Daniel Lyons for AEIdeas: For the past six months, the alt-right has stepped out of the shadowy nether regions of the Internet and begun to shape national discourse. Its emergence has become an inflection point for tech policy, as Silicon Valley has slowly come to terms with its role in incubating the movement.
Following the violence in Charlottesville, Va., Google, GoDaddy, and several other tech companies cut ties with the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website. Earlier this year, YouTube announced that "hateful" videos would be ineligible for advertising revenue, following a revolt by advertisers that did not want their brands associated with hate speech. And Twitter has been irregularly banning alt-right accounts for nearly a year in an effort to clean up its corner of cyberspace. ...
Absent some contractual provision to the contrary, companies should not be compelled to carry speech with which they disagree. In fact, you might argue that a law forcing Facebook or Twitter to carry content against its will violates the company's own First Amendment rights — and you would generally be correct. In Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, the Supreme Court explained that such laws interfere with the publisher's right of editorial control. Similar concerns led to the repeal of the FCC's infamous Fairness Doctrine.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously explained the importance of "free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market." Freedom of contract is an important safeguard of that competition. We should be wary of calls to abridge that freedom. The alt-right is free to try to find a home for its hate, but we should not subsidize its message by forcing Silicon Valley to broadcast its views.
NAACP on the wrong side of school choice
Emily Langhorne for the Progressive Policy Institute: When I was a kid, my parents bought a house in a middle-class neighborhood of an economically diverse city. My brother, who is a year older than me, embarked upon his schooling in our local public elementary school – an adventure that lasted one year.
His teacher struggled to control the class, fights broke out, students stole other students' lunches, and, because of the constant disruptions, he lost precious time for in-class learning.
My parents swiftly made plans to move my brother, and consequently me, to a private school. ...
No one ever told me that I had to wait for access to a good education. My parents' socio-economic status gave them an option, a way around the traditional system when it failed.
Unfortunately, many parents don't have that option.
Now, the NAACP is telling parents to wait while school districts fix traditional public schools. Telling them that abandoning their neighborhood public school for a public charter school is a civil rights crime, because saving traditional public schools will somehow save poor and minority kids … someday. Propping up failing schools is so important, in the NAACP's view, that parents should forgo their right to a choice, just so the traditional system can have all the resources — regardless of whether its students are succeeding.
The NAACP recently upheld its 2016 call for a moratorium on the expansion of public charter schools. Its edict, much like a recent one from the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union, demands that the moratorium remain until charter schools implement a series of changes that would essentially make them function like traditional public schools.
The main difference is that this time the betrayal of impoverished and minority families comes from an organization that is historically committed to advancing opportunity for those groups.
Congress isn't actually more partisan
Casey Burgat for the R Street Institute: Most laws, including landmark legislation, are passed with strong bipartisan support. Contrary to expectations, there is no clear trend line of decreased minority support in Congress from 1973 to 2014. On all bills that became law during that period, more than 60 percent of minority lawmakers voted in favor of passage on average, and in many Congresses more than 80 percent of the minority voted yes. In fact, in the most recent Congresses where polarization is most intense, we find the percentage of minority support is even higher than in less-partisan Congresses of previous decades.
On landmark laws we see more variation in minority support across Congresses, but still find that, on average, more than 65 percent of minority lawmakers vote in favor of these laws. ...
Only rarely does the majority pass laws over the opposition of a majority of the minority party, known as "getting rolled." On average, the minority roll rates were less than 15 percent for all laws passed during the period under study. In only a handful of Congresses did the roll rate rise above 25 percent, with the 103rd Congress showing the highest roll rate of more than 30 percent. Again, we see no upward trend in roll rates despite stronger parties and increased centralized power in leadership offices.
Compiled by Joseph Lawler from reports published by the various think tanks.