American Elephants


Jack Dorsey Has Banned Political Advertising From Twitter by The Elephant's Child

What precisely is “hate speech”? Everybody talks about it, but it seems to boil down to — speech you don’t like. It is mentioned all the time, but what makes it hateful? We have had a fairly new entrant in the judging speech area in the popular name of Twitter. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter has announced that he is going to ban all political ads from the platform. This follows a long discussion about political ads in general and the Twitter workforce apparently wanting to ban all Republican ads. Law and Liberty.org made fairly short work of that.

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, is basking in accolades for his decision to ban all political ads from his platform. That is Twitter’s call to make, but if Dorsey is going to wrap himself in a populist defense of the common man’s voice, he might conjure a justification whose posture toward that man is less condescending.

Dorsey argued that the reach of political messages “should be earned, not bought.” To what extent anything on Twitter is “earned” through 280 characters of substantive, nuanced political conversation is questionable. Shallow outrage is likelier to “earn” retweets, which is not to say that Twitter—which can encourage concision, a precondition of wit—does not have its place. Regardless, Dorsey’s claim is the populist celebration of social media: Anyone can speak and, with a sufficiently compelling message, reach a limitless audience.

Yet Dorsey’s reason for pulling political ads is that the same everyday people whose voices deserve projection are so easily duped by readily disprovable claims that they must be protected from seeing them in the first place. A people that cannot exercise sufficient discernment to separate propaganda from information has no business governing itself. Why a people Dorsey so characterizes is qualified to participate in his call for “more forward-looking political ad regulation,” which he acknowledges is “very difficult” but which is actually very unconstitutional, is unclear.

The United States of America was founded on the idea of freedom of speech, but the current generation is a little short in the history department, and doesn’t seem to understand the meaning. What Dorsey means by his statement that “political messages should be earned, not bought” is another mystery. How do we have free speech while calling much of the conversation out there “hate speech?” Does calling the winner of the last election and the people who voted for him “Deplorables” count as “hate speech”or do you have to add in her conclusion that God had picked her out to be the president of the United States? Or just the names she called those who voted for the other side?

Free Speech is hard to understand. You are free to disagree, but you don’t get to demand that you not be allowed to say your piece. You are, of course, responsible for what you say, but you don’t get to be banned.

“There is no such thing as government regulated free speech.”

That’s from Barry Brownstein writing at FEE. “Without Free Speech, All Speech Becomes Government Speech.

When I viewed this video, I wondered if it was a hoax. I thought it must be a group of actors trying to make a point about how far restrictions on speech have gone. Unfortunately, the video captures reality in Scotland in 2019.

The video picks up an exchange between a Scottish high school teacher and a student. The class was asked to sign up for a website, and according to the student, the teacher commented on how old fashioned the website was for listing only two sexes. The student, Murray, remarked, “But sir there’s only two genders,” and the teacher insisted they continue the discussion outside the classroom.

Much of the problem is located in our schools, and though this example took place in Scotland, you probably could have found the same conversation on any one of a good many American campuses.

There is a clear reason why the very first Amendment to the Constitution says Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…Too bad the folks in Silicon Valley don’t seem to get it. Or understand why it is needed.




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