Bokhari: Republicans Must Challenge PayPal’s Assault on Civil Liberties

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman
Drew Angerer/Getty

The Republican Party understands that it needs to do something about Big Tech censorship. But a new, even more totalitarian threat looms on the horizon — the politically motivated control, surveillance, and suppression of financial transactions.

PayPal has announced that it will spy on the transactions of its users, and feed that data to far-left activists at the Anti Defamation League (ADL), as well as to law enforcement and policymakers.

This is a massive attack on the privacy of Americans, undertaken on the pretext of fighting the “far right” — a phantom enemy that is being used to justify an assault on American civil liberties from multiple fronts.

According to Reuters, PayPal will “will also look at networks spreading and profiting from antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, anti-immigrant, anti-Black, anti-Hispanic and anti-Asian bigotry.”

Naturally, these terms are not defined, meaning there is no guarantee that conservative critics of mass immigration, or of Black Lives Matter, or political Islam will not have logs of their financial transactions handed over to the ADL, to the federal government, and to law enforcement. “Antisemitism” is also not defined, meaning both right-wing and left-wing critics of Israel might be affected as well.

There used to be a consensus in American politics that even fierce political disagreements should not be used as a pretext to erode civil liberties like the right to free speech and the right to privacy. That consensus has now evaporated — free speech was the first value to disappear, and it looks like privacy is about to go the same way.

It’s interesting to note that both Blake Masters and J.D. Vance, the two Republican Senate candidates most closely tied to conservative tech billionaire Peter Thiel, were the quickest to condemn PayPal’s actions. Thiel, of course, founded PayPal before selling it to eBay in 2002.

This is a reminder that in the current environment, “competition” solves nothing. It took just two decades for a company founded by one of the most ardent conservatives in the country to fully embrace extreme left-wing totalitarianism. What will Parler or Rumble be doing in 20 years?

Only a new political consensus, forged by Republicans who understand the issue and are willing to write bold new laws to curb corporate totalitarianism, will address the problem. Perhaps the best people to do this are people like Masters and Vance, who understand the new world of woke corporations and thus know how to tame it.

As Vance said in response to the PayPal story, “if your ‘conservatism; isn’t about fighting the power of these companies, it’s totally useless.”

Very true. And yet, as Vance also noted, the chorus of Republican politicians shouting about protests in Cuba is currently far louder than the chorus shouting about PayPal. In fact, as far as I can tell, the latter “chorus” is just Masters and Vance — and they haven’t even won their primaries yet.

If this is allowed to continue, it won’t be much longer before the geopolitical issue of the day isn’t Cubans coming to America to escape tyranny, but Americans leaving their country to do the same.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.

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