Port: Do we really want Coca-Cola in charge of moderating speech in America?
MINOT, N.D. — While conservatives are traditionally seen as friends of big business, in recent years, it sure seems like it's our liberal friends who enjoy that alliance.
When North Carolina passed a state law concerning transgender bathrooms, the woke left successfully pressured the NBA into announcing they were pulling their All-Star game from Charlotte.
When Georgia passed pro-life legislation, the corporate barons in Hollywood launched a boycott .
In the finance industry, banks and investment firms have come under a tremendous amount of pressure to withhold capital and services from companies that deal with oil pipelines or firearms . It's been successful. Some credit card companies are refusing to process transactions involving guns , while some financial institutions are refusing to finance pipelines .
Most recently, it's been the social media industry in the crosshairs of this tactic. Corporate giants such as Coca-Cola, Pfizer, Volkswagen, Molson Coors and others have put a pause on social media advertising after being pressured to do so by a left-wing coalition who say there's too much hate speech on platforms like Facebook.
There is a lot of hate on Facebook and Twitter, and just about any other internet service you could mention that allows user content. There is a robust debate to be had about what limits, if any, there should be for online speech.
Do we want Coca-Cola in charge of where those lines should be drawn?
Should Pfizer be the arbiter of what you're allowed to say on Facebook?
Are legislators required to run their proposed bills by the NBA's marketing department first?
For years we've heard our friends on the left bemoan the influence of big business in America, and yet we're now watching them use the potent influence of big business to advance their politics.
Do we want corporate America to be our cultural enforcers?
Our friends on the left do.
I don't think these companies have much interest in policy outside of the areas of their business. The NBA just wants you to watch their basketball games; they don't care much about North Carolina's public bathroom laws.
Coca-Cola wants to sell soda, not moderate Facebook comments.
Still, their influence is being used to police speech and enforce a particular political platform, and we ought to be wary about where that road leads.
Some of you might counter by pointing out that corporate America has long sought to influence politics. That's true, but this tactic is far more pernicious than, say, an automaker donating money to a preferred candidate, and typically corporations have focused their efforts on the policies which impact their bottom line, not broader cultural questions.
America, and all free societies, are best-served by free-wheeling discussions and policy debates. It may be chaotic and challenging at times, but better that than the stifling alternative, whether it be implemented by an oppressive government or a corporate hegemony.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com .