We’ve entered a critical time in history: One that may well define the very definition of “freedom” for our children. For most of us, the idea that freedom of speech is under attack feels absurd. Most grew up generally accepting the right to speak freely as a unified front. But alas, big technology companies continue to reverse a course we assumed un-reversible.
PayPal’s CEO, Dan Schulman, becomes the latest model of censorship warfare machine. During a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Schulman explicitly made clear a social justice agenda. Worse more, he confirmed aligning with left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center. Writer Peter Rudegeair titled the article, “PayPal CEO Grapples with Fringe Groups,” a name that understates and deceives the contents of the piece.
PayPal is the largest merchant processor in the world. Last year, PayPal processed almost $600 billion. This means PayPal’s penetration into global business is stratospheric. People all over the world use PayPal to pay for products, transfer money to friends and family, and start small businesses. There is little doubt that fraud stresses PayPal’s infrastructure. Where cash flows, so do criminal aspirations. Beyond internal fraud prevention efforts, the government extends oversight via statutes meant to prevent terrorist funding and money laundering.
PayPal’s efforts at government compliance lead to the creation of internal scrubbing protocols aimed at preventing terrorists from leveraging their financial system. Naturally, PayPal utilizes self-policing of its ecosystem for both federal compliance purposes and moral alignment. In other words, government standards on terrorism financing prevention are healthy and agreeable to most normal people. But PayPal’s alliance with SPLC reflects a dangerous state of ethos.
Schulman says the following during his WSJ interview.
“Probably the most important value to us is diversity and inclusion.” And, he continues, “our mission is to democratize financial access for all citizens so that managing and moving money is a right for everybody, not a privilege for the affluent.”
It’s the first statement we hang on because such rhetoric sounds out of place for a financial system. Particularly one that increasingly seems bent on shaping the world from its left-wing mold rather than servicing merchants. We don’t need to change the constitution to eliminate free speech; we can merely defund the merchants we don’t agree with.
Schulman says that the company determines which groups it allows to process with help from SPLC. And that’s extremely troubling, given SPLC’s past that’s riddled with extremist positions.
Last month, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes filed a lawsuit against SPLC after it labeled his organization a “hate group.” The “hate group” designation is assigned frequently by SPLC to numerous businesses annually. The label carries significant consequences along with it. Facebook, Twitter, and yes, PayPal, banned Proud Boys from their platforms.
“Mr. McInnes is essentially an untouchable, unable to retain or be considered for gainful employment in his line of work,” the lawsuit claims. SLPC claimed that Proud Boys promoted violence among its members, something McInnes denies.
PayPal And SPLC History of Banning
Last year, SPLC apologized to British political activist Maajid Nawaz for labeling him an “anti-Muslim extremist.” SPLC also began paying out a $3.4 million settlement to Nawaz. SLPC listed Nawaz’s name in a 2016 piece titled, A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.
“Given our understanding of the views of Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam, it was our opinion at the time that the Field Guide was published that their inclusion was warranted,” SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a statement. “But after getting a deeper understanding of their views and after hearing from others for whom we have great respect, we realize that we were simply wrong to have included Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam in the Field Guide in the first place.”
Maybe you feel one way or the other in each case. You might find one or both reprehensible; it isn’t my job to convince you to feel any specific way. The question we all need to ask, however, is if it’s PayPal’s job to ask these questions? Because that’s what is happening and it reaks of colossal overstep.
In the same WSJ piece, Schulman admits that he doesn’t “always agree” with SLPC positions or recommendations, but he gives no clues as to what defines “agreement.” Because, doing so might limit his reach to shut down disagreeable merchants, or adapt to ever-changing leftwing positions. The “hate” business grows annually as more leftwing positions evolve. That’s the “progressive” part in all of this.
The free market regulates itself when given the opportunity. People defund absurd ideas by not paying for them. We hardly need nanny state infrastructure to manage our herd., But that’s precisely what we now have.
Banking – The Ultimate Globalist Censor
Facebook and Twitter censoring harm our ability to speak our minds and experience diverse viewpoints. But banking industry censoring annihilates free speech. When banks refuse to hold funds, transfer funds, or process funds, for ideas the bank doesn’t agree with, the idea evaporates into thin air.
As it stands, gun distributors can’t use PayPal. That might seem like a good thing if you feel strongly that guns are bad, but ultimately, it is another leftwing chess piece that slides across the board. And the board continues to stack against the free exchange of ideas.
There exist no doubt that activities such as terrorism and pedophilia should be defunded and prosecuted. Unfortunately, PayPal feels morally entitled to play out a slippery slope and all its consequences right before our eyes.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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