Many, perhaps most, of you check in regularly at American Thinker. If so, you may have seen the following notice:
It is news to almost nobody who reads American Thinker that a political witch hunt is underway. Parties in and out of government are looking for excuses to suppress and destroy voices that oppose the left.
Because AT lacks the ability to monitor comments in real time, and because our position that comments are a forum, not something that we publish, is being called into question, we can no longer publish comments.
We take this action with a heavy heart.
I assume that this decision was probably occasioned by threat and/or intimidation from Leftist internet vigilantes, rather than any government agency. No doubt they seized on irresponsible comments by the usual keyboard kommando types who lack a clue about the limits of the 1st Amendment. It's a sad day for the country when the free exchange of ideas is curtailed in this way--it's a victory for the forces of repression.
UPDATE: Andrea Widburg has an important article at American Thinker about a young man who lost a job, in his telling, because a third party (the National Hockey League) objected to his employer (Private Jet Services) hiring someone who had worked for the Trump campaign. Obviously this type of activity relates to freedom of speech as well as association. Yes, this happened in the public realm, so government action wasn't involved, but coordinated campaigns to curtail speech and association are highly threatening to a free society when they are backed up by Big Data methods and capabilities. Constitutional considerations based in the age of the pamphlet and the printing press become small consolation and dubious safeguards, since a vibrant Public Square must be the basis for our freedoms. Political monopolies over the Public Square can be nearly as dangerous as government action:
Read it all. Here is Widburg's conclusion:
... Buchanan’s ability to sue PJS depends on whether his employment with PJS was at-will or not. At-will employment allows an employer to fire an employee for any reason except for illegal reasons. However, if it’s true that the NHL blackmailed PJS into firing Buchanan ..., I think Buchanan should investigate whether he can sue the NHL for tortious interference with prospective economic advantage.
What’s important for purposes of this post is that, if Buchanan’s facts are accurate, it’s clear that the left is determined to marginalize Trump supporters and other conservatives. They have already made absolutely clear that they intended to deny them a voice in a computerized world, to leave them without access to banks, and to make sure that they cannot be employed. Indeed, Curt Schilling has been told that, as a high-profile conservative, he’s now uninsurable. I’m sure there’s a lawsuit there too. We are to be driven from pillar to post, like lepers of old.
In the long term, the left’s is an unsustainable tactic. Depending on the circumstances, it’s almost certainly illegal in many cases. And finally, if leftists are determined to “de-person” Trump supporters, it cannot end well for America as a whole. This is the behavior of hardcore socialists, in the communist or fascist mode, not of members of a pluralist liberal democracy.
I'm willing to believe that this tactic is unsustainable, but I'm not sure. Yes, there are lawsuits in many of these individual cases. But lawsuits cost money, and when ideologues are involved the perpetrators may be willing to absorb some pain in the knowledge that leftist judges will drag it all out. Even if this tactic is unsustainable in the long run, the damage to America will be incalculable and long lasting.