In my last post I discussed the imbalance in regards to property rights that occur in society and how this makes it difficult to properly apply libertarian philosophy. This is where person A’s rights are fully respected, but he does not have to respect person B’s rights at all – or worse, person A has state-endowed privileges person B does not.
This came to mind when I read this article in which ex-Googler James Damore reveals the existence of what can only be described as an underground movement within Silicon Valley resembling that of World War 2 resistance groups.
We are talking about a place where anyone who holds views outside the 3×5 index card of approved thoughts can’t even meet in the open. They have to organize secretly, thoroughly vet anyone who wants to join, and even then there are people who actually have so little time on their hands they act as infiltrators and record the conversations in order to later turn them in and get them fired.
Libertardians will cry “it’s a private company, they can do whatever they want!” Which is exactly what I would expect from someone who privately sympathizes with the persecutors, but pretends to be siding with them on principle. Also, anyone who favors this kind of censorship in corporate setting isn’t going to have qualms about extending that policy into the public realm. This is the kind of environment cultivated by the Stasi in East Germany, not Rothbard or Mises.
Further, the right for companies to do “whatever they want” is not reciprocated when a company holds opposing views. This kind of behavior would not be tolerated for a minute if it were a company doing this to leftists.
Remember, bakers better bake the damn cake, or get their businesses shut down. Brandon Eich got ran out of his Firefox position for making a campaign contribution to the wrong side.
Has the equivalent ever happened to a lefty in recent memory?
This is why I’m empathetic whenever I hear people on the Dissident Right calling for laws breaking up corporate giants like Google or turning Twitter into public utilities and thus subject to the same restrictions.
Phone companies don’t get to turn off your service if they don’t like what you say. Your water and plumbing isn’t disconnected if you’re using it for the “wrong” reasons. Your electricity isn’t cut off if you’re watching the wrong TV shows.
There are practical and prudent reasons for this stance.
I promise you all the libertardians who scream about muh’ private companies would cry bloody murder if their essential services, in which there were no alternatives to turn to, were shut off purely as a form of political retribution.
I’m not a fan of anti-trust legislation, but I have no sympathy for these companies.
Ultimately, we have this situation because of this imbalance of political power. In a truly free society, this kind of thing would not happen, because there would be corresponding retaliation on the part of those negatively affected and force a truce. This would encourage and foster more harmonious relations. But when one side clearly has dominant political power, there is no incentive to respect the rights of those under their thumb.
If we’re going to let companies behave this way, the door has to swing both ways. Right now, it is an incontestably one-way road, and I’m not interested in preserving it.