Twitter’s stock fell 15 percent last week apparently because they’re not getting sufficient numbers of new users to please the market. People are not as intrigued as they used to be with an allegedly open social media platform that’s not really open, in fact is something of a dictatorship.
I know you’re not supposed to kick someone when they’re down. But when that someone has been acting in the most unAmerican, peremptory ways for years, as if the Bill of Rights never existed, censoring people without explanation—even a former president—blocking free discussion of medical science, for Heaven’s sake, and treating conservatives and libertarians pretty much the way Ferdinand and Isabella treated the Jews before they finally kicked them out of Spain, it’s time to take action.
And, when that “down” is the first chink in the armor of Big Tech that has dominated discourse in this country and around the world to a degree never thought possible, it is all the more urgent to let that foot fly and jump up and down on top a little as well if necessary.
Maybe dominoes will begin to fall. After all, Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Bezos, et al., can be defeated and rendered irrelevant with the non-click of a mouse. All you have to do is not do it.
So now is the time—there may never be a better—for all good men and women to leave Twitter—no excuses.
I know it’s hard not to promote your latest whatever, I know it’s always tempting to pronounce on Hunter’s laptop—assuming they let you—I know it’s fun to take potshots at this week’s inanity or insanity from AOC, but if you actually believe in the First Amendment, if you believe in Freedom of Speech, and if you are on Twitter, you are collaborating with and enabling people who by their actions—do I need to go through them?—don’t.
Ergo, you are a hypocrite.
That’s not so bad. Most of us are, to one degree or another. There’s a reason Diogenes spent so long looking for an honest man.
But in this case it is remarkably easy to harmonize your beliefs with your actions. As Nancy Reagan said in another context, “Just say no.”
In other words, deactivate your account. I promise you, difficult as it may seem, you will be relieved in the long run. I know I am.
More than that, as noted above, you will be taking a small step toward breaking the malign Big Tech hegemony.
That’s what we all should be doing before they have thoroughly brainwashed the planet, if they haven’t already.
And I am quite pleased my home senator, Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), has taken a solid step in the right direction as well, bypassing the endless haggling over Section 230. On April 26, he wrote in the Wall Street Journal:
“Today, I’m introducing the 21st Century Foundation for the Right to Express and Engage in Speech Act (or the 21st Century FREE Speech Act), which would restore the Bill of Rights—rather than the whims of big companies—as the guide for what Americans can say or hear in today’s public square."
"My bill would (1) abolish Section 230, (2) treat Big Tech—defined as any interactive computer service platform with more than 100 million active monthly users world-wide—like a common carrier that must provide reasonable, nondiscriminatory access to all consumers, and (3) prohibit political censorship by Big Tech.”
Anyway, good for Hagerty. It’s easy to imagine the amount of money this proposal will cost his campaign fund just as it’s easy to imagine the amount that will go into funds aligned against it.
Turning Google, Facebook, and Twitter into public utilities is not exactly what their owners or the Democratic Party—once, as I recall in the distant past, adherents of free speech—have in mind. In fact, much as I am rooting for Hagerty’s bill and will support it as much as I can, it will be fought as nothing before by this phony-liberal Congress and will take courage no Democrat has shown in years to pass.
So all the more reason “Twitter delenda est,” to borrow a phrase from Cato.
And assuming it is destroyed, there are plenty of candidates out there ready to replace it (Parler, Gab, Tell, Frank, Mind, and so forth) with many undoubtedly waiting in the wings.
They all share something that Twitter doesn’t have—free expression and lack of censorship.
Unfortunately, however, liberals and progressives are not likely to join them in any number. I know this because, when I was a founder of Pajamas Media (now PJMedia) in 2005, our intention was to make it kind of an online Agora, with writers of both the right and the left discussing the issues collegially.
Was I naive! Within weeks, the left writers demanded more money than the right writers, considering themselves figureheads, sort of the way Juan Williams is probably overpaid on Fox. It never happened because we didn’t have the money. But we wouldn’t have done it if we had.
Much as we might like to think otherwise, the USA of 2021 is a long way from Ancient Athens. Getting rid of Twitter is a way to start back. It’ll be quite a haul, but I suspect it’s worth it.