The politicization of everything has made it so corporations cannot provide a general service while remaining neutral and abstaining from censorship.
February 7, 2022
By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP
It was a big shock to many when all social media platforms permanently banned former President Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, he was very vocal on social platforms, leaving very little room to wonder what he thought about one thing or another.
This came in the wake of the January 6th, 2021 rally at the US capitol. Some have called it a riot, while others have gone so far as calling it an insurrection. I will say that this is the first “insurrection” where the images involved old ladies with flags smiling, and middle-aged men with their feet kicked up on desks, but okay.
Before that, the social platforms circled the wagons around current President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden and his laptop with depictions of Hunter doing some pretty salacious stuff. The New York Post could not post its articles around this topic.
And from what seems like the beginnings of the United States, there have been heated debates around campaign finance reform.
All of these things have to do with what we are allowed to say and how we are allowed to say it. Whether you want to support a politician, know some seedy gossip about a public figure’s kids, or you’re outraged about public elections, should people have the right to say things others don’t like?
As Ron Paul once said with regard to free speech and the US Constitution, “We don’t have the First Amendment to talk about the weather.”
The last two years have demonstrated that perhaps it’s not okay to say some things. Doctors who challenge the medical narrative surrounding Covid-19 have been deplatformed along with anyone who would give them the time of day.
People who protest the Covid-19 policies are denied the funding freely and voluntarily offered by their supporters, while other protesters received their funding without restriction.
During the pandemic, one of the key arguments made for the mask mandates and eventually the vaccine mandates was that this was really “private” companies demanding these things.
Private entities most certainly have the right to demand whatever they wish, and refuse service for whatever reason they wish… sort of. A religious baker can’t refuse to make a wedding cake for gay patrons, apparently. But a lowly greeter at a Walmart can absolutely enforce a mask policy and refuse service to anyone who balks at it.
Social platforms can block users who share information that might make the POTUS look bad.
Spotify can pull episodes of a podcaster they deliberately sought out and signed.
Yes they CAN, but let’s not pretend this is always the will and volition of these private entities. Walmart had no desire of its own to institute a mask policy. Every single sign you saw at the front of any store allowed to remain open specifically cited the government or the CDC as the reason why they were demanding these things.
None of them said, “It is the heartfelt belief of the Walmart leadership that masks are the best thing we can do to prevent the spread of Covid 19.”
I guess it could be the heartfelt belief of Twitter that Trump should be deplatformed.
It’s not the heartfelt belief of Spotify that Joe Rogan is a bad actor or a purveyor of “misinformation”. Both Rogan and Spotify are scrambling around to appease god-knows-who regarding the sudden outrage of some artists surrounding the guests Rogan has had on his program.
Those guests had opinions outside the mainstream that challenged “the science” and much of what Dr. Anthony Fauci insisted was indisputable. So far, Dr. Fauci’s batting average on “facts” is not great, but despite all the gaffs and “misspoken information” he’s delivered, he continues to have access to any and all platforms.
Artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their music in protest of Rogan having access to the same platform as them to say things they didn’t like. Other artists ironically followed.
One famous artists being Jello Biafra, front man for the Dead Kennedys. Anyone who’s listened to the Dead Kennedy’s or read their lyrics knows their edgy nature. His current support of the attack on Joe Rogan isn’t the irony. That’s hypocrisy.
The irony is in his very public and heated argument with Tipper Gore back in 1990 on the Sally Jesse Raphael daytime talk show, where he took Tipper to the woodshed on her notions of censorship. Yes, Tipper disapproved of what artists like Jello Biafra were putting out and sought to restrict access to it.
His spine and principles have since gone missing.
And it could also be the sincere belief of GoFundMe that the trucker convoy should not get their funds while Black Lives Matter received their support in full. This was a quick twist of events. GoFundMe put out a notice on Friday February 4th, explaining how the Trucker Convoy is in violation of their terms of service.
Even if you disagree with this decision, what got people’s ire up was the last sentences of this statement:
“…we will work with organizers to send all remaining funds to credible and established charities chosen by the Freedom Convoy 2022 organizers and verified by GoFundMe.
All donors may submit a request for a full refund until February 19th, 2022 using this dedicated refund form.“
There wasn’t much coverage about the freezing of the assets, and even less coverage about what would become of those assets, until people lost it on social media. Since then, they came out with an updated statement on Saturday February 5th:
The update we issued earlier (below) enabled all donors to get a refund and outlined a plan to distribute remaining funds to verified charities selected by the Freedom Convoy organizers. However, due to donor feedback, we are simplifying the process. We will automatically refund all contributions directly — donors do not need to submit a request. You can expect to see your refund within 7–10 business days.
GoFundMe was once a case study in the success of human kindness and humanity’s sense of charity. That, if given the freedom and the choice, people would democratically decide who and what to support that best aligns with their values and priorities. Individuals could share the link and persuade people to help and contribute, and they would.
Honestly, it was the best argument to abandon the welfare state… and the idea of a neutral platform serving as an intermediary for otherwise unknown causes is still a sound one.
Some great ostracized minds are now taking to places like Rumble and Locals rather than YouTube. They are taking to Substack rather than Medium or regular mainstream media. So too will people gravitate toward intermediary platforms that stay in their lanes.
And that is the beauty of the market.
Our market hero today is Tallycoin!
[Saturday February 5th] Update (1830ET): Just as we anticipated, it looks like a crypto-based crowd-funding platform Tallycoin has helped supporters of the Canadian truckers re-route their donations to help support the people on the front lines of the protest.
In the day that has passed since GoFundMe announced its plans to quash a fundraising effort for the truckers, more than $700,000 has been raised to benefit the truckers on Tallycoin.
There are some alternatives to Spotify, and maybe there will never be alternatives to current social media platforms.
But for today, the case for private charity is restored and another case for blockchain technology emerges. Can we expect a sort of economic secession where people might physically stay where they are, but choose to operate in an alternate economy? This sounds promising.
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