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Elon Musk's "Threat" to Restore Free Speech on Twitter Provokes Liberal Panic. Today at 3 pm ET.
On my Callin podcast today, I will also, in the most reluctant manner possible, delve just a bit into the emerging "groomer" discourse over school curricula battles.
During the failed liberal campaign to force Spotify to remove Joe Rogan's podcast — remember that? — I wrote that the real lesson from that tawdry episode was that the central religious belief of American liberals now is censorship. Silencing, deplatforming and otherwise preventing their adversaries from being heard is their paramount goal, their primary weapon. This is how I saw the anti-Rogan campaign:
American liberals are obsessed with finding ways to silence and censor their adversaries. Every week, if not every day, they have new targets they want de-platformed, banned, silenced, and otherwise prevented from speaking or being heard (by "liberals,” I mean the term of self-description used by the dominant wing of the Democratic Party).
For years, their preferred censorship tactic was to expand and distort the concept of "hate speech” to mean "views that make us uncomfortable,” and then demand that such “hateful” views be prohibited on that basis. For that reason, it is now common to hear Democrats assert, falsely, that the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech does not protect “hate speech." Their political culture has long inculcated them to believe that they can comfortably silence whatever views they arbitrarily place into this category without being guilty of censorship.
Constitutional illiteracy to the side, the “hate speech” framework for justifying censorship is now insufficient because liberals are eager to silence a much broader range of voices than those they can credibly accuse of being hateful. That is why the newest, and now most popular, censorship framework is to claim that their targets are guilty of spreading “misinformation” or “disinformation.” These terms, by design, have no clear or concise meaning. Like the term “terrorism,” it is their elasticity that makes them so useful.
As I noted yesterday in reporting on the unprecedented censorship regime imposed in the West in the name of the war in Ukraine, a series of ostensible crises — Russiagate, the 1/6 riot, the COVID pandemic and now this war — have, in rapid succession, convinced not just liberals but increasingly large numbers of Westerners in many ideological camps not only to tolerate but to crave state/corporate censorship. They have somehow inverted history so that they now believe that it is not censorship that is the favored tool of fascists, tyrants and authoritarians — even though every fascist and despot in history used censorship as a key means for maintaining power — but instead believe that it is free speech, free discourse, and free thought that are the instruments of repression.
Few events have revealed this twisted framework as vividly as the news that Elon Musk offered on Wednesday to buy Twitter and take it private. The fact that Musk has repeatedly denounced Twitter's increasingly heavy-handed and clearly ideological censorship regime does not mean he is earnest in his intention to restore free speech to the platform, but the mere possibility that he does intend to do so has sent censorship-dependent liberals into spasms of panic and hysteria. Before the morning was over, some were even comparing Musk's offer to . . . . . the rise of Nazism in the 1930s:
I will undoubtedly have more to write about these potentially exciting and encouraging developments as they proceed. Few things are more potentially positive than the restoration of free discourse on major internet platforms. For now, given the newness of this news, I will discuss it this afternoon on my Callin podcast at 3:00 pm ET. For those who are unfamiliar with this excellent, free podcasting app, it can be downloaded on either iPhone or Android phones, and you can not only listen to my podcast episodes live but also participate in the Q-and-A with me that the platform enables. Numerous other interesting and heterodox voices host shows on that platform as well. For those who cannot make the live shows, all episodes can be heard afterward on the Callin site here.
During today's show, I will also — in the most preliminary and reluctant way — wade a bit into the emerging discourse around "grooming” and fights over school curricula. The New York Times’ Ross Douthat published this week an interesting and insightful primer into this debate. Though I do not agree with all of it, it provides a helpful analytical starting point for the discussion. I hope to see as many of you as possible at 3:00 pm ET for the show.
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