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Scary Understanding

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:


Although he’s a bit unclear in his conclusion, Vivek Ramaswamy seems to call for government to prevent Facebook and other private social-media companies from influencing the spread of ideas and public debate (“Antitrust Can’t Bust a Monopoly of Ideas,” August 5). And, irony of ironies, Mr. Ramaswamy cloaks his call for such intervention in the same principles that justify separation of church and state.

The separation of church from state is meant to prevent particular ideas and beliefs from being suppressed or promoted by the state. Implicit in this separation is the understanding that churches thereby are to be free to use whatever peaceful means are at their disposal to spread their ideas and influence beliefs. If some churches become ‘dominant’ and some beliefs pushed heavily and successfully (as was true in the U.S. for a long time for Christianity), that is no argument against the separation of church and state. And it certainly is no reason to violate this sacred principle by empowering the state to regulate churches.

The same logic applies to freedom of expression. This sacred freedom is freedom from interference by the state. To call on the state, in the name of protecting freedom of expression, to regulate what private companies say or allow to be expressed on their platforms is monstrously Orwellian and utterly hostile to a free society.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
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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