The Corner

Science & Tech

Google’s Attack on the Claremont Institute Must Not Stand

(Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Ryan P. Williams of the Claremont Institute has a horror story to share about his experiences with Google:

We wanted to advertise our 40th Anniversary Gala on May 11, at which we’re honoring Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to readers of our own online publication, The American Mind. But Google refuses to allow us to do so. . . .

Google, either its algorithm or some individual, had a look at my essay launching our new campaign for a unifying Americanism, “Defend America—Defeat Multiculturalism.” They decided it to be in violation of their policy on “race and ethnicity in personalized advertising” and shut down our advertising efforts to American Mind readers. We weren’t “advertising” anything in the essay, of course, but the relevant section of their policy lists “racially or ethnically oriented publications, racially or ethnically oriented universities, racial or ethnic dating” as examples of violations.

Somebody must have determined we were offering “racially or ethnically oriented publications.” This is news to us. The Claremont Institute has spent forty years teaching all who are willing to listen that the meaning of the proposition that all human beings are created equal is the central, animating principle of American political life.

One of my colleagues spent two hours on the phone with Google to determine whether we could appeal this ruling or determine which section of the essay was in violation. The response, in short? There is no appeal; we recommend you remove the content to bring yourself into compliance.

This appalling decision must not stand. Claremont is rightly highlighting the contradiction between the constitutional principle of individual rights and the premises of identity politics. It is this contradiction, not gerrymandering or talking heads on cable television, that lies at the root of America’s growing polarization.

Whether you agree or disagree with the thrust of Claremont’s view, if Google can censor it, then conservatism itself is banned in this country. To prevent conservatives from defending constitutional principles as they understand them is to ban America itself.

Ah, but you say, this is just about an ad, it’s not a total defenestration. Don’t be silly. If the Claremont Institute can be censored, we are rapidly tumbling to the bottom of the slippery slope. Google’s action is intolerable and must be reversed.

The crisis has arrived. It is time for people of good will on all sides of the political spectrum to speak out against this attack on fundamental liberties. I understand that the precise legal status and regulatory situation of companies like Google is a matter of continuing discussion. Regardless of how the details of such policies are resolved, conservatives and everyone else who believes in free speech need to energetically protest Google’s decision.

If we are silent now, conservatism is over in this country.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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