Friday, October 28, 2022

Leftists Panic About Musk Twitter Takeover

The New Republic essay:
Why Elon Musk’s Idea of “Free Speech” Will Help Ruin America

Twitter without content moderation—and with Donald Trump and others reinvited—means that lies and disinformation will overwhelm the truth and the fascists will take over. ...

The pro-Musk arguments are complete nonsense, and there are innumerable historical and modern examples of why social media platforms with nearly unlimited freedom of speech produce horrors. The Supreme Court decided free speech isn’t absolute long ago, when Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes noted that you can’t shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, for obvious reasons.

In case you are not familiar with that decision, the link helpfully explains:
Holmes, writing for a unanimous Court, ruled that it was a violation of the Espionage Act of 1917 (amended by the Sedition Act of 1918) to distribute flyers opposing the draft during World War I. Holmes argued that this abridgment of free speech was permissible because it presented a "clear and present danger" to the government's recruitment efforts for the war.
The search warrant of Pres. Trump's Mar-a-Lago home was justified by an investigation of violations of that same 1917 Espionage Act.

Wow. I had heard that "crowded theater" analogy many times, but I did not know that it was an excuse to criminalize anti-war flyers.

Back to TNR:

First, freedom of speech has caused untold death and suffering when used to disseminate hate or spread disinformation. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a fabricated antisemitic text that purported to expose a global baby-murdering Jewish plot bent on world domination. Mein Kampf was Hitler’s autobiography, which blamed Germany’s post–World War I woes on a global Jewish conspiracy.
So now the Jews have taken over the world, more or less as those books warned, and they silence anyone like Kanye West who dares to point it out. Now CNN is trying to tie West to Hitler.

TNR gets even more hysterical:

Nor is completely unfettered social media free speech good for democracy as a whole. Gab and Parler were both implicated as platforms used to organize the January 6, 2021, insurrection, which was a literal attempt to end democracy, and usher in a regime that would crush dissenting voices on social media. Not only were crypto-racists like Tucker Carlson excited by Musk’s move to buy Twitter, far-right Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and neofascist and white supremacist Nick Fuentes (banned by Twitter and now likely to return) were ecstatic. Anti-trans campaigners promised to go on a spree of dead-naming and misgendering transgender people to demonstrate that “free speech” means insulting and harassing minorities.
Wow, people might demonstrate to have their votes count, and might use the wrong pronouns.

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