Two days ago, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars was banned from Facebook, YouTube, and iTunes. Yesterday, Tommy Robinson, an activist in trouble for speaking out against grooming gangs in Britain, was deleted from Instagram, libertarians including the director of the Ron Paul Institute were banned from Twitter. Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted that Facebook and YouTube “must” “take down” more conservative sites because “The survival of our democracy depends on it,” and he wasn’t Twitter-banned.
Twitter wags joked that that banning Jones was hardly the way to douse his conspiracy theories and pointed out that respectable conservatives are hoping to be eaten last, but the deplatforming bear is coming after all of us. I guess I won’t be part of the Twitter conversation on deplatforming, going forward, however, because today Twitter banned me.
They deplatformed me—for a tweet deploring deplatforming. Here’s the full text of my offending tweet, a full-throttle defense of New York Times editorial board hiree Sarah Jeong’s freedom of speech and included a self-deprecating reference to my own race: “@sarahjeong This whitey is cheering you on as you fight off the Twitter mob. Down with deplatforming! Plus, it’s clarifying abt. what kind of paper the NYT wants to be . . .” 5:24 AM – 3 Aug 2018.
Honestly, I thought that was a pretty gracious response to someone who had tweeted out “#CancelWhitePeople” and speculated that people like me are natural cave-dwellers unfit for life on the surface of the planet. But according to Twitter it’s me, not Jeong, who has engaged in “hateful conduct” that violates Twitter’s terms of service: “Violating our rules against hateful conduct.You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin…”
My Twitter-banning is just another example of the social media monsters’ attempt to ban conservative voices from the public square in the runup to the 2018 election. They seem to have decided that if they let us be heard, the Democrats will keep losing elections, and that outcome is unacceptable.
I have always had my doubts about trust-busting, but it may be time to consider regulating these huge social media corporations as public utilities. As John Zmirak, a fellow Regnery author whose books I have been privileged to edit, points out, if Ma Bell had behaved like this when the telephone was invented, the phone company would have been listening in to all our calls and cutting off conservatives’ phone service for “hate speech.”
My stand in defense of even hateful speech was inspired by the venerable free speech tradition in Western civilization and specifically Anglo-American culture—expressed in such classics as Milton’s Areopagitica—which I explored in “The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature,” demonstrating how free speech is a core value of Christian civilization.
While the notice from Twitter announced, “We’ve temporarily limited some of your account features” and gave the suspension time as “12 hours 0 minutes,” the fine print says, “You can start your countdown and continue to Twitter once you: “Delete Tweets that violate our rules.”
That makes it a permanent ban unless I am willing to delete the tweet or can convince Twitter they have made a mistake. In other words, I am banned from their platform unless I cave to their censorship. I will be submitting an appeal of my ban to the faceless Twitter authorities behind the algorithms.