The new tyranny 11

An imminent and severe threat to freedom is the policy of certain businesses and ostensible facilitators of business that suddenly see themselves as arbiters and dictators of moral rectitude rather than what they are needed to be and essentially are – profit-makers.

To be in business to make a profit is enormously useful, supremely  important, and highly moral. 

Visa and Mastercard are among those that have decided otherwise. They are refusing their services to people and organizations with whom they have political disagreements.

As once it was religious disagreement that the powerful punished, now it is political disagreement. In both cases the punishers believe their views are  morally correct. It is not dissent, they believe, but immorality that they are punishing, for the long-term good of all humankind. 

It is very short-sighted of them. If they stick to a policy of selling their services only to their political like-thinkers, and implement it efficiently, they will be excluding as clients half the population of every Western country. We wonder if they have understood and accepted that consequence.

Among the people and organizations they are punishing are Jihad Watch and the Freedom Center. Both are politically conservative. So we presume that the people making the decision to deny them service are Leftists, and we must look at the issue through a Leftist lens to understand why they are thinking this way.

A Leftist lens is one that picks race, color, ethnic origin and sex as prime measures of virtue and deservedness. (The Left is obsessed with race and sex.) 

So who are the people at Mastercard and Visa who are punishing conservatives by refusing to serve them? 

The Management Committee of Mastercard is made up thus: 

26 members, of which 

5 are women, including the Vice Chair 

6 are Asian 

4 are Hispanic

11 are white men

The Management Team of Visa consists of :

11 members,  of which 

4 are women all bearing  the title of Executive Vice President and 1 more who is Vice Chair   

2 Asians 

5 white men including the CEO

(Who will wager us a dollar or two that they all vote Democrat and contribute to the Democratic Party?) 

Wallace Nunn writes at Front Page, a Freedom Center website: 

Every day there is a new report about how Facebook, Google,Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other giants of social media censor content, banish certain commentators for incorrect views, and otherwise work in a steady if unsystematic way to homogenize political opinion within an acceptably progressive bandwidth.  Ideas are scoured for “racism” — as contentiously defined by the intellectual stylebook of the hard left Southern Poverty Law Center, which the media have set up as an “authority” on hate speech; freedom of speech is seen as a nuisance rather than a guarantee of personal liberty and true diversity of opinion.

But there is an even more sinister threat to the first amendment than the social media, a threat that operates in a stealth way in the most crucial arena of our economic system.  It is corporate giants MasterCard and Visa, which now use their unparalleled financial power to determine what speech should be allowed and what speech should be silenced.

Most Americans use a credit or debit card every day and take these two corporations as much for granted as the light switch or the automobile ignition. We buy things with their cards ranging from the annual vacations to the daily groceries. These two interlocked corporations are the drum majors marching us into a cashless society. They are powers unto themselves, but their eminence rests on our money and the fees they exact to accommodate our transactions. 

The cards they issue are even more critical to the vendors whom they pay. Without the ability to accept charges to these cards as payment many businesses would in effect be out of business.

Unlike the comparatively clumsy and very public efforts of the social media to erase “offensive” — all too often a synonym for conservative — opinion, the cognate machinations of Visa/Mastercard take place more remotely and without response in the dark space of the mundane financial transaction.

It is as simple and as faceless as a lethal injection: An individual who wants to support an organization online makes the digital donation and is then informed that Visa/Mastercard will not process it. Neither the individual nor the organization he wishes to support are told that they are on a blacklist, let alone informed how they got there or how to get off.  The donor is denied his right to put his money where his mouth is. …

The Freedom Center had such an experience a few months ago when online donations were overnight peremptorily refused by Visa/Mastercard with no reason given and no protest accepted.  We were able to create enough noise about this injustice — in the media and with the threat of legislative attention — that the credit card giants turned the power back on just as capriciously as they had turned it off.

We were lucky. Robert Spencer, whose jihadwatch.org is one of the indispensable sites for understanding the intentions and the threat ofIslamic terrorism, has been shut down from receiving supporters’ donations for several weeks now, and is forced to try to keep Jihad Watch going on a shoestring while Visa/Mastercard imperiously ignores demand letters and threats of court action from his attorneys

The anti-Semitic Nation of Islam’s credit card donations are processed; the anti-Islamist Jihad Watch’s are not.

This oligopoly acts with the faceless finality of an IRS lien when it sets itself up as lawmaker, judge and jury with the power to decide which speech should be allowed and which should be shut down.  It kills free speech not by arguing against the ideas it disapproves of, but by the silence of the arbitrary act, using the financial system to accomplish the deed.

Over half the people of the United States who own a debit or credit card use it as their sole method for paying bills. (Most of the other half use them too, just not as frequently.) In 2015 there were 69.5 billion debit card payments with a value of $2.56 trillion and 33.8 billion credit card payments with a value of $3.16trillion — together adding up to around 6 trillion in an economy of 19 trillion.

This is a very sizable public accommodation. More importantly it is immense power, power that can be and is being used to shutdown the civil rights of people who want to support the speech of the Freedom Center, Jihad Watch, other conservative groups and anyone else in our political universe. … 

We have come to a point in our history when government must once against step in to preserve rights and prevent wrongs just as it did in 1964. Civil Rights are as much imperiled now as they were then. The technology revolution has undeniably brought much that is good and fruitful, but as it has evolved, this revolution has developed a dark side that concentrates increasing power in the hands of fewer people. …

We too are exasperated by Visa/Mastercard, but we are not convinced that  government should step in. It’s better to keep government out. The cure is surely to be found, as always, in the free market. Competition is the right way to bring companies that exploit near-monopolies to their commercial senses – and will keep them morally clean and decent.   

Posted under Business, Economics, Ethics, Leftism by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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