The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Action and the Reaction

Posted on | April 15, 2022 | Comments Off on The Action and the Reaction

What have we learned here? A self-declared “free speech absolutist” makes an offer to purchase Twitter, and many liberals instantly get nightmare visions of Hitler. Glenn Reynolds observes:

“Democracy Dies in Darkness” is the motto of the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post. It may sound like a warning, but more and more it seems like a summary of the left’s aspirations to control debate and shut down any opposition.
A recent example of those aspirations appeared in a column by former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich on Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s big buy of Twitter stock. The original headline — changed after widespread mockery — was this: “Elon Musk’s vision for the Internet is dangerous nonsense: Musk has long advocated a libertarian vision of an ‘uncontrolled’ internet. That’s also the dream of every dictator, strongman and demagogue.”
The mockery was understandable. “Libertarian visions” of “uncontrolled” speech haven’t actually been the stock-in-trade of dictators, strongmen and demagogues. Typically, those authoritarian figures want to silence their opponents and ensure that their own voices, and those of their satraps and sycophants, are the only ones heard. . . .
In George Orwell’s “1984,” war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength. To these Orwellian inversions, Reich would add another: Censorship is free speech. But it’s not, and claiming otherwise won’t make it so.

Liberals consider censorship necessary to “Our Democracy” for the simple reason that their ideas can’t compete in a free market of uncensored communication. CNN once had a monopoly on cable news; when Fox News offered an alternative, they almost immediately became Number One and nowadays CNN has lower ratings than reruns of Spongebob Squarepants. In the early years of Twitter, conservatives used the platform so effectively that liberals demanded censorship — this was at the heart of the online battle that became known as #Gamergate.

Silencing dissent and criticism, effectively declaring that their opinions are the only valid opinions and that all disagreement is “hate,” liberals seek to obtain through censorship what they cannot achieve through public debate. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, their approach is always the same. Prior to August 2014, few people had paid any attention to efforts by so-called “social justice warriors” (SJWs) to intrude their particular political preferences into the videogame industry. As soon as a handful of critics began calling attention to this “progressive” crusade, however, suddenly cries of “harassment” were used in an effort to shut down criticism of the SJW agenda. Everything that has happened since then — including Twitter’s banishment of myself, Milo Yiannopoulos and others, including Donald Trump — has followed the same pattern.

Liberals think of themselves as Neoplatonic archons, authorized to act not only as arbiters of truth, but also deciding who is and is not qualified to participate in public discourse. They seek power to exclude and silence anyone who challenges their authority to define the limits of debate, because this authority — effectively deciding issues by determining who is allowed to engage in the discussion of issues — is necessary to their own preeminence within the echo chamber of conformity they construct.

These self-appointed archons seem to be motivated by irrational fears. Does anyone seriously believe that, without stringent content moderation on Twitter, the site would be taken over by neo-Nazi extremists? And yet this is the bogeyman they claim to fear, and make that fear the basis of their demand for censorship not only on Twitter, but on all other online platforms. Jesse Singal points out how demands for censorship on Substack were sympathetically portrayed in the New York Times. There are now so many topics — from transgenderism to climate change to basic economics — where liberals seek to impose ideological conformity that one can fall afoul of censorship for expressing opinions that were not even controversial a few years ago, about issues that most people don’t even care about. To this day, most people still have no clue what #Gamergate was about, and yet it was an all-consuming war on Twitter for many months. What the SJWs were doing in the videogame industry was the same thing they have done at university campuses, i.e., exploiting “culture war” issues to seize power, with the claim that censorship is necessary to protect against the forces of “hate.”

It is not enough for liberals to have a majority; they cannot be satisfied until they have a total monopoly on power. Yet we are the Nazis?



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