Conservatism of Convenience
Today, the so-called conservative media, along with its millions of political-entertainment-addicted dupes, are all riled up about two terrible outrages against freedom:
- The Supreme Court of Washington State has upheld a lower court ruling against a florist who, on conscience grounds, did not wish to provide flowers for a homosexual wedding, but will now be forced by law to do so.
- YouTube has begun a mini-purge of users whose content the company deems guilty of violating progressive morality, i.e., the politically correct dogma of neo-Marxist social justice. (I wrote about the hub of this case yesterday.)
In Case 1, the conservatives are outraged that private business owners have been denied their basic rights to the use and disposal of their own property in accordance with their own beliefs and wishes.
In Case 2, the conservatives are outraged that private business owners are allowed to use and dispose of their property in accordance with their own beliefs and wishes.
If you didn’t know better, you might almost suspect there was a hint of inconsistency here.
“But Case 2 is different!” shouts the conservative hypocrite. “YouTube has some sort of regulatory deal with the federal government that kind of implies they should function as a completely open and unrestricted content platform” — which no one really believes is possible or desirable — “in exchange for being artificially protected from certain legal liabilities related to any content posted on their platform. This makes them vaguely similar to a public utility or something.”
So now conservatives are arguing in defense of special legal protections for giant entertainment businesses — which is what social media companies are, actually — which of course is part of the way they become so giant in the first place, and the main way they become unstoppably giant.
The answer to the supposed problem of the giant social media companies having government-protected quasi-monopolies, but still wanting to behave like genuine private businesses in a free market, is not to reinforce the unfair government protections, i.e., to cling to the apron strings of the administrative state behemoth, but rather to remove the unfair regulations and let the giants operate in a truly free market.
Don’t these conservatives understand that Google, Facebook, Twitter, and almost all major corporate entities love superfluous regulations of their markets, because such regulations invariably create stasis, which is great if you are already at the top of the heap? Newcomers, lacking these giants’ “public utility” protected status, don’t stand a chance.
Forcing YouTube to accept conservative content “without discrimination” is exactly the same as forcing a florist to provide services for a homosexual wedding. There is no difference in principle, or to the extent that there is one, it is not a difference that conservatives ought to be fighting for and exploiting. That whole consistency bugaboo.
Now I see Ted Cruz, who is essentially Donald Trump with better grammar, has joined the online fake fury, warning YouTube that “This will not end well.” What will not end well? Cruz has no idea; he is just blowing smoke to appeal to his followers on social media, much like his orange lord and master.
I have even seen some online commenters invoking the famous “First they came for the socialists” confessional speech about the Holocaust. But everything that makes that sermon meaningful depends on who “they” are. The only “they” that matters in this context is the State. Private citizens, including business owners, can “come for” — which means only “refuse to serve” — anyone they bloody well please. That conservatives cannot understand this anymore merely shows that conservatism, a poorly defined term to begin with, has simply ceased to exist as anything recognizably distinguishable from pragmatic political opportunism and self-serving tribalism. The conservatives of today are all populist thugs and/or suckers for profiteering demagoguery and salesmanship.