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The Great Deplatforming War Rages On: Podcast

Should libertarians cheer, boo, or do a shrug-emoji when a private social media platform bans the likes of Alex Jones?

I woulda gone full Nazi, too, if it weren't for those danged Satanists! ||| Jeremy Hogan/Polaris/NewscomJeremy Hogan/Polaris/Newscom"It's implausible," David Harsanyi recently wrote in this space, "to imagine a future in which liberal activists don't demand that Republican groups be de-platformed." Conservative activists, too, will happily whip out the ban-hammer, in the name either of fair play or righteous indignation/responding to market signals. So where does that leave libertarians?

Arguing amongst themselves, as usual. At least that was the case in today's editor-roundtable version of the Reason Podcast, featuring Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, Nick Gillespie, and Matt Welch. Starting with the dud of a Unite the Right II rally, then proceeding to Antifa and Alex Jones, the quartet grapples with free-speech culture vs. law, the illiberal honkings of pols such as Sen. Chris Murphy (D–Conn.) and President Donald Trump, and the ongoing self-martyrdom of professional journalists. Along the way (spoiler alert!) we learn of Mangu-Ward's counter-protest infiltration, and the Silicon Valley PowerPoint presentation that knits together weed, Satanism, and cryptocurrency.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below:

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Relevant links from the show:

"What We Saw at the United the Right II Protest," by Austin Bragg, Mark McDaniel & Todd Krainin

"Antifa Still Wants to Punch the Two Dozen Damp, Sad Nazis Who Showed Up at Unite the Right II," by Joe Setyon

"'Unite the Right' Ralliers to Descend on D.C., With Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and Other Counter-Protesters Waiting," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Social Media Giants Shouldn't Be Arbiters of Appropriate Speech," by David Harsanyi

"Popehat's Ken White: 'Free Speech Is in Just as Much Danger from Conservatives,'" by Nick Gillespie & Paul Detrick

"Facebook Deactivates the Free Brazil Movement," by Zuri Davis

"Apple's Attempt to Ban Alex Jones Backfired in an Unexpected Way," by Zuri Davis

"Twitter Defends Decision to Keep Alex Jones. Nobody Is Happy," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Banning Alex Jones Isn't About Free Speech—It's About the Incoherence of 'Hate Speech,'" by Robby Soave

"Major Internet Platforms Ban Alex Jones," by Zuri Davis

"We got Gilfoyle's entire PowerPoint presentation explaining cryptocurrency from HBO's 'Silicon Valley,' and it's both useful and hilarious" by Carrie Wittmer

Don't miss a single Reason Podcast! (Archive here.)

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Photo Credit: Jeremy Hogan/Polaris/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • Tony||

    Would those be 2nd Amendment solutions I've heard people running for office in the Republican Party tell about?

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    For the office holding Republicans, its hypothetical. For the left, it is an explict threat.

  • Tony||

    Yeah we're gonna seize power after we've vanquished the enemy by suffocating them all with our stockpiles of kale.

  • Just Say'n||

    Man that kale that antifa yields sure does crack skulls well

  • Tony||

    The key is to massage it first.

  • Happy Chandler||

    I only know of one current Congressperson who has an assault on his record.

  • Just Say'n||

    "So where does that leave libertarians?"

    Well, that leaves libertarians like Scott Horton and Daniel McAdams getting banned from Twitter for voicing opposition to the wars in Yemen and Russia fever dreams.

    I think Reason writers are just left with completely contradictory articles on the topic where principals seem to be the most important factor

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Welchie Boy doesn't give a rat's ass about those guys. He knows that he's in no danger whatsoever of ever being banned from Twitter. Jack Dorsey and his shadowbanning little minions know exactly who is on their side and who isn't.

    "I'm a liberal."
    -Matt Welch

  • Mongo||

    Even Alex Jones thinks the idea of the 'lost' Malaysian airliner hijacked by jihadists with a hole cut in its belly and sunk in the ocean over Osama bin Laden's watery grave to act as an underwater shrine visited by dignitaries, Muslim leaders, and celebs is too crazy to repeat in the media.

  • BearOdinson||

    Conservative activists, too, will happily whip out the ban-hammer, in the name either of fair play or righteous indignation/responding to market signals.

    Matt Welch linked to 3 different Reason articles. In none of these articles (1 from 2004 and 1 from 2003) did he quote a "conservative activist" arguing for banning anyone from anywhere. (Kathleen Parker quoted in the 2004 article is/was hardly a conservative).

    This is completely disingenuous. While I have my issues with conservatives (usually of the social conservative type), right now, the idea of "de-platforming" is almost entirely from the Left.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Don't Believe Your Lying Eyes- Both Sides"

  • Ken Shultz||

    The left is far more concerned with what people say rather than what they do. It's partially a function of elitism, thinking that we can't have people believing that certain ideas (like racism and homophobia) are acceptable--far more so than they care about the actual acts themselves.

    That's a huge part of the reason why the left is so upset with Trump. It isn't because they're big on free trade. It's because Trump says all the wrong things about women, immigration, etc. If he would just say the right things, he could get away with murder.

    Bill Clinton got the feminists and the left to stand up for him despite all of his misbehavior with women, from Paula Jones to Monica Lewinsky.

    It was the same thing with Obama in a lot of ways. They don't care if he killed more children with drone strikes than Adam Lanza did with an assault weapon--because Obama said all the right things.

    The idea that controlling the airwaves has deep legs in revolutionary socialism, as well. Whenever they take over a country, the first thing they do is seize the radio stations, tv stations, etc. They do it for the same reason they go after Alex Jones--they want to control what is and isn't acceptable to say. What is said is far more important to them than what is done.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Bill Clinton got the feminists and the left to stand up for him despite all of his misbehavior with women, from Paula Jones to Monica Lewinsky.

    Don't forget the two literal rapes.

  • Lost in the Woods||

    Very well said, KS

  • Nardz||

    This typical of Reason (and progressives in general).

    "Sure, leftists [real event] - but conservatives are just as bad because [hypothetical/fantasy]."
    It is incredibly disingenuous, and downright disgraceful.

    Left actually does vs Right hypothetically would do. Equal only in the mind, and propaganda, of progressivism.

    You know what it's called when people treat their fantasies as if they were reality?
    Psychosis

  • Brett Bellmore||

    It's true. They actually seem to think they can prove right-wingers are bad people, just by imagining them doing bad things. And because they find the imagined bad actions plausible, the people they imagine doing them must be bad people!

    I run into that all the time.

  • IceTrey||

    Aren't they protected from libel suits for the actions of their users only if they maintain a neutral platform?

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    The govt brought Zuckerberg in for a congressional hearing over 'interference' in the 2016 election. Silicon Valley got the message; their unique protection will last as long as they do what the government wants.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Nope. They are protected as long as the words aren't theirs.

    Any user or provider of an interactive system is not liable for the words of others. I could repost a defamatory article in the comments right here, and claim protection as long as I don't add anything to it.

  • Just Say'n||

    Unless....they begin editing the comments, which then opens them up to being a publisher.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    How about if they start deleting comments, like info are deleted when accounts are banned on social media?

  • Happy Chandler||

    No. Under no circumstances does publishing someone else's words make you a publisher. Find one law or case that finds that it does.

    "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

    The law says nothing about editing. I can go find a defamatory article, publish it as a comment here, and am protected by 230. Blumenthal v. AOL.

  • Just Say'n||

    That is not true. This is not settled law much like the president blocking people on Twitter had an unexpected result from the courts

  • Happy Chandler||

    It is nothing like the President. He's limited when acting in his official role as a public official.

    Where is it not settled? The law is clear. No provider is a publisher when it's other people's words. There's really not much wiggle room.

  • Just Say'n||

    Progressive talking points doesn't make the law so

  • Just Say'n||

    In order to be a platform rather than a publisher you must not exercise editorial control

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Like Silk Road?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Bollea v. Gawker

  • Nardz||

    "Under no circumstances does publishing someone else's words make you a publisher."

    You kidding?
    If not, that's one of the stupidest sentences ever written.
    PUBLISHING other people's words is literally what makes one a PUBLISHER.
    Your sentence is clearly incoherent, as it contradicts itself.
    Yet, you hit 'submit'...

  • hello.||

    Under no circumstances does publishing someone else's words make you a publisher.

    What the fuck are you talking about you ignorant dipshit? That's what publishers do. They publish someone else's words. You know those names that appear under the headlines you read in the New York Times? The part before all the long words that you can't understand? Those are called authors. They write the words. And then the New York Times publishes the words. The New York Times is a publisher.

  • Cathy L||

    I see the talking points have been distributed.

  • Just Say'n||

    Are you and Chandler reading the same Daily Kos article?

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    PeterSweden

    Verified account

    @PeterSweden7

    Now InfoWars has been banned from Vimeo too.

    Looks like the elites are on a mission to completely wipe them of the internet.

  • Juice||

    It's like a war over information.

  • Ken Shultz||

    That society has become intolerant to the point that it can't tolerate the likes of Alex Jones in public speaks to a general decline in society's tolerance for other things--like other people's freedom to do all sorts of things.

    Fuck the millennials and their intolerance, and fuck the baby boomers who raised them to be overly sensitive shit weasels. Oh, and fuck Dr. Spock.

    No, not that Spock, you millennial shit weasels!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Spock

  • Brett Bellmore||

    This isn't about what "society" is intolerant of. This is about what a minority of leftists who've seized the high ground of cultural transmission, (Because right-wingers made no effort to hold it.) are intolerant of.

    They'd want you to believe they're just expressing "society's" views. That's part of political correctness, the claim that any expression contrary to leftism simply violates ordinary standards of decency.

  • Dillinger||

    who or what is a "conservative activist"?

  • Rich||

    You know, like a Republican community organizer.

  • Dillinger||

    and they have a ban-hammer? asking for a friend.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "I think there is blame on both sides."

  • SIV||

    Matt's link to "conservative activist" leads to a quote from notable conservative activist Kathleen Parker. Conservative activists like Davids Brooke and Frum likely agree. Conservative activist John McCain wanted to force radio stations to play the Dixie Chicks. That's in Matt's links too.

  • Dillinger||

    can't imagine how it hurt to type all those names in one sitting. ick.

  • ||

    I'm looking forward to listening to it. The standard libertarian answer to the suppression of "negative" attitudes has always been public shaming. It seems that social media is engendering the exact mechanism that many libertarians wish has been leaned on in lieu of government action like the Civil Rights Act. So now that we have it (veiled threats from politicians aside) it seems we should embrace it.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Sure, as long as Twitter and Facebook are held responsible for giving Hamas and Antifa a forum to promote violence.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Held responsible legally.

  • ||

    On what legal grounds? And how can you make a liberty based argument around that?

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    If you take part in coordinating violence, you are liable. Strip them of every 'common carrier' protection.

  • Happy Chandler||

    They are not common carriers and have no protection as such.

  • Ken Shultz||

    When I think about public shaming as a better means of discouraging things like racism and homophobia, I was thinking more of the ability to speak out against racists and homophobes--more so than depriving idiots of their ability to speak to the rest of us.

    I maintain that the best way to discredit such people isn't to silence them. It's putting a camera on them and giving them a microphone. I think of Alex Jones, even, as being an idiot, but it isn't because my elitist betters telling me that he's an idiot. It's because I've seen him quoted.

    I disparage him because I know what he's said. If people who have never heard him speak condemn him (and others) for things they've never heard him say, then what are they really condemning? Ultimately, we're talking about putting free speech in stocks for ridicule. We're loading the question of whether we really want free speech if it means letting people like Alex Jones speak freely.

  • ||

    I think it's reasonable to not only want to expose, but to take action, using the tools available while respecting natural rights. If Group A is able to lobby Entity X into not doing business with Group B, then that seems like a valid, and effective, mechanism for allowing Group A to have their preferences put into effect without leveraging force. Everyone made a choice.

    And more specific to the concept of deplatforming, platforms have some degree of monopolistic attributes, but they're not absolute. Group B generally always has options. There is the problem though, discussed on The Fifth Column the other week, of what the limits are. Should Group B be "deplatformed" of electricity by a private electric company? Of phones? Credit cards? Banking? Is there really any Entity that should be forced to do business with Group B?

    I'd think not. But one should be clear that the logical endpoint of deplatforming is the complete isolation of Group B from society. And that has challenges.

  • Ken Shultz||

    We were looking at how people who get their podcasts the other day. Some 95% of them get them from iTunes, Amazon, or Spotify (as I recall).

    Did these companies discuss shutting Alex Jones down ahead of time, or did they all come to the same conclusion simultaneously by coincidence?

    It seems to me that Alex Jones may have some legitimately libertarian remedies available to him in civil court, and pursuing those won't require congress to repeal the First Amendment.

    Colluding to cut someone off from 95% of their market (if that's what happened) certainly seems to me like something a jury should consider--especially if you consider that these companies had a contractual obligation to Alex Jones. After all, he provided them with content for years--and they built their businesses on top of such content. He invested his time, resources, money, and brand into their platforms, and they built their platforms on top of such content. Certainly, they have some obligations to him for that.

    Did the offending works violate the TOS at the time that the works were made, or was that standard applied retroactively?

    I think these companies may have a lot to answer for in civil court.

  • Happy Chandler||

    I don't think it's illegal for companies to work together for standards setting. It doesn't undermine the competition between the networks.

    As for their obligations to him, that has been the same in every TOS since kingdom come. They make no warranties express or implied. They are judge and jury of their standards.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I don't think it's illegal for companies to work together for standards setting."

    Collusion is a libertarian issue, especially if you're looking at three companies controlling 95% of a market.

    "As for their obligations to him, that has been the same in every TOS since kingdom come."

    Alex Jones' right and these companies obligations to him don't disappear simply because the companies themselves unilaterally decide they don't need to abide by what they've done in the past.

    That's not the way rights or contractual obligations work.

    Sounds to me like you're just trying to justify silencing Alex Jones, no matter the argument, and that's a truly boring argument.

    BORING!!!

  • Kivlor||

    It's time to give up Ken. Libertarians haven't supported forcing people to abide by contractual obligations in my lifetime. Longer. Ever. It's lip service, and good folks like yourself get suckered in by it.

    This was the inevitable reality of the ideology dating back to supporting divorce forever ago. Libertarianism holds contracts as the better way to handle things, then says "you should be able to leave any contract you want without consequence because feelings."

    We can see the same logic in motion right here: "You should have to abide your contractual obligations, unless it's with someone we don't like and we want to see you get rid of because he's icky and that affects our feelings."

  • ||

    I concur with Happy. I suspect all of the TOS's in question had explicit "we can revoke your use of our platform under any circumstances" language. And also his point that collusion to deny to service a customer isn't actionable as an act of oligopolistic suppression of competition.

    I also can't see how using tort law as a "remedy" in lieu of force authorized via explicit legislation is any more of a "liberty" based concept. A tort for exclusion of a customer is no different than the forced public accommodation codified by the CRA.

    No, I'm not familiar with René Guénon.

  • Happy Chandler||

    It's the "Don't be mean to racists" line in the Libertarian platform.

  • Just Say'n||

    Chandler Bing is rather dumb, no?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I concur with Happy. I suspect all of the TOS's in question had explicit "we can revoke your use of our platform under any circumstances" language."

    That language isn't necessarily enforceable. In fact, any statement in any contract that says one party can change the terms whenever they like and completely ignore the other parties' rights is horseshit.

    If I put up a sign offering you $100 to find by dog, and you go out and find my dog and bring him to me, I don't get to decide not to pay you because the fine print said that I could revoke the offer whenever I like. You put the work in. You found my dog. You brought him back to me. Now I say I've decided not to pay you?

    No court would uphold that.

    Jones operated in good faith and invested his time, money, brand, and other resources into their platforms, and they benefited from the content he created for their profit. Now that he's helped them build their brands into something salable, they unilaterally decide they're no longer willing to respect his contractual rights--because they say so?

    Doesn't work that way--no matter what's in TOS. They have contractual obligations to him. And he should sue them in civil court. I'm not saying he should win. I'm not saying he will win. I am saying, he's got one hell of a case, and the remedy isn't in congress, regulation, or the SC reinterpreting the First Amendment. The remedy is in civil court, and it's all about contract law.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Here's an example of what I'm talking about from "In re Zappos.com, Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation", No. 3:2012cv00325

    "As you can see from the screenshot snippet on the right, Zappos' terms of use says "We reserve the right to change...these terms and conditions at any time." Zappos isn't the only website using language like this; it's ubiquitous on the Internet. Unfortunately, despite its widespread usage, this language is toxic to a contract.

    The court takes this amendment power to its logical conclusion. If Zappos can change the terms at any time, then it can change the arbitration clause at any time. Thus, citing to a long list of cases, the court says that such unilateral power to change the arbitration clause makes the clause "illusory"--and thus unenforceable.

    ----Forbes

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/er.....906bc63e31

    The courts will not enforce a clause that says the contractual rights of one party can be ignored or changed at any time by the other party. These kinds of clauses are nothing new. I think you'll find that such decisions go all the way back to Roman Law. There's nothing new under the sun, and the ol' "We can change these terms any time we want" trick isn't new either.

    Alex Jones should sue the fuck out of these guys for breach of contract.

  • Ken Shultz||

    P.S. OT: Do you know much about René Guénon? If so, do you recommend him? Denounce him?

  • Qsl||

    Iffy.

    The opposite side of the coin from "Is there really any Entity that should be forced to do business with Group B?" is "is anyone owed a market". For all the hyperbolic "forced to bake a cake at gunpoint" entreaties; now there is nuance and possible adverse market affects in the case of Alex Jones. Joy!

    And the pragmatist view is that the hopes, wants, and desires of either Entity A or Entity B amount to little more than a wet fart in relation to those who have to enforce those contracts.

    And the simplified view is that is much easier to only allow symbolic political posturing in the market, but anything further should be saved for the ballot box. Different markets for different purposes. Even the worst of the sloganeering libertarians should be able to figure this out.

    And so the question that is asked now in light of Jones isn't "should you be forced to bake a cake", but "should you be allowed access to markets if you don't abide by community standards"?

    In the end, it is easier if everyone just takes the money.

  • BILKER||

    "logical endpoint of deplatforming is the complete isolation of Group B from society."
    you mean like the financial industry is doing to the firearms manufacturing industry?

  • EscherEnigma||

    When I think about public shaming as a better means of discouraging things like racism and homophobia, I was thinking more of the ability to speak out against racists and homophobes--more so than depriving idiots of their ability to speak to the rest of us.


    Yeah, y'all always like "shamign" and boycotts and such as alternative to government action... right up until it works. If it's actually effectively at getting businesses to change their behavior, you scream censorship.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Once again, shaming doesn't necessarily mean stripping someone else of their ability to speak.

    Shaming should be about using your own voice--not stripping it away from others.

    What Spotify, Facebook, and others are doing isn't shaming. It's silencing.

  • Nardz||

    Public shaming is quite different than censorship.
    The word 'public' should've tipped you off to that.

  • SIV||

    Should libertarians cheer, boo, or do a shrug-emoji when a private social media platform bans the likes of Alex Jones?

    If you're a "cultural libertarian" I'd say "boo" is the only response. It is telling that you even have to ask this but cheers and shrugs are the popular response among you cosmopolitan progressitarians.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    A private organization may do as they wish, even if I'd do it differently.

    Public may not.

    That's it. It's that simple.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    If the government surrounds said private organization with legal protection with an implied threat to take it away if they don't cooperate, then this the government stepping on peoples' rights.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    That, would be a different matter, then, wouldn't it?

    The government directly violating 1A.

  • Just Say'n||

    Not really. There is nothing that says "thou shalt not criticize the policies of a private company". Actually, to not voice your displeasure is to behave as an irrational actor.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Who said anything about not voicing your displeasure?

    Voice away. Scream your bloody head off.

    Doesn't change the fact that, from both a legal standpoint AND from a libertarian moral standpoint, a private organization may do as they wish and a public organization may not violate 1A.

  • Just Say'n||

    I tend to agree with you, but then this standard tends to fall apart with other private actors. And then we keep pretending like none of these purges are being egged on by the government.

    www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-me.....ts-n844731

    I mean, are we still pretending like Russia fever dreams were not just meant as an excuse to silence dissent?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    As I said above, IF they are being egged on by the government, defined as the government using force against them, then that's a problem with government, not the private organization, and should be addressed separately.

  • Just Say'n||

    The government never has to use force to get companies to do what it wants

  • Happy Chandler||

    So, Trump's Director of National Intelligence is a deep state mole trying to bring him down?

  • Just Say'n||

    You're not very bright, are you?

    Few things actually have to do with protecting or eliminating Trump. Move beyond your progressive world view.

    Censoring Scott Horton doesn't hurt or help Trump, but it does help the War Party

  • SIV||

    Matt Welch in 2004:

    Similarly, when Cumulus banished the Dixie Chicks from its airwaves after lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience she was "ashamed" to hail from the same state as President Bush, many self-described civil libertarians made the point that, after all, Cumulus is a private company and is free to air whomever it likes. That is true, of course. But defending freedom of speech is more than just respecting private property. It's expressing support for the climate of free-wheeling expression.

    Of course it's different now when Robbie Soave cheers the de-platforming of Alex Jones and Gavin McInnes.

  • Just Say'n||

    Matt Welch once appeared on McInnes' podcast. Just last year.

  • SIV||

    Thank God Matt Welch escaped the clutches of that "vile cult" McInnes leads.

  • Ken Shultz||

    A private organization may do as they wish, even if I'd do it differently.

    Public may not.

    That's it. It's that simple.

    It isn't that simple.

    Are you saying we shouldn't criticize Facebook's policies or behavior because they're a private entity?

    That would be "simple". Thank goodness the rest of the world isn't that simple.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Are you saying we shouldn't criticize Facebook's policies or behavior because they're a private entity?

    no

    You simply may not force them to your will.

    Criticising isn't force. You may criticise anyone you want.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Okay, well, fuck Facebook and their shitty anti-speech policies. They're a private enterprise with private property, and what they do with their private property sucks--so fuck them.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    There ya go, Ken.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, there I go.

    It isn't that simple.

    Private individuals cannot do what they please with their private property without suffering whatever negative consequences there are for their choices--including being criticized by the general public for their stupid, anti-speech behavior.

    A private organization may do as they wish, even if I'd do it differently.

    Public may not.

    That's it. It's that simple.

    If you can't tell the difference between libertarians criticizing Facebook and people calling for regulation, then it might not be that simple.

    If Facebook is rent seeking congress for regulation of its own speech policies, then it isn't simple.

    You have oversimplified to the point that what you're defending might not even be the issue.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Private individuals cannot do what they please with their private property without suffering whatever negative consequences there are for their choices--including being criticized by the general public for their stupid, anti-speech behavior.

    No shit?

    If you can't tell the difference between libertarians criticizing Facebook and people calling for regulation, then it might not be that simple.

    I can tell the difference between force and public opinion. Apparently, you cannot.

    If Facebook is rent seeking congress for regulation of its own speech policies, then it isn't simple.

    Then THAT is an entirely different matter. IF the government capitulates, directly violating 1A, the blame falls directly on government, not the company.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Exactly, you're saying "It's as simple as that!", when it isn't that simple at all.

    Your knee jerk reaction might not even be on topic!

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    For the love of Christ, Ken.

    It IS that simple.

    What's a libertarian to do? How about apply libertarian principle?

    You may not initiate force. So when a private company does something you don't like you can bitch and not buy from them (which isn't force). And they can tell you to pound sand...and there is nothing further you can do about it.

    So in answering Matt's question...

    Should libertarians cheer, boo, or do a shrug-emoji when a private social media platform bans the likes of Alex Jones?

    The correct libertarian answer is to shrug and say, "While not what I might do, they are perfectly within their rights to do so."

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So therefore Reason was wrong to piss themselves that some "alt-right trolls" got James Gunn fired for some very bad tweets he made, right?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Your ability to simplify issues into axiomatic single sentences isn't impressive. It's childish.

    Your inability to perceive complexity isn't impressive either. It's just childish.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Above is addressed to FdA, in case that wasn't entirely obvious.

  • Azathoth!!||

    You may not initiate force.

    Initiate.

    But you MAY use force to defend yourself.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Christian socialism--as practiced in Germany and Italy until 1945, and in These States less consistently--imposes the coerced (not free) exercise of religion on those subject to its jurisdiction.

  • hello.||

    Germany was so adamant about the practice of forced Christianity that it murdered millions of Christian clergy. That's dedication!

  • BILKER||

    so then why do many criticize Assange for GIVING away private info and not Zuckerberg for SELLING private info.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Social media: "We're not biased or taking sides politically, we're simply cracking down on 'hate', that's all."

    Millions of normal people: "Uhhh, OK, but isn't saying things like 'kill all white men' kind of hateful?"

    Social media: "LA LA LA WE CAN'T HEAR YOU."

  • Happy Chandler||

    First, social media is not one entity. Twitter has different rules and decisions than Facebook than Google, etc.

    Obviously this means that they find Jeong, on balance, positive for the Twitter experience, which is what they are responsible for. Right wing trolls drive away users, for instance Leslie Jones comes to mind. Left wing trolls tend to be much lower profile and not have the same effect. Twitter doesn't care about the national conversation, or equal rights, or any of that. They only care that when people look at it they aren't turned off. All of the trolls kicked off Twitter have gone to Gab. That is a cesspool that turns off visitors faced with a barrage of racist crap.

    Then, there's 4chan and 8chan, where the trolls plan coordinated attacks and pollute other networks. I'd like a network that starts with a ban on anyone with an account there.

  • hello.||

    Lol. You should sign up for a 4chan account so you can infiltrate their operation.

  • XM||

    Left wing trolls are not "low profile". Jeong's racist tweets are arguably a violation of Twitter's TOS. Candace Owens applied Jeong's rhetoric on other races as an experiment and her account was suspended almost immediately.

    This was a coordinated sweep against Jones, with the decisions coming from higher ups or employees. Alex Jones appeared on the Michael Savage show and denied having broken any rules. He claimed that he considered the validity of Sandy Hooks conspiracy theories but did not endorse it. Assuming that he's lying about everything, it's still problematic that "Punch the Nazi crowd" and known Jihadists still have presence on Twitter.

  • Longtobefree||

    Wait, what? Social media still exists?
    Wow, just wow.

  • NoVaNick||

    Give it time, anyone who voices skepticism about global warming or plastic straw bans will be banned from social media because that too will be considered hate speech

  • DajjaI||

    In Facebook's defense, they are also banning antira. Some guy I know got his account suspended for the following comment on the Sarah Jeong fiasco. Which I include only to understand the phenomenon. IN NO WAY DO I ENDORSE THIS.

    White goblins harass a little Asian girl, and then cry when she calls them white goblins? Sorry I have no sympathy. This happened years ago and if you didn't speak out at the time then you need to just stfu. #sickofwhinywhitegoblins #sickofwhinyjewishgoblins
  • Happy Chandler||

    You have a lot of "friends" who are anti-Semites.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So do you.

  • BILKER||

    prior to WW II ALL of europe was anti-semite. not one european country would have lifted a finger to stop the nazis murdering jews. that only happened when the nazis began killing non jewish europeans. apparently if you have friends of european descent you have anti-semite friends.

  • damikesc||

    Sadly, Fascist Spain and Italy were far kinder to Jews than, say, France. It took Hitler basically owning Mussolini to make Italy go after Jews with any gusto.

  • Eddy||

    Various governments (including, I suspect, the U. S. government) are leaning on social-media companies to censor "bad" content - if the companies act proactively to censor stuff, then they get relief from this regulatory pressure, and people get to write articles about the beauties of the free market as private companies choose which accounts to ban.

  • Just Say'n||

    Pretty much this.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Wouldn't this mean that, with Republicans holding all three branches, we would see anti-liberal bannings? Or Nancy Pelosi is so uber powerful that they are afraid of the minority leader?

  • Just Say'n||

    Yup, government sets culture. That's why Hollywood has long been rabidly Republican.

  • Just Say'n||

    Chandler Bing wants you to believe that a Republican would ever oppose Twitter bans of Alex Jones. As if the media would just accept that as a principled position.

    Half of Republicans would oppose government regulation of these platforms (more than half of them oppose net neutrality). You would get zero opposition for such a policy from Democrats.

    Business always appeases the censor, especially if he has the cultural clout

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The Republicans don't control all three branches. The legislative branch, sure, kinda, except that the Senate is so close that a handful of Flakes give the Democrats an effective veto.

    The judiciary is on the way, but not there yet.

    And Trump only controls part of the executive branch, as the Senate is slow walking his nominations except for the judicial ones, and large parts of the bureaucracy are "resisting".

  • WillPaine||

    I see an argument that platforms such as Facebook are, as a matter of fact and law, becoming, if not now, more public than private, within the intent of the First Amendment, and Constitution. Everyone assumes the "private company" mantle/excuse is valid. I would suggest we look again. 70-80 percent of the population receives their news from the internet, for instance. Society and commerce demand you have connection to the internet, yes? When society demands you involve yourself in something, that could be argued as far from a private mechanism. Thinkaboutit, no?

  • EscherEnigma||

    And back in 1786, most people got their news from town criers and newspapers. Did that mean presses couldn't publish (and not publish) what they wanted?

    This claim that it's somehow different now that it's Twitter or Facebook, rather then a local newspaper, kind of ignores that private enterprise has always had a major role in the dissemination of news and opinion in America. The only difference now from before is that there's less editorial oversight.

  • hello.||

    Newspaper publishers are also held to a completely different standard of liability for what they publish on their platform. But let's not talk about that.

  • Lost in the Woods||

    Whenever I hear someone or some organization (almost always on the left) say that we must deny [ some speaker ] a platform from which to speak, my immediate reaction is that the speaker must have something worthwhile to say. Likely something that the left doesn't want the rest of us to hear, perhaps pointing out some element of their deeply flawed ideology. If the speaker is just spouting nonsense, then reasonable people will just ignore. If the speaker is simply incorrect, or misinformed, or reasoning improperly, then it is a simple matter to politely rebut them. And reasonable people will accept the rebuttal. But the denial of platform is the tactic the left uses when the speaker is correct in some way, but the left just doesn't like it.

  • Happy Chandler||

    What about Hitler? He spouted nonsense. He gained a following. You know the rest.

  • Happy Chandler||

    What about Hitler? He spouted nonsense. He gained a following. You know the rest.

  • Just Say'n||

    God, that's a really bad take

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Or FDR.
    Or LBJ.
    Or Teddy Roosevelt.
    Or Wilson.

  • Lost in the Woods||

    Hitler? Good grief . . . I don't think an overabundance of free speech was really the key problem during Hitler's rise to power and it's aftermath. Post WWI Germany need more, not less, free speech. As do we now need more, not less, free speech.

  • BILKER||

    and then there was obama

  • BILKER||

    and helliary and bernie and ocasio and gerry brown and maxine waters and boss tweed and mayor daley and bull connor etc etc

  • Uncle Adolf's Gas and Grill||

  • SIV||

    You're "oppressed" by Coca Fucking Cola?

  • Hank Phillips||

    The satanists correctly understand that fascism is another way of saying christian socialism. Matt on the other hand insists on attributing to "liberal" a meaning popular with Reconstruction Republicans pushing Comstock laws and Herbert Hoover Republicans adding alcohol prohibition to the existing Comstock law agenda banning ALL birth control. The real American Liberal Party (est. 1931) was not socialist or communist but sought repeal of blue, mystical and sumptuary laws. The shocking part is that the Reason staff--at least in the blurb--is losing to the satanists when it comes to clarity of language and epistemological objectivity in their choice of words. The Dem and GOP insist on describing themselves as located between Hitlerism and Stalinism. But that says nothing about the LP or its platform.

  • hello.||

    You might be the single most mentally ill person who posts on a website that includes Mikey Hihn and his 15 sock accounts. Let that sink in.

  • hello.||

    Quite a war going on yessiree bob. The 4 multinational tech companies responsible for all of the content on the internet are removing conservative content from their platforms. And conservatives 15 years ago said mean things about the Dixie Chicks.

  • TGoodchild||

    "Starting with the dud of a Unite the Right II rally"

    It was a dud because Unite the Right and its sister groups, organizations, and causes, isn't even a thing and feigning disappointment (?) in the turnout simply creates a straw man. The problem isn't 40, or even 100, good ol' boys making asses of themselves, but the actual parades of masked, black-clad anarchists who attack people and property facetiously in the name of protesting fascism. This is a situation where the much-abused term "false equivalence" applies.

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