You might not care for Milo. That’s fine. In fact, you may be glad he’s gone. Great! But let me make my case before you celebrate a company priding itself on free speech banning somebody for what amounts to mean words.
I’m going to keep the government out of this discussion for two reasons: (1) I know what the First Amendmenr means and (2) Twitter is a private company. This whole kerfuffle is about the culture and how we want it to be.
So what did Milo do this time (yes, he’s been banned before)? His criticized of the new Ghostbusters movie and an altercation with one of the film’s stars Lesie Jones. Twitter alleges that Milo also incited his followers to harass Ms. Jones, and that he is responsible for their actions. (Read Twitter’s official statement here).
Are you surprised I’m fine with this?
Don’t be. Private companies can do whatever they want. Twitter has a history of banning people for terms-of-service violation. But there’s something curious about this history.
It’s blatantly one-sided.
This is why I care.
Twitter bans or censors prominent people who criticize anyrhing those running the company hold sacred. These people are usually on the right. Other tech companies like Facebook to this too.
It’s a huge double standard that is harming the company.
My views on double standards are pretty strong. I think they are at the root of what’s rotting American society from the inside, and are the driving force behind the politically correct culture we find ourselves in:
In the United States, we have a massive trust deficit. Everybody thinks the other person is out to screw them, especially if that other is of a different class or race. We all know that different sets of rules applies to different sets of people, right?
To a degree. And it depends on who you ask. I think we get it mostly right in the U.S.–our system was founded in part on the basis of equality under the law–but there are lots of exceptions carved out. And even worse is the perception that things are unfair.
Perception is reality. If enough people feel wronged by double standards, resentment will grow, which can lead to all sorts of fun stuff like riots and murder.
What bothers me about Twitter is this unequal application of its policies. Many users don’t trust them anymore. And as Twitter is a huge culture force, it’s actions send a huge cultural message.
This leads to something else I find more insidious: This is training.
We’re being conditioned to get used to the silencing of speech.
We’re already thinking twice before saying what we want.
We’re already holding back and obscuring thoughts for fear of firings or lawsuits.
Comedians are already afraid of telling certain jokes to certain audiences.
Certain groups are off-limits from criticism or jokes, while it’s open-season on others.
Double standards. An erosion off trust.
I’m on the political right, but I don’t want anybody on the political left silenced. My beliefs don’t align with those of Bill Maher and Ricky Gervais, but I’m glad they’re around and can say what they want. Ditto other less-intelligent provocateurs like Sarah Silverman and Michael Moore. Let them speak!
And what about people like Deray McKesson (close friends with Twitter head Jack Dorsey) and members of the Black Lives Matter movement whose inflammatory rhetoric–much of it on platforms like Twitter-some say has lead to radicals killing cops?
They all have the right to speech.
Twitter is awesome. It has the potential to be even better. For everybody’s sake, I hope those running it recognize that what makes it so fun is the amount of intellectual diversity one finds on it.
Yes, Twitter is a private company. Yes, private companies can serve or not serve who ever they wish (unless you’re a Christian and you don’t want to bake a cake for or cater at a gay wedding). But I just wish rules, private and public, were applied equally.
The big guys are the canaries in the coal mine.
But we’re not listening because we’re all getting used to this.
So yes, I’m still on Twitter–Why run away? Why not engage? Plus, it’s a great platform. But if a viable alternative arises, I’m there.
Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade
And check out my Instagram here.