Should a financial service company be allowed to discriminate against people based on their religious beliefs? Should financial services be permitted to share personal information with law enforcement because the individual in question is “bigoted”?
PayPal, which also owns Venmo, seems to think the answer is yes. The firm recently announced that it would be partnering with civil rights organizations to learn how “hate organizations” and “extremists” use the platform to fund their activities.
The web-based financial service notes that the information it collects would be shared with law enforcement officials, policymakers (aka politicians), and other firms in the financial industry. Reuters, the first reported the move, initially stated that PayPal would be blocking transactions that fund hate groups, but later removed the term “blocking” from its headline.
PayPal already has measures in place to ensure its site isn’t used to fund human trafficking or illegal arms sales. Such a position is understandable. Lawmakers elected by the people make the laws, and PayPal then follows the laws. However, there is no law in the United States against “hate” and “bigotry” because banning personal opinions, feelings, and statements would infringe on basic First Amendment rights. More importantly, who gets to decide what constitutes “hate” or “bigotry”?
The Southern Poverty Law Center, for instance, has a huge list of what it believes to be “hate” organizations, but the list includes mainstream Christian entities and legal organizations that have successfully argued cases at the Supreme Court. Some activists have accused parents who oppose the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools as “racist.” Would these parents be blocked from using PayPal and Venmo? What about the NAACP leader who wishes death on her opponents?
It’s hard to imagine left-leaning financial organizations holding progressive activists to the same standard as conservatives or “Trump supporters.”
The left repeatedly claims that it’s against discrimination. To this end, conservative bakers, florists, and other professionals have been harassed and taken to court for refusing to serve the LGBTQ community. However, the same progressives are happy to financially discriminate against religious Christians, pro-life activists, Trump supporters, or really anyone outside of the window of acceptable political affiliation.
PayPal’s recent move makes it clear that the company and others like it have no problem trampling on the rights of people they don’t like. This is a serious threat to freedom of expression — the most important principle in American life.