Much mockery has been made of young socialists in America decrying and denouncing capitalism using social media on their iPhones. Deservedly so – these youngsters routinely fail to realize that the reason their lives are so good, so easy, and so full of the free time they use to engage in protests is born of capitalism and free markets. They also fail to realize that much of what they decry is actually the product of government meddling. Cronyism, preferential treatment (and its opposite – government routinely punishes the disfavored), inefficiencies and distortions that produce undesired outcomes… none of these are “capitalism.”

The best we can do with these people is try to explain all this to them, and hope we can plant some seeds that will grow, weeks or months or years down the road, into a better understanding that their indignation and wrath are misplaced.

Sometimes, though, it feels like I’m beating my head against a rock, or sweeping back the tide. Sometimes, it feels like people simply refuse to think about their views.

The brouhaha regarding social media’s censorship of the Hunter Biden story, and the mainstream press’s Prava-esque blackout and tear-downs, tells quite a tale. By any measure of journalistic integrity, the allegations, emails, and other evidence set forth by the New York Post warrants a good, hard look, a robust public debate, and the sort of Fourth Estate digging that the public relies on to keep government at least slightly honest.

We got the opposite. We got the Press instantly dismissing it all as either unsubstantiated folderol not even worthy of consideration, or as actual Russian disinformation (despite any evidence to that effect). On top of that, we have tech billionaires deciding that the stories violated one of their mysterious and arcane standards, to the extent of warranting limitations on the sharing of the stories on some platforms, and an outright lockdown of the New York Posts’ Twitter account. For the purposes of this story, I did a quick Google search on “Hunter Biden story” and was offered a full page of “nothing to see here, move along” hits.

A cynic would conclude that all this was about the election, since it had the potential to harm Biden’s chances. A cynic would be correct. This was (and will continue to be) a set of blatant efforts intended to influence an election and the political landscape.

Efforts by the powerful and the wealthy. Efforts that are not only excused, but applauded, by a segment of the electorate.

Flash back a decade, to January 2010. The Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in the case of Citizens United v. FEC that “the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for political communications by corporations, including nonprofit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.”

This should have been an easy and obvious conclusion. Your speech rights don’t end when you speak as part of a group, and they don’t end when you spend money to make your words better heard. Speech costs money, down to the nitty-gritty. Whether you advertise, donate, get a computer and Internet access, or buy pen and paper, you’re spending money. Even a soap box upon which to stand costs money.

Alas, a segment of the electorate saw Citizens United as an utter affront, and carried on for years about electing a President and Congress that would see it overturned.

That segment and the one applauding the lockdown on the Hunter Biden story are mostly one-and-the-same. The people who’ve spent a decade railing against Big Money’s disproportionate influence on politics are applauding Big Money working to influence politics.

Once again, we see a manifestation of the Joy Behar Rule, wherein people excuse behaviors they normally decry when those behaviors advance their preferred outcomes.

Yes, I know, you can’t swing a dead cat around the political sandbox without hitting a dozen hypocrites, but that doesn’t mean we can’t call it out. Sadly, the people who are now applauding billionaires’ political activities (with the exception of the few who’ve thrown in against the Dems – they are evil incarnate) don’t realize that there’ll come a day when the precedent they’ve abetted works against them.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

2+

Like this post?