PayPal have banned Infowars. This is absurd and has to stop. A digital bill of rights is necessary.
Posted by Sargon of Akkad on Friday, September 21, 2018
Recently, the concerted de-platforming of Alex Jones by Silicon Valley businesses has reached a crescendo as PayPal has now suspended him from their service. Infowars apparently makes around 60% of its income via the PayPal service. The misguided reactions of those who would steer society into a ditch because the market misbehaves continues apace (see video above).
No, a digital bill of rights is not needed. We already have a bill of rights (which the government ignores quite often anyway). The best way to fight the entrenched business is to remove the obstacles to business development so that alternatives can more easily arise. Corporate tax reduction, capital gains reduction, abrogation of IP law, and regulations that are especially odious with expensive compliance costs are the real culprits here. The solution is not to pile more garbage onto the heap but to burn it down.
Those of Sargon’s opinion wouldn’t like it if someone socialized their living room, yet apply this ridiculous thinking to business. Such a “Digital Bill of Rights’ would have bad second order effects which are completely obvious to anyone who thinks five years ahead and who doesn’t assume people who love them will be in office for all eternity.
More nuanced observers who have a strong grasp of libertarianism will correctly point out that these large companies are often helped along by the state. In many cases, these companies have the state itself as a customer to some degree or another. This then becomes a justification for some to argue along the lines of what people like Sargon are saying is the solution.
The problem with this line of reasoning is that anyone sharp enough to look for the subsidy and cronyism should also know that large incumbent businesses prefer that the government get involved so that the market is put into a kind of noncompetitive stasis. They have the resources to pay the price of compliance. In fact, they often succeed in regulatory capture and become the ones who write the refutations in the first place.
The cure to a flu in the market is not aggressive lymphatic cancer. We know that the economic incentives of the state push it in the direction of tyranny. We know that once it has power over something, it takes serious effort by society at large to dislodge it.
We cannot expect the state to play fair or help the situation. That is what it wants from us. What we need to do is eliminate the obstacles to alternatives and promote those alternatives.
What makes anyone think that entrepreneurship in payment systems is magically impossible today when the business model has already been demonstrated successfully and the technology available to entrepreneurs is better? This kind of nuisance behavior that people dislike is ironically how PayPal came to exist. It did an end run around banks. There wasn’t a PayPal, and paying through banks was just the terrible norm… until it wasn’t anymore.
However bad a given private company might be, the state is always worse. However giant and difficult to compete against a company might be, the state cannot be circumvented except under pain of death. “Customers” of the state do not get to walk away. Customers of PayPal do. Instead of only complaining, people need to do two things:
1. Create / financially support parallel institutions.
2. Get the government out of the industry parallel institutions are trying to emerge in, so that men with guns cannot decide today or ten years from now that a new regulation needs to exist that conveniently wipes out “undesirable” parallel institutions.
Give me the frustrating and problematic market any day of the week, because in ten years after things play out, I will always be in a better position than someone who put their trust in the state.