[EDIT: See here for discussion of various complicating factors; my claim isn’t going to be that a completely innocent person was punished, so much as that this entire paradigm of punishment is dangerous] What particularly bothered me about this situation was that the columnist involved was a libertarian who writes for Reason, and her supporters were mostly other influential libertarians.And they were all using the old argument that the concept of “free speech” came into existence ex nihilo on December 15, 1791 with the ratification of the First Amendment, and has no meaning or significance outside a purely legal context of delimiting government power.Maybe you were stupid enough to admit you were gay or trans under something traceable to your real identity.
If you cross a blogger, a columnist, or a Twitter celebrity, all that will exist is that you once retweeted a racist joke on the 26th of March, 2014. Heck, even watching porn is enough to get people fired some places.
And it was never that convincing an effort to begin with. In a world where an average of 250 resumes are received for each corporate position, how convincing does an effort have to be to ruin somebody’s life?
Do you think your dream company is going to spend a long time sorting through each claim and counterclaim to determine that the highly-Google-ranked page about you claiming you’re unfit to work in your industry is mostly unfair? They’re just going to cut their risks and move on to the other 249 candidates. Suppose there’s a Reason columnist who wants to get you fired.
There are now tens of thousands of people in the world who know you only as the guy who said that one embarassing thing one time.
For that matter, anyone who Googles you will know you only as the guy who said that one embarassing thing one time.