Says Silicon Valley’s woke crusade will cause more extremism.
PayPal co-founder David Sacks warns that the financial giant is creating a de facto ‘no buy list’ by banning people for their opinions, a move that will actually increase extremism in the long term.
In an article posted on Bari Weiss’ Substack newsletter, the investor explains how PayPal’s role has been completely reversed from its initial objective of helping ordinary people not be dependent on large financial institutions to start a business.
“But now PayPal is turning its back on its original mission. It is now leading the charge to restrict participation by those it deems unworthy,” writes Sacks.
The entrepreneur argues that by partnering with the likes of the ADL and the SPLC, PayPal has allowed itself to be used as a tool by far-left activist outfits to censor ideological opposition.
“I have no desire to defend genuinely hateful or extremist groups,” writes Sacks. “Indeed, when I was COO at PayPal, we regularly worked with law enforcement to restrict illegal activity on our platform. But we are talking about something very different here: shutting down people and organizations that express views that are entirely lawful, even if they are unpopular in Silicon Valley.”
He points to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s pernicious announcement that the Biden administration is working with Facebook to directly censor information related to COVID-19 and her insistence that other platforms should mirror Facebook’s censorship policies at the behest of the government.
“The suppression of speech by the government is blatantly unconstitutional under the First Amendment,” writes Sacks, noting that PayPal is now a fully signed up member of Silicon Valley’s purge of undesirables.
“Now PayPal has gone much further, creating the economic equivalent of the No-Fly List with the ADL’s assistance. If history is any guide, other fintech companies will soon follow suit. As we saw in the case of speech restrictions, the political monoculture that prevails among employees of these companies will create pressure for all of them to act as a bloc.”
“When someone mistakenly lands on the No-Fly List, they can at least sue or petition the government for redress. But when your name lands on a No-Buy List created by a consortium of private fintech companies, to whom can you appeal?”
Sacks highlights how the monopolies created by fintech giants and the way they act in unison when banning individuals or groups is literally creating a society where dissidents will find it difficult to even function in society.
“Kicking people off social media deprives them of the right to speak in our increasingly online world,” he writes.
“Locking them out of the financial economy is worse: It deprives them of the right to make a living. We have seen how cancel culture can obliterate one’s ability to earn an income, but now the cancelled may find themselves without a way to pay for goods and services.”
Sacks concludes by noting that the same resentment against elites that handed Trump victory in 2016 is merely being re-created by Silicon Valley, while their stated policy goal of reducing “extremism” is actually having the opposite effect.
“If we continue down this path, a far more dangerous demagogue could emerge. I implore my successors at PayPal and other Big Tech companies to stop throwing kindling on the fires of populism by locking people out of the online public square and the modern web-based economy. Silenced voices and empty stomachs are fuel for the very extremism you claim to oppose,” writes Sacks.
He warns that deplatforming is creating “hordes of desperate people, denied a voice and livelihood,” who will simply vote for an autocratic dictator the first chance they get.