Libertarians usually emphasis ‘the state’ as the main threat to ‘liberty’, and no doubt an overbearing, overpowerful state is inimical to freedom and liberty. But what about private businesses which exercise inordinate power over people’s lives and freedoms?
Today we are hearing about banks and other financial instititutions cancelling the accounts of those with ‘wrong’ political views; of other businesses (lodgings, etc.) banning people for similar reasons. And then there is the de-platforming of those ‘badthinking’ individuals who have politically incorrect opinions and ideas which they expressed on social media. And because of the apparent ambiguity of laws on issues like this (and I don’t pretend to be a lawyer) it seems they are getting away with it. It seems as if the social media giants have more power than the very state itself.
I confess I don’t seek out libertarian views, (although I can agree with more ‘maverick’ libertarians like Hans Hermann Hoppe or the great Albert Jay Nock). So I have no idea really how the mass of libertarian-leaning people address this apparent power of unscrupulous Business as corrosive of liberty and freedom. Are they really able only to see a threat from Statism?
Is there any checking this power of private business to interfere in people’s lives? How can it be squared with our personal freedoms and our constitutional rights? Or are they a dead letter now, as so many pessimists say?