As the battle between propaganda/censorship and dissent rises, many publications are reporting the ultimate doom of Twitter simply because the Leftist lockdown on non-Leftist ideas has lost some of its strength. Mostly, it has lost the illusion of consensus that it needs to continue pretending that it is the one moral good.
In response to a recent article in The Guardian, I fired off the usual immodest proposal: instead of censoring either side, create actual Open Discussion where individual users are responsible for selecting the content that they want to see:
Well, this is awkward. I am a longtime Guardian reader because I like your environmental articles, but I am not a Leftist… at all. I was one, once, but decided that the results of our actions were not matching up to our stated goals. Now I am what I call “Farthest Right,” a laundry list of stuff like ethnomonarchism, feudalism, capitalism, and deism that would probably make you vomit quinoa and arugula onto your Birkenstocks.
Funnily enough, I started out as a free speech advocate during the days of dial-up bulletin board systems back when I was a Leftist. I believed that it was necessary to have every viewpoint represented, but over time, I came to also believe that those viewpoints needed to be stated in the correct form. That is: like a logical argument, without too many obscenities or slurs, aimed at policy or social change instead of people.
I was banned on Twitter; I had access for two weeks; now I am banned again. One asks how this would be possible for an account that does not post controversial words, but the answer is simple: social media fears that which groups fear, and when enough people complain about something, they slap it down. The Musk “free speech” revolution is bunk; he is simply reversing the political censorship and allowing center-Right people like Jordan Peterson back on the platform (to a far-Rightist like myself, just about everyone is to the Left, including Trump, Peterson, Shapiro, the fundamentalists, and the endless odious HitLARPers).
What Musk has done is create the appearance of free speech and this has vitalized a site that became a hugbox. What is important to mention here is that while it is true that Twitter was a Leftist hugbox, hugboxes — sites for mutual affirmation of conjectural beliefs — can occur in any form. After all, I am also banned on [various far-Right forums] for being too far Right in beliefs about genetic determinism, including caste. MySpace died when it became a hugbox for hipsters and excluded the normal people from suburbs and cities who just wanted to talk about that new egg noodle turkey casserole that Martha on the corner brought to Mah-Jongg night.
This means that the New Twitter will benefit those who are of a known archetype on the Right, since they will draw in audience, while continuing to exclude actual dissidents like myself. I imagine they did the same thing to Leftists who were too far outside the mainstream in the past as well.
That brings me back to my roots as a free speech advocate who believes any viewpoint should be expressed. Online services will never do this as long as they are profit-driven. They will do it, however, if they are made into utilities, as Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co., 23 Media L. Rep. 1794 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1995) did years ago, or Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501 (1946) did effectively a generation before. I suggest that those who want actual open speech support this instead.
What would happen if the internet were made back into a utility, like it effectively was before AOL and Eternal September? People would become responsible again and you would see actual democracy. Those “mute” and “killfile” buttons allowed users to stop seeing content from anyone who was irrelevant or offensive. Each time one is used, that is a vote. If we had a democracy of muting on the internet again, the pointlessly offensive would be filtered out, but dissident opinions on the Left and Right alike would be welcome again.
No one will accept this however. Power has become a zero sum game: under the Left, the personal was the political, so people were attacked for being who they were, specifically White and/or Christian and/or conservative and/or male. The backlash is that when you make politics about removing the majority, it fights back.
Consequently we see ourselves at a point of a war of attrition where no one expects a positive outcome:
The study surveyed 3,876 individuals from winter of 2019 through summer of 2022. The researchers assessed if participants were Republicans or Democrats and then asked participants in a survey if they preferred to add $1 to a donation going to the opposing political party, or subtract $1 from a donation going to their party. In complementary experiments, the funds varied from $10 to $100.
More than 70% of participants, regardless of their political affiliation, opted to not add a donation to the opposing political party, even though it meant hurting their own political party.
The Left does not realize that their goal is not to maintain control, but to avoid losing public goodwill, but after the COVID-19 bungle, the failure of Big Tech, the impending housing bubble crash, infrastructure rot, stagflation, debt bomb, and possibly a land war in Eastern Europe, the Left will have revealed its utter lack of functional ideas.
Instead they seek to maintain control via social media censorship of anything but official Narrative. However, they are now on defense, where their big gains occurred when they were the offense against a seemingly calcified Establishment. Now that they are the Establishment, they find themselves unable to defend their own acts.