Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

As libertarians, we find ourselves constantly battling both sides of the isle in order to preserve liberty and our rights granted by the constitution.  Freedom of speech can get especially tricky when people are spouting messages you don’t personally believe. Regardless, as Libertarians, we value the right for anyone and everyone speak their mind.  If it gets out of control and those words turn out to be lies, then recourse through liable and slander laws are there to protect the innocent.

No matter of how we feel about what someone says; nobody in the United States has the right to censor that opinion.   

A few weeks ago, Twitter took it upon themselves to remove Alex Jones and his alt-right Info-wars accounts from their system.  Jones has been banned from other social media platforms and Twitter was about his last place to post his conspiratorial ramblings.  This is not unprecedented for Twitter. The social media giant has a long list of accounts they have banned over the years. (Check Wikipedia for an entertaining list of culprits)

This may surprise you, but I feel that its completely in Twitter’s right to kill the Info-wars accounts if they so choose.  While they may state that they are a mouthpiece available to everyone, Twitter is not a true public news forum… Its a private company that makes business decisions that it feels will enhance the social experience for all of its users.   If someone is saying something deemed hateful, mean or possibly too fanciful. They can get their account “nuked”. Twitter gets to make that call. (We could argue about religious organizations, terrorists and other fringe groups being allowed accounts, but that is not what this article is about.)  

Why the website of the Libertarian Party of Greater Peoria, Libertyplays.com, matters.  

I am not going to pull your leg and tell you that we are a bountiful spring of Libertarian content… We put out content as local or national issues become important to us.  Our biggest asset is that we are owned and operated by our members. Libertyplays is not affected by political correctness or censorship. If we post here… It’s ours. If or when political climates change… Your social media posted content on other sites is at the mercy of what is considered offensive that day.  

If you believe that posting to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media outlet is freedom of speech… You are wrong.  It’s time to change your perception. These are companies that make a profit off of your media and content. Anytime you sign up with a free service, you are given a large document full of fine print to read (or not read) in order to start using the service.  Have you met anyone who didn’t click “I agree”? And when you post to their “engine”… You sign off that they have ultimate control of whether its net appropriate.

Net appropriate today may be a far cry from what’s allowed in 5 or 10 years.  You may find yourself getting an email in the future that a social media site is removing content you posted.   All it will take is for someone to deem your content disagreeable and have it flagged. In fact, this has happened to many YouTube users over the past few years.  These constantly fluctuating censorship attempts show that it is dangerous to lock down all your content with one outlet. Worst case scenario, You can end up like Alex Jones, and find yourself with all your media deleted or blocked without a chance to defend yourself.  

Let’s also remember that we are not free to do anything we please on this little piece of the world wide web called Liberty Plays.  The web-host of Libertyplays.com could be pressed to remove us from their services, should we do something on the wrong side of public opinion.  It would be a fight and we should be able to win it! We ultimately own our content and can do with it as we please. We have paid to be here and it will take litigation to remove us!

Eric Stahl

Tazewell County Precinct Committeeman

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