13/05/2019
Jesse Anderson
Opinion
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No, You Do Not Have A Right To Use Facebook

After watching people like PJW moaning about Facebook and their authoritarian stance on thought policing, and sifting through anti Libertarian memes, mocking anyone who doesn't think Facebook and other social media giants should be regulated by the government, I thought I might weigh in with my 0.00002 bitcoin.

The crusade against free speech has been around for millennia, but it really kicked off in August 2018 when YouTube banned famous American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Since then, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter have targeted and banned Conservative and Libertarian pages and figures such as Gavin McInnes, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Sargon of Akkad (Carl Benjamin), Count Dankula (Markus Meechan) and Steven Crowder to name a few.

Our own media, Newshub in particular, celebrated with childish glee at the thought of these people being sent to digital Siberia, and with thunderous applause, the ability of the people to speak freely online was whisked away.

All of this lying, bullying and dirty, dirty, smear merchanting does pose a question however: Is it moral and reasonable to regulate social media platforms to force them into hosting views and ideas they disagree with?

A baker should not be forced to bake a "gay" wedding cake.
A church should not be forced to host a gay wedding.
A Muslim builder should not be forced to build a Christian church.

What lies in the shadows for us, should we pass legislation forcing private companies to host disagreeable content?

"Oh so you're fine with your rights being trampled on, so long as its a corporation?"

That argument proves you don't understand what rights are. A private company cannot infringe on your rights. Why? Because a private company is not the government.

I do not owe you the right to free speech, though I may choose to honour your right. The government, however, does owe you your right to free speech, and cannot morally prosecute you because of an opinion you've expressed.

Let's use the American second amendment as an example. "The right to bear arms shall not be infringed" does not imply that the government or any private company must supply you with a firearm.

This is the same reason that, even though the Democrats kick and scream about it, "free" healthcare cannot and will not be justified by the American constitution, because even if the constitution literally said "The right to free healthcare shall not be infringed", all that would entitle people to is free healthcare if it existed, which it doesn't, and which the American government has no mandate for.

Rights are something endowed by the creator that protect us from government, not something that we can use to make the government do our bidding.

PJW can mock me and say "muh private company" all he wants, but it doesn't change these very basic facts.

I mean really, do you think the government is going to write effective legislation that only makes big corporations give up their right of non-association? No. What the government would produce, if anything, is a law that says any perceived platform must be open to anyone who wants to use it. That would include churches, public speaking events, even live action theatre and music concerts.

You cannot safely regulate a platform. And no, don't try to hide behind a "digital bill of rights". Just because a platform is online doesn't make it magically different to a physical platform.

What this boils down to is convenience.

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are VERY convenient methods of expressing yourself but just because you've grown comfortable with Facebook's platform, and possibly a little complacent, does not mean they must keep providing what is essentially a free service to you.

Yes, it's hard and uncomfortable getting used to, or even creating your own, new social media platform. That doesn't make it impossible.

As a very strong free speech advocate, I implore anyone who thinks that the social media campaign against free speech can and should be fixed by the government, to think extremely carefully about the true implications of what you're asking for.

About the author

Jesse Anderson is a civil libertarian and the co-host of the Right Minds Podcast.