No, the First Amendment Doesn’t Constrain Private Parties

(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Editor:

Justifiably angered by large tech firms’ restrictions on content contrary to today’s Progressive narrative, you unjustifiably conclude that “[t]ech firms that dominate the flow of information in the U.S. and censor at the behest of powerful Democrats also deserve First Amendment scrutiny” (“The Progressive Purge Begins,” January 11).

You mock the First Amendment by proposing to turn it into a tool for use by an arm of government – the courts – to achieve precisely what the amendment is meant to prevent, namely, government superintendence and control of private citizens’ peaceful decisions about how to express themselves using their own property.

I share your fury at, and fear of, many decisions made today by companies such as Twitter and Amazon. But I don’t share your confidence that this problem can be solved by government. And I’d be much more furious at, and fearful of, the Orwellian specter of government unleashed to superintend and control peaceful expression in the name of protecting it.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

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