Censorship: Twitter Takeover Totally Panics Political Regime of LeftLibDemSocMediaTechPol

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Sun May 1 14:34:51 PDT 2022

Time Columnist Denounces Free Speech As A White Man's "Obsession"



It has become depressingly common to read unrelenting attacks on free
speech in the Washington Post and other newspapers.

The anti-free speech movement has been embraced by Democratic leaders,
including President Joe Biden, as well as academics who now claim
“China was right” on censorship. However, a Time magazine column by
national correspondent Charlotte Alter was still shocking in how
mainstream anti-free speech views have become.

Alter denounces free speech as basically a white man’s “obsession.”

What is most striking about the column is Alter’s apparent confusion
over why anyone like Musk would even care about the free speech of
others. She suggests that Musk is actually immoral for spending money
to restore free speech rather than on social welfare or justice

She suggests that supporting free speech is some disgusting
extravagance like buying Fabergé eggs.

    “Why does Musk care so much about this? Why would a guy who has
pushed the boundaries of electric-vehicle manufacturing and plumbed
the limits of commercial space flight care about who can say what on

The answer, not surprisingly, is about race and privilege. Alter cites
Jason Goldman, who was an early figure shaping the Twitter censorship
policies before he joined the Obama administration. Goldman declared,
“free speech has become an obsession of the mostly white, male members
of the tech elite” who “would rather go back to the way things were.”

Alter also cites professor of communication at Stanford University
Fred Turner who explains that free speech is just “a dominant
obsession with the most elite… [and] seems to be much more of an
obsession among men.”

In arguing in favor of censorship, Alter engages in a heavy  use of
historical revisionism, claiming that

    “‘free speech’ in the 21st century means something very different
than it did in the 18th, when the Founders enshrined it in the
Constitution. The right to say what you want without being imprisoned
is not the same as the right to broadcast disinformation to millions
of people on a corporate platform. This nuance seems to be lost on
some techno-wizards who see any restriction as the enemy of

It is also lost on me.

Censorship has always been based on the notion that the underlying
speech was false or harmful. Calling it “disinformation” does not
materially change the motivation or the impact. What Alter calls a
“Tech Bro obsession” was the obsession of the Framers.

Alter is confusing free speech values with the rationale for the First
Amendment. For years, anti-free-speech figures have dismissed free
speech objections to social media censorship by stressing that the
First Amendment applies only to the government, not private companies.
The distinction was always a dishonest effort to evade the
implications of speech controls, whether implemented by the government
or corporations.

The First Amendment was never the exclusive definition of free speech.
Free speech is viewed by many of us as a human right; the First
Amendment only deals with one source for limiting it. Free speech can
be undermined by private corporations as well as government agencies.
This threat is even greater when politicians openly use corporations
to achieve indirectly what they cannot achieve directly.

Key free speech figures practiced what they preached in challenged
friends and foes alike. After playing a critical role with our
independence, Thomas Paine did nothing but irritate the Framers with
his words, including John Adams, who called him a “crapulous mass.”

Yet, free speech was a defining value for the framers (despite Adams’
later attacks on the right).  It was viewed as the very growth plate
of democracy. As Benjamin Franklin stated in a letter on July 9, 1722:
 “Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such thing as Wisdom;
and no such thing as public liberty, without Freedom of Speech.”

The same anti-free speech voices were heard back then as citizens were
told to fear free speech. It viewed as a Siren’s call for tyranny.
Franklin stated:

    “In those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue
his own, he can scarce call anything his own. Whoever would overthrow
the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech;
a thing terrible to publick traytors.”

Yet, Alter assures readers that this is just due to a lack of
knowledge by Musk and a misunderstanding of why censorship is a
natural and good thing:

    “Tech titans often have a different understanding of speech than
the rest of the world because most trained as engineers, not as
writers or readers, and a lack of a humanities education might make
them less attuned to the social and political nuances of speech.”

It appears that Alter’s humanities education in college allows her to
see “nuances” that escape the rest of us, including some of us who are
not “trained as engineers.”

Indeed, James Madison warned us to be more on guard against such
nuanced arguments:

    “There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the
people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by
violent and sudden usurpations.”

As Time, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other media
outlets align themselves with the anti-free speech movement, it is
more important than ever for citizens fight for this essential right.
There is nothing nuanced in either this movement or its implications
for this country.

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