Guest post from John Wilder at Wilder Wealthy Wise.
“This is the worst kind of discrimination. The kind against me.” – Futurama
Twitter® Safety Council Warning: This meme has disinformation – this was not crack, Hunter Biden was smoking meth.
I get worried when I see Internet personalities come up with entirely new philosophical positions. I generally roll my eyes and ignore them. I can recall reading details of a few “master systems” that could never work unless they were implemented by a group of autistic libertarians on a planet with infinite resources, free fusion power and access to unlimited deodorant.
Oh, wait, I just described Switzerland.
History shows, though, that one “master system” created by a group of guys actually worked. This is, of course, the United States. The United States was a 2.0 version – the original 1.0 Articles of Confederation apparently needed an upgrade to function. (There are those who say the 1.0 version was working just fine, but that’s another story.)
There are several safeguards built into the Constitution. Some of them appear to not work very well anymore, like the Supreme Court, which went on the fritz somewhere around 1932. Some changes (like the direct election of Senators) are like a fuse in a 1982 Buick™ Skylark© – the fuse has blown but been replaced by someone sticking a penny in the slot. The Senate doesn’t really do what it was designed to do, anymore.
What kind of cancer was Jar Jar diagnosed with? Meesathelioma.
One remaining safeguard is Federalism. Federalism is the idea that the individual States aren’t simply a subdivision like a county or city, but are individually sovereign.
This is a really big deal.
The States have given up several of their rights by joining the Union, but certainly not all of them. One particular right that the several States retain is to protect the civil liberties of their citizens. It is perfectly legal for any State to protect its individual citizens from discrimination, especially discrimination by businesses.
My suggestion is this: since the Right controls a large number of States, and a large number of important States, why not use that power for the Right?
Here’s one suggestion:
States controlled by the Right should protect their citizens from discrimination based on their legal opinions – political or otherwise. We could start out with something simple, like making discrimination on social media illegal.
Okay, that’s not really simple. But it is something that we can do.
If the French army used Twitter, all you’d hear from them is “Retweet, retweet!”
Here is my contention: large social media companies in a world where opinions are increasingly driven by them aren’t a privilege, they’re a right. And being excluded from them can swing elections. Uganda certainly thought so: they banned Twitter® and Facebook™ because (according to the Ugandan ruling party) they were taking sides in the election.
Yes, you got that right: Ugandan despots have a higher moral ground than Twitter® does.
Twitter©, in an unintended bit of irony, complained that censorship was wrong. Wait, Twitter™ said censoring Twitter® was wrong. Twitter© is, of course, fine with censoring the accounts of American citizens who have opinions that Twitter™ doesn’t like.
Here’s what Twitter© said:
“Access to information and freedom of expression, including the public conversation on Twitter, is never more important than during democratic processes, particularly elections.”
In Soviet Russia, the vote hacks you!
Care to take a bet that Twitter®, Amazon™, Facebook©, and Google® didn’t influence the election in the United States? Think that Twitter™, which has zero competition, hasn’t unduly influenced the “democratic processes” in the United States by choosing what information to promote?
Well, let’s make all of them live up to Twitter’s© words and guarantee access to information and freedom of expression. How about we make a law that says:
- Any discrimination by censoring users with legal opinions is punishable by a $1,000,000 fine. Per occurrence. Every censored user could split the fine halvsies with the State. If I were to be particularly evil, I would suggest that this be done via administrative law, which takes it right out of the court system. They could only appeal to, for instance, the Texas Social Media Freedom Commission, where they’d learn that messing with Texans is a bad idea.
- Censoring porn? Just fine, since it’s not appropriate or legal for every user to see. Censoring, real, actionable threats? Those are already illegal. So that’s fine.
- Can an individual block other users that offend them? But no large social media company can.
- Repeated violations open the social media companies up to punitive damages, which is where the big bucks start to show up. Punitive damages are often large enough to make billionaires take note.
- Removal of the service from the State enacting these laws is evidence that every citizen has been deprived of their civil liberties. Therefore? The social media company owes a million dollars . . . per citizen.
The idea is simple: Facebook®, Twitter™, Instagrandma©, and all of the other general purpose social media companies can no longer hide. Does Aunt Erma’s knitting bulletin board have to let Marxists try to turn knitting communist?
Pugsley’s Grandma knitted him three socks for Christmas. Why? We told her he had grown another foot.
Of course not. Aunt Erma’s knitting board isn’t a general-purpose board. It’s focused on a single topic. Social media that’s really small (less than 10,000 daily users?) can ban whoever they want. They are not really impacting the national agenda. Social media with over a million daily users that’s not focused around a specific topic?
They can only ban users that violate the law with the content that they posted.
Oddly enough, we could make some of the same arguments the Left does. Recently, an A.I. was able to, based on photographs alone, determine with 75% accuracy who was on the Right and who was on the Left. We can make being on the Right a protected characteristic.
Being on the Right might not be a choice. So, if a baker has to bake a gay cake, Twitter® has to host people who have a problem with that.
The beauty of this idea is that we are protecting the civil rights of citizens. We are fighting for First Amendment protections. And we are not forcing anyone to do anything special – just don’t ban people who have different ideas than they do. Corporations are allowed to do a lot of things, but censoring voices that differ from what they think is right is simply not one of them. Twitter® censored a major United States newspaper because they published data about a candidate that Twitter© didn’t like.
I think this is, at least partially, why marijuana legalization has been so successful in the States that have legalized it: it is granting additional rights to citizens and businesses. The Federal government knows that it is on thin ice when it wants to regulate commerce that takes place entirely within a State.
But the Internet doesn’t take place entirely within a State, right?
No. But we’re not trying to regulate commerce. We’re protecting the civil rights of our citizens. And Twitter® and Facebook™ are attempting to market our citizens for money. They’re engaging in commerce to everyone in the State by offering their free service. So, if they exclude people (or mute people) because they don’t like their opinion?
They’re discriminating, and if we get this done, they will be illegally discriminating. And the Right should punish them. Does Facebook™ need Texas more than Texas needs Facebook©?
It is simple: Facebook® needs Texas more than Texas needs Facebook™.
What’s the difference between Mark Zuckerberg and Jean Luc Picard? Picard didn’t sell Data
So, if you’re with me, start working at the State level to get these protections of our essential freedoms in place. Talk to your State legislators – heck, I’m willing to bet that some readers are State legislators, so let’s get this going.
The place to fight for freedom isn’t only at the Federal level – in fact, the best place to fight for freedom might be at the State level.
We’re not done. And this isn’t over.