That’s the title of a tortured op-ed in a recent Wall Street Journal by Matthew Prince, Co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare. Recall that he and his Cloudflare helped kick a group of neo-Nazis off the internet last week, including the Daily Stormer Web site. He bragged at the time about having done that, and as despicable as neo-Nazi and Nazi wannabe thugs are, that’s an easy brag.
In this op-ed, though, Prince is claiming to be having second thoughts.
As an opponent of free speech, Mr Prince, of course you were right to censor any speech you personally would consider repugnant. As a biased opponent of free speech, moreover, you’re entirely correct to leave your favored-of-the-Left hate groups—Antifa and BLM, for instance—untouched by your censorship.
But this—this is impressively shabby.
[T]he First Amendment doesn’t compel private companies to let anyone broadcast on their platforms.
No, more than merely shabby. This is utterly, cynically disingenuous. It’s true in the narrowest, most legalist sense that the First Amendment only limits government’s ability to censor speech. But the principle underlying that Amendment, the individual liberty to speak freely in accordance with one’s own conscience rather than in comportment with a Know Better’s diktat is universal. It’s one of our unalienable Rights…among [which] are…Liberty….
Of course, as the son of a journalist [growing up] with discussions around the dinner table on the importance of freedom of speech, you know this full well.
Your Orwellian missive, with its artificial, bodice-ripping anguish, is at best mendacious.