I’ve seen this going around the web a lot these past few weeks so I thought I’d take a moment to comment on it all because pretty much everyone has been getting it all completely wrong. Now I don’t want to point fingers but it seems that a lot of people think that they have a right to speak using the forum of any company, or for that matter, individual on the Internet and nobody can tell them no.
They are mistaken.
The only group that cannot censor you is the government and even then it’s not an absolute right. Try telling state secrets to our enemies, see how long it takes the government to “censor” you. For anyone who thinks that’s a bad thing, you’re just wrong.
Otherwise though, while you are perfectly free to speak, you do not have a right to force others to provide a platform for your speech. You can stand on a soap box on the street corner and speak your mind but you cannot force TV stations to carry your screed. You cannot force newspapers to print your manifesto. You have a right to free speech, you do not have a right to have your free speech heard, especially on someone else’s dime.
Yet that’s apparently what a lot of people want. I don’t want to make this partisan, but I can’t think of a single recent post on this topic that didn’t come from the left and it seems they just don’t understand it and I want to be helpful. See, when you log onto a service like Google or Facebook, you automatically agree to follow their acceptable use policy. It’s not something you can opt out of. It’s not something you can get around. It’s their house, their rules. If you don’t like their rules, don’t go there. Find somewhere else more appropriate for your screed. Don’t bitch about it, it does no good. This becomes annoying when people whine endlessly that they ought to have the right to post anything they want to a site, just because it’s popular and has a broad reach and, more often than not, is absolutely free to use. Waah! They want to post things that everyone gets to see for free and if they can’t do it, they’re going to hold their breath until they turn blue!
Sorry, cry me a river.
Now if you really want to post your opinions to the Internet, go buy yourself a domain, find someone to host it that doesn’t have rules against whatever you’ll be writing and then you’re free to post whatever you want to post until the cows come home, at least within reason. There are some things you can’t post at all. You can’t post kiddy porn. You can’t post bomb-making instructions. You can’t harass people or threaten people. If that’s what you want to do, stick your head in a blender, you’re an idiot. You simply cannot expect another company or individual to be required to host your dogma when they are paying the bills. If you want that freedom, you pay the bills. Then you can make the rules.
I really don’t get where people think the Internet is a democracy. It’s not. It never has been. It never will be. Like everything else, it is a business. Deal with it. Just like you can’t walk into Macy’s and start ranting at their customers about whatever topic impinges on your little mind, you can’t walk into the Google+ forums and start preaching about things that you’ve agreed, by your very presence there, not to do. You have no Constitutional right to post to any forum anywhere online. You just don’t.
So please get over it.