Before I launch into a detailed and possibly uncomfortable analysis, as someone who loves a good bit of trolling and hypocrite tears, I would like to formally put on record how much I have enjoyed the last 24 hours. Whatever comes of Elon Musk’s acquisition
No one ever said free speech will lead to peace, however it is essencial for freedom. Further a Democracy does not guarantee individual freedom, which is why our forefathers created a constitutional republic. The problem with wanting to constrain speech in the
name of reducing violence has always been, as Lenin asked, "who watches the watchers?" America is the exception to the world when it comes to freedom of speech; many countries claim they have freedom of speech, but the US is the only country that has unequivocal protection in a Bill of Rights. A smarter person than me once observed that yelling fire in a theater is such a obscure example of the contraint of free speech, that anyone that preferences a view with this example is clearly opposed to free speech of any kind (much the same as using the phrase 'common sense gun laws', is only used by anti gun zealots). As Jordan Peterson observed, the problem with progressive liberals is they are always anti-convention, without knowing why society has set up such rules to begin with, so liberals become the continual creators of unintended consequences. Free speech and individual freedom are a recipe for discord and social unrest, which is why our forefathers based our country on the pillar of laws not men. There is little peace or security in this world; you can either bear the hardships of life as free persons or slaves, and it all starts with free vs controlled speech. Every other Democracy has controlled speech except the US, and there are many that wants the US to no longer be that exception; and as I pointed out earlier, they always start out their debate with you can't yell fire in a theater. Free speech can and often does result in violence and sometimes death, but alternative is, as coined by F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom.
Allowing those back on that haven’t broken an actual law with their social media activity will be a good thing and the fact that individuals can block or mute others as it is a choice to listen to other’s free speech.
Just like in the real world you can not attend an event or simply walk away from the public square. There was once a Nobel idea that you could listen and then rebut, sharing your point of view on the topic of concern. Unfortunately Twitter, and other platforms, themselves became the point of choice for what is/isn’t allowed and wasn’t based on rule of law but upon ideological red lines drawn in the sand. Confounding it all was the fact that this ‘sand’ was ever shifting to change the desires or a small but vocal segment of the user base.
I’m fairly certain that shadow banning, algorithm tricks and control of trending has been proven but it will be nice to see the engine under the hood to see just how targeted it was designed to be.
I expect nothing great from this ‘hostile takeover’ which is the way it should be as Twitter isn’t great, it’s just another tool that all should get to use without fear of rage mobs. Twitter’s success should be measured at the individual user level and how well they were (or weren’t if ill-willed) able to achieve their goals - if they had any.
I’m still not allowed back on to Twitter as I refused to apologize and delete my offensive tweet to India Willoughby after serving my 12-day ban which began back on September 26 2021.
“Dear @IndiaWilloughby, did the ratio get out of hand when you decided to talk about your inverted cock & balls and slag off Andrew Marr?”
Let it rain SJW and blue check mark-tears as Twitter gets back to just being a soapbox in the town square vice a tool to bludgeon others with...
I share your doubts but let's just say someone needs to have the courage to stop this. The only thing that controls a rebellion is a defensive force. Perhaps Elon can help enable the assembly of a pushback against the descent into chaos that wokery and post-modernism is causing.
I know this will be difficult but what if Winston Churchill did not stand up to Hitler in WWII? There is a passion in the population to stop this rotting of our culture. We just need a leader to assemble the defence!
Let's hope this is at least a start.
Thanks for the article.
A wise woman, singing a song written originally about vampires, once said, "We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks," and I'm reminded of that line whenever I think of issues like this.
The sparks, in this case, are inflammatory rhetoric, incitation, manipulation, and assorted rabble-rousing. Unfortunately, I don't think we can do much about them - trying to contain or temper sentiment through censorship only increases its power in the long term, by validating the us-against-them, they're-trying-to-keep-us-down notions that fuel the fire and make people think extraordinary action is justified.
What we can do something about, however, is the powder keg - our susceptibility to the manipulation and incitation. That starts with working to break through our bubbles, with starting to realize how senseless the constant tribal conflict is.
Elon's move, on its own, isn't going to accomplish that. But it does take away one of the obstacles towards that breakthrough, and that could be a big deal.
The next steps to having a democracy that can endure the digital age are going to be long and difficult ones. At times, it's going to seem that our spiral into insanity and incivility is inevitable. But I do believe that there is reason to be hopeful that something positive CAN come about, that the path that we have been on can change, and that, just like Bright-Eyes, we can turn around.
I'm now quite optimistic about not just Twitter, but all social media platforms. I'm hopeful this could trigger more openness in the way all platforms operate. Jaron Lanier's hope for a business model that doesn't drive behaviour modification, might yet be realised!
Elon definitely does face challenges ahead, I hope he's the right character to ride the storm. If he is, the digital world could evolve into a much less toxic place.
Thanks for a great article.
Thanks Konstantin, you raise important questions.
The philosophy inevitably embodied in the realisation of any technology will be unconsciously practiced by its users. The invention of the car was predicated on the idea of travelling further and faster than a horse and as a consequence it changed our whole notion of where our homes could be situated and everything that followed from that. To give the most basic example, eating using a knife and fork rather than our hands changes our attitude to the food.
And this goes for the internet and also its emergent subsets such as social media, of which Twitter is a main player within the public forum.
So, here is a question to ask:
Is the deepening pathology of binary thinking in the public domain a symptom of people increasingly experiencing the world through its simulacra, that's to say, the screens of linked computers? Complex organic problems largely being appraised by the reductionist rationalisations that characterises the autistic state.
If this is true then Musk's job of re-nuancing the public forum is going to be far tougher than sending a car into orbit. I wish him the freshest of solar winds.
I find it amusing listening to the wokesters have the same conversations that a few of my conservative friends have had over the past few years. Is it time to leave twitter? Do I really need twitter for my job? I’ve heard they want to move to Canada again too. Good luck with that. Is the border to Canada even open to non-essential travel at this point?
I agree with you on many levels. While I would prefer that people celebrate this and view this as generally a good thing, I'm waiting to see whether it actually happens to judge what's really going on. If he follows through, I will be more willing to believe this is a positive thing we should all get behind.