≡ Menu

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 279 of Deirdre McCloskey’s excellent 2019 volume, Why Liberalism Works: How True Liberal Values Produce a Freer, More Equal, Prosperous World for All (original emphasis):

What the First Amendment says is that the government shall make no law abridging liberty of speech. It’s not about being unable to get an audience of half a million readers for your side of the argument because you don’t own a big-city newspaper. You can say to yourself or your hubby, “Oh, that’s a lot of nonsense. The Tribune is wrong again, and if it goes on saying that I’m going to stop buying the bloody newspaper.” It’s an argument in a free market society….

Having a media problem, in other words, is not the same thing as being disenfranchised or censored, not unless the government is involved. There’s no ideal speech community of easy access to serve as the utopia relative to the actual, messy market for Google or newspapers or whatever.

DBx: Deirdre is here writing chiefly to members of the LGBT community. She’s reminding them that any frustrations they experience at trying to have op-eds, videos, and other materials carried by existing media companies or private outlets are not the result of violations of their free-speech rights. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is meant to prevent people’s efforts to speak from being obstructed by government. Deirdre’s point, of course, is both correct and not audience-specific.

A person acting in a private capacity cannot violate the First Amendment. I do not violate any of your First Amendment rights by refusing to reprint your criticism of – or your praise of – me, or of anyone or anything else, here at Cafe Hayek. The New York Times does not violate any of my First Amendment rights by refusing to run an op-ed of mine. Google does not violate any of Dennis Prager’s First Amendment rights by using a search algorithm that brings up fewer of his videos than would be brought up by different search algorithms.


Next post:

Previous post: