Free Speech, Politics, Tech, Top Stories

Banning Bitcoin to Complete Big Tech Censorship

Bitcoin’s survival might prove intolerable to our Internet gatekeepers.

To rid the web of troublesome opinion makers you ban them from online platforms while terminating their ability to raise funds from supporters.  Corporate giants can use their control over Internet and financial chokepoints to almost accomplish this, but Bitcoin’s decentralized network means that regardless of how much corporate America hates some commentator, it can’t stop you from sending her cryptocurrency.  If a Democrat wins the Presidency in 2020, I predict a serious attempt to close this loophole by criminalizing Bitcoins.

Big tech has awoken to its power and started suppressing views it deems hateful.  The Nazi website Stormfront was kicked off the Internet.  Facebook, Apple, YouTube, and Spotify all decided, on the same day, to deplatform Alex Jones.  Islam critic Lauren Southern has been kicked off Pateron, a service many use to raise funds from supporters.  YouTube has demonitized and restricted videos from Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, and Gad Saad.  President Trump has accused social media of “totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices.”

Big tech wants to ban hate from the Internet.  Unfortunately, as James Damore’s firing from Google shows, Silicon Valley has an expansive definition of hate.

James Damore wrote an internal memo explaining how taking into account average biological differences between men and women could help his employer create an environment that would attract more women to Google. Even though what Damore wrote was fairly accurate he was attacked for daring to suggest that men and women might, on average, be different.  Damore was considered to have created a hostile work environment for writing, supposedly, hateful things.  Unfortunately, anyone who feels Damore beyond the pale would also likely think Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, and Quillette to be at least occasional proponents of hate speech for they too sometimes challenge the identity politics narrative.

Most leftists deeply hate President Trump and think that his victory was a defeat for democracy.  The leftists at Facebook and Twitter must despise knowing that Trump made more politically effective use of their platforms than Hillary Clinton did.  I suspect that big tech is trying to make it impossible for a future Trump-like candidate to use online media to get a huge audience.

Many politicians on the left are thrilled that big tech is silencing parts of the right and hope that Silicon Valley goes even farther.  In response to Alex Jones’ deplatforming, US Senator Chris Murphy tweeted that this was a “good first step” but that “The survival of our democracy” depends on them doing more.

The federal government has enormous discretionary power over financial institutions allowing regulators to easily bully banks into refusing to do business with officially disliked organizations.

The Obama administration’s  “Operation Choke Point” shows how the US government uses financial regulations to harm legal businesses that an administration dislikes. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said the Justice Department used the operation “to suffocate legitimate businesses to which it was ideologically opposed by intimidating financial institutions into denying banking services to those businesses.”

I predict that a future Democratic presidential administration will use another Operation Choke Point to cut off banking services to anyone deemed hateful.  The administration could rely on a leftist group such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to define prominent opponents as extremists who need banning.  Financial institutions could be pushed to refuse to do business with people on the list.  Today, the SPLC works with Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter to determine which organizations should be considered hate groups.

Here is where Bitcoin comes in.  A future administration could pressure Paypal, Patreon, and other financial intermediaries to stop letting you use them to give money to Quillette or other thought crime outlets.  But unlike with the normal banking system, the Bitcoin network doesn’t let the powerful veto individual transactions so if Bitcoin remains legal, you should always be able to transfer funds to someone else on the network. In a future in which the President is aligned with big tech to exclude undesirables from the political conversation, Bitcoin will be seen as an intolerable loophole through which people like Jordan Peterson could receive financial support from their deplorable followers.

Since Bitcoin really can be used for evil purposes, it will be politically easy to demonize.  Terrorists, Nazis, tax cheats, and child pornographers can take advantage of Bitcoin’s anonymity.  All the liberal media will need to justify criminalizing Bitcoins are a few graphic examples of bad people using the cryptocurrency.

My prediction that a Democratic president would attack Bitcoins has a testable implication: the price of Bitcoins should be lower conditional on a Democrat winning the 2020 U.S. presidential election. We don’t even have to wait until the election to observe this.  It should be possible to use financial contracts to get a market estimate of the price of Bitcoin in 2021 conditional on a Democrat being President, and conditional on a Republican being President, and if I’m right the price of the former will be higher.

To protect Bitcoins, we should eliminate much of the value to a future Democratic President from criminalizing it.  If there was a law giving big tech a “common carrier” obligation to not discriminate based on viewpoint then it might not be worth the political capital to a Democratic president of taking on Bitcoin. So, to defend Bitcoin, force YouTube to carry Alex Jones’ gay frog conspiracy theories.

 

James D. Miller is a professor of economics at Smith College and the host of the Future Strategist podcast.  He is @JimDMiller on Twitter.

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56 Comments

  1. Saturn Black says

    I’m a bit more concerned about the growing threat to our liberty than the existence of bitcoin. You plowed through that paragraph on Big tech suppressing conservative views like it was just another day in 2018.

    What a brave new world we live in.

    • If you think you get to say and act as you want in other people’s properties, then you are a fool or tyrant who has not been awake. You act a jerk in my home and I’ll boot you. There’s no suppression there.
      The Internet is free and open (at least in western culture countries). That facebook doesn’t want you doesn’t keep you from posting elsewhere or running your own enterprise.
      You don’t get to tell Starbucks what to serve no matter if you think you know better.
      Alex Jones, conspiracists and religions morons (same sorts of people by my view) all have the ability to create their own platform or join a platform of like-minded people. But don’t expect others to deal with your idiocy, hatred or the like on their platform.

      • Peter from Oz says

        You have a point david of k
        But it is also the same point that would allow a business to refuse to offer its services to gays, blacks or anyone whose views or culture it finds offensive.
        I’m absolutely certain that Facebook, et hoc genus omnes don’t really care who uses their platform, as long as it generates revenue. But they will listen to whiniest most puritanical voices if they thing there’s a danger that ceraain content will adversely affect their reputation and bottom line.
        They won’t ban extreme left wing trolls and conspiracy theorists, because the right doesn’t make any real complaint about such people and the left doesn’t really care.

      • Saturn Black says

        david of Kirkland – What a nasty argument combining typical leftist hyperbole with being an authoritarian apologist. Clearly you aren’t familiar with the those mentioned (I’ve spent a lot of time investigating both Jordan Peterson and Lauren Southern) otherwise you wouldn’t paint them in such an overwhelmingly negative light. It just shows you listen to the mainstream “fake news” more than doing your own research.

        This has nothing to do with your home, and using that as an underhanded way to threaten and intimidate me will fail. With an attitude like yours I wouldn’t even want to walk past you on the street let alone go anywhere near your home. I have zero tolerance for domestic violence and based on your authoritarian aggression and reference to your home environment in an attempt to intimidate, you seem exactly like the type of person who engages in it.

        There is no need for these people to be censored unless these social media platforms are engaging in political activism and bias, which it seems they now are. I don’t know the legal status of such censorship in the country where these platforms are based, but at they very least they need to be open about the fact that this is what they are now doing. If the wider public was aware of this I’m sure a lot of people would stop using these platforms and seek alternatives, particularly YouTube which seems to have a majority conservative young male audience.

        I won’t be engaging with you further as you seem quite happy with the idea of left-wing authoritarianism and I don’t see how anything productive can come from continued debate with someone who holds such extreme and intolerant views.

      • The Hero's Journey says

        So just to be clear @david of Kirkland : you think there is absolutely nothing to the notion that Facebook & Google & Twitter are the real “public squares” of today? You think there is no value in them being free speech forums?

        I’m sure your opinion would be exactly the same if leftist speech was being threatened. Right?

        You are for free speech right?
        The kind that is not only a matter of the 1st Amendment, but also a fundament of basic human rights?
        The kind that includes “hate speech” assuming that “hate speech” is not a direct incitement to violence?
        The kind that is the foundation of Enlightenment thinking & the most successful societies the world has known?
        And you don’t think speech can be violence, right?

        Or do you think you can choose what “hate” and “speech violence” are?
        In which case you’ll gladly accept the inevitable day such thinking is lashed against your back?

        Right?

    • Peter from Oz says

      Surely it’s ”ploughed” not ”plowed”

    • Prof. Cannon says

      Saturn Black – totally get where you’re coming from, but everything I have studied and read about finance and economics over the last 10 years has lead me to unquestionably believe that the existence of Bitcoin is crucial to human liberty. It’s not as obvious in nations with relatively independent and responsible monetary authorities (central banks), but it is painfully obvious in places like Venezuela.

  2. neg_entropy says

    Sorry but there is a glaring errors in this post. Bitcoin is not decentralized. The concentration in miners, who are essential for maintenance of the blockchain, has been widely reported. Far from being a Libertarian alternative to traditional finance, Cryptocurrencies have become the latest Tulip-mania. Without, or course, the benefit of actual tulips.

    Distributed ledgers, of which blockchain is an example, are an interesting idea. But to date no one has figured out how to maintain them. Blockchain, which consumes obscene amounts of electricity and which is concentrated in the hands of Chinese Bitcoin miners, is NOT the answer.

    • The problem with blockchain promises is the idea that everyone wants their transactions in public. That’s rather the opposite of privacy or how most people prefer their interactions to be, especially in a world where humiliation or loss of jobs is at stake.
      Bitcoin is fully trackable, fully public, and thus fully outside the realm of being a place for criminals to gather over time.

      • Gary Lambert says

        Bitcoin is not anonymous, however there are a number of ongoing projects to introduce privacy features, so it’s more apt to say, “Bitcoin isn’t private, yet”. In the meantime, there are a number of privacy-focused cryprocurrwncies, like monero, that are widely used to make private transactions.

    • Prof. Cannon says

      Neg-entropy -You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about!

  3. “Big tech wants to ban hate from the Internet.”

    Except for the hate SJWs have towards anything non-SJW, which is fine.

    (PS Is the misspelling Jordan/Jorden/Jordon deliberate?)

  4. Anthony says

    How do you manage to spell Jordyn Peterson’s name wrong twice in the same article – and in two different ways?

  5. Bill says

    Your criticisms (commentators) are missing the underlying theme of the author. Bitcoin is a blanket term like “hate speech” and covers all of the various, unregulated, crypto-based currencies and if you think of that abstract, the author does have a point once you realize the generalization: the emergence of non-governmental controlled mediums of exchange (bitcoin) that are easily convertable (to cash) provides a mechanism by which groups of actors may contribute to the ostracized that is external to the controls of the Democratic Mass. The government can ban banks from doing business with marijuana farms in states with legalized marijuana. They can obstruct financial institutions conducting lawful business with companies in the firearms trade. What if Trump (OMG! TRUMP!) were to twist Operation Chokepoint to inhibit left-leaning groups from organizing marches or declaring Antifa a terrorist organization? Obama had used that same mechanic to impede conservative groups from fundraising (oh yeah, he did with the IRS)?

    This is an interesting proposition — that the reason governments are anti-alternative currency like bitcoin is not only tax avoidance, but loss of control since SCOTUS has already said money = speech. Makes one wonder why Operation Chokepoint didn’t see a lawsuit violating first amendment rights under that SCOTUS ruling, the same for all the IRS targeting of groups under Obama.

      • Bill says

        They created it by hindering everything else. Barter? Oh, well if you don’t declare the barter so it was taxed, we’ll criminal come after you for tax evasion. The difference is that in the past, all of the mechanisms were physical so traceable. Does that mean the blockchain stuff is the panacea? No, because it is traceable too — even if the promoters like to sell it on being anonymous. At some point, you have to buy something tangible for it to have value, and that exchange point opens the door to backtracing:

        For example. You get bitcoin you give to George who gives to me and I go buy something. That merchant reports the sale, gov’t goes to merchant for sales record, has me. They lean on me and I give up George who gives up you. All done under the threat of prosecution — ala Mueller after Manafort after Cohen after Stone.

  6. John AD says

    This seems to be contrived political bias. Does the author think rightist governments wouldn’t also want control over an otherwise independent (of government) currency (e.g. to be able to enforce sanctions)? Does he think Trump isn’t an authoritarian, who would happily destroy media outlets that were not favourable to him?

    Crypto currency may well be criminalised, and for good reason. It really is beneficial to all of us (non criminals) that the banks are regulated e.g. to enforce sanctions, to avoid financial crises like the GFC (a failure of regulation as well short term, criminally self serving behaviour of banks), to stifle the laundering of proceeds from criminal activities etc etc. It is also beneficial to us all for overarching authorities to wield power that shouldn’t be left to a laissez-faire free-for-all and the attendant bad outcomes of the game theory scenarios not being forced towards better outcomes. The problem is keeping such authorities beholden to the citizens they are there to benefit (through democracy, checks and balances etc). Physical force is one thing that should be delegated to such an authority. Macro economics is another.

    Ironically, one thing that a restricted minting currency like Bitcoin could mitigated against is the profligate monetary policy tendencies that far left governments have and which can destroy economies, but it’s the Republican government that have recently abandoned any semblance of being concerned about debt.

    • I read no good reason to criminalize cryptocurrencies. What next, make barter illegal? How about trading in government currencies…. These are only a tool to facilitate trade, and only a true tyrant would want to criminalize trade.

      • John AD says

        One thing is not another thing. Banning Bitcoin is not banning trade. Obviously. Why am I wasting my time replying to such an insightless, hysterical comment.

  7. Caligula says

    Bitcoin is like any other currency in that its value depends on a shared illusion that it has value: no illusion, no value. The biggest threat to Bitcoin is not Big Tech or even Big Government, but loss of confidence in that shared illusion.

    Although arguably government has a bigger stake here than Big Tech, as government control of the money supply enhances government’s ability to borrow as well as its ability to pay down its debt (by decreasing its real value through inflation, if necessary).

    Nor are Big Government and Big Tech the only potential enemies of Bitcoin; there’s also potential competition from other cryptocurrencies. For although there may be a limit on how much Bitcoin can ever be created, there is no limit on how many cryptocurrencies can be created.

    But, that brings us back to the confidence game, doesn’t it?

  8. Prof Behind Enemy Lines says

    This article is spot on. Big Tech has a control fetish. They want – and worse, believe they are entitled to – control speech online. Cryptocurrencies have the potential to take that power away from them. If they had to choose between Bitcoin and a Dem winning the White House, I have no doubt a large segment of Big Tech would turn on Cryptocurrencies overnight.

    One thing to keep in mind is that even with Bitcoin, there are still at this time gatekeepers. Because of Bitcoin’s open ledger, if one knows the address of ‘offending’ entities, a financial gatekeeper can still exert pressure. A certain popular Bitcoin exchange (which I won’t name) has been known to track transfers and shut down the accounts of members who send Bitcoin to groups that the exchange does not like.

    What I would like to see is the Safe Harbor provisions of the CDA only apply to social networks that are acting as neutral platforms. That would end this ridiculous attack on free speech overnight.

    • So create your own web site or join a group of like minded people. Why do others have to support your wants? There is no blocking of speech, just blocking of bad behavior in their “homes.” Act a fool in my home and you’ll get tossed out.

      • Steven says

        Do you feel the same way about immigrants here in our physical homeland illegally? Or just in your digital playground? Do you have issues with Media Matters working directly with F.A.G.S.(Facebook, Apple, Google, Spotify) to explicitly try to influence the next election cycle for Democrats? Should FEC look into these issues as “in kind” donations?

        You seem very smug and happy about the bans, but one must wonder what your reaction would be if the shoe were on the other foot. I would be as opposed to de-monitizing Young Turks as I am for the treatment of Alex Jones. I don’t listen to either, but the situation is troubling.

        I foresee either a complete takeover of the web by Democrats, as well as the complete control of major corporations (based on Elizabeth Warren’s new bill) for control so a new Trump can never happen again, or the congress will turn these companies into utilities. Guess it depends on the mid-terms.

  9. Adam Wass says

    People aren’t going after bitcoin because of a liberal conspiracy. They are going after bitcoin because it’s a ponzi-like “Nakamoto Scheme” and bitcoin’s so-called community is full of scammers attempting to dupe greater fools into buying their crypto coins. Bitcoin is basically Multi-Level Marketing for libertarian men.

    I hope Quillette publishes an article criticizing bitcoin, too, because this one was trash and deserves to get ripped apart. We’re all here for the contrarian viewpoints but let’s not have the subject of internet censorship get tied up in supporting bitcoin, that outcome would suit the crypto pumpers and dumpers more than it would suit alternate voices in general.

    • Bill says

      Correct @Adam Wass. The problem isn’t bitcoin, it’s the fact it’s underground and the excuse of “it’s unregulated” as the justification for all the bad actors out there. It’s scam central with the 50,000 coins out there each just fleecing ignorant “investors.”

      When I dabbled with it years ago just to see how the technology worked, I found it VERY easy to identify arbitrage between the coins on common marketplaces. You could make money just cycling trades (albeit a little at a time due to volume limitations). What’s more, you could predict fluctuations in the price as (rumor says “russian mobsters”) got the MSM to pump up the bitcoin with stories, they’d sell their coins, wait for the crash, then buy them all back. .You could watch it happening in the blockchain. Classic pump and dump and pump again.

    • Gary Lambert says

      Incorrect. A Ponzi scheme relies on deception and a hierarchy. Bitcoin is the exact opposite – it’s an open source protocol where anyone can see exactly how it works and there is no one at the “top” of Bitcoin. People buy bitcoin because they believe it is better money due to a better monetary policy, the same way someone might choose to hold U.S. dollars or Euros over say the South African Rand. Bitcoin investors believe that money with a better monetary policy will appreciate in value relative to monies with worse monetary policies. You are free to agree or disagree with that investment thesis, but it’s no more of a Ponzi scheme than any other currency net.

  10. ga gamba says

    Frankly, that long match through the institutions has snookered many. When you have the right calling private companies to be legislated as utilities in need of regulation, it’s a sign how desperate things have become. Reading Elizabeth Warren’s proposed legislation targeting companies with revenues greater than $1 billion it appears to me she’s trying to further stack the deck.

    I think your Boston Tea Party protest moment is long gone. Sad to say it, but the game is power politics – really it always was, but overlapping values kept the peace. No longer. Now who can best exert power over the other and force them to bend to knee will prevail. It’s not going to be pleasant. Might as well come to terms with that and plan accordingly.

    • TarsTarkas says

      When private companies amass so much power in a market that they in effect become utilities, yes it is time to treat them as utilities. Note: Utilities are required by law to supply their product universally except in the case of non-payment or some other extenuating circumstance, which isn’t what the Big Five are doing.

      Elizabeth Warren is grandstanding and she knows it. She’s just testing the waters to see how much groundswell support her stupid proposal to get the ‘fat cats’ gets. If it is tepid, she’ll move on to another crazy scheme. No ‘it’s my turn’ or ‘I’m with Her’ crap for the Senator! She knows she needs a catchy campaign slogan to compete with heir apparent Kamala Harris!

      The head of the Tea Party movement is President Trump.

      Refusal to accept defeatism is why Trump is President.

      The game may be power politics, but it’s what you do when you acquire power that matters. Which set of masters do you want, ones that thirst to run your life as they see fit for your benefit, the ones who just want you to do what they want you to do and don’t care how you go about it, or those who don’t give a damn about you? My vote is for the one who most closely approaches the don’t give a damn standard.

      Bitcoin and all the other cryptocurrencies always have been and always will be a scam. Value based on an algorithm? Written by a still unidentified geek? Who I suspect can alter the algorithm at will and probably has to increase the supply? I’d buy Florida seaside real estate or a lost gold mind first. At least they’re based on something that might be tangible.

      • Gary Lambert says

        @Tars

        Perhaps you try and understand the Bitcoin protocol before criticizing it. You remind me of Paul Krugman who famously stated back in 1998 that the internet would have about as much economic impact as the fax machine. Technology always looks like a scam to those who don’t understand it.

    • Bill says

      Aye, turning this big tech companies into utilities is not the correct answer. The only reason there is any “problem” is the existing legislation which allows them to be insulated, as platforms, while they are performing actions aligned with publishers. As platforms, they are immune from lawsuits for things like defamation, copyright infringement, etc. specifically because the Legislators accepted the argument/lobby that it was the masses posting and policing was insurmountably expensive. Now we see it is not, as they are policing and restricting, but they are still immune from lawsuits because they are still taking the position that they are platforms.

      Now, if they lose the coverage of platform then you have the free market back at work without requiring the aggrieved to create their own platform in response. It isn’t worth suing all the Antifants for defamation and the like because they are judgement proof; however, Facebook and Twitter are not. If they started policing postings from all sides of the political spectrum equally, then I think many of the calls for their heads on the guillotine would cease.

      As it stands now, they are under NO obligation to banish or suspend anyone. As a platform, the legislation was drafted to grant them immunity for just such behavior. They are simply “volunteering” to do something in a skewed political way. How long, now that Dorsey has stated Twitter is acting as a Left biased platform before there are lawsuits against them (criminal?) about violating campaign finance laws with in-kind contributions? Once they become a publisher, their extinguishing/hiding/shadowbanning one set of candidates over another becomes a campaign contribution, does it not?

  11. josh says

    The Democratic party had nothing to do with Alex Jones being banned. Several social media platforms bowed to popular pressure to ban him from their services. That’s not because giant corporations are leftist, but because of their bottom line and their concern for public perception. Let’s face it, Jones is a piece of trash and no one should miss him. The way they justified their action was bad, because the rules he is said to have violated seem vague and inconsistently enforced, but again, that’s because we’re talking about companies caught between popular outrage and a strong desire not to be the internet’s police (no company wants the effort and expenditure of thoroughly fact-checking rants or adjudicating negative comments.)

    It’s quite a stretch from there to ‘hypothetical Democratic plot to destroy bitcoin because it’s the last refuge of conservatives’.

  12. Wilson says

    The Democratic Party may have had something to do with the banning of Infowars.

    First of all, notice that as of July 12 Facebook’s official policy on Infowars was to leave them alone.

    CNN’s Oliver Darcy tweeted on July 11 that he had “asked them why InfoWars is still allowed on the platform” and that he “didn’t get a good answer.”

    Facebook tweeted back on July 12 that, “We believe banning these Pages would be contrary to the basic principles of free speech.”

    (I will provide the link to this exchange in a reply to this post as they seem to be limiting us to one link per post here at Quillette.)

    However, on July 17 Democrats grilled social-media companies about Infowars in a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

    For example, Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida said:

    “How many strikes does a conspiracy theorist who attacks grieving parents and student survivors of mass shootings get?”

    Facebook representative Monika Bickert responded that while some of Infowars postings had been taken down they hadn’t seen enough to justify taking down the entire account.

    Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland then accused Facebook of taking “positions in the interest of the right-wing politics” and threatened to “have to look at what’s happening there, because then at that point there’s not viewpoint neutrality.”

    Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island said that Facebook had “bent over backwards to placate and mollify conservatives based on fiction.”

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/17/facebook-infowars-alex-jones-congress-726301

    In addition, Wikileaks claims that Senator Mark Warner of Virginia circulated a white paper that threatened social-media companies with new regulations one week before Infowars was banned.

    (I will provide a link in a reply to this post.)

    This coincides with a new Democratic initiative to influence public opinion on social-media platforms.

    (I will provide a link in a reply to this post.)

    As far as I have read, people have given the “credit” for the banning to activist groups (e.g., Sleeping Giants), but I think the pressure Democrats put on them is worth considering.

    • josh says

      Wilson, I should have been clearer perhaps. The Democrats didn’t pass any law or threaten any fines, etc. compelling these companies to act. That’s why I find the bitcoin fear-mongering way off-base. (I could even imagine some bill affecting bitcoin making it to Congress, but not as an evil strategy to deprive right-wingers of lucre.)

      There are, however, more voices from the Democratic side calling on tech companies to do something. Facebook specifically has been in for a public grilling due to the proliferation of fake news and Russian meddling. In that context, Alex Jones also got brought up, not as a conservative, but as a peddler of conspiracy theories. Note that Ted Deutch represents the district where the Parkland shooting occurred. You don’t need to look at his political affiliation to understand why he’d be pissed at Jones! The Dems in the reports you cited then accused Facebook of kowtowing to conservative interests rather than upholding the policies they believe Jones has violated.

      Just in general, liberals right now are more interested than conservatives in pressuring these social platforms to adopt civilizing rules. But that is popular pressure and not lawmaking. The draft of policy proposals from Mark Warner is all about possible options to discourage fake accounts and foreign interference, not punishing political sides. It’s true that Facebook and co. don’t want the government to step in and treat them as utilities or otherwise hold them to strict regulations, so they want to say “Here, we’re policing ourselves, no need for a law”. So in that narrow sense the Democrats may have
      something to do with Jones’s banning, but that’s mostly because Republicans have abdicated any responsibility to look into Russian interference and fake news for fear of harming Trump.

      Similarly, I’ll bet there are more liberal-leaning people than conservatives who are critical of bitcoin. But it doesn’t follow that this is a plot by liberals to get conservatives. A number of countries have banned bitcoin and it has nothing to do with American politics. That’s why the whole conspiracy angle of this piece rubs me wrong.

      • Wilson says

        Hi, Josh.

        Josh said: “The Democrats didn’t pass any law or threaten any fines, etc. compelling these companies to act.”

        But they did make veiled threats in that direction, and it would not be out of character for the intersectional movement to cut off someone’s funding or destroy their career.

        For example, Murray Straus documents that behavior in this study:

        https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=242646

        We see it also in the demonetization of conservatives voices, in the firings of James Damore and Larry Summers, etc.

        In the meantime, we see radical Left academics arguing against the First Amendment and getting quoted in a front-page article in the New York Times.

        I believe the concern that Democrats might get involved in this is legitimate, whether it involved the banning of Bitcoin or some other mechanism.

        It appears that they may have already started, as the links in my previous posts suggest.

        This is not about violating terms of conditions on social media or adopting “civilizing rules.”

        There are half a dozen Leftist groups on the Southern Poverty Law Center “hate map” that are not being banned, and you don’t hear Democrats complaining about that.

        See the tweet Minister Farrakhan pinned to the top of his Twitter account, for example, and you will see what I mean.

        They are targeting voices on the Right or even in the Center like Dave Rubin, Gaad Sad, and Jordan Peterson, ignoring those who break norms and rules on the Left.

    • Saturn Black says

      Very interesting. The Democrats are only one step away from using this kind of power and influence over social media platforms to influence the election, of course hiding behind the fake excuse that this is what the Russians did for Trump.

      Social media is overrun with corruption and I wouldn’t touch it where possible. Obviously Facebook and Twitter are no-go zones for conservatives, though YouTube is still usable once you know what to look for. Hopefully Trump does investigate all this and expose them.

      • Bill says

        An interesting argument is that since these platforms are now publishers, private and therefore controlling their content by excluding those they do not like, are their actions considered political contributions? I’m thinking in line with the superPAC concept — except that they are now actively working in concert with politicians. Would Google working with Obama now, as they did in 2008, be considered an in-kind contribution when they downlisted opposition posts? Switching from platform to publisher opens a whole big nasty can of worms.

  13. MadKangaroo says

    Excellent article. The Left was enraged by the specter of “Right wing” giant corporations and billionaires using their money and influence to *air* their opinions and lobby for their preferred policies, but they are AOK with Leftist giant corporations and billionaires actively *suppressing* opinions they don’t like.

    Their arguments that Facebook et al. are private businesses exercising their rights is disingenuous; one cannot exercise one’s rights in a way which prevents others from exercising theirs, especially when the suppression is deliberate and your business otherwise functions as a public accommodation. In addition, comparisons to ejecting a person from one’s home for expressing distasteful opinions is a non-sequitur; you can do so in your home, but it does not follow that you can dog them around town attempting to deny them *any* platform, or attempting to deny them an income, which is what Facebook, Twitter etc have been conspiring to do.

    The Left is all about one thing, obtaining power and exercising it ruthlessly; it’s the only real principle they have.

  14. jimhaz says

    [YouTube has demonitized and restricted videos from Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, and Gad Saad]

    Is there ANY evidence for this? I do not believe it. I would believe that videos made by others using the words of these people out of context could be “restricted” but not those of Peterson and Rubin.

    Stormfront and Alex Jones – I couldn’t care less. Too many lies from those domains.

    • Saturn Black says

      Here’s an idea for you – why don’t you use your brain and do a little investigation of your own – that is if you’re genuinely willing to have your biased left-wing narrative challenged.

      Of course you leftists prefer to just lazily sit back and drink up the fake news and let your intellectual capacities continue to atrophy as they remain completely unused. You’d rather take a position from a place of ignorance and take shots at those of us who have done our research. I know your game.

      All this stuff isn’t even hard to find if you simply LOOK.

  15. Ira Slomowitz says

    Don’t let the Cryptocurrency ideologues get the better of you. This is not a rebellion against central banks or against big-tech (who, if it were at all successful would be doing it already) or a Libertarian dream. Cryptocurrencies in their current format are a return to the age of barter or best – company towns with company currency. In practice is it great for money launderers. Money laundering is not honest people trying to keep more of their hard earned cash from the IRS’s of the world , money laundering is how they buy and sell sex slaves, fund terrorism and sell illegal drugs.

    • Bill says

      Not all. For some the crypto currency provides an (incorrect and naive assumption) of an inflation protected security. The reason the lemmings flocked to it, and into the hands of the criminals, is the “oh, you mean my $$s can grow in value 100 fold if I get in now?” Unlike all the “buy gold!” and “buy bullion!” ads, the difference is that there isn’t anything tangible. My guess is the losers in this little gambling game are some of the same folks who took “stock options in lieu of a high salary” in those private companies back during the dot com boom who only later discovered, stock options in a private company are worthless — but hey, all it takes is 1-2 companies going public and the gambling employees getting rich to keep that scheme going.

  16. Park Kwang-soo says

    Love Quillette but I would recommend bit more firm hand from editors. Keep it fair and balanced. There is a lot of speculation in this article and the author presents no data to actually support his speculation. So it ends up looking like democrat hit piece. Quilette often has great articles but more then few times recently there has been authors with very clear bias.

    Don’t let the site become echo chamber like the modern left has done for most of it’s paltforms.
    Be better then others.

  17. Pingback: Banning Bitcoin to Complete Big Tech Censorship – Well Thats Interesting

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