This is Extremely Dangerous to Our Democracy™: Part 2
Brand new proof from Project Veritas that Twitter censors conservatives.
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“We need to save our democracy by restricting the information people see so they will vote the way I want them to."
Government criminalization of speech and expression isn't a new phenomenon. The struggle for freedom of expression is as ancient as the history of censorship.
Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang of the Qin dynasty burned a bunch of books in 213 BC because he feared the contents undermined his legitimacy. Socrates was sentenced to drink poison in 399 BC for his “corruption of youth and his acknowledgement of unorthodox divinities.” The Catholic Church silenced Galileo in 1633, denying him a platform for his arguments about the motion of the Earth—a theory now considered entirely uncontroversial and part of our understanding of life and the universe.
America has had its fair share of censorship episodes as well. Under President John Adams in 1798, it was illegal to criticize a government official unless the claims could be backed up in court, and during the Civil War, newspaper reporters and editors were arrested in the Union if they wrote about opposing the draft or discouraged enlisting in the army. Criticism was sharply curtailed during World War I, when vocal opponents to U.S. policy were jailed and deported, and in World War II, newspapers were complicit in protecting U.S. interests and suppressing public information.
Point being, I find it astonishing that despite a whole slew of historical examples for reference, there exists a non-trivial segment of society comprised predominantly of liberals and left-wing types positively awash in naive, pro-censorship pseudo-intellectual drivel that seeks to paint free speech absolutists like Elon Musk as evil incarnate poised to usher in an era of unbridled hate speech as a precursor to apocalyptic catastrophe or something.
The phenomenon serves to exemplify what happens when people become utterly convinced of their own moral superiority and happily get down on one supplicatory knee for a zeitgeist rooted in lunacy. Critical faculties are shut down and the parts of the brain armed with the capacity for reason are disabled. Today’s Good Person™ is driven in large part by the pathetic deluded pride that attends ignorance.
“Well, it’s not censorship! The higher-minded left just happens to foster a regulatory spirit!”
“Regulatory spirit.” What you call a regulatory spirit I call spazzes that need to settle the fuck down. The First Amendment exists to keep the government from controlling what Americans hear. Free societies counter misinformation with information, not bans.
Nothing good has ever come of censorship. The power to control the flow of information and the boundaries of permissible speech is a hallmark of authoritarian regimes, and has been for thousands of years. Nevertheless, part of the widespread delusion at play here is this new belief among liberals that it's not censorship that’s a hallmark of authoritarianism, but free speech—once universally considered an enlightenment value but which is now dismissed as something more akin to Lexemic Cocaine for Insurrectionists™ responsible for all the Misinformation Monsters out there in the big scary world. This faddish contention that the marketplace of ideas can’t work or is too dangerous without constant ideological supervision and constraint is a product of the destructive manipulation of idealism for totalitarian purposes and part of the tacit campaign to remake reality along leftist lines. That is, to warp reality like a funhouse mirror.
The Idée Fixe of Today’s Democratic Party
The censorship fatuity that’s now mainstream, and which has conditioned the credulous among us over the last six years or so to support not just corporate but also state censorship in the name of stopping disinformation, is not a bipartisan phenomenon. It’s a liberal obsession. In fact, I’d argue it’s one of the more defining elements of the liberal retreat into illiberal political bunkers, where they remain hunkered down in defensive positions against the First Amendment — now treated as the provenance of Beelzebub himself — whilst churning out a seemingly interminable stream of philippics demanding more rules and protocols and regulations because damnit, This is Extremely Dangerous to Our Democracy™!
For all the talk of folks on the starboard side of the political spectrum being the spawn of Satan, I must confess that it is liberals whom I find to be a rather disagreeable species. Not universally speaking, of course. I've truly been fortunate to have crossed paths with extremely liberal folks who ended up being some of the nicest people I've ever met. And yet I must admit that, since 2015 or so, those who've presented themselves as left-wing partisans have all seemed to be the type of person you’d pay a hefty sum to avoid sitting next to at a dinner party. I have a keen antenna for people like this and their stock is low on my personal exchange, believe you me.
It's not just that they're humor impaired, though in this respect they could win awards. Nor does it solely have to do with the fact that innocent bystanders caught in their company end up requiring prodigious amounts of aspirin (if something stronger isn't readily available). No, more than anything, I'd say it’s probably related to them being self-aggrandizing, vainglorious assholes so full of themselves they could shit limbs.
Listen, I am a devout apostle of humility. I'm extremely flawed and no doubt exhibit many of the same qualities I profess to detest, but I make a conscious effort to be humble always, because humility makes possible all other virtues. But goodness gracious: Many, many liberals are by all accounts creatures allergic to humility, and it's made all the worse because they're so often chained to an insatiable appetite for attention and recognition despite being exactly and unavoidably the sort of people who should strive to avoid attention and recognition at all costs.
What I'm getting at is this: The Democratic Party has courted professional-managerial elites for decades, and now that they've won them over, it's like the left side of the political spectrum has been infected with the kind of sneering superiority that screams of inherited wealth and academese syntactical abominations and sly disingenuous manipulative pseudo-sincerity and using windows as vanity mirrors and primal-caterwaul-therapy histrionics and high-maintenance upkeep and privilege. They all sing from the same song sheet. Oh, and they want you to pay off the $100k+ in student loans they took out to go to yale so they could tell people they went to yale.
The pace of modernity has obscured just how striking of a transformation the left has undergone vis-à-vis embracing authoritarian precepts, which is why a good deal of the transformation has transpired beneath the horizon of public awareness. It's now more or less standard operating procedure for liberal lackeys, under the aegis of the Democratic Party (AKA Big Brother), to discredit information that undermines or is asymmetrical to the institutional progressive narrative. And mind you, fidelity to the truth is rarely a priority.
They basically brainstorm ways of muffling adversaries because they can actually muffle adversaries; not only are Democrats currently top dogs in Washington, but the cultural power they hold really cannot be overstated. Corporate media, academia, Hollywood, Big Tech. Even the ACLU, for God’s sake. And the downstream effects that trickle to the rest of society are very real.
Case in point: Silicon Valley. So blue it might as well be purple, this plutocratic techno commune has evolved into an anti-democratic force fun by activists. Since the humiliating loss in 2016, the Democratic Party, consumed with blaming Russia and Big Tech instead of looking in the mirror, has slowly but surely managed to re-purpose the power of tech executives who nominally manage social media platforms to suppress and censor across-the-aisle voices.
This is a big deal, especially in light of surveys and polls indicating more and more people are using social media to get their news. In 2018, Pew Research found that “about two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) get news on social media sites. One-in-five get news there often.“ The combination of Facebook, Google, and Twitter controls the information received by a massive swath of the country, according to Pew.
We’ve already seen an indelible example of what this kind of stranglehold on discourse can do when assumed by an oligarchical press that no longer practices journalistic ethics and happily kowtows to the Democratic Party. They manipulated the 2020 election by censoring The New York Post’s reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop story, which, we now know, revealed damning information about how the Biden family has used political leverage to profit from extremely sketchy, if not corrupt, business dealings in Burisma. As Glenn Greenwald has highlighted, this coordinated effort among Big Tech, the Deep State, the mainstream media, and Democratic-serving officials — the same techno-feudal order responsible for the idiotic pandemic policies that have crippled the country, the Ministry of Truth, the sensationalist propaganda about the 4-hour pushing and shoving match on January 6th, the promulgation of the false notion that white supremacy is the greatest threat to the American people and that everything and everyone contradicting the liberal orthodoxy is Extremely Dangerous to Our Democracy™, etc. etc. — was the biggest DISINFORMATION campaign in U.S. history. Some polls showed that this story could very well have swung the 2020 election.
And Twitter was absolutely complicit. The platform locked The New York Post's account for nearly two weeks due to its refusal to obey Twitter's orders to delete any reference to its reporting; Twitter even blocked any and all references to the reporting by all users—you couldn’t send the story’s link to another person by private chat. That, nation, is fascistic censorship reminiscent of Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini.
The rise of a techo-feudal order that can deftly wield the digital matrix of surveillance, control, and manipulation is an incredibly powerful nexus that sounds exactly like the kind of shit that China’s flirting with. Those who've been paying attention know full well that this left-wing juggernaut has used carefully curated, managed lies and consumer images to foment cultural divisions so that we’re all at each others’ throats over trivial distractions while the money and the power funnel upwards.
And now, by arrogating unto itself the power to act as official custodian of information, the Ministry of Truth grants the progressive clergy a new, shiny sticker they can slap on anything they want to discredit, thereby instilling censorship with the pretense of institutional authority and making it even easier to sanction a particular line of thought as the “accepted” understanding.
We've mostly seen a two-pronged approach to left-wing censorship. Tactic #1 is using the guise of “hate speech” and taking advantage of the term’s elasticity, appropriating it to suppress dissent. Tactic #2, their newest signature move, is to accuse the purveyors of shit they don't like as trading in “misinformation” or “disinformation.” Frankly, I don't know the difference between the two and I intend to keep it that way because another signature left-wing move is to steadily expand the scope of a word/idea until anything not specifically branded with a Donkey can be filed under that word/idea in condemnatory fashion when politically convenient. See for example: “white supremacy.” Such terms no longer have any coherent definition, and that's exactly the point—it’s their elasticity that matters.
The pious, moralizing busy-bodies who use the aforementioned ruses and scream and shout and cry1 for more censorship (and it is censorship, no matter what euphemistic bullshit they use to spin and soften it and give it a more palatable patois)—these thespians refuse to see what the sober-minded — you readers of this here national treasure of a newsletter, for example — can see plain as day: Regardless of how ideologically brainwashed someone has to be to believe such undemocratic gambits are necessary and justified — regardless of how delusional they might be — they still know full well that supporting such idiocy is no different than advocating for a future modeled after North Korea or China. That's where all roads lead to, once you open up the pandora’s box that is censorship.
“Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment…”
A June, 2018 Pew poll found that 72% of Americans believe that social media companies censor views they don’t like, with members of the public being 4x more likely to believe the platforms favor liberals over conservatives than vice versa. In other words, it’s no secret amongst the broader public that Twitter has virtually written off many conservatives and a large portion of its prospective market with years of arbitrary censorship of dissenting views on everything from gender identity to global warming, election fraud, and the pandemic.
One of the more cherishable examples of such censorship occurred just a few weeks ago, in fact, when the infamous “Libs of Tik Tok” account on Twitter was suspended for “hateful conduct.”
The conduct? Reposting content from liberal users that was already publicly posted by those same liberal users. Media Matters targeted the site due to its use by Fox News to run stories embarrassing to the left. Thus it was, Twitter suspended a site that entirely features liberals talking about themselves. The (formerly) anonymous Libs of Tik Tok account holder was warned that “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”
Not sure how that follows.
Personally, I think the account is quite edifying. How would I have ever learned about cake gender? I am now enlightened.1
Jack Dorsey’s replacement as CEO, one Parag Agrawal, was asked how Twitter would balance its efforts to combat misinformation with wanting to protect free speech as a core value. He responded dismissively that the company doesn't bother concerning itself with the First Amendment.
“Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment, but our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our moves are reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation. The kinds of things that we do about this is, focus less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed.” — Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal
Mr. Agrawal, sir, I find your stupidity a matter of abiding fascination. Do tell: What do you make of this clip below? A standup leader like yourself obviously wouldn't even dream of allowing something like this to happen under his watch, right? Shall I report it to The Omniscient One™, Nina Jankowicz, head czar of the Ministry of Truth?
It's telling that, a mere two days after Elon Musk bought Twitter, the Department of Homeland Security stood up our newest federal abomination, the Ministry of Truth—an overt example of command-and-control progressivism being deployed across institutional lines.
Also telling is the subsequent hysteria that occurred among left-wingers of all stripes, and lord knows there’s nothing like some good ol’ fashioned port-side dramedy in contemporary America, when there’s ever-increasing ideological pressure to come up with more and more spastastic takes as a sign of one’s progressive purity.
The outsized response underscores what many of us have long known and the left has long denied: Twitter is overwhelmingly biased against conservative users, so much so that the platform has become a critical part of the left’s ecosystem, an invaluable tool run by social-justice-warrior varieties who've no reservations about using deceit to pretend otherwise. If this weren’t true, the psychotic reaction wouldn't have happened.
Power is the point, folks. And with Elon Musk at the helm of their Precious, they know change is a-coming, along with their worst fear: Transparency. Because where there’s transparency, you can be sure that accountability doth cometh, too.
In part III of this post, we’ll be doing some serious philosophizing re why Twitter is so important to the left; how the internet’s democratization of information created a Stage V Crisis that continues to this day; and why the election of Donald Trump still haunts the Democratic Party.