Kicking people off social media deprives them of the right to speak in our increasingly online world. Locking them out of the financial economy is worse: It deprives them of the right to make a living. We have seen how cancel culture can obliterate one’s ability to earn an income, but now the cancelled may find themselves without a way to pay for goods and services. Previously, cancelled employees who would never again have the opportunity to work for a Fortune 500 company at least had the option to go into business for themselves. But if they cannot purchase equipment, pay employees, or receive payment from clients and customers, that door closes on them, too.
What the woke Left doesn’t seem to realize is that the sort of economic desperation they seek to inflict on their enemies is exactly what produced Trump in the first place. In the wake of Trump’s 2016 victory, many in Washington and Silicon Valley were too busy blaming social media to consider how the policies they had supported in favor of globalization and free trade had hollowed out the industrial base that many working-class Americans depended on for good jobs. Trump channeled the anger of these desperate voters to win crucial swing states in the Rust Belt. These disaffected voters resented the cadre of managerial, media, academic, and governmental elites who acted as if they had a monopoly on truth, morality, and decency. Trump, the outrageous, uncouth billionaire with ridiculous hair, was the perfect avatar of their desire to stick it to them.
Trump is gone, but the resentments he exploited to come to power remain. And now we have this unholy alliance of tech and government coming together to ban “misinformation” and “hate,” which they — and they alone — get to define. What an ideal formula for spreading and deepening these preexisting resentments.