Friend-of-the-site Evan at Truth Wins Out just won a fantastic victory: reacting to a successful petition, spearheaded and originated by his site, Apple pulled from the Apple Store an iPhone “app” by the extremist Christian organization “Exodus International.” The app would have provided, one imagines, a convenient way to dehumanize gay Americans “on the go.” TWO spotlights Exodus in the video below, demonstrating that this is not just another anti-gay group pursuing their own political interest. Exodus, as a member of the discredited “ex-gay” movement, sought and waged active psychological warfare against gay Americans. This is not something polite society should condone.
There’s no legal issue here. As a private content provider, Apple can curate the content that it hosts on its servers, and supports for its devices, as surely as Fox can cancel Firefly.
Perhaps Exodus can justly feel marginalized. But it is the job of society to enforce discretion and decency within the exceedingly broad range of speech permissible, and unregulable, under the First Amendment. Losing the war of ideas does not indicate that the system has failed to protect value. The system decides value, meaning some ideas must lose for the system to work. The marketplace can and must make these judgments, or the “search for truth” has failed, and the First Amendment becomes a hollow husk. Contra Fox and Forbes, subjective judgment calls like this one, delimiting what’s legitimate political argumentation and what’s “hate speech,” are exactly the kinds of decisions the Founders expected citizens and private organizations like Apple — but never the government — to make. The market’s decision made, the analysis should conclude.
Nevertheless, Exodus is doing a great job of playing the victim, asking by way of hashtag (like ya do) if this is what “freedom” has become. Yes. This is, in fact, the way the concept works, as should be apparent to any tea partier. We hear elsewhere how corporations must be trusted, and allowed to do what’s best for their bottom line, almost without limits, according to an increasingly relevant fringe. And Apple is doing just that. The company’s decision is compelled as much by the amoral calculus of capitalism as by any “liberal agenda.” Apple isn’t selling out to the liberals. It’s selling out to its shareholders, who would suffer from any successful boycott.
No-one would raise an eyebrow if Apple published, but then pulled, a Klan app. Exodus International is not different in any meaningfully way. Exodus entered the marketplace of ideas but, like the buggy to the Model T, summarily lost. So it goes.
Update: apparently “homofascism” is a word?