PayPal’s Duplicitous Practices
• PayPal doesn’t really care about people; it cares about maintaining massive profits.
By Dustin Howard —
PayPal cares. Or at least the online banking giant wants you to think they do, as they issue statements filled with bromides about fairness and equality in the wake of their decision to terminate a planned 400-person facility in Charlotte, North Carolina. But do they really care? You know, about the equality in all those countries they do business in?
Let’s take a look. PayPal is silent on the treatment of lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people on their long list of partner countries, including Saudi Arabia that executes homosexuals, as well as Cuba, Singapore, and Malaysia that imprison them. Oh, and PayPal apparently has no problem employing Malaysians to do what North Carolinians can’t do. Excluding the possibility that PayPal is just plain hypocritical, this leads to an obvious conclusion: PayPal is hostile to democracy, and prefers tyranny.
After all, PayPal decided to locate in Charlotte after the people of North Carolina voted resoundingly in 2012 against same-sex marriage. PayPal was still willing to do business with them then. Shouldn’t they have reproached North Carolina, or did PayPal simply act in a knee-jerk fashion in accordance with the news cycle? If PayPal were truly consistent, there would be few transactions conducted in the Muslim world, where LGBT people enjoy few of the privileges of their Western counterparts.
PayPal, as an American entity, has the freedom to locate wherever its leadership likes, and we wouldn’t presume to tell them otherwise. However, when they seek to punish North Carolinians for enacting a law regulating their own facilities, barring transgendered people or anybody else from using opposite-sex bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools and other government buildings, PayPal is engaging in small-scale economic imperialism.
To the point, PayPal is imposing their preferences on states that legislate against their preferences via democratic processes, while ignoring policies in countries that are truly hostile to their stated values.
PayPal is hardly isolated in its preference for tyranny over democracy, as their seeming act of protest is in reality part of a larger phenomenon, the Californication of American society, where California-like values are forcibly imposed by elites.
Silicon Valley and Hollywood are exerting a corporate conformity to elite values rather than to democratically enacted laws and their underlying public support—but then turning a blind eye to egregious abuses overseas.
Evidence of this phenomenon is pervasive.
For example, take the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8. A CEO to Internet giant Mozilla, Brandon Eich, was purged because he supported the measure as a private citizen. Then, the Supreme Court added insult to injury by disregarding the will of most states to preserve traditional marriage.
Or in Oregon where the First Amendment’s explicit protection of the individual’s freedom of religion is being disregarded and bakers must act against their own conscience in catering to gay weddings that contradict their beliefs.
PayPal is complicit in this, but not alone. What is clear is that democracy in North Carolina and across the country is being subjected to values arrived at yesterday in the boardroom or the courtroom, but not on Main Street itself.
Lt. Governor Dan Forest was well within his rights when he said if the new law protects one child or one woman “from being molested or assaulted, then it was worth it.” He added that “North Carolina will never put a price tag on the value of our children . . . they are precious and priceless.”
If North Carolina officials determine there is a public safety issue at stake, or if the state wants to forbid male students from dressing up as females to get into the girls’ locker room, who is PayPal to dispute that?
Some Americans may think that they are freer when these corporate elite values are forced into law and policy, but in reality, they are now more likely to be compelled to act against their conscience than ever. Rights Americans once took for granted have now taken a back seat to enforcing the expediency of the day.
The power of North Carolina to define how to regulate its own facilities is clearly protected in the 10th Amendment. That explicit grant of the power of states to make their own law stands in contrast to more recent rights contrived to supplant it.
These new rights not explicitly provided for in the Constitution do not limit government, but instead use it as a cudgel to promote conformity, by PayPal as an example, and undermine the very essence of democracy—which is the legislature’s primacy in making law.
Dustin Howard is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.