For a lot of us, the events in Charlottesville were a terrifying glimpse into an emboldened white nationalist movement. For others, it was apparently an opportunity to lecture Facebook friends about free speech. This divide got super weird in Boston on August 19th, when a group of free speech advocates were met with thousands of folks who'd rather talk about Nazi problems.
So, uh, why is free speech suddenly a point of contention? Doesn't everyone love the First Amendment? That's why it's first, right? Well, the answer is as stupid as the sudden need for the question ...
The Internet Tricked People Into Thinking Free Speech Is In Jeopardy
The internet has spoiled us into believing that everyone is entitled to a platform, and we've confused that entitlement with "free speech." But ask any expert, and you'll quickly learn that being kicked off of social media, denied by a web server, or booted from a forum is not a free speech violation. Those are private companies that can do whatever the hell they want.
In the case of the Nazi blog Daily Stormer being booted off GoDaddy, that was the result of the site breaking its terms of service by deliberately inciting violence. But the web hosting company never had an obligation to allow the site in the first place. If you think that violates their freedom of speech, then you're probably also confused as to why there's no cable network called "We Don't Like Nazis But Here's A Channel Devoted To Them." Nazis may have the right to say Nazi things, but they aren't guaranteed the right to a service that amplifies their gross word farts.
Freedom of speech also doesn't protect you from getting fired for saying dumb s**t. You might have heard of the guy who got tossed from Google for sending out an idiot memo claiming that women were genetically bad at tech jobs. Well, the legal action he's now taking has nothing to do with free speech -- because in California (and a lot of places), companies have the right to terminate you for just about whatever reason. And to be super clear, despite the terminated employee's current "Fired4Truth" speaking tour, every science "truth" he used in the memo was egregiously misinterpreted.