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Conservative De-Platforming is an Attack on Private Property

A friend recently sent me an article [1] about the “de-platforming” of right-wing Internet provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, and, according to the article, he’s now $2 million in debt after countless online platforms evicted him. Evidently, without access to Twitter, Patreon, GoFundMe, and so on, Yiannopoulos could not adequately promote himself or raise cash. And without his large online presence, his well-to-do benefactors seem unenthused.

My friend posed a question: “How do dissident thinkers protect their livelihoods in the age of digital de-platforming?”   

I hesitate to call Yiannopoulos a “dissident thinker.” When I hear the term I tend to think of an emaciated Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn scribbling what would become his first book on a roll of toilet paper in a Soviet gulag. Not Milo Snuffaluffagus. He’s hardly dissident and not much of a thinker. Nonetheless, this is an important question.

“There’s no question China has been trying to crack down on the Internet. Good luck!” said then-president Bill Clinton in a speech [2] in 2000. “That’s sort of like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.” I have quoted that Jell-O line countless times. For years, I believed no one could control the Internet because it was too abstract to be controlled. The government could bulldoze a statue, blow up a building, seize private land via eminent domain, even shoot an enemy soldier. But the internet was bulletproof and accessible to all.

Then I began to see a number of conservative-leaning commentators getting suspended or banned from social media platforms—hence the phrase “de-platformed.” In November, Twitter banned conservative radio talk show host and veteran Jesse Kelley shortly after he wrote a piece critical of social media censorship [3]. Can one not speak against de-platforming without getting de-platformed? Kelley’s piece focused on the provocateur Alex Jones who was banned by Facebook and YouTube, apparently in tandem. Jones insists that the banning increased his website’s traffic, but as the New York Times reported [4], in the weeks following Jones’ ban, his average viewing audience declined by nearly half.

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Traffic is lifeblood for an Internet provocateur. Companies want to run ads on videos that go viral. Traffic drives small dollar donations and revenue from products sold online. Many activists and podcasters also raise money on fundraising sites such as Patreon—which has also banned several right-leaning personalities. In December, Patreon threw off [5] anti-feminist commentator Carl Benjamin, otherwise known as “Sargon of Akkad,” for violating its rules on hate speech. His de-platforming has sparked the ire of online social commentators Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin [6], who are now openly discussing the development of an alternative platform “that will not be susceptible to arbitrary censorship.”

De-platforming can happen very suddenly. As to its efficacy, there is no debate: it is highly effective and likely to become even more so as we become more reliant on online-based services. We are already in a world where communications and transactions are done digitally; we are headed towards a future where property is increasingly digital and abstract. To quote Justin Timberlake’s character from the movie The Social Network: “We lived on farms, we lived in cities, now we live online.” Yet any online-based company—not just social media ones—can shut down or suspend a user at the drop of a hat. For example, for making comments about Islam that were deemed unacceptable, activist Laura Loomer has been banned from Uber and Lyft.

Clearly, the Internet can be controlled. And in the 21st century, that power to control is the power to turn anyone’s life upside-down. So what happened? How are powerful people controlling the Internet? How is all this Jell-O getting nailed to the wall?

The key is in that quote from The Social Network: “We lived on farms, we lived in cities, now we live online.” With each transition, society has become more concentrated and controlled. The agrarian economy was decentralized and difficult to control. The internet is centralized and easily controlled.

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That raises another, related question: what if Richard Weaver was right about property? In Ideas Have Consequences [7], Weaver, the mid-20th-century conservative scholar, noted how, in America, private property has been a salvation for many dissident thinkers. One could always grow and hunt on one’s land, build a home, raise a family, activities that were kept private from the state. To Weaver, property meant land, and private property was sacrosanct. Now property may come to mean the Internet, and nothing is private on the Internet.

What we traditionally thought of as property was concrete and near to its owner, not easily taken. Today, our concept of property is abstract and far from the owner, easily taken. As we have seen, this leaves little refuge for the modern dissident thinker.

Weaver foresaw the threat posed by property growing ever more abstract:

For the abstract property of stocks and bonds, the legal ownership of enterprises never seen, actually destroy the connection between man and his substance without which metaphysical right becomes meaningless. Property in this sense becomes a fiction useful for exploitation and makes impossible the sanctification of work. The property which we defend as an anchorage keeps its identity with the individual.

“Finance capitalism” may seem like an unrelated subject, but Weaver found stocks and bonds problematic for the same reasons our online digital homes have become problematic. As property becomes more abstract, it grows more distant from its owner. Technocrats come to stand between the two and assert control. The corporate structure, with its increasing levels of bureaucracy, begins to mirror that of the state and even threatens to merge with the state. Today, it is private companies that flip the switch and take our digital property from us. But if a technocrat at Twitter can flip that switch, surely a technocrat in government can as well.

As we transition to such a managerial economy, what is our solution? As my friend initially asked: “How do dissident thinkers protect their livelihoods in the age of digital-de-platforming?”   

Weaver posed his own solution: “the distributive ownership of small properties.” He explained in Ideas Have Consequences:

 These take the form of independent farms, of local businesses, of homes owned by the occupants, where individual responsibility gives significance to prerogative over property. Such ownership provides a range of volition through which one can be a complete person….

Weaver was fond of local, family-owned shops but he always believed that the backbone of the economy should be agriculture. Many self-styled conservatives defend our modern economy, which runs on stocks, bonds, the Internet, digital media—free markets. But if we fear that our digital property may be seized at any moment, are those markets really free? Wouldn’t it make sense to own actual private property?    

Can dissident thinkers build their own digital world? Some conservatives have created alternatives to Facebook, Twitter, and now Patreon. This is certainly important to expose more people to unpopular ideas but such alternatives won’t change the fact that our economy is becoming abstract and therefore easier to control. The truth may be that there is a conservative alternative to the Internet and it’s called “land.” That isn’t necessarily a happy conclusion. I am not a natural agrarian. I do not own land nor do I want to. As of this writing, I have a laptop and an iPhone. And you can follow me on Twitter @howtingmi. If my account is difficult to find, that’s probably because I’ve been de-platformed. It may happen to more of us before this is all over.

John M. Howting III is a writer from from Southeast Michigan. He’s published in First Things and The National Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @howtingmi [8].

34 Comments (Open | Close)

34 Comments To "Conservative De-Platforming is an Attack on Private Property"

#1 Comment By Whine Merchant On January 8, 2019 @ 10:18 pm

Dear Conspiracy-believers, I have a new one you can promote:
The Twitter mobs who no-platform both conservatives as well as more traditional progressives, especially over issues such as ‘safe spaces’, ‘trans-rights’ [to never have a civil conversation], and respect for ALL religious faiths [not just trendy ones] are really Putin and One Belt – One Road sock puppets, sowing dissent in the body politic to destabilise the US. Proof? As long as the cable news is distracted by these manufactured outrages, myths of a Deep State, and snowflake vs altRight diatribe, energy and attention will be squandered instead of being directed to civil debate leading to genuine progress. All sides of politics are being duped – the Tea Pots were the thin edge of this wedge, followed by SJW Twitter mobs.

Now, go forth and spread this one…

#2 Comment By Aidan On January 9, 2019 @ 2:06 am

This is quite an odd argument. Literally – literally – any computer can be set up to run your own web server – what can be more decentralized and distributed than that? Of course you would need electricity and a communications line, but these are about the only limitations. What no one is owed, and never was owed, is access to other people’s private property or other people’s attention – but then dissident thinkers were never setting up their independent homesteads at Madison Square Garden or the White House lawn.

#3 Comment By Next Steps On January 9, 2019 @ 4:52 am

A new age of trust-busting would fix most of the problem. I mean, if Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon aren’t monopolies, what are?

Beyond that, it’s no great mystery. Conservatives must form, support, and control their own platforms. I’m glad that the big platforms are kicking conservatives out, frankly. From the get-go I didn’t like the idea of making people like Marc Zuckerberg and his associates rich or letting people like that, people I fundamentally distrust, access or control so much information. Create new spaces and shut them out.

I’m sure we can do better. Even if we can’t, we can do something else.

#4 Comment By Kent On January 9, 2019 @ 6:58 am

I find much to be bothersome with this article. First of all is calling Yiannopolous a conservative. He’s a racist provocateur. People live well outside the confines of liberal and conservative, and he is one of them.

Secondly it takes money to start and build an Internet platform. Just like it takes money to own good farm land. If you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter at what level of abstraction you choose to live.

Finally, land ownership on the scale described here was just a brief period in American history. Today, most land is owned by banks and large corporations, and farmers are effectively tenants. The Internet is the same. Conservatives have been voting for this state of affairs since Reagan. So stop the belly-aching.

#5 Comment By Mark On January 9, 2019 @ 8:11 am

Frankly, I think this will continue until someone is banned from being able to use any banking services. Then there will be no recourse but to the courts.

From there they will have to decide the question of whether a corporations property rights allow an individual to be, what is in effect, put into complete exile from the financial system because of their speech.

#6 Comment By Johansson On January 9, 2019 @ 8:34 am

Very thought provoking article!

Upon reading it, I realize that now is the ideal moment to strike a bi-partisan deal between the left and the right about the protections of individuals on the internet. Leftist has for a long time worried about the influence and power that corporate entities have over single internet users, but they have always imagined themselves to be on the short end of it.

However, thanks to the immense power the left currently wields over cultural topics, we’ve found out that it’s instead the right that keeps getting banned from services that they previously relied upon (I obviously recognize that there has always been conservatives that have worried about this as well, but they haven’t been as visible as the left in this topic).

Now would be an excellent opportunity for the concerned left and right to push for policies that protects individual users from capricious actions from all-powerful corporate entities. Yes, laws must be passed very carefully and only after great consideration. Nonetheless, this is not a new debate and most likely have a lot of the pros and cons have already been hashed out.

While this might be sounding strange coming from someone who’s not american, since much of what we do in Europe originally comes from the US, I would definitely see it in my own interest for the US to take such a step!

While there may certainly be parts of the new left (SJWs, post-modernists, etc..) who will view this with suspicion, thinking it’s a way to allow “Nazis” platforms to speak, many on the old left (social democrats, socialists, etc..) already know the value of this and can most likely be relied upon to hem in such corporate power.

#7 Comment By Bill P On January 9, 2019 @ 9:12 am

Does anyone actually own land in the sense this author is discussing? I own the clothes in my closet. No one will tell me what I can do with them, or take them away if I fail to pay taxes for their use. The property my house is built on? Not so much. Whether this is good or bad is irrelevant, it simply is.

#8 Comment By dagger On January 9, 2019 @ 9:36 am

Hateful leftists like Kent is the problem with America right now. Here he claims Milo is a racist (a common tactic from the leftist socialists) when Milo is a gay man who lives with a black man he loves. Milo is more progressive than most of his haters. They are hypocrites and idiots.

#9 Comment By John Doe On January 9, 2019 @ 10:03 am

Conservatives rage that “Facebook” and “Twitter” are biased against them – as if those entities were actual, living persons. They’re not. They are corporations made up of people. If those corporations are biased against them it’s because the people in those corporations (who are, by the way, some of the smartest technologists on the planet) are biased against them. The logical question to ask, then, is WHY are these people biased against them? Is it possible that maybe – just maybe – conservatives are doing something wrong? Bueller?

#10 Comment By Anon1970 On January 9, 2019 @ 10:35 am

The First Amendment prohibits Congress not individuals or businesses from placing restrictions on freedom of speech or freedom of the press etc. Conservatives who wish to fan the flames of hatred are free to form their own Internet platform.

As I recall, the Citizens United decision in 2010 by a conservative Supreme Court was decided on the basis that businesses ought to have freedom of speech as well as individuals.

#11 Comment By Luke On January 9, 2019 @ 10:43 am

I agree with everything about this except the use of the term “de-platformed.” I think it’s more meaningful to call it what is really is…censored.

#12 Comment By CDE On January 9, 2019 @ 10:51 am

No one thought that platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter would be near monopolies on the internet. Instead of seeing the internet as many small private company that can have their own policies and standards, maybe they need to be seen like the phone company. You can’t take away phone service because you don’t like your neighbors political beliefs.

However, extremely liberal thinkers and persons that create sexual content are also deplatformed. Are people conservatives willing to fight for their free speech rights on the internet as well?

#13 Comment By Dan Austin On January 9, 2019 @ 11:12 am

I think much of what we’ve seen proves something that our Founders knew that we’ve largely forgotten. The point of the First Amendment was to protect our freedom of speech from the government. Nothing will protect free speech if the culture at large turns against it.

I agree that these massive tech monopolies are problematic, and that we need to be looking at more decentralized solutions (my preference would be a user configurable web aggregator that would allow for social network using existing infrastructure rather than trying to “replace” Facebook). That said, it won’t help one lick if the culture continues to support mob justice (through doxxing, the spreading of life destroying rumors, etc.) and the silencing of free speech.

Keeping dissenting voices on public platforms won’t help if online mobs make it to costly to voice a dissenting opinion or make it impossible to be heard amidst all the online shouting.

#14 Comment By fang prole On January 9, 2019 @ 11:39 am

@John Doe : “If those corporations are biased against them it’s because the people in those corporations (who are, by the way, some of the smartest technologists on the planet) are biased against them. “

I guess I’m one of those “smart technologists”, and I work for one of the corporations under discussion.

I profoundly disagree with the oppressively PC culture at my company, but I fear reprisal for speaking out, or even just speaking my mind naturally. I have a young family and need the paycheck, so I keep my head down and my mouth shut. In some ways it’s like the elite university I attended, where, if my political and cultural views had been known, I believe I would not have graduated summa.

This is my second FANG job in the past ten years. It was much the same at the other company. Sometimes it’s like living in a George Orwell novel. Please don’t attribute the culture and attitudes in large corporations to the employees. In my experience it is heavily top-down, not bottom-up, and the only employees who can speak freely are those who agree with management imposed orthodoxy. Everyone else nods blankly or forces little tight smiles. We may not be stifled and coerced as a matter of stated policy, but as a practical matter we might as well be.

#15 Comment By LUCIANO GERONIMO LISBOA On January 9, 2019 @ 12:27 pm

If you can’t own a computer with a landline, a fixed IP number and a simple forum system built with open source software you can’t own land because land is much, much, more expensive.

The problem with conservatives in the internet is that conservatives like the big platforms that are deplatforming them. You have to accept that you will have to go back to the nineties to have a conservative network. That will be the price of not submitting to the infected, tyrant corporations and that is the equivalent of your homestead in the internet age. It’s your rustic cabin in the middle of the Rockies where you hunt, farm, write and teach.

#16 Comment By hooly On January 9, 2019 @ 12:35 pm

Or how about you come up with your own platforms? Why bother with Twitter, YouTube, etc? Stop the whining and complaining and man-up!!

#17 Comment By Rob G On January 9, 2019 @ 12:46 pm

“What we traditionally thought of as property was concrete and near to its owner, not easily taken. Today, our concept of property is abstract and far from the owner, easily taken.”

Weaver also said that this abstracting tendency is a blow against property’s privacy, since vast corporate ownership of property is anything but private. He was right. And the conservative movement in America would be in far better shape if the agrarian/Weaver/Kirk stream of conservatism hadn’t been totally marginalized by the neo-cons and liberaltarians.

#18 Comment By McCormick47 On January 9, 2019 @ 1:03 pm

If I own the theater, I get to decide what’s on stage. Facebook, Twitter and so on are businesses who created and own their respective platforms. It’s free enterprise, beloved of conservatives everywhere

The problem then, seems to be that these runaway successful businesses were not created by conservatives, or that the people that use their technology aren’t in the majority, conservative.

#19 Comment By Rob On January 9, 2019 @ 1:34 pm

I can confirm fang prole’s comment, I’ve had a similar experience working for FANG companies – and I’m not even a conservative! Voicing contrary opinions on topics such as PC and diversity will at best get everybody disliking you as a “racist” and at worst, getting fired and publicly painted as someone “creating a hostile work environment”.

#20 Comment By Specimen65 On January 9, 2019 @ 2:13 pm

The bigger issue is not building alternative social platforms, but the payment system. If Visa, Mastercard or the Swift payment system deplatform you, you are done. Can’t pay the rent, mortgage, get groceries. Sure we can set up crypto, but what if they then stop you from being able to cash that out into real dollars?

This has only just begun and I bet it will go in this direction. The authoritarian left will see to it.

What we really need is a new Bill of Rights, one which starts of with “Corporations shall pass no law infringing upon the following…” (James Madison et al never imagined a world run by 5 corporations)

#21 Comment By JohnInCA On January 9, 2019 @ 2:15 pm

De-platforming is not an attack on private property, it’s an exercise in private property.

Consider a popular coffee shop that has a stage, for example. In our coffee shop, even if the shop normally allows anyone who wants to step onto the stage and speak their mind, no one really doubts that the coffee shop owner can pull someone off the stage, or ban them from the stage, if the owner doesn’t like them or what they’re saying. That’s their right as the owner of the stage, after all.

And that continues to be their right even if you make your living by talking, singing, or whatever from that stage while people put change in a coffee can at the edge of it. Being kicked off the stage may hurt your livelihood, but that’s a risk you accepted when you decided to make your livelihood using someone else’s property to start with.

Twitter is like that coffee shop, it’s a stage where most people can speak from. And just like that coffee shop, the owner can pull someone off the stage if they don’t like it. Even if those people are making their living using it.

So no, being pulled off of a stage you don’t own isn’t an attack on your property rights, it’s an exercise in the owner’s property rights.

Simply put, everyone has a right to a soap box that you provided yourself. But you do not have a right to someone else’s stage.

#22 Comment By Dakarian On January 9, 2019 @ 2:29 pm

Dan Austin:
“I agree that these massive tech monopolies are problematic, and that we need to be looking at more decentralized solutions (my preference would be a user configurable web aggregator that would allow for social network using existing infrastructure rather than trying to “replace” Facebook). ”

The issue with decentralizing is the reason why we moved from separate IRC channels and servers and various sites with videos to Youtube and Twitter. We wanted One Place where Everyone is At. Even if everyone is technically split up, we’ll want one Central location to find everyone. That’s the basis behind Google Search (and why, even if you own a website, being banned from a Google Search is so devastating).

It makes it funny. THIS article is basically the nightmare that Liberals, at least in the 90’s-00’s had: a major group (government, commercial, local, whatever) having enough control to effectively ostracize less powerful groups. And it leads to the question of how to handle it.

This is WHY the Liberal answer tended to involve the government. The idea was that, unlike other powers, government can be forced to allow certain rights. For example, if the government owns a park, the First Amendment could apply to a church group wishing to practice there. But if Walmart owns the same park, there’s not much to stop them from kicking everyone out and banning them from the store.

..then strong arming other industries to ban them or else not be able to work with or purchase from Walmart. Then buying other stores until every store in town is either owned by or in agreement with Walmart’s policies.

The liberal mentality then is to utilize a different power to counteract that power, thus government. For example:

Having a constitutional amendment that extends first amendment rights to such entities means Walmart would not be able to perform such actions as they don’t have more power than the government.

True, the government itself is also a dangerous power and corporations can attempt to take control of said government, but that can be fought off by a large voting base, other power bases (say, a Chick-fil-a with its own lobbying arm), voters gumming up the works, and other factors. It’s not a STRONG countermeasure, but it IS a countermeasure compared to what you can do to stop an uncontrolled corporation with the final say.

The above is not saying this IS the answer, but it’s the reasoning those on the (non-insane) left utilize, which is why they tend to appeal more to regulation and limits on the market.

To be honest, I’m not fully sure of what the Conservative solution would be. I hear of the libertarian solution of seeing the power of government as the problem and pulling it away as the solution, but I never have been convinced how it would stop, say, Google content controlling silently, such as delisting TheAmericanConservative, or making the site bug out on Chrome or letting ‘anti-TAC’ articles float to the top of a search.

(nevermind if entities like Microsoft were still allowed to keep conducting THEIR practices back during the Netscape days)

The conservative mindset doesn’t seem to follow this trend, I know that now. But I’m curious as to what that solution will be. Personally I do question the ‘government solution’ as you can only regulate and manage so much until too much direct power ends up in one place, which means just replacing ‘Google’ with “US government”, except with a powerful military to boot.

Lastly

“That said, it won’t help one lick if the culture continues to support mob justice (through doxxing, the spreading of life destroying rumors, etc.) and the silencing of free speech.”

To take up the Liberal mantle again, that’s similar to when LGBT feared being ‘outed’ and taken to the extreme when African Americans were stripped of their humanity and forced to comply to their ‘betters’. Thus similar solutions could be utilized, such as declaring private information as protected (“You have the right to be Private”) and thus both indivdiuals who force out your information and entities that silently harvest your data without your request would be breaking the law. So would entities that do not work to protect the information you entitle to them.

Tolerance would handle the rest. If your job doesn’t decide to fire you because you are pansexual, or because you believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, or if you are a black-white mix, or because you believe whites are better than blacks, ‘vicious rumors’ become far less effective.

It does mean a community openly more tolerant of immoral behavior, but when the alternative is a community silently tolerant of immoral behavior while dictating and enforcing what they deem as right in their own eyes, I’d rather the public developing new gender pronouns. If any of them wants to learn of morality, there’s a carpenter from history they can learn more about.

#23 Comment By Zgler On January 9, 2019 @ 3:06 pm

“I agree with everything about this except the use of the term “de-platformed.” I think it’s more meaningful to call it what is really is…censored.”

Unfortunately for those who think they are being “censored” by Facebook or Twitter, that’s just capitalism. Those corporations own the platform. Facebook is not a public sidewalk.

#24 Comment By Colin Broughton On January 9, 2019 @ 3:52 pm

In Britain there is a common-law doctrine relating to contractual conditions on freedom to conduct business.

I am not a lawyer, but I should be surprised if there was no right of action where a blogger who relies on a quasi-monopoly internet platform is banned.

#25 Comment By JWJ On January 9, 2019 @ 5:40 pm

To JohninCa:

I agree with your analogy. However, the twitter & facebooks are treated legally as common carriers. They need to be treated legally as publishers.

#26 Comment By Bonehead647 On January 10, 2019 @ 10:58 am

What comes to mind while reading this article is Philip Giraldi and his dismissal from The American Conservative as well as these words from John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty:

Our merely social intolerance kills no one, roots out no opinions, but induces men to disguise them, or to abstain from any active effort for their diffusion. With us, heretical opinions do not perceptibly gain, or even lose, ground in each decade or generation; they never blaze out far and wide, but continue to smoulder in the narrow circles of thinking and studious persons among whom they originate, without ever lighting up the general affairs of mankind with either a true or a deceptive light. And thus is kept up a state of things very satisfactory to some minds, because, without the unpleasant process of fining or imprisoning anybody, it maintains all prevailing opinions outwardly undisturbed …

I’ve seen some of the Infowars videos and while I would not call Mr. Jones “studious” he certainly has his own perspective, his own way of thinking that goes against today’s “prevailing opinions.” The same goes for Mr. Giraldi. It’s not that I agree with these gentlemen on every point — far from it. In fact, there is a great deal with which I disagree — but this is all the more reason for me to consider what they have to say.

What J.S. Mill stated about 19th-century England — “our merely social intolerance kills no one, roots out no opinions, but induces men to disguise them…” — is without a doubt applicable to the Internet in the 21st-century. People who express opinions that have been stigmatized are not burned at the stake or imprisoned (in most cases), but they are censored and they are suppressed. When anyone is forced to disguise his opinion (and this includes myself), both the one who is suppressed and society as a whole suffer. As Mill points out repeatedly, society makes progress by giving all points of view the opportunity to be heard.

Mr. Weaver’s analogy between private property and the Internet is thought provoking, and I agree with the claim that “it is private companies that flip the switch and take our digital property from us.” With YouTube, Twitter, Google, and the like, the First Amendment can be disregarded precisely because corporations, not the public, are the real owners. Of course, we see this happening with the U.S. government as well, and this is no surprise, given how closely allied the government is with private interests. In any case, without equal opportunity to express opinions, enclaves of thought and belief become entrenched, and it is the enclaves supported by censorious factions — corporate and governmental — that dominate. The public, insofar as it is truly public, is dwarfed by its own government and its wealthy sponsors.

In my view, the crux of the matter is that when speech is suppressed, the march toward the truth is halted in its tracks. History has demonstrated this time and again. If I may quote from On Liberty once more:

History teems with instances of truth put down by persecution. If not suppressed for ever, it may be thrown back for centuries. To speak only of religious opinions: the Reformation broke out at least twenty times before Luther, and was put down. Arnold of Brescia was put down. Fra Dolcino was put down. Savonarola was put down. The Albigeois were put down. The Vaudois were put down. The Lollards were put down. The Hussites were put down. Even after the era of Luther, wherever persecution was persisted in, it was successful. In Spain, Italy, Flanders, the Austrian empire, Protestantism was rooted out; and, most likely, would have been so in England, had Queen Mary lived, or Queen Elizabeth died. Persecution has always succeeded, save where the heretics were too strong a party to be effectually persecuted.

This is not to say that Luther was right, and the Church was wrong; I believe both had their own perspectives and both had a partial grasp of the truth. Hence, both the reformists and their opponents had something to teach us. Yet it took many years and a great deal of blood and toil before the reformists were permitted to freely express their opinions. This lesson from history should not be forgotten, nor should it be dismissed as irrelevant. What we have today are political factions on the “left” who have gained control over mainstream media — with few exceptions — and political factions and individuals on the “right” who are being suppressed. The latter have become, in many ways, the minority voice insofar as they are becoming banned by wealthy and powerful organizations, including the United States government. The anti-BDS laws that are becoming widespread — both at the state and federal levels — show a complete disregard for the First Amendment. Bahia Amawi is one of many victims of government censorship.

Giraldi, Jones, Amawi, et al. should continue to speak up to make it clear that they will not be silenced for having the audacity to say what is not supposed to be said. If those who say “the wrong things” should be silenced, everyone — save those with superhuman wisdom — would be silenced.

#27 Comment By JeffK On January 10, 2019 @ 12:18 pm

@Next Steps says:
January 9, 2019 at 4:52 am

“Beyond that, it’s no great mystery. Conservatives must form, support, and control their own platforms. I’m glad that the big platforms are kicking conservatives out, frankly. From the get-go I didn’t like the idea of making people like Marc Zuckerberg and his associates rich or letting people like that, people I fundamentally distrust, access or control so much information. Create new spaces and shut them out.”

You have a ‘Conservative platform’. It’s called Faux (Fox) News. Dandy Yianni can submit as many posts/blogs as he can write, and Faux will probably endorse and publish all of them. All the ‘Conservatives’ can comment and link and forward those articles on Facebook and across the MAGA echo chamber as much as they want.

Problem solved.

#28 Comment By Bruceb On January 10, 2019 @ 2:56 pm

Milo, then Alex Jones?  These two serve as your lead examples of conservatives worthy of protection?  Both are race baiting conspiracy sources.

Land as protection of property?  Land is subject to seizure for many reasons, including financial and industrial.

No, the capitalists control our property directly, and indirectly through  government.  Nothing short of a revolution will change that, and even revolution is just a temporary remedy.

BTW the current conservative POTUS appointed the FCC chair who promptly lifted restrictions on ISPs, after much resistance by the Left.  And of course, we have the principle that corporations are people, supported by the conservative SCOTUS.

#29 Comment By reflect On January 11, 2019 @ 6:11 am

@JeffK “You have a ‘Conservative platform’. It’s called Faux (Fox) News. ”

Ha ha. Anyone who thinks Fox is “conservative” doesn’t know what conservative means. Fox means Wall Street, Middle East forever wars, and Israel. Fox didn’t really care about immigration until Trump came along and ate half of its audience. It still doesn’t care about giant government and mass surveillance by government and corporations. Fox means RUPERT MURDOCH, GLOBALIST.

Like the man said, conservatives need their own platforms. Wall Street globalists and interventionists already have more than enough.

#30 Comment By JeffK On January 11, 2019 @ 1:34 pm

@reflect says:
January 11, 2019 at 6:11 am

@JeffK “You have a ‘Conservative platform’. It’s called Faux (Fox) News. ”

I put ‘Conservative platform’ in air quotes as a form of sarcasm. I guess it was a bit too subtle.

Yes, Rupert Murdoch and Faux News is a part of his globalist racket. Over here, in the US, Faux is all in for Trump. Overseas, his other media outlets deride Trump as an idiot.

Murdoch makes billions off the rubes coming and going. He is truly scum. When he passes I will be quite pleased.

#31 Comment By Thrice A Viking On January 11, 2019 @ 6:22 pm

JWJ, I can see no reason why Facebook and Twitter should be treated as publishers. They clearly are monopolistic common carriers, and should be regulated as such. And John in California, if you really think that private property has such absolute rights, then I suggest that you read more about the various civil rights acts, fair housing acts, equal employment opportunity, etc. Your post suggests that this is still in the 19th century before the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, but with all sorts of cool inventions that the people then didn’t know.

Fang prole and Rob, what is this FANG to which you both refer? I’m not familiar with that acronym. (I assume it’s an acronym.)

#32 Comment By johnhenry On January 12, 2019 @ 5:42 pm

I’ve been banned from sites over the years, just conservative ones (I never comment on progressive ones – what’s the point?) which is counterintuitive because I am one – conservative that is. Which goes to show that most websites have algorithms blocking people who might affect their bottom line. This website is one of the few where the blocker is an actual flesh and blood person who might allow for irony; but even here, I’ve comments which never appear.

Naturally, I’m nettled when de-platformed, but I would never send e-mails asking for reinstatement. Too proud for that, and besides, I’ve a library of thousands of books that are crying out to be read, which makes me thank websites when they ban me, thus protecting me from my weakness for online (and basically fake) relationships.

#33 Comment By acronymia On January 14, 2019 @ 5:55 am

@Thrice A Viking “Fang prole and Rob, what is this FANG to which you both refer?”

Facebook, Apple / Amazon, Netflix, and Google. You hear it mostly in connection with their roles as leading tech stocks.

#34 Comment By JohnInCA On January 14, 2019 @ 3:18 pm

@Thrice A Viking
To the contrary, I’m just aware of what the limits of such laws are.

To put it simply, even if you could convincingly argue that a given stage or platform is a public accommodation†, that just means you can’t be pulled off for reasons enumerated in law. So they couldn’t yank you for being Protestant. But for being an environmentalist? Sure can.

And for the record, relatively few places in the US count “political party or action” as protected classes.
________
†Not guaranteed.