Many digital platforms have become active in removing articles, posts, links, and accounts that they think are offensive and incorrect.

This is a good thing. It is the solution to censorship, it is not censorship.

Censorship involves force. Shut up about this or you will be stopped with threat of physical violence. It is an evil committed by a state backed with police.

Free association, free exchange, and free speech are different. If I invite you to my house I can ask you to leave if you don’t abide my house rules. If I own a product or service I can choose to sell to whom I wish, and stop selling to any customer at any time for any reason. If I do not have this right, then property rights don’t exist in practice, and with no property rights there are no individual rights, and therefore no rights at all and we are all slaves to the diktats of bureaucrats and/or the mob.

Companies who offer free access to platforms they own and maintain are free to remove anyone at any time for any reason. No matter how dumb the reason may be – how ignorant, fear based, dangerous, or cowardly – I will never do anything but support their right to do it.

Personally, I can’t think of a single case of de-platforming that I liked. Personally, I prefer platforms with a wide range of crazy, insane, offensive, and controversial takes. Personally, I think it’s almost always cowardly and promotes dangerously conformist discourse. I get bummed when people get banned. But I would never turn that bummerness into cries to prohibit the practice.

The fact that platform owners are free to associate or dis-associate, and the fact that users are free to support or protest these moves, and the fact that new platforms are free to emerge anytime with any rules they want, means we have a peaceful, dynamic, evolving process of creating competing niches, mainstreams, counter-mainstreams, and on and on. And they change all the time! Most “mainstream” platforms started as niches. They grew around a niche, outgrew it and became safer and more boring, until the cool edgy users fled looking for a new one. This is happening constantly and it’s beautiful.

Instead of trying to replace it with rigid government rules and force, we should be trying to replace rigid government rules and force with voluntary de and re-platforming.

I should be able to de-platform any politician or policy I want. I should be free to join and leave whatever associations I want, pay or not pay whatever fees or taxes I choose for the services I choose, and peacefully abide only by what I’ve voluntarily agreed to.

The beauty, flexibility, freedom, growth, dynamism, humaneness, and civility that emerges from such choice is many times better than fighting over who gets to wield the baton of absolute power at any time and finagling so that they use it to beat our enemies.