Don’t Minimize Conservative Concerns About Big Tech Censorship

One glaring lesson of the last four years is that making assumptions about the Republican electorate is a dangerous game. Yet I’m told in the pages of National Review it’s a “blunt truth” that “most red Americans either don’t know or don’t care about social-media censorship.”

I wouldn’t be so bold as to assume “most,” in fact, do care. But the signs are hard to miss. That’s why I was genuinely baffled to come across this paragraph in David French’s take on the Steven Crowder controversy:

Here’s the blunt truth, however — most red Americans either don’t know or don’t care about social-media censorship. They certainly don’t care enough to delete their apps. This isn’t a market failure; it’s a market verdict. Apathy rules, and this apathy is sustained in part because social-media companies have chosen their targets carefully. There are few normal Americans who want to jump off their favorite app because YouTube censored someone who uses phrases like ‘lispy queer’ or because Facebook ditched Alex Jones, a man who claimed the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax.

“Those who do truly care about censorship are a rounding error in the market,” French continues. “They’re part of the tiny slice of American citizens who are not only engaged in online conservative politics, they’re motivated enough to do something about censorship.”

First, there is an important distinction between not caring and not caring enough to delete your apps that is lost in the argument above. It’s of course possible to have serious concerns about a service and still use it regularly (a position with which many conservatives are familiar). Concern and apathy can exist alongside one another. Given other factors, it makes little sense to read the “market verdict” in this case as an indication that Republican social media users don’t care about viewpoint discrimination.
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