Don’t Fall for “Free Speech Socialism”

White nationalism is the controversy du jour in the United States, as elements of the alt-right have made headlines for violent rallies and clashes with counter-protesters. While free speech is protected in the United States, a growing list of companies and social media platforms have begun to refuse the business of Nazi sympathizers, drawing criticisms and accusations of squelching free speech. This idea that the right to hateful expression extends beyond government behavior is what I like to call “free speech socialism,” and shouldn’t be tolerated in a free society. No, Facebook doesn’t need to keep Nazis’ accounts active. Here’s why.

“Free speech” as we know it is a government invention

Let’s not forget that the primary purpose of the modern concept of free speech was to keep the government in check. We are all naturally free to speak our minds until someone comes and bashes our head in because they don’t like what we’re saying. The common concept of free speech refers to the gist of the 1st Amendment of the American constitution, that government can’t oppress the people for expressing unpopular or dangerous views. That right to free speech is precious, but remember: it’s about preventing violence from being used to silence you, not giving you a mandatory platform from which to speak freely. That part is your responsibility.

Mandated “free speech” doesn’t apply to private companies

Here’s where we get into some different territory: private property. In your own home or business using your own property, as well as in public, you are free to express whatever views you see fit. However, when you enter someone else’s home, they can kick you out if they see fit, particularly if you’re expressing views they consider to be abhorrent. The same largely applies to businesses with the right to refuse service to anyone, as well as platforms run by for-profit companies which include terms of service. No one is owed a Twitter account, and if you conduct yourself in such a way on that platform that its operators decide to remove you, there’s no room for justified outrage. Free speech hasn’t been abridged, private companies and individuals have simply exercised their choice of customers and associates.

Provocateurs thrive on “speech redistribution”

Here’s where the term “free speech socialism” comes in. Remember, in a truly free society you aren’t entitled to the fruits of someone else’s labor. Companies, including those providing a platform for facilitated speech, are the product of someone’s labor. They do not have customers and users out of some sense of public duty, they have them because they choose to, because such a relationship is mutually beneficial. When that relationship is no longer beneficial to one or more of the parties involved, it tends to get scrapped. Any sense of lasting outrage at being boycotted by a private business over controversial views is, in fact, a sense of entitlement to the fruits of someone else’s labor. Arguing for companies who disagree with you to be forced to provide a platform for your speech is advocating for redistribution of resources, giving you a guaranteed use of something you didn’t work for. There’s a word for that: socialism.

The most provocative elements of modern political discourse (predominantly neo-Nazi groups, though certainly not exclusively) take advantage of free speech sympathy to demand a platform from those they detest. In general, trolls and other undesirables fiercely demand protection from the rules they themselves flaunt, thriving on the wager that other people will follow the restrictions they won’t. Groups advocating for the silencing, removal, and straight up murder of dissidents not only claim the right for their hated point of view to be heard while advocating for the removal of this right for others, but want others to be forced to subsidize their speech for free. This is because they’re weak, their cause is weak, and they know they would never have a platform for their hate if they had to earn it and build it themselves. So instead, they pursue redistribution of resources in their favor. Remember, national socialists remain, at their core, socialists.

The speech debate all too often ignores the public/private divide

The whole argument over whether or not “we” should allow certain kinds of speech blurs the line between public and private policy. “We” as a nation-state should absolutely allow all kinds of abhorrent speech, but we as individuals and businesses should allow what we see fit. This is the best we can do at this point in time, but in a truly free market this issue wouldn’t exist at all. Without hard and fast government-enforced rules, the “free speech” defense wouldn’t apply at all, and people would simply decide for themselves whether or not to humor toxic viewpoints. In the mythical libertarian utopia, Nazis would likely have so few options available to them as far as businesses to patronize and platforms and areas for speech that the philosophy would all but die out. In a way, government involvement is all that’s preventing that from happening currently.

The next time you see a Nazi, Klansman, or other clear-cut undesirable whining about being cut off from using a particular service, remember that this is in no way a threat to free speech, but a threat to involuntarily subsidized speech. And that, in my opinion, deserves to be threatened, if not exterminated entirely.

This Week in Concord – New Hampshire Legislative Review

The author is a New Hampshire state representative committed to advancing the cause of liberty

This week there are a number of bills scheduled for their public hearings that affect many Granite Staters. All of the hearings on these bills are open to the public but the hearings on these bills this week will be the only chance for members of the public to give testimony until the bills crossover to the Senate. I strongly recommend attending any of these committee hearings if you are able. [Read more…]

13 Nonpolitical Ways to Fight for Liberty – Independent Media

podcast

The horrifying presidential election is over. The outcome, same as if it had been different, spells four years of dark days for liberty, at least on the governmental front. The hardcore liberty activists, however, are gearing up for a long battle, stocking up on Bitcoin, guns, and sustainable supplies, all the while encrypting their communications, buying and selling off the grid, taking care of their own, solving their own problems, and treating each other with respect for their autonomy. They’re picking away at the system by encouraging jury nullification and filming cops, and making sure liberty’s ideas are well-represented in the court of public opinion. The elite, though, still want to engage in a more direct role. Here’s how you do that. Here’s how you push the advancement of freedom to the next level. [Read more…]

13 Nonpolitical Ways to Fight for Liberty – Join Public Debate

debate

While some people are crying or fretting about the impending election of one of two monsters to the highest political office on the planet, liberty’s faithful are busy making a better world. They’re taking care of their own while running local economies and defending themselves. They’re protecting themselves against government abuse, filming cops to prevent unjust behavior while encouraging juries to nullify bad laws. And best of all, they’re encrypting their communications and using Bitcoin to get away from government financial control. Now if only they weren’t so lonely and isolated in their beliefs.

[Read more…]

Twitter Cracks Down on Terrorism, Bullying

Twitter

Twitter has axed another 235,000 accounts for promoting terrorism.

Over the last six months, the social media giant has added hundreds of thousands of banned accounts to its 360,000 ban total since about this time last year. This cleanup move has earned praise from the Anti-Defamation League, an organization protesting antisemitism and bigotry against the Jewish people.

Alt-right troll Milo claims credit for the Twitter terror purge [Read more…]

Disarmament in the Information Age

gun sculpture

The stars aligned. A mass shooting in a movie theater in Colorado still very fresh in people’s minds, the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut was the deal-sealing tragedy to usher in a new era of gun control. They had been waiting for a moment like this.

It was the perfect storm of a gun-grab… but it failed. President Obama has admitted to a group of San Francisco donors that he has lost confidence in his ability to get passed any gun control measures of significance. Why? How could such a perfectly-orchestrated effort fall flat? The answer: the information age.

In the weeks following the massacre, the mainstream media reported one major myth regarding the incident: a “military-style assault rifle,” such as an AR-15, was used. Critical analysis quickly uncovered, and spread far and wide across the internet, that not only was an assault rifle not used in the actual killings, but one might not even have been present at all. That proved Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed assault weapons ban to be completely irrelevant to preventing a similar massacre, dooming it from the start.

Next, thanks once more to the internet, information regarding gun violence in America was able to travel around the mainstream media’s filter rather than through it. This illuminated the abject failure of gun restrictions to cause a reduction in violence in places like England, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. itself. Once gun control’s abysmal track record on stopping violence came to light far and wide, the narrative of saving lives simply fell apart.

Finally, the moral case for gun rights, often reserved to the hearts and minds of patriotic Americans, was allowed online public exposure. A photo of Rosa Parks with the tagline “I don’t ‘need’ an AR more than Rosa Parks ‘needed’ to sit in the front of that bus” spread like a virus via Facebook, effectively setting in stone the message that We The People have the right to exercise whatever peaceful behavior we so desire without having to justify it to the government.

Times have changed. Any other decade and this would have been an open-and-shut case of national disarmament. This time, however, they underestimated the power of a free people standing up for their rights. And, most of all, they underestimated the unregulated power of the internet. Next time they try to take away a precious Constitutional right through manipulation and deception they’re going to have to try a little harder than that.

Joel Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx