It is very good.

                  I disagree with him, in that he does not immediately regard violation of someone’s rights to be an “injury”. I think libertarians ought to regard ANY violation of ANYONE’S rights to be a type of injury, just not necessarily a physical one. Fraudulent speech that deprives people of their rights should not be protected speech.

                  1. It is very good. And, if you had actually read it, you would realize that the things you are posting have no support in the facts, or the law.

                    Here is Professor Volokh’s analysis.

                    https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/douglass-mackey-ricky-vaughn-memes-first-amendment

                    Anybody interested in a detailed legal analysis of the issues and facts should refer to this post.

                    Ignore chemjeff. He is a troll.

                  2. “…..deprives…..”

                    Haha. No. One word says you’re full of shit. It’s as simple as that.

              2. You project more than fucking IMAX my dude.

                Why don’t you try to defend why you think Mackey’s speech should be regarded as protected speech, even though it is clearly fraudulent and attempts to deprive people of the right to vote.

                Because there is no element of fraud in his speech, nor did anything he said or posted deprive anyone of their right to vote. Which it should be noted, is different from their actual ability to cast a vote. Which he also didn’t violate. If someone failing to vote because of something they read constituted fraud and deprivation of the right to vote – which it should be noted is not an actual offense in any criminal statute in the United States of America – then every political ad would be a violation of the law as would Reason’s annual navel-gazing think pieces encouraging people to stay at home, a handful of which can be found by searching the following titles and authors:

                “It’s OK Not to Vote”, 10.31.2018, by Katherine Mangu-Ward
                “Your Vote Doesn’t Count”, November 2012, by Katherine Mangu-Ward
                “Please Don’t Vote”, 10.3.2014, David Harsanyi
                “Not Voting and Proud”, 11.2.2004, Brian Doherty
                “Not Voting? Don’t Worry About It”, 11.4.2014, Peter Suderman

                1. Correct.

                  Indeed, this is a point that Professor Volokh raises as well:

                  It’s not obvious that deceiving someone into voting in an invalid way qualifies as “injur[ing]” or “oppress[ing].” But if the statute does cover deception, then there’s nothing in the text limiting such deception to speech about the mechanics of voting. Alleged lies about the government or national security or the economy could also be prosecuted, if the government thought they were intended to discourage people from voting. Some might applaud that, on the theory that the law should do more to punish political lies generally. But as we saw above, many courts are quite skeptical about general bans on lies in elections.

                  https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/douglass-mackey-ricky-vaughn-memes-first-amendment

                  1. Hey, GG, when are you going to get around explaining why you think fraudulent speech that deprives people of their rights should be considered protected speech?

                    1. Here is Professor Volokh’s analysis.

                      https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/douglass-mackey-ricky-vaughn-memes-first-amendment

                      Anybody interested in a detailed legal analysis of the issues and facts should refer to this post.

                      Ignore chemjeff. He is a troll.

                2. Because there is no element of fraud in his speech

                  He fucking posed as an agent of Hillary’s campaign. That is what made it fraudulent.

                  I agree that if all he did was post tweets telling people not to vote, then that should be protected speech.

                  1. “He fucking posed as an agent of Hillary’s campaign. That is what made it fraudulent.”

                    None of this is alleged by the government. You are making up facts.

                    Ignore chemjeff. He is a troll.

                    1. I posted the meme above. Read it for yourself. He used Hillary’s hashtags, Hillary’s campaign logo, Hillary’s slogans, Hillary’s website, and even an image of Hillary herself in one of the memes. He was clearly trying to deceive people into thinking that Hillary’s campaign had authorized “vote by text”.

                    2. Here is Professor Volokh’s analysis.

                      https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/douglass-mackey-ricky-vaughn-memes-first-amendment

                      Anybody interested in a detailed legal analysis of the issues and facts should refer to this post.

                      Ignore chemjeff. He is a troll.

                3. If someone failing to vote because of something they read

                  That is NOT what he was conspiring to do.

                  He wasn’t attempting to PERSUADE people not to vote. He was trying to DECEIVE people into voting in an invalid way, so that they would not vote in a valid way. That is a very important difference.

                  1. Here is Professor Volokh’s analysis.

                    https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/douglass-mackey-ricky-vaughn-memes-first-amendment

                    Anybody interested in a detailed legal analysis of the issues and facts should refer to this post.

                    Ignore chemjeff. He is a troll.

                  2. With you around to impute motives it’s a wonder we even need a criminal justice system.

                    Regardless, posting obviously dishonest information is not a crime just because some very stupid people act upon it. That’s why proprietors of The Onion and The Babylon Bee are not in prison, despite the best efforts of little Eichmanns like yourself to effectuate that as public policy. That you are incredibly stupid and may not comprehend your local, provincial and national voting rules does not implicate anyone else when you fall for a joke.

                    1. Well said.

                    2. So fraudulent speech should be protected speech? That’s news to most libertarians out there.

                    3. So fraudulent speech should be protected speech? That’s news to most libertarians out there.

                      Ignore chemjeff’s dishonest recitation of the facts and the law. He is a troll.

                      Here is Professor Volokh’s analysis.

                      https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/douglass-mackey-ricky-vaughn-memes-first-amendment

                      Anybody interested in a detailed legal analysis of the issues and facts should refer to this post.

                  3. He posted as fucking Ricky Vaughn. That in itself should make the reader question the validity of the post. Your defense will obviously be ‘What if the reader never saw Major League’?
                    Fair enough.
                    You are nonetheless inferring his intention, not proving anything.

                    1. It doesn’t really matter what his intentions were, you can’t “deprive someone of their rights” through speech alone.

          2. “Here is the FBI complaint against Mackey:
            https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1360816/download

            Interesting how I can’t copy and paste from this. Also interesting is how the “investigator” actually uses a Huffpo article as a source.

            What a fucking joke.

            “Note that gaslighters like GG above will never tell you truthfully about what Mackey actually did”

            The complaint literally says he was arrested for “posting memes”. It’s pretty clear that you’re the gaslighting fuck here.

      3. You seem quite happy with cancelling votes out with fraudulent ones. You lefties always hear the dog whistles nobody else does, but ignore the bullhorn blaring in your faces.

    3. Dude. Geiger, we’ve talked about this. All reason staffers wake up each and every day with the sole purpose to specifically not talk about the exact things that you find important when they are trying to make a point. Just accept it and relish it. Their whole day revolves around making sure you are unhappy and stay outraged. That’s pure power my man. Lean into it.

      1. You are probably right.

      2. Hey cool, sarcasmic has started yet another sockpuppet account.

        1. It was recommended earlier, in another thread. The suggestion of taking a month off before sock replacement was obviously ignored.

          1. Chose an appropriate moniker, though it would’ve been more thorough to include “simp” somewhere in it

      3. I guess you’re right.

    4. I see the racism is still strong here. I bet you got your jollies when an African American on parole got years for voting. Where was your outrage? Shut the fuck up racist piece of shit.

      1. Fuck off Jeff/DOL/White Knight/Tony

  2. The ministry of truth. A new cabinet position.

  3. Yup. If a private institution decides to ban you from its platform, you always have other alternatives – other platforms, other institutions, or create your own. But if the government decides to ban you from ALL platforms, then you have nowhere else to go.

    That is why all of these attempts to regulate social media are, at best, shortsighted, and at worst, downright dangerous. Moderation decisions should be left up to the platforms, and, ultimately, the users, when they choose which platforms to patronize.

    ALL of these attempts to decide which ideas get banned or restricted on social media, and which ones don’t, suffer at least in some part to being too vague. Who decides what is a bona-fide “political viewpoint”? After all even Reason censors things like child porn. Would child porn now be considered a “political statement” since organizations like NAMBLA exist? Would censoring child porn become, ironically, illegal? Who is to judge? The same with “hate speech” or “interfering with elections”. Who is to decide what the line is between “acceptable” or “unacceptable” behavior? Libertarians have a simple rule: if it violates people’s rights, then it is unacceptable, otherwise the government should get out of the way. That’s the way it ought to be.

    1. Twitter is already under fire for leaving up child porn identified by the victim and hiding behind section 230.

      Twitter and their execs are criminals. That requires government action.

      1. Don’t worry. Once that Texas law passes, some enterprising troll will post child porn calling it a political statement, and then what?

        1. Then you and shreek can finally beat off in peace?

        2. CP is illegal dumbass.

        3. Pretty sure there’s a lot of other laws that take precedent over kiddie diddling picture posters before 230 comes into play.

      2. Not only leaving it up, but telling the victim himself they had no obligation to remove pictures of him.

    2. Now square that with president Trump being disallowed from using the Twitter site tools to ban people from his personal Twitter feed because the court decided that Twitter is a platform for official government communication. That sounds a lot like government regulation of a private platform to me, and yet oddly I do not recall you shitting your pants about it.

      While you’re at it you can explain why a social media company can coordinate with banks, payment processors, domain registrars, and web hosting providers to prevent market participation by competing companies and non-profit organizations as well as individuals. Something something “if they decide to ban you from ALL platforms, then you have nowhere else to go.” Unlike “stealing the right to vote”, restraint of trade is an actual tort.

      Let me guess:

      jUSt sTarT YoUR oWN inTeRNEt!!!!!!!!!!

      1. While you’re at it you can explain why a social media company can coordinate with banks, payment processors, domain registrars, and web hosting providers

        Why is “coordination” such a horrible thing? Isn’t that just a manifestation of freedom of association?

        1. So, you are fine with social media companies, banks, payment processors, etc., coordinating to make sure that blacks cannot get hired or open bank accounts?

          To use your words:

          Isn’t that just a manifestation of freedom of association?

          1. That silence is the blaring sound of chemjeff tripping over his own bullshit.

          2. The problem is that he probably is fine with that. For progressives anti-racism is an affectation for conviniance.

          3. That silence is you admitting how violent you are. You’re fine with what you just said. But not be smart to realize you’ve outed yourself.

            1. If silence is also violence to your ilk isn’t ChemJeff equally complicit? Aren’t we all, the silent and the violent, just one big racist tribe to you?

    3. Moderation decisions should be left up to the platforms, and, ultimately, the users, when they choose which platforms to patronize.

      Or the hosting company, or the certificate authority, or the backbone provider, or the payment processor, or the banks that service all of the above.

      1. Twitter claimed the computer repair shop owner hacked Hunters laptop. Despite there being a bill showing claimants on ownership if not picked up in 90 days. Twitter didn’t ban the person but declared him in violation of their hacking policies of which it was known to be a lie. Jeff would like to protect Twitter from being charged for their actions in this regard.

        1. https://twitter.com/RaheemKassam/status/1372887793790246921?s=19

          ???? Twitter has restricted Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene’s access to her account on the same day Democrats are attempting to expel her from Congress.

          In a wildly authoritarian move, Dems will try to remove a democratically elected member and Big Tech is abetting the process.

          1. We cannot have people in Congress that believe crazy and insane conspiracies because that will just empower the Russians that have already infiltrated the government at every level and are working us over like puppets all thanks to Donald Trump, a man everybody knows has been a KGB agent since at least the 1980’s.

            We have no time or room for nonsense.

    4. Weird you you claim above Mackey should be in jail for 10 years over a joke meme. But seem to be fine with people being discouraged from voting by Twitter blocking one side from getting out the vote. Never have been consistent though.

      1. Oops.
        2:06 post belongs here

  4. “While freethinkers are rightly worried that private online platforms such as Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook are increasingly—and often arbitrarily—cracking down on speech for political reasons, the much graver threat comes from governments at all levels seeking to ban or compel speech. ”

    There’s a governmental angle to social-media censorship. Consider the public pressure they’re putting on these companies to censor stuff. And who knows how many calls and backroom meetings are going on in private between these companies and government officials. Don’t forget the revolving door between these companies and the government, either.

    And that’s just this country, these are worldwide enterprises facing censorship pressures from governments all over the globe.

    1. The court literally told Twitter that it had to withhold its own page management tools from Donald Trump. By all means let’s now begin shitting our pants 4 years later about the prospect of a private company being told what to do by the government.

  5. It must be sad for Nick to be on the same staff with all the other shallow, unprincipled Reason writers.

    1. In the same way it’s sad that the pope has to associate with all those Catholics, I guess.

    2. Gillespie and Stossel are the only reasons I keep coming back — and the comments.

      1. But Remy is a national treasure 🙁

        1. Anyone miss Shikha? No, didn’t think so

          1. I NEED MOAR IMMIGRATION HYPERBOLE!

  6. “have a direct tendency to provoke a violent response from the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person”

    I’d argue that a reasonable and prudent person has absolutely no reason to give even the slightest hint of a fuck about the opinion of some random yahoo who flipped them off or said “Yo mama!” When did cops become such snowflakes.

    Clearly people need to read more philosophy from Richard Feynman. I’d suggest starting with What Do You Care What Other People Think?

    1. I’d argue that a reasonable and prudent person has absolutely no reason to give even the slightest hint of a fuck about the opinion of some random yahoo who flipped them off or said “Yo mama!”

      This. Or any fuck-giving might take the form of “Namaste” or “Having a bad day, there, Buddy?”

    2. You missed the real heart of the issue – nobody on the left is anywhere close to “the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person” and the people furthest away from it are the ones who get to decide what the perspective of a reasonable and prudent person is.
      That should fucking terrify you.

      1. Racist says what!!

        1. ^case in point

  7. At the national level, two congressional Democrats—Rep. Anna Eshoo (D–Calif.) and Rep. Jerry McNerney (D–Calif.)—have sent letters to the heads of Comcast, Verizon, Dish, and other cable and satellite companies demanding to know why such private services carry Fox News, Newsmax, and other supposed purveyors of “misinformation.”

    A classic example of “Eshoo obfuscation”.

  8. Getting rid of 230 is an attack on free speech just like getting rid of the Violence Against Women act is an attack on gender equality.

    Tell me, did America lack free speech for first 209 years of the republic before the 1996 Communications Decency Act was signed into law (and subsequently ruled unconstitutional in its entirety with the sole exception of Section 230)?

    Reverting to the state of the law prior to 25 years ago is not equivalent to sending people to jail for saying things the government doesn’t like regardless of how hard you try to equate the two. Free speech is not affected by Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. At all.

    1. A+

    2. Making people defend themselves in court for things the plaintiff doesn’t even allege they said is fundamentally unjust like making people defend themselves in court for murders the prosecutor doesn’t even allege they committed is fundamentally unjust. If you want to sue somebody for what they said, go after the person who said it.

      The principle is easily understood by reasonable people who want to understand it. The problem is that there are too many people out there who are willing sell such obvious principles short 1) because they hate elitism and social media and 2) because picking a position and then rationalizing it is easier than picking a principle and defending it.

      1. “Making people defend themselves in court for things the plaintiff doesn’t even allege they said is fundamentally unjust”

        Is it?

        When a reporter for the New York Times, just as an example, writes a defamatory article, the paper — as a legal entity — is liable as well, in addition to the reporter. In other circumstances, one can be liable under the laws of defamation for simply republishing false factual assertions made by others. This is already established law and has been the law in this country, in more or less the same form, since even before the adoption of the Constitution.

        I see nothing “fundamentally” unjust about a pillar of the English common law that is firmly woven into the jurisprudence of this country. This was the law before Section 230 was enacted and, without Section 230, would have applied to a company like Facebook. Why would a return to pre-existing law — law that did not exist in this country for hundreds of years — be fundamentally unjust?

        1. “When a reporter for the New York Times, just as an example, writes a defamatory article, the paper — as a legal entity — is liable as well”

          Things got screwy in social media because the people publishing the content aren’t in control of the people writing the content, and that was pretty damn new circa Section 230 (1996). Section 230 passed only six months after Netscape went public (first real browser for the general public!). In 1996, the overwhelming majority of people still thought that AOL’s website was the entirety of the internet. Once people started creating content for free, all the old defamation laws broke. The New York Times willfully accepts responsibility for what the people on their staff write when they willfully choose to print it. That breaks down when the comments on the New York Times’ website aren’t written by the New York Times’ staff and approved by their editor. The principle, however, remains the same: If you want to go after someone that did something to you in court, you need to go after the person that did it.

          I oppose holding gun manufacturers responsible for mass shootings perpetrated with their guns for the same reason. I oppose going after distillers for the deaths that are perpetrated by drunk drivers for the same reason. If you want to go after somebody for a mass shooting, go after the shooter. If you want to go after someone for drunken manslaughter, go after the drunk driver.

          “In other circumstances, one can be liable under the laws of defamation for simply republishing false factual assertions made by others. This is already established law and has been the law in this country, in more or less the same form, since even before the adoption of the Constitution.”

          Weren’t we discussing “actual malice” yesterday? That isn’t necessarily the official standard outside of defamation cases brought by public figures and government officials, but generally speaking, if you want to win a case against a newspaper for republishing something that was false and defamatory, you’ll need to prove to the jury by a preponderance of the evidence that the publisher knew or should have known that the story was false or defamatory–and willfully chose to publish it anyway. In other words, in those cases, the plaintiff is still going after the person who did it.

          If Bob were commenting on the New York Times’ website, and he wrote something defamatory about Mary, why should the New York Times need to answer for what Bob chose to write? That’s not like the case where the New York Times reprinted something they knew or should have known to be defamatory about Mary. The New York Times has nothing like malice. They may not even be aware of the comment! Bob is the one that did it. If Mary wants to sue somebody, she should be going after Bob.

          1. “If Bob were commenting on the New York Times’ website, and he wrote something defamatory about Mary, why should the New York Times need to answer for what Bob chose to write?”

            That is a good point, and a good springboard for discussing what degree of editorial control, if any, transforms the content generated by third-party into statements made by a publisher.

            Twitter, for example, recently seems to have conceded in its own pleadings, in its case against Ken Paxton, that it engages in publishing:

            AG Paxton may not compel Twitter to publish such content over its objection, and he may not penalize Twitter for exercising its right to exclude such content from its platform.

            See https://reason.com/2021/03/09/twitter-sues-texas-attorney-general-ken-paxton-accusing-him-of-retaliating-against-the-company-for-banning-donald-trump/

            At some point, it seems to me, choosing what tweets (or, for that matter, Facebook posts) are permitted to remain on the platform, while excluding, deleting, or modifying others becomes a clear exercise of editorial control no different that the New York Times does when deciding which stories to accept for publication and which stories to reject.

            So, the answer to your question: The New York Times should be liable because it published Bob’s defamatory statements against Mary.

      2. Ken, you’re focused on a narrow interpretation of intent and ignoring how 230 is used in practice.

        1. Are you advocating a better law that protects social media companies from having to answer for things they didn’t write?

          1. Twitter conceded it is a publisher in its own legal pleadings.

            AG Paxton may not compel Twitter to publish such content over its objection, and he may not penalize Twitter for exercising its right to exclude such content from its platform.

            See https://reason.com/2021/03/09/twitter-sues-texas-attorney-general-ken-paxton-accusing-him-of-retaliating-against-the-company-for-banning-donald-trump/

            Are publishers no longer liable for what they publish? Not everybody can post their thoughts freely on Twitter, just like not everybody can post their thoughts freely in the pages of The New York Times. I have a lot of difficulty seeing a consistent distinction between the two.

            If you can select, modify, control, delete, amplify, and/or obliterate third-party content to ensure that it comports with your political preferences (or, for that matter, any other preferences) you are a publisher and publishers are held liable for what they publish.

            1. I think it would also help to look at Twitter users not as third-parties, but as reporters. If Twitter took a hands off approach and let loose the floodgates, inundating its platform with the full panoply of speech on the internet, then it would be decidedly absurd to argue that Twitter is a publisher in any sense of the word. In that instance, its users would retain their status as third-parties for Twitter would have no responsibility.

              But, if it were the case that Twitter began carefully curating the content generated by its users, then those users would no longer be third-parties but, instead, would be much closer to being reporters, not at all that different than reporters that write for traditional newspapers. Nobody could reasonably label the reporters writing for a newspaper “third-parties” or, on that basis, argue in good faith that it would unjust or unconstitutional to hold the paper liable for the defamatory statements of its reporters.

              1. Social media is primarily an advertising platform, and the moderation policies of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are primarily driven by the concerns of advertisers. It was the same way with broadcast television.

                To the extent that advertisers don’t want their advertising to appear near certain content, that is the extent to which social media companies–at the very least–should be free to moderate content. Consumer product companies don’t want their advertising to appear next to your uncle’s comment about building a wall, but guess what ends up in his daughters’ feed?

                The biggest consumer products companies in the country boycotted advertising on Facebook over their failure to eliminate content that they didn’t want to appear near their advertising.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_Facebook_ad_boycotts#Participants

                I think it’s important that we stick with solid principles in this. I think a lot of people are looking for reasons to rationalize what they want to do, and that’s the wrong approach. That’s how we get gun regulation, the Drug War, the NSA tracking our phone calls, and all sorts of other awful stuff. First they decide they want to do something, and then they start looking for a way to rationalize it.

                That’s the wrong approach.

                “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech” is a solid principle. Instead of looking for ways to rationalize violating the principle, I think we’re better off just opposing things that violate the principle. The person who answers for defamation claims should be the person who made the false statement. That’s another solid principle. Anything can be rationalized. That doesn’t mean it should be rationalized.

                1. “The person who answers for defamation claims should be the person who made the false statement.”

                  So when a newspaper publishes a defamatory article, is the remedy limited to a lawsuit against the reporter?

  9. “Conservatives who rightly yelled bloody murder when Christian bakers were forced to make cakes for same-sex weddings are now trying to stop social media platforms from running their businesses the way they see fit.”

    We really shouldn’t pretend this is happening in a vacuum.

    The Democrats openly threatened to break social media companies apart if they didn’t crack down on conservative speech–and this while there are two antitrust suits pending against Facebook and Google. I don’t see that listed among the threats to free speech, but it’s by far the biggest one we’re dealing with right now.

    The question we should be asking is this: Is it necessarily wrong for the states to protect speech rights from the federal government if and when Congress and the president force social media companies to violate the speech rights of conservatives–using the coercive power of government by way of antitrust?

    How do you feel about state preemption laws on guns? Are you in favor of states legalizing recreational marijuana–even if it means licensing and regulating dispensaries? How do you feel about states with right-to-work laws? This may well become a similar issue.

    1. I appreciate that the status quo is better than states passing laws that require social media companies to tolerate conservative speech against their will. I hope everyone here appreciates a couple points, too.

      1) From a libertarian perspective, state laws that require social media companies to tolerate conservative speech are superior to federal laws that require social media companies to censor conservative speech–even if both sets of laws are undesirable .

      2) The status quo is untenable in light of the antitrust cases that are pending against Facebook and Google. Both cases will be decided under the Biden administration with consent decrees that regulate speech on social media–much like the consent decree in which the entire tobacco industry willingly forfeited their rights to free speech.

      Conclusion: We don’t need to wait for the negative consequences to happen before we start planning for them and acting accordingly. The states that are trying to protect the speech of conservatives online are doing so because they understand the obvious consequences of the consent decrees that will be entered into by Facebook, Google. It should be noted that all other social media companies will be compelled to sign on with the repeal of Section 230, as well.

      A year from now, Gillespie may find himself openly advocating for intervention by the states to protect the speech rights of conservatives online–against federal regulation of social media.

      I maintain that the only legitimate purpose of libertarian government is to protect our rights, and to the extent that the states protect our rights from the federal government, they are doing a good thing.

      The antitrust cases are happening whether we like them or not. Section 230 will be repealed on a bipartisan basis whether we like it or not. When that happens, the consent decrees will be the only way for any social media companies to avoid drowning in a never ending sea of liability suits. The Democrats have promised to regulate conservative speech online, and state laws to protect the speech of conservatives may be the most libertarian way to protect free speech in the world to come.

      Because we don’t like the world to come doesn’t mean we should pretend it isn’t coming.

      1. Way to stick up once again for Team Red, Ken. Instead of accepting their stated rationale, you substitute your own.

        Oh, let’s ignore that they themselves state that they want to regulate social media because they want to force social media to carry more conservative content. Oh no. They are REALLY just great big federalists! They are just opposing the federal government!

        The states that are trying to protect the speech of conservatives online are doing so because they understand the obvious consequences of the consent decrees that will be entered into by Facebook, Google.

        No, Ken, they are trying to force social media companies to carry more conservative content (not at all the same as “protect[ing] the speech of conservatives online”) because – as they themselves say – they are trying to stick it to Silicon Valley. It has nothing to do with the DOJ case or consent decrees. And yet here you are carrying their water and inventing a rationale for them that they themselves don’t even offer in order to make Team Red look good. Man you really have fallen far down the MAGA rabbit hole.

        1. You’re a fucking idiot.

          1. Would that be a tu quoque, Ken?

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque

            1. No, it’s syllogism.

              Premise: A fucking idiot can’t understand what he reads or reason.

              Premise: ChemJeff can’t understand what he reads or reason.

              Conclusion: ChemJeff is a fucking idiot.

              1. He really is a fucking idiot.

              2. Lol Ken

                That is the funniest attempt at Aristotle I have ever read.

                So you had an emotional outburst. Nothing more.

                You are a goat fucking idiot.

                That is supposed to be a logical argument?

                1. Fuck off chemjeff.
                  It’s superpathetic to White Knight for yourself under a sock, just because Ken kicked your ass rhetorically, earlier.

          2. Ken wants to murder children

        2. Here is an article on the Oklahoma effort to go after Big Tech:

          https://kfor.com/news/local/oklahoma-bill-that-aims-to-stop-censorship-on-social-media-sites-headed-to-senate/

          Notably lacking in the article is anything about consent decrees or federalism. Oh no. It’s all culture war grievance bullshit.

          They are going after Big Tech not because they want to forestall whatever consent decree (if any) emerges. They are going after Big Tech because they think it unfairly targets conservatives, i.e., their constituents. It is revenge in the form of politics. That’s all. Stop trying to dress up their terrible motives in pretty clothes.

          1. “Notably lacking in the article is anything about consent decrees or federalism.”

            ChemJeff is so stupid.

            How stupid is he?

            ChemJeff is so stupid, he wouldn’t know that state laws that attempt to preempt federal regulation are an example of federalism or that the object of antitrust suits is a consent decree–unless, of course, a newspaper article spelled it out for him.

            I wonder. If water were falling out of the sky on ChemJeff’s head, would he look it up on a website to see if it was raining?

            1. I’ve noticed chemleft isn’t particularly keen on federalism, so his ignorance here might be willful.

            2. Stupid.

              Yet another personal attack intended to intimidate.

              That is the only play you got left?

              I am not defending whatever chemjeff said. Hardly read it.

              You are turning to bully tactics.

              Go ahead. I’ll be your huckleberry.

              1. You seem to be missing the point that ChemJeff is so stupid, when I talk about state lawmakers trying to run interference against federal regulation, he suggests that I’m being dishonest to say that federalism is involved–because the newspapers didn’t say anything about federalism.

                This is actual evidence of his ignorance and stupidity.

                You seem to be missing that if a website somewhere doesn’t specifically state that the point of an antitrust action is to obtain a consent decree, then ChemJeff thinks there’s no good reason for anyone else to think that these antitrust actions are like all the others.

                That’s more evidence of a total lack of critical thinking skills. Understand what I’m saying: It’s not that he doesn’t know the basics of antitrust law. Plenty of smart people don’t know that. It’s that he thinks anyone who’s thinking for themselves is wrong to do so. He has no clue what critical thinking skills entail–he doesn’t even know what critical thinking means. How could anyone know that the object of an antitrust action is a consent decree–when no one told you? You must be lying!

                There’s an ongoing discussion among a number of us about whether trolls like ChemJeff are really willfully dishonest–or whether there’s another better explanation. My position is (basically Occam’s razor) that we shouldn’t assume nefarious motives when simple ignorance and stupidity will explain the same thing. I say the same thing about conspiracy theories. Assuming that government bureaucrats are evil geniuses is often a mistake, when their evil may just be a function of their stupidity and incompetence.

                Assuming ChemJeff is smart enough to purposely mischaracterize people’s arguments as part of a master plan to silence libertarians online assumes that ChemJeff is smart enough to understand what he’s reading. And it isn’t just that I don’t see any evidence of that; it’s that I see plenty of evidence that he can’t understand what he reads–not even to save himself from embarrassment. Surely, the point of trolling isn’t to make progressives look incredibly dumb.

                It’s one thing if somebody is trying to understand a position or disagrees with it. There are plenty of people here who understand various things much better than I do, and I learn things from other people here–that disagree with me–all the time. However, no one should waste their time talking to willfully ignorant and stupid trolls about anything. ChemJeff not only can’t understand what he reads but also neither understands nor cares about what it means to be rational–and the evidence for this has been piling up for months.

                That syllogism is absolutely legit.

                Major Premise: Ignorant and stupid people display traits x, y, and z.
                Minor Premise: ChemJeff consistently displays traits x, y, and z.
                Therefore, ChemJeff is ignorant and stupid.

                The dishonesty hypothesis fails because of the evidence against it. The dishonesty hypothesis does explain some things, but not as well as the ignorance and stupidity hypothesis, which seems to explain everything. The only outstanding question, as you see some others here in this thread elaborate on, is the question of whether ChemJeff is employing his ignorance and stupidity as a trolling tactic. In other words, the ignorance and stupidity is apparent even to those who disagree with me about ChemJeff’s ultimate motive. If you’re disputing the evidence for ignorance and stupidity, then I doubt you’ve really been looking at the data.

                Maybe you should take a direct role! Why don’t you go ahead and throw your pearls before this swine? Take it upon yourself to educate someone who doesn’t give a fuck about whether he’s ignorant, irrational, or wrong. Maybe that’s your true calling. I’m sure you and ChemJeff will have many fact filled, rational, and interesting conversations between you. We’ll all be watching. I’ll be rooting for you. Good luck.

                1. “You seem to be missing the point that ChemJeff is so stupid”

                  Echospinner is chemjeff sockpuppeting. He knows he’s dumb.

                  1. Just throwing it out there, but it must be really frustrating as a left wing sympathizer when everyone on the left comes across as being so bleedin’ stupid.

                    It’s like a bothsideism example on steroids.

                    We say that reporters really shouldn’t give the opinions of the Flat Earth Society equal weight. Why should we treat willfully stupid trolls like regular people?

                2. Well, this must be Peak Ken. A 1,000-word essay discussing why he thinks I’m stupid, yet he doesn’t even rebut the argument that was presented to him.

                  when I talk about state lawmakers trying to run interference against federal regulation, he suggests that I’m being dishonest to say that federalism is involved–because the newspapers didn’t say anything about federalism.

                  Well OF COURSE “federalism is involved”, in some very indirect way, just like “oxygen is involved” and “email is involved” when they draw up these bills. That is not the dispute here. The dispute revolves around *your argument*, which is:

                  The states that are trying to protect the speech of conservatives online are doing so because they understand the obvious consequences of the consent decrees that will be entered into by Facebook, Google.

                  And my response to you is: prove it. You haven’t because you can’t. You INVENTED this rationale for Team Red. It is not THEIR rationale for these obnoxious bills, it is YOUR rationale for THEIR bills. Because YOUR rationale casts Team Red in a better light, other than *their own stated rationales*, which are, briefly, to be just as big of censorious assholes against Big Tech as Team Blue wants to be, but on behalf of THEIR OWN constituents.

                  And when I challenge you further, you just devolve further into insults and insults. Are you just a wordy version of Jesse now?

                  Maybe we’ll get a 2,000-word essay now about the definition of stupidity and how I supposedly fit it according to three different cultural traditions. But no mention of Ken actually proving his own thesis.

          2. “It’s all culture war grievance bullshit.”

            And what is it that animates the snowflakes that just can’t bear to see wrongthink on major platforms? Genuine concern for the future of the republic?

            How self important can ya get?

      2. Here is Greg Abbott’s press release on SB 12:

        https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-supports-bill-protecting-texans-from-wrongful-social-media-censorship

        There is nothing in there about consent decrees, taking power away from the feds, federalism, or anything else. It is entirely about sticking it to Big Tech.

        1. Are you ignorant because you don’t know that antitrust cases end in consent decrees, or do you not know that antitrust cases end in consent decrees because you’re ignorant?

          1. Why are you dismissing the stated motivations of Team Red when they seek to punish Big Tech, and instead substituting your own?

            Oh wait, maybe this is Trumpian 9-Dimensional Chess. Is that it?

            1. So, does that mean you went and looked up consent decree and antitrust?

              That’s progress!

              This comment is just more fallacious garbage.

              1. Show us just one article anywhere where these state level Team Red politicians say they are going after Big Tech because of the possibility of a Biden DOJ consent decree. Go on, just one.

                You are inventing a rationale for them that they don’t even make because you are just carrying their water at this point.

                1. LOL

                  “Violations of antitrust law are typically resolved through consent decrees”

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consent_decree#Antitrust_law

                  Asking someone to prove that the object of antitrust cases is a consent decree is a bit like asking someone to prove that the object of trials is to obtain a verdict.

                  Incidentally, the purpose of offense on a football team to try to score a touchdown, and batters in baseball are typically trying to score runs.

                  There are people in this world who are capable of critical thinking. They don’t necessarily need things spelled out for them the way you do. They’re properly educated to be both knowledgeable and capable of critical thinking. If I were an educator, I wouldn’t waste my time with you–and I’m not about to educate you for free. If you decide to go educate yourself in the future, the journey begins when you start being honest with yourself about what you don’t know. And what you don’t know is far more than a lack of general knowledge. You don’t seem to know the first thing about critical thinking. You don’t seem to know the first thing about why critical thinking matters!

                  It’s embarrassing to watch.

                    1. That’s one explanation, but it assumes a level of intellect that I don’t see coming from ChemJeff. If that’s what he’s doing, it’s a horrible failure.

                      Instead of distracting, he focuses everyone’s attention on how dumb he is, and no one feels sorry for him as an aggrieved party. People mostly just laugh at him for hoisting himself on his own petard over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

                      Is there a trolling strategy named for making himself a laughing stock? ’cause that’s the one he’s working on.

                    2. Is there a trolling strategy named for making himself a laughing stock?

                      I have seen some commenters here use the phrase “going full Jeff” in response to posters that double and triple down on the most ridiculous assertions even when the vacuity of the assertions has been amply demonstrated by others. Could be a thing.

                      Thoughts?

                  1. That’s not what I am saying.

                    YOU wrote:


                    The states that are trying to protect the speech of conservatives online are doing so because they understand the obvious consequences of the consent decrees that will be entered into by Facebook, Google.

                    And I am asking you to prove it. Prove that these state level Team Red politicians, when going after Big Tech, are motivated by what they think will be in a Biden DOJ consent decree. Go ahead! Prove your thesis.

                    1. Instead of barking like a sea lion, do some research of your own retard:

                      https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-regulation_n_5ab400dae4b054d118e0eac5

                      Everybody understands the end goals — well, everybody except you. And the reason you do not understand is because you are a blithering idiot.

                  2. You are inventing a rationale for Team Red that they themselves don’t even offer because you are carrying their water. You are trying to put lipstick on a pig. Talk about embarrassing.

                    1. Listen up, cupcake. You do not have the intellectual chops to have a discussion, debate, or even a shit flinging contest with Ken — or, for that matter, anyone else here that is capable of stringing together even a moderately coherent thought.

                      You are a fucking amoeba floating in a shit filled pond in the process of being drained to make room for a sand trap in a golf course reserved for participants in the Special Olympics. You are a non-entity.

                      Fuck off.

                    2. How the fuck did Ken get groupies?

                      Big dick in a little dick pond I guess.

                    3. “Big dick in a little dick pond ….”

                      Is that what you call bathing with your kids? Jesus, Tony.

                    4. You earned a half giggle with that one. Don’t waste it.

                    5. Tony is apparently jealous and angry that Ken is more respected here than he is.

                    6. If I ever start being respected here, I will feel Japanese businessman levels of shame.

                      Where’s the goddamn suicide forest, I got libertarian all over me in public.

                    7. So why even show up at an ostensibly libertarian site?
                      I don’t go preaching libertarianism at Jacobin or Mother Jones.

                    8. “So why even show up at an ostensibly libertarian site?”

                      Masochism?

                    9. “So why even show up at an ostensibly libertarian site?”

                      Naaah, stupidity. Why assume anything other than stupidity where Tony is involved?

    2. Build your own bakery, and banking system to service it, and sidewalk and street paving company so traffic can get there, and electricity provider to run your business and appliances.

  10. I think mad.casual made what might have been the best remark in regards to the danger of mega corporations and their disposition to freedom of speech.

    It is they that are ASKING to be regulated by the scariest cancel culture of all.

    1. Of course they are. It is equal parts regulatory capture – they will be at the table writing the regulations on themselves – and suppressing the competition, since the startups will not be able to afford the regulations that they will be writing.

  11. It wasn’t a no-knock raid.

    Stopped reading there , as I sensed a boatload of “whataboutism” coming my way.

    Cancel Culture is a creature of the left. Full stop.

  12. “Conservatives who rightly yelled bloody murder when Christian bakers were forced to make cakes for same-sex weddings are now trying to stop social media platforms from running their businesses the way they see fit.”

    lol, if Zuck is just an innocent small business owner trying to make his innocent small business decisions in a free market vacuum, maybe someone should let him know. Because he doesn’t act like it.

    NPR: “How Private Money From Facebook’s CEO Saved The 2020 Election”
    https://www.npr.org/2020/12/08/943242106/how-private-money-from-facebooks-ceo-saved-the-2020-election

  13. By definition an inalienable right is owned by the possessor and cannot be given or taken away.

    That means we carry our rights with us everywhere we go and no private or state entity can coerce us to abdicate them.

    Our rights supersede all other interests. That’s why we have a constitution.

    To challenge that you must challenge the entire concept of an inalienable right.

    Coercion of any citizen exercising free speech is a criminal attack on the constitution.

    1. Go back to Stormfront.

      1. That’s a nice Billy Joel song jeffster but you got anything else?

      2. That is hilarious.

        Dude repeats the foundational concept of the enlightenment, the underpinning of our government and its concept of how government power is derived…. And you make a silly derisive comment like that? As if StormFront is the only place where the concept of individual rights or natural law should be discussed?

        You not only don’t belong here, you don’t belong in discussions of whither goes America.

        1. In case you didn’t know, Rob Misek is our resident Holocaust-denying asshole around here.

          1. That has nothing to do with the subject.

            You are a troll and a bigot.

            I’m glad I’m not like you.

  14. I agree with all of this but I would add that social media sites are under tremendous pressure to censor and we have to do our part to uphold free speech on them and stop making pathetic excuses for running away.

    Another problem is that the technology on these sites is mature (they can basically run themselves at this point), so there is an unconscious motivation to build a censorship apparatus and use it to keep the drones busy. The solution to that is to let people retire cheaply using the profits from the site. Or really, enabling early retirement for the worthy, which would free up jobs for others to work and support themselves and thereby obviate big government and charity. When there is no incentive for big business to buy votes (to enact policies that benefit them) then they will have to cater to the needs of the populace – you and me.

    Also at the risk of being banned again by Reason – thank you reason for supporting free speech!

    1. There is nothing about this article that supports free speech. By playing the “pox on both houses” card, the progressives win, the woke continue their ascendance and the door to freedom swings ever closer to closed.

  15. What ever happened to the ACLU?

    If the Nazi’s have a right to an organized march in Skokie, then how can they turn a blind eye to this crap?

    1. Oh the ACLU decided long ago with the SPLC to just hate on anyone not far left and leave it at that.

    2. Ah, the good old days when being a liberal meant defending the Nazis.

      It only works when the Nazis are a joke and don’t actually try to take over the United States at the behest of the leader of a major political party.

      Nazis gain power with speech. It’s their primary tool. Nazi propaganda must be suppressed by any state that wants to survive, because it is effective.

      But being that this is the great land of America where the streets are paved with bullshit, you are and will remain free to have whatever trash thoughts and say whatever trash things you want. Disseminating lies and Nazi propaganda on history’s most extensive communications infrastructure is an act with consequences, however, and we already saw this consequences.

      There is no point to a first amendment that permits the first amendment to be set aflame by fascists along with the rest of the constitution.

      Fascism is not just a bad idea, it’s the worst idea. We’ve already used our big brains and liberal free-thoughts principle to figure that little factoid out. It has nothing to offer except genocide. We have to figure out how to maintain standards of truth and reduce the risk of violent cult behavior on social media, or else we might as well uninvent the thing for being a manufacturer of genocides instead of a platform for free expression.

      1. “There is no point to a first amendment that permits the first amendment to be set aflame by fascists along with the rest of the constitution.”

        Duh!

        What we need is a First Amendment that lets the government ban the speech it does not like or finds to be dangerous in the name of the First Amendment.

        Call the Harvard Law Review! Tony has had a breakthrough!

        1. For the record I think the stuff cited in this article is unconstitutional too, but that’s not a problem an ongoing threat of civil litigation can’t get around.

          As long as we give companies a free pass from being sued for the damage their product causes, somebody has to pay attention to that damage.

          1. “For the record I think the stuff cited in this article is unconstitutional …”

            Oh? On what grounds?

            1. Why, I’m a first amendment absolutist* of course. Not a big fan of government defining hate speech or fake news.

              That’s an increasingly idealistic position in the age of these technologies, but the principle relies not on blind enlightenment idealism but on the idea that such laws are prone to abuse. We could very well get a better society with such laws, but what happens when the fascists take over? What becomes hate speech then? And so forth.

              It’s important not to dismiss the complexity of this issue given these new technologies and the real-world consequences. The first amendment has never been an absolutist first amendment anyway, to the dismay of pranksters in crowded theaters everywhere. Fascist propaganda is a real thing, it’s identifiable, and it causes genocides. While we’re protecting your right to be as big a Nazi as your little Nazi heart desires, we should probably take some time to think about how to prevent genocides too. Governments have many obligations, and that kind of thing is right up there.

              *Some restrictions apply

              1. Fuck.

                It just hit me that you are a parody account.

                Good shit.

                You give OBL a run for his money.

              2. Clearer Tony:

                “I call people who disagree with me fascists and Nazis, even if their views have nothing to do with fascism, Nazism or racism.

                I label my own views and actions as anti-fascist and anti-racist, even though I am occasionally antisemitic, classist and racialist, and frequently endorse corporatist economics.

                That’s why everything I do and say is okay, because I’m fighting against fascists and Nazis, and because my actions are always anti-fascist and anti-racist.
                Why can’t people understand this? It’s so simple.”

              3. Why, I’m a first amendment absolutist* of course
                […]
                *Some restrictions apply

                No the lying piece of lefty shit is NOT a 1A “absolutist”.

              4. The most amazing thing about Tony’s argument is his seeming belief that it’s new and wasn’t used as an attack against the ratification of the Bill of Rights over 200 year ago.

                & today, just as then, the arguments are stupidly wrong.

      2. “…It only works when the Nazis are a joke and don’t actually try to take over the United States at the behest of the leader of a major political party….”

        TDS-addled lefty shits are forever lying.
        Fuck off and die, shitstain.

    3. That pathetic little group never made it to Skokie. I was there then. Perhaps Collin just could not get enough of his buddies to show up that day for some reason.

      The ACLU won a pyrrhic court case. They can stand on it and have ever since.

      1. I was there then

        Lol, the fuck you were.

  16. Reason slurping up the floor drippings from FOX News’s daily feast on racist cultural anxieties once again. Isn’t there something real you people could talk about?

    This situation contains tensions. Freedom is maximized not just by demanding that government do what you ask, but by private actors not giving government an excuse to do otherwise.

    If, for example, you’re a social media company that got caught jerking off to its trillion dollars of profit while neo-Nazis used your property to facilitate a violent overthrow of the US constitution, you might want to police yourself a little going forward. Governments have some interest in not being overthrown, after all.

    Private companies voting with their own dollars to suppress fascist organizing on their property sounds like a win-win for libertarians, who have no right to complain about what a private company does with itself, and those of us who want to see the Nazis destroyed, for the usual reasons.

    1. “Freedom is maximized … by demanding that government do what you ask.”

      Do you ever get tired of being a mouthpiece for fascism?

      1. No, but I get tired of fascism. It’s so slippery. It has no ideology but power, so it can carry on indefinitely accusing its targets of precisely the crimes it is guilty of. It can accuse its enemies of trying to cancel Dr. Seuss for all it cares, if you’ll excuse the whimsical thought experiment.

        1. Violate people’s inalienable rights to get rid of fascism. Haha

          I don’t think you know the meaning of the word.

          1. We have several problems right now. Climate change, a global pandemic, and the possibility that the United States may be governed by neo-Nazis in 2024 come to mind.

            What this country does not have is too little free speech or too few means to prentice it. You can shit your opinion on the entire world and nobody’s going to stop you.

            And nobody fucking canceled Green Eggs and Ham you literal babies.

            1. Climate change, a global pandemic, and the possibility that the United States may be governed by neo-Nazis in 2024 come to mind

              You forgot to mention an alien invasion and rampaging elves.

              Also, since the actual racialists and fascists are all on team Blue, I thought you’d be well chuffed by your last example.

              1. Hey facist. How many wars did Trump start? Hell, Trump brought peace to middle east, which Biden threw away. That was some real neo-Nazi stuff right? Which side is the one canceling everyone? Which side need safe spaces and to separate? Humm, which side can’t stand hearing the other side?

                Go look at your DSC notes colors. I’m sure they have pretty colors.

                1. I’m guessing that the was meant for Tony Baloney.

            2. And nobody fucking canceled Green Eggs and Ham you literal babies.

              Neat how you switched from “canceling Doctor Seuss” to “canceling Green Eggs and Ham”.

              No matter the gaslighting you try to pull, the fact remains that they canceled;
              “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”
              “If I Ran the Zoo”
              “McElligot’s Pool”
              “On Beyond Zebra!”
              “Scrambled Eggs Super!”
              “The Cat’s Quizzer”

              https://www.deseret.com/entertainment/2021/3/2/22309073/dr-seuss-books-canceled-full-list

            3. “Climate change, a global pandemic, and the possibility that the United States may be governed by neo-Nazis in 2024 come to mind.”

              LOL

              I stand corrected. Tony is better than OBL, although I cannot be certain that both accounts are not the same person.

              Either way, bravo. Well done, sir.

            4. “……so it can carry on indefinitely accusing its targets of precisely the crimes it is guilty of.”

              “……. the United States May be governed by neo nazis…..”

              Haha. I see what you did there.

            5. Tony
              March.20.2021 at 9:25 am
              “We have several problems right now…”

              Mostly one: Lefty fucking ignoramuses attempting to turn all of their fantasies into the desire to control the activities of others.
              Fuck off and die, shitstain.

        2. You have been a consistent voice of propaganda for facism and opression. Mostly it is facil and without thought, a mere repetition of the days talking points, meant to distract and obfuscate rather than inform, illuminate or advocate.

          One wonders if it is mere cynical partisanship, paid hackery or mental illness. One thing it isn’t… Advocacy for liberty.

  17. GET GOVERNMENT AWAY FROM THE PRESS!!!

    Don’t expand Socialistic law in an attempt to fix the consequences of Socialistic law! END the corrupt practice of Socialistic law..

  18. Yet Reason supported this government and refuses to call it “Biden’s America” after 4 years of “Trump’s America”.

  19. Not sure about the examples in the article. If politicians are trying to stop media companies from blocking accounts, that certainly interferes with freedom of association, and maybe is a kind of commandeering. But it certainly is not “censorship”.

  20. When the Guardian of all places starts warning that American legacy and social media cancel culture is dangerous, perhaps Reason shouldn’t be so dismissive.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/19/rightwing-misinformation-liberals

  21. When Canada, the UK and France of all places are worried about American cancel culture, maybe Reason should wake up.

    Canada joins Britain, France in combatting cancel culture ‘coming from the United States’

  22. Meanwhile Instagram is deleting the video of Biden tripping several times while climbing the steps of Air Force One for “incitement of violence”.
    But Reason somehow still doesn’t think parent company Facebook is taking its censorship orders directly from the Biden administration.

    1. Meanwhile media firefighters cover for Biden’s triple trip.
      https://victorygirlsblog.com/media-firefighters-cover-for-bidens-triple-trip/
      But Reason somehow still doesn’t think CNN, the WaPo or the NYT are taking its censorship orders directly from the Biden administration.

    2. And when Biden finally croaks (probably by drowning in a bathtub), they will charge the public at large for their hand in his assassination.

      “Uggghhh …. muh private company …… arrrrrrr”

  23. Corporations may be harmed long term from weakening “corporate personhood” on the LGBT wedding cake issue. There should be a legal distinction between “corporations” versus “sole proprietorships”.

    When an owner (or investor) create a “corporation” there are two separate persons – a human person and a corporate person. Do you want to weaken that protection.

  24. Wow, I can’t believe Leather Jacket here is the only Reason writer I agree with/or close to agree with. What happened Reason? Did Tony sleep with you all?

  25. “Almost a year to the day that Louisville police officers killed Breonna Taylor during a no-knock raid”

    I realize this isn’t the point of the article, but this is factually incorrect. The officers did in fact knock. Which is why one of them got shot through the door (by someone else in the apartment, not Ms. Taylor). The warrant was no knock, but the police decided that Ms. Taylor was not enough of a threat to require it. The insidious thing about getting this fact wrong and continuing to repeat it is that Ms. Taylor likely would be alive today had the warrant been served without knocking. Which isn’t to say that no knocks aren’t overused, but this, single, specific case is an example of where it would have worked, and pointing to this case as an example of no knocks getting people killed is exactly backwards.

    1. This is the same sort of ‘not quite true’ (fake news, to be honest) which has characterized the medias’ reporting on Trump for the extent of his term, and is now used to investigate ‘the insurrectionists’.
      Turn on a TV and you can likely believe the sports scores and little else. Read web sites or paper ‘news’ offerings, be ready to do research; re: the claim Trump ‘demanded’ the GA governor ‘find X votes!’. Re the claim the cop was beaten with a fire extinguisher, and many, many others.
      I have no real idea how the media might regain trust, but a good start would be admitting that most positive stories about Obo and most negative stories about Trump were lies.

      1. A good start would be to get the fact checkers off the politicians’ backs (nobody is supposed to believe what politicians say anyway) and get them tearing the publication’s own writers a new one (before the story gets published). Most of this stuff isn’t that hard. Mostly just tedious to track down primary sources and review it, including context.

        Not that it is relevant to this particular error, but why isn’t it standard journalistic practice to shoot the subject of an article a draft prior to publication? Obviously, the subject shouldn’t be allowed to effectively rewrite the article to his or her satisfaction; the default position should be to run the article as-is, but specific, factual objections ought to result in a double check to verify the claims. All of this can happen in parallel with getting the article edited, formatted, fact checked, and generally ready for publication.

        1. Another thought: on political stories, writers ought to recognize their biases and run their stories by a colleague with a different perspective. Obviously, taken to an extreme it would be unmanageable. However, if you personally believe that Trump is terrible, show your Trump articles to a Trump voter you respect. If you believe AOC is an idiot, show your AOC articles to a fan of the squad who you respect. If you love Keynesian economics, show your stimulus articles to a Chicago school economist. I am not asking that you get their approval or concurrence. Just hear what they have to say and consider if they have a point. Ideally, articles will be tough but fair, which can only be enhanced if they result from multiple different viewpoints.

  26. This “both sides” argument is the worst attempt at pretending to be a neutral arbiter and advocate of liberty.

    The time for “both sides” is past.

    One side says “anyone who disagrees with me must be silenced, by any means necessary. We will use government force to accomplish this is we can”

    The other side says “nobody should be blocked from speaking their mind, this is a free country. We will use government to ensure this is we must”

    Yes, there are two sides. Yes, if you are a simpleton you can draw some equivalences.

    But make no mistake… This is not a moment to stand in the middle. You are either a champion of freedom, or you are fighting for the progressives… The full 1984 dystopian vision of the progressives. By pretending that the dangers are equal in both sides, you have chosen to stand with the progressives and censorship at all levels.

    Stop deluding yourself. I know you hat Republicans and you hate Trump above all other things great and small. But this isn’t the issue, and if your mind were not addled by partisanship, you’d know it.

    Matt, you make your living by being able to speak freely and write what you want. You are directly in their sights. Surely you must know this. Surely you cannot believe that punching someone and yelling “stop punching me” are a “both sides are guilty” equivalence?

    Time to stop signalling to the woke that you are one of the cool kids. You are a libertarian. Liberty is the issue. Without freedom of speech, liberty does not exist.

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