Monday, August 22, 2016

Power of the Purse

Tom Scocca:

If you want to write stories that might anger a billionaire, you need to work for another billionaire yourself, or for a billion-dollar corporation. The law will not protect you. There is no freedom in this world but power and money.

Anyone who is interested can find plenty of articles arguing over the potential ramifications of this ruling. Suffice it to say, I am yet to be convinced that this is the catastrophic disaster for free speech and a free press that Gawker and its defenders would have you believe, and that's not just because I've loathed that scumbag media empire and its guttertrash army of tabloid hacks for years. At any rate, whatever, good riddance, I wouldn't have murdered them myself, but this is still an obituary I will read with immense satisfaction. I only make note of this because I got an unexpected, ironic laugh as I read the above excerpt. As I said once in reference to culture-war boycotting, the social media progressive's favorite sport:

As other critics have noted, this tendency to let the market referee our moral disputes is pure neoliberal logic, which you would think the left would be wary of endorsing. You would expect them to object to a standard where the people willing to throw their money around most aggressively should get to set the terms of debate and the moral agenda. After all, aren't we constantly being told that the rich are all right-wingers with more money than the rest of us put together?

I'm too lazy to look for all the other times I made similar points about how, if free speech is going to be made practically exclusive to those rich enough to be able to withstand the vindictive economic embargo imposed on them for exercising it, we shouldn't be surprised at the predictable results. Nevertheless, it was all fun and games when we were "merely" trying to bankrupt this or that business over some offensive faux pas, or getting a guy fired for having donated his own money years ago to support a perfectly legal ballot initiative. It's like Stalin said, when one guy with a billion dollars spends his money in support of his values, it's a tragedy, but when millions of self-righteous progressives band together and threaten to withhold money they never intended to actually spend in hopes of putting an offensive company out of business, it's social justice. (That's not verbatim, of course, but it's pretty much the spirit of it.)

You know how everybody says, "I'm not one to say 'I told you so'?" Well, I am the one to say it. You made your hell, now burn in it.