Stop asking for free speech platforms.
I’m talking to you, libertarians.
That’s not how it works.
We base the notion of free speech on the principle that nobody should prevent you from using your property as you see fit. You have no claim to other peoples’ property. There’s some room for breach of contract against the existing social media platforms that claimed to support free speech, but they were cunning enough to write big loopholes in here and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that will accept nebulous free speech claims in interviews over the absence of free speech in the contracts you agreed to.
If you have put no work into building a platform, and you have purchased no ownership stake in it, you don’t have any right to use it. It belongs to its builders, or the people they have lawfully transferred it to, as any product would. And while we can talk about the lack of foundation for intellectual property rights, they’re still running it on their silicon.
But freedom of speech is not even the highest value that we should think of when we look at digital media and our relationship to it.
Freedom of Association
Our primary value is not that all things are equal and we shouldn’t draw judgments between them.
We need freedom precisely because no two things are equal, and the chances that someone else will force us to choose what is in our best interest are close to nil when we consider their own interests and moral failings.
We should use our freedom to discriminate against the iniquitous. We should deny the use of our psychic energy, our time, and our spaces to those who do not uphold libertarian values.
And if you want to create a place where there is no freedom to discriminate against people who come in with values different from those of the people who are already there, much less the values of the legitimate property holders of the domain, you’re denying the actual property right in favor of an absurd political right of “free expression” paid for by the entailment of others’ rights to get rid of pests.
When a place says that they will permit free expression, but ban obscenity, this is not a contradiction. Welcome the tolerance, use it to our ends, but understand that we are being tolerated.
Nobody has an obligation to host your speech unless you sign a contract that specifies that they’ll do that, and that’s precisely not what they designed the contracts with these social media sites to do. They may advertise themselves as this, but the contract will always supersede the advertising.
Stop Demanding the Right to be Degenerate
If the perfect person signed the contract to join my covenant community and immediately started pushing things to the absolute limit of the letter of the law, I would physically remove them because they’re not acting in good faith.
Whether we should care about platforms removing people depends on the motivation and the reasoning behind it, because there is a difference between banning people for their beliefs and banning people for being pests.
While it is entirely acceptable within libertarian principles to ban people for holding the wrong political beliefs, we do not want to be on a platform that would ban us for our beliefs.
Communism, fascism, syndicalism, and democracy are criminal conspiracies against private persons. While thought itself is not criminal, we should rightly regard any advocacy for these systems as criminal.
Most of the platforms we engage on belong to people possessed by one of these false gods. Their toleration of us is important. If they consider political difference as something to be protected, we should respect that.
However, if they remove people for political action, say, Communist agitators, this should not worry us so long as they do not consider our use of their platform or our own use of our property rights elsewhere as an inherent violation. Likewise, if they consider something like the normalization of the violation of sexual taboos to be worthy of removal from their platform, this is within their rights and should not worry us.
In our libertarian system, we would remove these people for the same reasons.
If you go to a platform and immediately behave in ways that they don’t like, they will ask you to leave in the same way you would ask an unruly houseguest to leave, and there is not even a violation of our principles in them doing so!
Make your own platform, or buy it. We already have decentralized libertarian-friendly systems, like Odysee. Use those. Put your money where your mouth is.
The typical complaint about this is that they’re inferior.
You’ll hear these complaints most frequently on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms operated by overt enemies of libertarian thought.
There may be utility in using the enemy’s platform. It’s easier to counter-signal in their territory. It’s cheap and convenient. It’s already there.
But you’re in hostile territory. You have no rights because the only rights are property. As much as the current regime may pretend otherwise, they operate on this principle. They simply consider your property their property too.
Even if they want to keep the facade of legitimacy by pretending they don’t operate this way, they do. They’ll rationalize it and justify it.
But in the end, they will silence you.
And it’s a private company, bro. You have no recourse. You never made the platform. You never purchased the platform. You hung about it at the behest of its owners.
They will use you for ad revenue, then dispose of you if you’re not worth the money they make off of you.
I am not interested in free speech; I am interested in freedom.
Petitioning people to provide us with our rights is just as stupid when it’s directed at private companies as when it’s directed at the bands of brigands that call themselves states.