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The Libertarian Pushback


Since nobody in his right mind sympathizes with Nazis (of all people), everyone is cheering at the example being made of various organizations that are losing various online services essential to their survival.

I am not suggesting that we must shed tears for these groups. Only that we be aware that there are people who have longed to shut down far more voices than just these obviously odious ones, and that we might want to keep a close eye as events continue to unfold.

For example, a bunch of right-wing websites, including a 50-year-old Catholic publication I myself wrote for in the old days (but eventually told me I was no longer welcome), recently received a sinister letter from ProPublica, a left-wing site. (Some places shun me for being too right-wing, others for not being right-wing enough; such is my interesting life.)

The letter ran:

I am a reporter at ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in New York. I am contacting you to let you know that we are including your website in a list of sites that have been designated as hate or extremist by the American Defamation League or the Southern Poverty Law Center. We have identified all the tech platforms that are supporting websites on the ADL and SPLC lists.

We would like to ask you a few questions:

1) Do you disagree with the designation of your website as hate or extremist? Why?

2) We identified two tech companies on your website: PayPal, and AdPeeps. Can you confirm that you receive funds from your relationship with those tech companies? How would the loss of those funds affect your operations, and how would you be able to replace them?

3) Have you been shut down by other tech companies for being an alleged hate or extremist web site? Which companies?

4) Many people opposed to sites like yours are currently pressuring tech companies to cease their relationships with them – what is your view of this campaign? Why?

Our deadline is 5pm EST today.

Thank you, Lauren Kirchner

Well, OK, then!

I realize I will now be deluged with reminders that private companies may do business with anyone they wish — a principle all too few people consistently hold, I might add. But this is beside the point: even if we concede the legality of discontinuing vital services to dissident voices, I am still allowed to discuss it as an interesting and disturbing cultural phenomenon that all dissidents would do well to prepare for.

Because if you think the left is going to stop with demonizing only neo-Nazis, you haven't been paying attention.

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