“It is certainly possible to violate the values embodied in the First Amendment without violating the First Amendment itself.” That is dang right. And guess who said it?
The New. York. Times. In a piece about the silencing of Josh Hawley and Donald Trump. I’m perfectly serious right now, y’all.
“We understand the desire to permanently suspend [Trump] now, but it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions.” That is also dang, dang, DANG right. And guess who said THAT??
THE A. C. L. U.
You can expect and believe that the rest of what they said kind of undermines them as heroes, here, and you’d be right. But the awareness being to this degree is itself a miracle.
Mr. Hawley’s book, titled, as it happens, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” was to have been published in June. In canceling it, Simon & Schuster said that “it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints” but that Mr. Hawley had crossed a line in light of “the disturbing, deadly insurrection that took place on Wednesday in Washington.”
The publisher was free to make that decision, Professor Magarian said, but that does not mean it was the right one.
“I want a wide range of ideas, even those I loathe, to be heard, and I think Twitter especially holds a concerning degree of power over public discourse — Hawley’s right about that much,” he said. “But any suggestion that people like Trump and Hawley, and the viewpoints they espouse, will ever lack meaningful access to public attention is ludicrous. We should worry about private power over speech, but presidents and senators are the last speakers we need to worry about.”
Magarian has to throw in caveat NUKES to be allowed to even lightly suggest that maybe Hawley or Trump were wronged, but the caveats are facile bordering on sophistry of course.
It’s absurd to argue that the principle or spirit of free speech can be violated without necessarily violating the guarantee of Freedom of Speech, and then say that it doesn’t matter in the case of Trump and Hawley because they have other larger microphones already. The very nature of stating something as a PRINCIPLE is that you are iterating it absent conditional or circumstantial context.
The ACLU is far more correct in saying that despite their large microphones as alternatives, the issue is the villainy of the Big Tech companies in wielding an unchecked power to silence voices that is unprecedented in history outside of governments, and those authoritarian or despotic in nature, to boot.
What is happening to Parler, to Twitter accounts and to Facebook groups — it undermines the very philosophical and moral framework upon which the institutions of our government and the rights they guarantee were constructed and predicated.
And it should be considered, perhaps in a court or the Supreme Court, whether we’ve reached an era and degree of mass communications technology paired with the hegemonic authority of unfathomably vast wealth, where this is in fact a literal violation of Freedom of Speech, as it would be if it were governmental.
Perhaps no law governs this. Perhaps it is time one did. We are a nation of laws, after all, and the Founders established law and established order as part of their principles. It is law and order that protect and guarantee freedom as much as the mere expression of or access to liberty. We should not as conservatives reflexively shy away from the idea that laws must sometimes be written and passed and imposed.
The Constitution is a governing document. Governing is a thing that must be done. Perhaps it is time for serious conservatives and libertarians alike to ask in earnest whether freedom and individual liberty are being preserved or oppressed by our laissez-faire approach to these massive, life- and society-controlling entities.
Find me on Parler… while you can.