Kim Kardashian’s New Lawsuit Teaches Us Something About Free Speech
Whenever celebrities are hit with heavy criticism over things they have said, libertarians often come to their rescue, explaining that criticizing the content of their words is perfectly acceptable, but effectively lobbying to have said celebrity censored is something else entirely.
Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West has been the main character in many of these cases, having been on the receiving end of government scrutiny over her public endorsements of drugs in the past.
But as the star experiments with some bad publicity of her own, her attitude begins to shift.
The lawsuit was filed in a Manhattan federal court, and it names MediaTakeOut.com as the party to blame for wrongly portraying the TV star as a liar and a thief.
According to the French police, armed robbers made their way into the star’s private residence on October 3rd, stealing $10 million worth of jewelry.
Despite the report she filed for libel, this isn’t the first time Kardashian is the target of negative and even infamous comments online, neither is it the first time she files a lawsuit over victimless “crimes.” Regardless of the rationale behind this lawsuit, it’s important to note that, in a free market of news — just like in a free market of ideas — stories compete for attention and “hits,” especially if the medium is publishing stories online. With the expansion of the Internet news industry, bad stories — or publications that become known for endorsing and promoting bad journalism — are buried in negative reviews, giving competitors even more incentives to fill the void.
Instead of publicly lobbying to censor negative or inaccurate comments, publicly shaming such institutions is a much more effective way of getting the word out. Especially if the goal is to be taken seriously.
Whether or not you agree with the reality TV star’s actions, it’s important to understand that, when speech is censored, the natural result is the establishment of a black market of ideas. Once those with vile and often aggressive ideas are pushed underground, it’s harder to spot them. And, as a result, those who defend censorship end up becoming the victims of the very policy they embrace.
Yet again, good intentions are not enough. And suing everyone with something negative to say isn’t the best way out. Instead, leave it to the free market of ideas, where the truth often surfaces, no matter how hard establishment institutions work to keep them in the dark.