Speech Police of Silicon Valley | Katherine Mangu-Ward | Ep 13

Speech Police of Silicon Valley | Katherine Mangu-Ward | Ep 13

– Welcome to Kibbe on
Liberty, today we’re talking to Katherine Mangu-Ward
who is the Editor in Chief at Reason Magazine and
we’re gonna deal with free speech and its enemies and
ask the most fundamental question, is Mark Zuckerberg an alien from a planet of lizards? Check it out. (rock music) So you guys are launching a new website, when does the new website come out? – If all goes well it will be live before the end of the month,
and yeah, 50 years worth of Reason Archives, not to
mention every passing blog posty thought from the entire
late 90’s and early aughts There’s a lot to move over. – Has Lanny Friedlander’s
stuff, like the first stuff has it always been on there? – Yes, it’s on there, it
holds up surprisingly well. Especially his manifesto
from the very first issue. Which has this great logic not legends, coherence not contradictions, it feels very on point. We printed it on t-shirts
this year just to – I have one of those t-shirts. – remind ourselves where we come from. – I was gonna wear it but I
thought that would be a little – But then you thought
Lebowski 2020 instead was the way to go. – Yeah makes more sense. Katherine Mangu-Ward the Editor
in Chief of Reason Magazine. What number are you of editors? – It’s a little bit hard to count actually because there were some
editorial collectives in the early days but officially. – Sounds very libertarian. – Very libertarian.
Officially I am the 9th editor of Reason and the 3rd female editor. – Yeah and perhaps the first
editor with purplish hair. – The last editor of Reason. – Yeah. – Because after that it’s all
just gonna be done by robots. – Oh totally, yeah. So I think this is a pretty perfect time, or maybe a depressing time to have you on because I’m obsessed with free speech and Mark Zuckerberg’s recent
op-ed in the Washington Post. He’s been banging his drum,
please government help me regulate speech online. And I feel like the
conversation we’re gonna have today, is free speech dead? Is it done? Is it over? And Reason Magazine from
day one we were talking about Lanny Friedlander your
founder, it was and maybe people in the comments
can correct me but I feel like if I was to point to
one journalistic endeavor. One magazine that was
consistently free speech over all 50 years,
there’s been no waffling. There’s been no, well,
but, maybe, this time we need to censor speech. But even the ACLU is in the tank and what the hell’s going on? – I don’t know, I mean I
do think that question, the question of is free speech in trouble? Are we at the end of free speech? Is related now so tightly
to the question of, are we also at the end of
the era of the free internet? Because I think for a long time the unregulated space of the internet, the wild west ethos that
pervaded particularly early online communities, it
gave an extra lease on life to free speech. I think free speech would have been long since over if it weren’t
for this extra frontier and so part of my natural
futurist tendencies is to say well the next
internet will save us. Whatever it is and I
am not a technologist. I am not an entrepreneur,
so I actually don’t know what that is and I don’t
know when it’s coming but certainly our politics
aren’t going to save us. So we have to hope for that. – I’ve tended to be a romantic as well and Nick Gillespie just
published a piece where he quotes John Perry Barlow and
I’m part of that vision that the internet was going
to create the right to know and equalize things across
all classes and cultures and government attempts at censorship. And we just had Patrick
Byrne on he is working on something that he calls a
tech stack for civilization and so he’s got blockchain
solutions to everything. Ironically we didn’t
talk about a blockchain solution to Facebook and
I know there are projects out there that are doing
that, but he’s doing voting that can’t be corrupted. He’s doing a stock market
that can’t be gamed. He’s doing enforceable property rights in places like Africa
where getting the title to your home has been impossible. I believe and it’s more
a faith-based thing, then a tech-based thing. – Right which is unsatisfying
to rationalists, right? I think this also gets us into the problem of people on the Right
and people on the Left. Each have a solution to
the problem of speech. Or the problems that free
speech represents, right? And so on the Left we
now have this extensive sort of recursive, self
consuming conversation about hate speech and intersectionality what’s permissible to say and
what’s not permissible to say. And that conversation has
left the idea of free speech fundamentals so far behind, right? There’s now just a totally
different framework on the Left for how would we even think
about what people are allowed to say and the idea maybe
people should be allowed to say whatever they want is gone
from that conversation. And of course on the
Right, people have always wanted to protect the children
from the adult content or to minimize the realm for
violent or sexual speech. I mean I’m sure you and I
are old enough to remember the V-chip and other associated, which were actually bipartisan. But I think that conversation on the Left and the Right has now
moved into this space. And of course also on the Right now, what should we do about
the fact that those lefties in Silicon Valley won’t
let us say whatever we want on their platforms? Which is to my mind totally
antithetical to the true principles of free speech. The ACLU has moved much
more in the lefty direction and I think that leaves
a certain type of civil libertarian quite lonely
in the middle saying speech isn’t violence. People who own platforms
get to decide what appears on their platforms, anyone
can say anything they want in the public space, the end. – It does feel kind of
lonely and I’m old enough to remember when conservatives
would rally against the fairness doctrine because
it was letting the FCC decide whose voice got heard,
which seemed like a bad idea. – And now we have the
President tweeting and saying, well, tweeting some quite
extreme rhetoric although I think as is the pattern
with Donald Trump, what he says he might
do or what he asserts he is allowed to do is
quite different then what he actually does. And in the current issue
of Reason we actually have a really interesting
piece by Gene Healy who is the foremost theorist of the
ever expansive executive. He’s written a huge amount about how recent presidents have– – Cato scholar. – Cato scholar Gene Healy,
and he says actually couple years in here, even
though Trump’s rhetoric is quite extreme, he will
probably leave the Presidency diminished in power. He will probably actually
wind up not pushing the envelope in the way that Obama did or even that Bush did. He is all talk, no action essentially, and while he is using powers that executives before him usurped, he has not so far actually expanded the scope of those powers. All that is by way of saying he says, I’m gonna take away your
citizenship if you burn a flag. What he might actually do
is follow in the footsteps of some of his early
20th century predecessors and use things like broadcast licensing or other kind of regulatory
measures to restrict speech. He’s said quite clearly,
maybe the fairness doctrine is a good idea, maybe we
should expand the scope of liable law, stuff like
that I think is where the actual legal frontier
exists on the Right. – Yeah and the other day
he suggested that we needed a government alternative to CNN globally. And I wonder if he’s like
trolling me every time he says this because I
agree with you like the things he says are sort of
fundamentally antithetical to limiting executive power
and keeping the government out of questions like
speech and everything else but it’s like a negotiating ploy. He’s either virtue signaling to his base or he’s trying to bring
corporations to the table so that he can get them to comply in some quote, unquote, voluntary way. – Right, which brings us
to our now monthly routine where Congress brings in some
head of a large corporation and wags their fingers and says hey you guys got to do better and usually there’s also
a part in the middle where they hold up their phones and like demand tech support
which is my favorite part. Where it’s like, my inner
tubes don’t have the right Googles on them, and you’re
like oh my god, please stop. – We should name names by the way. That was, who was that? – Well the series of tubes
comment is now like a real classic, I think that
was Ted Stevens, right? – Yeah, that the first. – Although it’s now so long
ago even, it’s just become a cultural meme but yeah,
it happens every time. There’s an infinite supply
of crotchety old grandpa’s whose phones don’t work,
who want to regulate. – The average age of a US
senator actually precedes the car, let alone the internet. – Yeah, exactly. To me though, the alarming
development isn’t the desire by a bunch of crotchety old
grandpa’s to tell people what to do, it’s Mark Zuckerberg
showing up and saying, yes, let’s do it. I would love to work with
you and this is of course the classic Baptist and
Bootleggers on the Reason podcast, on Monday. I misspoke and said
Baptist and Bootlickers, which is also true. – Seems more on point, yeah. – Frankly like the idea, you
know Senator, Congressman, I would love to work with
this august body who surely has the best interests of
the American people in mind, to regulate my competitors
out of existence, is essentially where Zuckerberg is. Now as a defensive posture
I understand it, right? If he’s looking out for
what are his Q1 reports gonna look like or what’s gonna
happen to his stock price? I get it, why he’s wound up where he has but I wish there was an alternate history where as an act of principle they said, you know what? This is not the business we’re in. – See I’m more cynical and I don’t wanna go all conspiracy theorist – Oh, do it. – on my dear audience.
– Yes you do. You really want to. – You watch the original
Mark Zuckerberg testimony and I’m fairly convinced
that he’s a lizard alien wearing a human face. (Katherine laughing) – We’re going actual
because, no I have long, I have put down this
marker I will say it again. When the lizard alien
faces come off, Shep Smith is clearly their leader like there’s just something about his eyes
that are too far apart. – But they’ve clearly taken
over the tech industry and they’re handing over their
mechanisms of our ultimate demise and we all know where
this ends up, at the matrix. This is what’s gonna happen. – Wow this is good, this was some quality. I thought you were gonna
go legit conspiracy but you went lizard people. So that’s good. Yeah no, I do think this idea though, there’s a reason that conspiracy theories are of interest again, right? There’s a reason that there’s been kind of an uptick, in particular, this sort of sub-genre of mainstream outlets
covering the ways in which conspiracy theories interact
with mainstream politics of typically of conservatives, right? There’s a lot there right now but I get it, that it’s
hard not to be a conspiracy theorist when the part
that’s happening in front of the cameras is big
government and big business agreeing to work together
to restrict your speech. Like that’s the part
they’re saying while people are watching. So I am not myself a conspiracist,
I always always think you should assume
incompetence over conspiracy. That is a hard and fast
rule of human interactions but in this case it is clear that the situation that is
optimal for the most powerful people is one in which big tech and big government collaborate. – Yeah, I may have stolen
this from Alex Jones, I don’t know maybe he, I
don’t know who originated the lizard people thing
but there were some great memes on social media about that. But lets distinguish
between big C, Alex Jones wack job conspiracy theorist
versus small C, conspiracy theorist going all the
way back to Adam Smith. And I’m gonna steal your
phrase Baptist and Bootlickers. This was Bruce Yandle, I
think there’s an old Reason interview with Nick, with
Bruce Yandle who came up with the phrase Baptists
and I’m gonna say Boot– – Now you can’t say it, see. – I can’t even say it
– Once it’s in your head. – the right way.
– Bootleggers. – Bootleggers, which was
the unholy collusion between teetotalers who didn’t
want anybody to drink and bootleggers who
didn’t want a legal market that would undercut their price position. And that’s a fairly standard
practice in Washington DC. And Adam Smith talked about
it in The Wealth of Nations, the natural proclivity
of businesses to conspire against the public. I don’t think libertarians
emphasize that enough. We’re so busy defending
capitalism that we sort of ignore the fact that capitalism
in the modern context really is more about
cronyism than free markets. – I mean I would push
back a little bit on that and say I don’t think
it’s more about cronyism than the free market. I still think that the increase in trade and commerce
globally over the last couple of decades which, as you and
I have discussed many times, is the most powerful force
for good in recent memory, those are still fundamentally
expanding markets that dramatically
increase people’s choices. But it is important to
say that there’s a huge distinction between totally voluntary mutual gains from trade and that thing that we saw
in the Zuckerberg op-ed. The thing that we’re seeing on the Hill where it’s powerful people conspiring to limit the rights and
choices of ordinary people. And that I totally agree
with you that there’s no reason for libertarians
to reflexively defend anybody that’s making a profit. Making a profit is not a sign of virtue and this of course goes all the way back to our dear sainted Ayn Rand, who The Fountainhead is
a book about a genius who doesn’t thrive on the market. – A moment of reflection about Ayn Rand. – Right, yeah. I mean there is no reason
to think that the paycheck equals providing a good
or service that people genuinely want in every case. On the other hand I
still do think capitalism as a system is basically
functioning and functioning well. The thing that makes me
nervous in the interaction right now between big
tech and big government is it’s almost like there’s Baptists and Bootleggers but then there’s also Catholics. Like there’s a whole
bunch of different reasons to restrict speech and
a couple of choke points where it’s easy to do so. And I think that this
is a place where, again to be clear, if what
Facebook wants to do– Mark Zuckerberg wakes up
in the morning and says, no one can use the
letter E on my platform. Feel free buddy, like you do you. This is something that
I do think conservatives who have gotten banned or shadow banned or Zeppelin banned like I
feel like there’s all these different things again
sort of different levels of conspiracy there. About how true those things are. But conservatives who have
been pushed off a platform for autre speech, suddenly
tend to have caveats and they shouldn’t. It’s up to Jack, @jack, at Twitter if he wants to let Gavin
McInnes or Alex Jones or anybody speak, I
prefer a curated speech environment for the most part, right? I don’t just go out in the
street and talk to people because I don’t like people. I don’t like talking to human
beings as a general matter. – That’s a very libertarian approach, yes. – I just want to talk to
the people I wanna talk to. And you know the fact is
that Twitter and Facebook and other platforms have
enabled me to make my own choices about who I see speaking. And who I speak to. It doesn’t need to be
done at a higher level. It can be done at the
individual consumer level and the tendency to wave
that away is so intense on both sides and I don’t quite get it. Like both the Left and the Right say, oh sure you think you
can curate your own feed but that’s not the point. And it’s like no that’s 100% the point. That’s the whole point,
is that you can curate your own feed and you can
leave the platform entirely. – Yeah and I tend to pick
on conservatives more. We had Robby Soave on
and we spent a good hour picking on the woke
intersectionality of speech limits from the Left but you
see guys like Ted Cruz and famously Tucker
Carlson essentially calling Facebook in particular a public utility, and it needs to be treated like that. – Because our public utilities work great and everything is awesome
there so we should definitely put more stuff in that category. – And I’m mystified by both
sides because today the Left, if you want to regulate speech,
you take Mark Zuckerberg at face value and I wanna
get into the article because it’s ominous on many levels. But he’s basically saying
that the people in charge, who happens to be Donald Trump right now, they should decide what
appropriate speech is. Donald Trump who is literally a fascist to the woke Left and they wanna hand over the internet to these guys. And of course the same thing
I would say to the Right. AOC, Elizabeth Warren, fill in the blank. Who is your worst nightmare
as the future President of the United States? You’re going to give
her the power to decide whether or not you get to speak. And these arguments seem
to fall on deaf ears now. Like no one gets it like,
oh my god this government power thing, it might be dangerous. – It could flip sides, yeah,
well and the other place I think that you see
actually a very very similar coalition is in the
restriction of sex work and commerce around sex
on the internet, right? We’ve had the passage of FOSTA-SESTA which is a law that
takes a pretty big bite out of Section 230, which
is the part of the legal code that protects people
who operate platforms from liability for posting
on their platforms, right? So the idea that when you’re Facebook and someone posts a comment on Facebook, you are not liable for
whether that comment is accurate or fair or falls into any other legal category. And they basically took
a big bite out of that and said if you are facilitating commerce in sex, you are liable. And that immediately caused a shut down of most of the internet spaces,
the sort of the semi-public or public internet spaces where people were buying and selling sex. And that is an absolutely
classic Baptist and Bootleggers coalition, it was feminists
and social conservatives. Both of whom think sex work is bad. – Almost as bad as each other. – Right. – Yeah, almost. – And this is again in this case at least, they agree on the outcome which is like they don’t want people to buy
and sell sex on the internet. Of course people will
still buy and sell sex. They just do it in the
street now, which is bad. – No, no we’re this close to getting rid of a 2,000 year tradition. – Sure, I think 2,000
is conservative there but yeah, so I think
that’s another example of there can be kind of a weird bipartisan push to restrict certain types of speech. And this is something that
Elizabeth Nolan Brown, at Reason has been arguing for years. Which is, once you enable this pathway, it’s not just gonna be used for sex work. Once you enable a pathway
that basically says, we are just making a utilitarian calculus about where we can restrict speech to eliminate the bad thing, whatever it is, that we will start using that pathway for other restrictions. And in fact we’re already
there in some cases on national security, right? Like there are much less
publicized restrictions on speech, I think we all
remember the big debate over the de-platforming
of the YouTube video that may or may not have
caused riots at an embassy on September 11th anniversary. Also of course the War on Drugs. Any law that is passed that is meant to protect national
security will inevitably be used to go after some kind
of low level drug dealer. – And it already is. – And already is in so many ways. And so I think speech about
anything that some people don’t like is endangered
by the existence of this FOSTA-SESTA pathway and
by the existence of this collaboration between big
tech and big government. – I think you might have
said this on your podcast but the idea of creating
a regulatory framework to control Facebook is
essentially a merger of one of the largest most powerful
corporations in the world with the largest most
powerful entity in the world, which is the federal government. And of course Mark goes
a little bit further because he wants a global solution. – Sure, who doesn’t
want a global solution? Yeah, so I think, I mean
this is something that we talk about at Reason a lot. That government doesn’t like competitors. Government doesn’t like
a large powerful thing that meets people’s needs
that rises up alongside it. You can see this in lots of areas but I think you can argue. I don’t know that I would
go all in on arguing it. But I don’t think it’s
a crazy thing to say. That the combined power of social media is probably the biggest
threat to the State. And we’ve seen this, the
Arab Spring is about this. And periodic platform
shutdowns in Iran is about this and China’s super aggressive
internet censorship is about this. It is about the fact that
the most powerful entities in the world recognize
that this is the threat to their power. And that’s why it’s so
troubling to see Zuckerberg saying yes, co-opt me. Bring me into the fold. I wanna be part of your thing. I will not stand in opposition to it. – It is a combination of
creepy and maybe robot is a better analogy than lizard king but whatever it is. – Don’t malign robots like that. – Yeah I know you’re pro robots. – I’m pro robot, I’m
objectively pro robot. – His arguments are equally self serving and sort of pre-crime 1984
creepy at the same time because he’s like, you know
when it comes to language that’ll keep us safe, and he
just wants to keep us safe. Whenever someone says that I
run in the opposite direction. But it’s so self serving,
like if I’m gonna get blamed as a head of Facebook for hate speech. Why doesn’t someone else figure out what that is for me so I
can always point the finger at some government agency or
some quasi government agency. – And again as libertarian,
I often will say, listen I would rather
there be no regulation and no law about most things. But if there’s going to be regulation, if there are going to be laws, they should be clear. We should have rule of law, right? And so I am sympathetic
from that perspective to people who are saying, don’t surround me with a dark cloud of legal threats that are vague and undefined. Like tell me, tell me what’s illegal. I won’t publish stuff that’s illegal but you gotta tell me. And I think this is
something that’s interesting. Not that the press has
always totally honored its own mission statement about this. But in general,
particularly deep pocketed, large mainstream
publications, they’ve drunk their own Kool-Aid about
their role in society, right? I mean the New York Times, will fight for maximum leeway on
it’s own speech rights. Because they believe it’s morally good and also because it’s good
for their business model. And I think what we’re
seeing with social media is there is a divergence there, right? It may or may not be that
what’s good for society is good for their business model. And this is not to say
the answer which many people on the Left and
many people on the Right would say which is like, then abolish that business. Then perish, you know,
that’s not the right answer. But I think we are used
to the defenders of speech and the purveyors of
speech being the press who the incentives are better aligned. – Of course there is sort of that elitist pretense amongst old paper media. – Right, well that’s why I
say drunk their own Kool-Aid, right, because it is. – What we’re actually
smart enough to be arbiters of what is appropriate
speech we can be trusted but this internet thing. – Yeah, who knows what the kids
on the internets are saying. – No, like anybody could say anything. – This is the space where
magazines like Reason exist. This place in between
just any rando posting anything they want which
is a fully protected speech and any rando should be able
to post anything they want anywhere provided that
they’re within the terms of service and paying for it. At the same time, there
is a space somewhere south of all the news that’s fit to print. That’s the way it is. Three broadcast networks
and an evening paper. Where I think magazines
of opinion and start up publications and
pamphleteers back in the day and whatever else news net boards. There’s lots of in between space where moderated, edited content
can provide alternate views. And again I think it’s weird when we have the President of the United
States saying we need an alternative to CNN. That’s state sponsored. We have infinity alternatives to CNN. – Yeah, I can’t count. – This is an alternative to CNN. It’s done, that niche is
filled a thousand times over. It is glorious, fractal,
ecosystem of alternatives to CNN. Like this is not an empty space. – You know fake news is kind
of a version of fake news because everything you
just described is exactly how a market would work
through the process of vetting whether or not
information is credible. And you as the editor
in chief in a magazine you have a very strong incentive
not to publish garbage. Because if you develop a
reputation as publishing fake news or garbage,
people that are looking for real news are gonna go somewhere else. – Sure and there are also
people who publish garbage. And people consume garbage, right? Like people are trash, it’s fine. But if you’ve staked yourself
out as a purveyor of truth then yeah, you have lots
of incentives to attempt to get the story right. You know one thing I
do think is interesting to bring us back to the
Facebook question though, there’s been a lot of pivoting
to video in this world. In no small part because
Facebook fed false information to a lot of publications about the demand for video. So there is always an interesting bi-play between prices as
information which happens in many to most markets. But then there are also often
layers of third parties. I mean the ratings agencies
in the stock market is one reason that the
housing crisis happened. Rating agencies failed
because their incentives got screwed up and I
think we’re seeing that with these social media platforms. I mean Reason struggles
every day to figure out how do we honor our mission which is, we’re a non-profit and our mission is just to get stuff out there. We want people to see what we have to say. And one of the places
we do that is Facebook, Twitter, we do it on these platforms and every day we’re trying to figure out, how do we get it out there but also how do we not get ourselves in a position of dependence on it. If Mark Zuckerberg
wakes up and says no one can publish the letter E on this platform, we still need to be able to exist. – Yeah Free the People started very much as a Facebook centric
organization back when there seemed to be a lot less restrictions on content and it could be censorship. I mean they definitely put red flags over our videos about socialism for instance. Which absolutely suppresses the number of people that will see that. But it’s probably more
about just monetization like they view me as a piggy bank. And every time that I
want to publish something on any of our Facebook
properties, they’re like that’s money for us. And I get that, I mean
I could live with that but I think what we’re
thinking about is broad diversification in our distribution model. And it can’t just be social media. We gotta look at other types of platforms. – I have an idea, you
should print what you do on paper and mail it
to people every month. It’s a wild new business model
but I think it’s gonna work. – Everything comes full
circle and we’re gonna be killing a lot of trees
and publishing secret Tom Payne style rants and handing them out – I’m ready. – on the street. – I’m gonna oil up the mimeograph machine and we’ll be ready to go. – But lets go back
tonight, I wanna just wail on Mark Zuckerberg just a little bit more because this article that
showed up in the Washington Post a couple days ago. Happened about the same
time that the New Zealand mosque murders happened. And a third headline showed
up in the New York Times I think yesterday talking
about the Singapore government wanting to censor speech to protect people. And the reaction is, no no
no, that’s an authoritarian government that is
trying to squash descent. And I’m not sure what the difference is. Like how do you keep people
safe and not lose control of this process where
some future authoritarian is going to use it to squash descent? I don’t know how they score that circle. – I mean I think in New
Zealand, right, they banned the reproduction of the
shooters manifesto, right? – Yeah, you can’t share the
video, you can’t even read the manifesto and God
forbid you share it like the penalty for that is jail
time, real jail time. – Right and I do think
that’s the kind of thing that people say like well
that’s just common sense reform. And then the next thing you know, you’re down a very dark path. And so I think that is absolutely
the place to be vigilant. That is the place where the danger lies. Is in the moment of
crisis, when it feels like well what possible benefits could there be from letting people share
this nonsensical hate filled document which has
demonstrably directly connected to a horrific act of violence, right? It seems like well what’s the
harm in just restricting that? I mean we’re not saying you
can’t have your podcast. You know, yuppy Americans. And I think that’s really
the place where you need to throw up a barrier
and to me it’s always, it’s the distinction
between public and private and I know that it’s a
broken record thing to say and that it also isn’t satisfying because it isn’t a macro solution. It isn’t a single sweeping solution. It isn’t you cannot read
or publish this thing anywhere in the country, right? Which is the kind of thing
that people want to hear and instead to say, listen
it’s up to the owners of every website, of every physical private space, of every institution to decide whether that thing can be consumed or reproduced
inside their institution. And it’s doesn’t have
the sense of finality but there will always
be people like Reason who will say, or there
will always be people like the Danish paper that
reproduced the Mohammad cartoons, like there
will always be someone who will say, to suppress
this completely is to make it more dangerous. To make it forbidden is
to make it more powerful. Sunlight is a disinfectant. There will always be Charlie Hebdo’s. So that’s enough, that’s enough to me as long as you can leave
the safety valves in place but when Singapore or New
Zealand shuts those down, I think you set up a
very dangerous situation. – So you mentioned Charlie Hebdo and I have to say that
the Reason absolutely was the best in terms of
covering that disaster. – Matt Welch’s piece on
that was very very good. – It was definitive and
I went back and read some of that this morning
because after I read the Zuckerberg piece. When he talks about a global
standard, he specifically sites the work that
they’re doing with France. To help determine what
is appropriate speech. What is safe speech. And you go back to some
of the stuff that Matt’s written, the number one
enemy of Charlie Hebdo, was the French government. And they were targeting
Charlie Hebdo in court for going after the government. For going after various religions, they were an equal opportunity
offender of all sacred cows, which I think what free speech is about. But the French government
has been horrible in targeting free speech
and now Mark Zuckerberg says this is our model. Lets defer to the French. – That’s right. – Who defers to the French
about almost anything except for like cheese
and wine and I don’t know, there’s some cool stuff there. – There’s some cool stuff there. I mean I think that yeah, the consequences of looking for a global
solution will be that we follow the European model. And the European model is deeply flawed. The European model was
conceived in an environment where protections for speech were never as robust as they are here. I mean this is something
that I think Americans can underestimate or take for granted that we genuinely have
in our founding documents protections that are almost unmatched in the rest of the world. And so to say the
European model is working, let’s bring it over, is to say let’s disregard
the things that make America unique. Lets disregard the things or minimize the things that made it possible for these platforms to be born
here in the first place. And I think you can even see stuff like the GDPR rules, right? Sort of European privacy
rules which have caused every stupid website that you go to, to now have this extra popup that says, hey do you– – Oh it’s so helpful. – Right. But actually embedded in those are a bunch of other secondary restrictions
that don’t make much of a difference to most
commercial sites in the United States but there
are some age restrictions on certain types of content
that you are agreeing to. There’s information retention rules that you’re agreeing to. And I think it’s easy for
there to be restrictions that sneak in undercover
of stuff like that. And this is a complaint against Facebook. They say, well those terms of service were so extensive who even knows what they agreed to, but if that’s your
complaint about Facebook’s terms of service, how
can you possibly suggest that people consent to their laws? If the terms of service of citizenship are the entire US code
and all of the state codes and all of the local
codes, don’t come to me and complain about
Facebook’s 10 page thing. People don’t know the rules that bind them and it’s okay, we actually
have a whole bunch of great workarounds to
help people understand how to stay inside the bounds of legal or contractual behavior that don’t require
everyone to be a lawyer. But it’s a false argument to say you can’t expect people
to understand Facebook terms of service, when we’re asking people to understand incredibly
complex legal systems every single day and suffer
not just the consequence of being banned or booted. But the consequence of being jailed. – So the EU regulations have created what looks to be like
a four page disclaimer where you’re signing away, I don’t know what you’re signing away, but every time you go on a website, you have to click. – Yup. – Yes, I understand the rules. So of course Mark
Zuckerberg’s solution to this is to work in concert with our government to protect our privacy. Perhaps the one institution
that is more systematically violating our privacy. – Well and you know the
other place that I worry about a lot, because our
failure as libertarians and as Americans to
throw up a real barrier, is I think, for instance,
that there’s incredible social gains still to be had from at home genetic testing, just to
take an example, right? Like 23andMe that kind of thing. But there will be incredible
incursions on privacy and an incredible loss
of personal autonomy and separation from the
criminal justice system unless there is some
way for those companies to refuse to hand over data and mass. And right now, you’re increasingly seeing
stories about, it’s not just a warrant for a very
specific piece of information vetted by a judge, which
already that is a flawed system. Since judges tend to rubber
stamp these sorts of things. But we’re already moving
beyond that and just dumping databases into government
databases which are poorly maintained, which aren’t purged on an appropriate schedule, which are used for
reasons other than those for which they are initially handed over. It not only makes people less free and puts the State more in their lives, but it also disincentivizes
people who are gonna be the next 23andMe. Like I don’t wanna be
a stooge for the State. I don’t wanna wind up
entangled in the criminal justice system just because
I want people to be able to, I don’t know, see whether they
metabolize caffeine quickly. Which I totally do. – Yeah, totally. Yeah, so I mean there’s
two solutions here. We could get all depressed – No let’s be cheerful. – about death of free speech. One of those solutions is
the reason you guys exist. Which is sort of convincing people, talking to people who might be skeptical about the libertarian
case for free speech. What is, I’m on an elevator,
you’ve never met me, which is first of all
your worst nightmare. That I’m talking to someone I don’t know. – I’m already like yeah,
I’m getting twitchy. – I saw you, you’re one
of those libertarians and you believe in free speech. That’s ridiculous, give
your elevator pitch. Why free speech matters? – I think I’m just gonna give you back what you said earlier
in this conversation. Which is you might think
that there are ways to put reasonable
restrictions on free speech that will ultimately prevent harm, but I’d like you to
think about the fact that imagine whatever politician
you hate the most. That guy is now in charge
of what you get to say. That doesn’t seem like a
country I would want to live in. It doesn’t seem like a
place I would want to be and that is where we are headed. Where someone else gets
to decide what’s hateful, what’s dangerous, what’s bad for society, what’s bad for you. And I think you’re better at
deciding all those things. – The other solution,
that was pretty good but maybe I just think that
because you quoted me back. – Yeah you think my argument
which I stole from you was a good argument. – Yeah I’m totally persuaded now. – Give me another one. – And of course this is
what you guys do every day. You’re trying to reach beyond
the libertarian bubble. As small as it is. There’s very few of us who
are self aware libertarians despite our best aspirations. But there’s a whole
generation that you guys and I have extensively argued
that there’s this liberty curious generation out there. Young people sort of
swim in a world of choice and liberty and self
determination that is very different than how I grew up. And I’m optimistic about
that but your job is to talk to that audience but
I’m sort of hoping for a technological fix here. Because for the same reason
you started this conversation by saying that Facebook,
without Facebook the cause of free speech would be
far worse than it is today. Because of attempts to restrict old media and the natural convergence of government and corporate players. So we’re gonna need
another hack at the system. We’re gonna need like a
blockchain solution here. – Yeah and I do actually
think there is something to the war of all against
all in this, right? Like the idea that wherever
there is censorship there will be a schism. There will be another
platform that will be a new more encrypted or based
on a different technology alternative because
history has born that out. I mean I think ultimately
every conversation like this is also a
conversation about prohibition. And prohibitions don’t work. So if you want to prohibit
certain types of speech, it’s not like that speech goes away. That’s not what happens under prohibition. What happens is you create a
black market in that speech. You create underground
venues for that speech and eventually someone
figures out how to bring it back up into the light. And I think the story of the
criminalization of marijuana and then the subsequent legalization of it is absolutely the template for
hope on all of these things. Like the idea that
something could be vilified at the highest levels of
government for decades. And that people would look
at their own experience and say, the story that
government is telling me in collaboration with
the media by the way, like let’s remember you know
all of our, this is your brain on drugs ads. It’s not a true story. It’s not a story that
reflects my experience and I think the success of
legalization of marijuana is due in no small part
to the fact that people were able to talk to each other online. And in different modes than
in their DARE class in school, right, I mean there were
other ways to talk about this in a systematic way. And so I guess I think there
is hope in the question of it’s probably not
Gab, which I don’t know does that still exist even? But like it’s something. There will be something that will emerge. The kids these days apparently
chat in Google Docs. I learned that from a
Taylor Lorenz article in the Atlantic recently because it looks like they’re doing homework. So they just chat, they
put a bunch of people in Google doc. Like
that kind of workaround, people are great at that sort of thing. And we’re gonna figure
out another workaround if Zuckerberg becomes the
senator from Facebook. – You talked about sex
work and the War on Drugs. There’s an upside and a
workaround and a positive story about that stuff. But there’s also the
unintended consequences of prohibition. With sex
work, it becomes dangerous. And with drugs it creates drug gangs that become very dangerous. I feel like the same thing
is true on free speech. If there are white supremacists out there, if there are people spewing
hate and threatening to kill people based on
their religious beliefs, I’d rather it be out in the open. I’d rather civil society
had a way to sort of shame them into oblivion
as opposed to keeping it in the shadows where
it can fester and frankly if it’s forbidden I wonder
about forbidding the manifesto is there some confused kid
somewhere that is thinking, well the government doesn’t
want me to read that so maybe it’s true. – It must be so powerful. It must be so true, sure. Of course there is.
Absolutely of course there is. And I think this isn’t down
entirely to restriction or openness of speech. I think you could say
in the case of extremist Islamic terror, we have
free religious speech in this country, no one
is restricting the speech of people who hold
those religious beliefs. Or even the speech of
people who hold attendant extreme political beliefs. The thing that they
are using private modes of communication for is to
coordinate acts of violence. And so I think there is also a danger of, when you create the incentive
to build very very private secretive channels, people
will start to do things in those channels. I mean when you dig a
tunnel under the border to bring weed over,
well then you can start smuggling people over. You can do whatever you want. I of course think both
weed and people should be able to come across
the border in the bright light of day, but I think that’s right. That when you say prohibitions don’t work. You should always pair
that with, and they impose a tremendous amount of harm
and unintended consequences along the way. – So if people want to get
these refreshing alternative views what is the best way? Give us a shameless plug for Reason. – I would love to do that. They can go to reason.com where
we post all of our content for free every day. They also can subscribe to Reason Magazine and get our long form articles
and investigative reporting before we give it away on the internets. I think our subscription
price at this point is like $15 or $20 an
issue, $15 or $20 a year. It’s a pretty good bargain. They can also subscribe
to our YouTube channel which is ReasonTV or they
can subscribe to our podcast which is called, imaginatively,
The Reason podcast. – Yeah, very creative. – We try. – Thank you so much. – Thank you. Thanks for watching Kibbe
on Liberty. By now you know this is the most important
event of your week. So make sure you subscribe on YouTube. Click the little bell so
you get notifications. Kibbe on Liberty, mostly
honest conversations with mostly interesting people.


  1. Jack Gamer1243 says:

    Welcome to the best hour on YouTube. While it lasts….

  2. Wee Todd Did says:

    They have been putting out some awesome stuff recently. Hope it continues and picks up viewers. Nice to see some positive messaging from a fellow Libertarian minded think tank. Our rights and freedoms deserve more attention.

  3. peter quenter says:

    No dead trees required for paper publications – plenty of hemp-bamboo- and other Oriental shrubs for paper making available! Fast-growing, plentiful, easy to cultivate and already with a long history of use for paper !
    Could make that into an added sales-point, even !

  4. newweaponsdc says:

    That was defo the most important event of my week so far.

  5. kahwigulum says:

    get these two on rogan

  6. Got Nothing says:

    Why waste our time asking questions to which we already know the answers?

  7. Nika D says:

    I love this channel. This was not my favorite interview. Lots of simplistic generalizations ignoring things like free speech, monopolies, government corporatism re: Big Tech, etc.

    If that’s the direction Reason is going (zero nuance, simplistic slogans), then I’m out.

  8. George Cataloni says:

    45:30 Wow, shots fired on Gab!

  9. Donnie Paul says:

    Hemp paper is available. You don't have to kill trees to send your message out.

  10. Fernando Alarcon says:

    Matt, I have slowly transformed into a Libertarian. All thanks to your YouTube channel.

  11. J. Weatherford says:

    The part that makes me chuckle is that the numbers of "conspiracy theories" proven to be true outnumber the "wackjob" conspiracies.
    But whatever. Governments and businesses conspiring against the public are conspiracies of convenience. Easier to be dismissive of people you don't agree with as "crazy".

  12. iiiiivirusiiiii says:

    How does this only have 600 views?

  13. Alex Craig says:

    Thanks for doing this

  14. Free the People says:

    Watch all episodes of the Kibbe on Liberty podcast here: ​https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL36_JCmmBwZrrsXd0VIMJXHBSuWfUm57k

  15. SooperDave says:

    You lost me early on: The 'Billionaire Boy's Club' colludes to exclude dissenting political speech, and you assert it's their right 'cuz it's a private platform? How 'bout we apply that notion to your telephone conversations! Absurd and contrary to the 1st. What's next? "Due to a 'Terms of Service' violation your phone call has been terminated."

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