The next step: Paypal declares Atlas Shrugs a “hate” site, and closes its account

Here is news much more shocking than YouTube’s deletion of “We Con the World.” John writes about it at Powerline:

Pamela Geller runs a web site called Atlas Shrugs. Her primary focus is Islamic terrorism, to which she is adamantly opposed. She also defends Israel against the constant slings and arrows launched against it. Her tone, to be sure, can be strident, but the views she espouses are, for the most part, those of a majority of Americans.

But they apparently are too much for Paypal, which is terminating her account on the ground that Atlas Shrugs “promote[s] hate, violence, [or] racial intolerance.” There is a certain irony here, in that Pamela is a fierce opponent of actual hate, violence and intolerance as manifested by jihadists and their supporters.

As Pamela points out, Paypal is not exactly consistent in its evaluation of “hate” sites. Revolution Muslim, for example, uses Paypal.

One can surmise that Paypal’s action against Atlas Shrugs was prompted by complaints from pro-terrorist elements. Be that as it may, it is undoubtedly one small part of a broad effort to stigmatize and delegitimize the expression of mainstream, conservative views. (I’m not sure whether Pamela is a conservative or not, but her anti-terrorist stance represents a key element of contemporary conservatism.) If you would like to complain to Paypal or support Pamela’s work, follow the link above for instructions.

Geller quotes in its entirety Paypal’s e-mail to her. Here is Paypal’s operative language, which seems basically identical to the hate-speech laws of Europe and Canada, so broadly and indeterminately worded that the interpretation is purely up to the whim of the enforcer:

You may not use the PayPal service for activities that … relate to sales of … items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime.

The main problem, obviously, is what it means to “promote hate [or] racial intolerance.” If one says that Islam is a threat to our civilization, is that promoting hate? If it is, then any serious and truthful discussion about Islam is barred.

A secondary question concerns the reference to “selling items.” If you say things at your site which, according to Paypal, “promote hate,” and if readers of your site send you donations to support the site, are you “selling items that promote hate”? Or do you actually have to be selling books or things of that nature?

- end of initial entry -

Lydia McGrew writes:

The Geller-Spencer group (Stop the Islamicization of America) that is running the bus ads got a similar Paypal cut-off notice to the one Geller got at Atlas Shrugs, apparently at about the same time. This has obviously been triggered by the bus ads and by the fact that Paypal buttons were being used to collect donations for them.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 14, 2010 02:56 PM | Send

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