Corporations and an unruly mob are doing what the federal government would never dare: Getting Americans to keep their mouths shut.
Even if you were willing to wear 2nd Amendment shirts, you’d probably think twice before you did. And hey, if you didn’t, your neighbors would.
Big Tech is the tip of the proverbial spear in a two-front attack on freedom of speech. On the one hand, they deplatform people for expressing views they (the unelected corporate bureaucrats in Silicon Valley) deem unacceptable. On the other hand, their social media platforms operate as a sort of crowd sourced Stasi, the notorious East German secret police force.
If the wrong person sees you wearing the wrong clothes (or, conversely, failing to comply with the diktats of the Covid cult with regard to masking), there’s a better than zero chance that you’re going to become the latest viral sensation. This wholly legitimate concern is enough to keep conservatives cowed, as we are generally a type that does not seek, nor do we want, large amounts of public attention.
Conservatives ought to be sympathetic to the concern that private companies can do as they please. However, this concern is almost always raised in bad faith. Take, for example, the case of Masterpiece Cake Shop. Masterpiece is a small Christian-owned bakery in the Denver area which has been subject to lawfare at the hands of LGBTQ2SIA+ who demand that he bake cakes for gay weddings and “gender confirmation” surgeries.
Masterpiece is not used by these “customers” because it is the only game in town. There are dozens of bakeries in the Denver area who would likely be happy to bake a Satanic dildo cake to any specification that they like. Masterpiece is targeted because any non-compliance with official regime ideology must be punished.
Unlike the Masterpiece Cake Shop, the Big Tech social media platforms are the only game in town. They are a de facto public square and closer to utilities than they are to private companies. There is a cozy relationship between Big Tech and the federal government, beginning with the Internet’s development as part of the DARPA program, to tax subsidies, and a revolving door between Washington and Silicon Valley today.
There is also the small matter of elected officials using their platform to pressure Big Tech to socially deplatform and financially blacklist greater and greater groups of people. Conservatives, patriots, libertarians, and Christians are the primary targets, because we are the few whose “dissent” does not amount to begging the regime to bring its boot down harder.
Consider the case of President Donald Trump: A sitting President effectively unpersoned from the Internet, using the events of January 6th as a pretext for accomplishing what they wanted, but wouldn’t have dared to do even a week earlier. All the while, politicians, talking heads and media strivers cheered Big Tech on, begging for greater restrictions on the rights of their political opponents.
No one should be surprised. Free speech was never actually a value for the left, who do not argue in good faith, are not tolerant of opposing views and only invoke tolerance and free speech as values when they can be weaponized against the right. And so, when the left needed tolerance and free speech to undermine the right, gain greater power for themselves, and generally foment social instability and atomization, it was a good thing. Now that conservatives and their allies are the dissidents, free speech is bad.
There is actually no contradiction here. It is only that conservatives have been arguing with leftists in good faith when they should not. The acquisition of power and the destruction of civilization and its basic building block, the nuclear family, are the consistent ideology principles in play here. Everything else is window dressing, tools used to acquire that goal, not ends to themselves.
Free speech is the crucial issue of any age for two compelling reasons: First, freedom of speech is a fundamental American value, not simply a legal principle to be bargained about in a hyper-intellectualized manner. Second, because freedom of speech is the cornerstone of a republic. It exists not because it is simply a good thing in the abstract -- though it certainly is -- but because it provides a forum for public policy to be discussed in a meaningful way.
If we allow our First Amendment rights to be rolled back, whether by the government or private companies, we have lost something fundamental about America. There is slim chance that, once lost, we will ever get it back.