Freedom of Speech

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the engineer at Google who spent out a manifesto against diversity. I’m sure you’ve also heard that that engineer has been fired. There are enough posts discussing the contents of the manifesto and Google’s response so I won’t bore you with that. However, based on comments being posted everywhere, I feel the need to point out something. The First Amendment only applies to government censorship.

Yes, a lot of people are claiming that Google’s actions are an abridgment of the engineer’s free speech but the concept of free speech doesn’t apply in this case. Freedom of speech, as a concept, states that you have the right to say whatever you want without being punished by the State. It doesn’t shield you from consequences from private parties though.

If you come into my home and spout a bunch of racial slurs, I will kick you out. I won’t be abridging your freedom of speech by doing so though, I’m will merely be enforcing my right to voluntarily disassociate with you. You can continue spouting those racial slurs, you just can’t do it in my home. Google enforced its right to voluntarily disassociate with the engineer who wrote that manifesto. It didn’t prevent him from speaking out against diversity, he can still do so. He just can’t do so as an employee of Google.

While the concept of free speech prevents an agent of the government from jailing the engineer, it doesn’t shield him from consequences. An employer can choose to fire him, a friend can choose to stop associating with him, and a homeowner can choose to forbid him from entering their property.