Recently, the white supremacist and neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer was effectively banned from the Internet by the likes of Google, the security firm Cloudflare, and the domain hosting site GoDaddy. Allegedly, the reason for the ban was because the Daily Stormer helped to organize the radical “Unite the Right” rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month. But while most Americans would be quick to defend the actions taken by Google, GoDaddy and Cloudflare, one nonprofit organization has actually come forward in defense of the Daily Stormer, arguing that this kind of Internet censorship is dangerous and potentially detrimental to our society.
Cindy Cohn, CEO of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), came out in support of the Daily Stormer, writing in a blog post, “We strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google and Cloudflare did here was dangerous.”
“Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected,” the EFF continued. “We do it because the power to decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t is just too dangerous to hand to any company or any government.”
While your typical leftist would most likely look at such a statement and automatically assume that the Electronic Frontier Foundation supports neo-Nazis or the KKK, the truth is that the EFF has a valid point. We the People should not just sit back and watch as companies like Google and GoDaddy censor online content without questioning where they get the authority to do that in the first place. The law of the land is the United States Constitution, not some Internet guidelines written at a desk in some corporate office.
Think of it this way – if companies are allowed to censor free speech in the same way that Google, GoDaddy and Cloudflare censored the Daily Stormer, then what exactly is the point of having the First Amendment in the first place? Why have the freedom of speech if it is routinely ignored by political ideologues looking to silence those with whom they disagree? That’s like an umpire at a baseball game sending a player back to the dugout after only two strikes instead of three, and then claiming that he has authority over rules that have been in place since the beginning. Why have a rulebook (or in the case of Google and GoDaddy’s censorship of the Daily Stormer, the Constitution) if its not going to be followed or even respected? (Related: Portland mayor wants to label all speech he disagree with as “hate speech”.)
Besides the blatant usurpation of the Constitution, the other problem with censoring certain content on the Internet is that it sets us off on a slippery slope towards tyranny. Paula Bolyard of PJ Media recently made this very argument in a piece entitled, “The Slippery Slope of Internet Blacklisting.”
“Where could all this lead?” Bolyard wrote, referring to the ongoing effort to censor certain content on the Internet. “What’s to stop GoDaddy (which is the domain name registrar for PJM) from deciding to stop providing services to other sites that the mob decides shouldn’t exist?”
Regarding the suppression of the Daily Stormer, Paula Bolyard argued, “the same people who are screaming loudest that the site shouldn’t be allowed to exist would do the same to PJM or any other conservative site in a heartbeat.”
It’s important to note that neither Cindy Cohn nor Paula Bolyard is arguing that the perpetuation of white nationalism, racism and bigotry is something that we should all just accept. On the contrary, they are arguing that a threat equally as significant as extreme racism is the mentality that the freedom of speech can be twisted and morphed whenever it is most convenient. Both are issues that all Americans should be taking seriously, because both threaten the future of this country.