Freddie Gray

May 26, 2017

Crowdfunding for Almost Everyone

15870049980_f2cc2b087e_qMy article as originally published in American Thinker:

During the ginned up controversy surrounding the religious freedom law in Indiana, Memories Pizza was nearly put out of business for merely answering “incorrectly” a hypothetical question about catering a gay wedding.  Shortly after the incident, a GoFundMe campaign was started and subsequently raised nearly $850K for the owners, who, at the time, were forced into hiding with an uncertain future.

This was not the end result certain groups were looking for.  Today, in politically correct America, freedom of choice is limited only to the “correct” choices, and the totalitarian left demands the final word on all such things.  That word was effectively nullified in short order by freedom-loving Americans who financially contributed to the cause of liberty – for everyone – in support of freedom of association and religion.

Fast-forward to the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore, and a group of police officers set up a GoFundMe page to provide support for the six officers facing charges in what Alan Dershowitz has called a “show trial.”  While most of the facts are still unknown in the case, GoFundMe shut down the page within 40 minutes due to some recent changes to its terms of service.  The site had made these changes following the hugely successful fundraising campaigns in support of businesses like Memories Pizza and several Christian bakeries that had chosen not to bake cakes for gay weddings.

GoFundMe proudly displays the message “crowdfunding for everyone” on its homepage, but that is a misnomer, since it has created a set of guidelines to discriminate against the campaigns of certain groups of people.  Per the new terms of service, these include “[c]ampaigns in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts.”  While this may sound like reasonable policy, the wording clearly leaves much open to interpretation.

But since GoFundMe is a private entity, shouldn’t the owners just be left to associate with whomever they wish?  Or should the government step in to stop the “H8” and use force to require GoFundMe not to discriminate and allow “=” access for “everyone”?

Of course, the government should do no such thing.  The free market (combined with a stable rule of law) already handles these types of issues without the need for government to step in.  The fact that GoFundMe chooses to not serve a particular segment of the population using its own vague set of rules doesn’t create a human rights problem (as the use of force does); it creates a market opportunity.

If enough people take issue with this policy, an enterprising individual will come along and effectively tell GoFundMe to GoPoundSand by starting a pro-liberty version, and provide some competition in the crowdfunding business (yes, business).  This person could profit handsomely by providing the world with a little bit more diversity.  While this may come as a shock to those who hide behind the currently hijacked term “liberal,” these very same market forces hold true for pizzerias and bakeries, making the left’s continuous tyrannical stomping of liberty for naught.

One other thing that will drive the left nuts: successful crowdfunding campaigns also help highlight the abysmal failure of the welfare state, and they do so in real time.  Private charity is much more efficient than big government.  When people are free to vote “like” or “dislike” with the click of a button, more resources end up actually reaching the intended targets (the Clinton Foundation would be a poor example, though).  It’s much harder for fraudsters to pull the wool over the eyes of millions of people with smartphones who are collectively making billions of decisions instantly while interacting with others.  On the other hand, the massive and inefficient welfare state is wrought with fraud and abuse due to the dependency it creates, bureaucratic self-interest, and the reality that government is able to react only with the speed of a Banana slug on Quaaludes.

Crowdfunding that occurs within a truly free market gives the silent majority a platform to collectively make some loud noise, and challenge what used to be the final word of the left.  An unchallenged final word equals control, which is why progressives simply can’t allow “crowdfunding for everyone.”