It’s difficult to be a conservative in today’s society and not notice the clear bias held by many large corporations that have injected themselves into the political realm. These entities almost always lean left and have aided in silencing and canceling conservative voices for the last few years. This begs the question of whether or not they have the right to do this in a free society? The typical response is that private corporations should have the freedom to do whatever they want with their company and have no obligation to protect free speech.
On the surface, it does seem like a conservative argument… how many of us remember when private bakers were forced to bake cakes for gay couples contrary to their religious beliefs? Conservatives would certainly argue that private businesses should be able to operate however they want according to their values, whatever those values are. So why then do we find conservatives up in arms when companies like Twitter and Meta (Facebook) choose to enforce cancelation policies that are in accordance with leftist ideology?
Many conservatives would respond that these corporations have become so large that they are now a “public square” and they have the obligation to protect free speech in accordance with the first amendment. This argument is problematic because it is not legally consistent with the definition of the personhood of corporations and how that applies to their free speech rights.
There is a much better and more consistent argument that conservatives should be making in this debate.
The vast majority of these mega tech corporations receive millions of dollars in corporate welfare from taxpayers nationwide. In essence, these companies are not private at all, they are government subsidized and are publically funded with your tax dollars. Google for instance has received $632,000,000 in subsidies from states like Oregon, North Carolina, and others.
Would it surprise you to know that Facebook has received $148,000,000 in subsidies from Texas alone? This occurred despite Governor Abbott publically touting bills that would supposedly stop companies like Facebook and Twitter from banning conservative speech from their platform. If legislation is needed to solve this problem of free speech, why would we not first cut all forms of tax rebates and subsidies from Texas to these large leftist organizations? It seems like a practical solution to incentivize fairness in the market. The biggest issue with “woke” corporatism is that these companies are funded through tax abatements with tax dollars from conservatives like you.
Thomas Jefferson said, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” If this is true for things like taxpayer-funded lobbying and property taxes, it is also true for corporate subsidy programs (like the Texas Enterprise Fund), especially if those subsidies are being used to push ideologies, ban political speech, and fund political candidates.
In a purely capitalist society, companies should have the right to do as they please with their profits and operate their platforms in whatever way they would like. The reality is we are very far removed from any semblance of pure capitalism and our economy has been far more socialist than most of us would like to admit.
It is beyond time that conservatives start making consistent arguments regarding these “woke corporations” which actively work to stifle conservative values using their own tax dollars. It is time to end all corporate welfare in Texas and to stop allowing our government to pick winners and losers. Let conservatives vote with our wallets instead of bureaucrats voting with our tax dollars.