Updated: Mar 3, 2021
Hey 1st Amendment! We love ya! But you're a weak argument.
You're fantastic as a law. But you suck in debates.
Reliance on the 1st Amendment, as a justification for free speech, opens up the door for the most common defense of censorship on social media: the "private company" argument. It goes like this:
"The 1st Amendment only applies to the GOVERNMENT! Not private businesses! Twitter, Facebook, Google, Youtube, Instagram, and all the rest of them, are PRIVATE, not PUBLIC! So they can do whatever they want! Free speech doesn't apply on PRIVATE platforms!"
People who make this argument are absolute hypocrites, so saturated with intellectual cowardice, it drips off their bodies as they talk, pooling on the floor beside them.
They don't actually believe in freedom of speech. All they believe in are rules. In situations wherein the rules say free speech, they're for it. And if the rules are against it, so are they. There is no principle involved here. Only rules.
Thankfully, you can expose their hypocrisy, and mount a rock-solid defense of free speech, with a very simple question:
"What if they did it to YOU?"
Yea. It's that simple.
"What if they censored the issues YOU care about?"
It either stumps them or drives them into a rage.
Bring up an issue that you know they care deeply about. Like racism and police brutality, for instance.
Imagine If They Censored BLM.
Imagine not being allowed to discuss police brutality on social media.
Imagine if anyone who tries to discuss it gets banned.
Imagine if the TV news refused to cover police shootings.
Imagine if every news outlet pretended racism doesn't exist.
Imagine getting your account suspended for mentioning it.
Imagine getting messages like these, when you try to post about it:
From Twitter Safety:
"Officer-involved shootings are a sad but inevitable aspect of policing. All police departments conduct investigations into an officer's actions whenever he or she is involved in a shooting, and this process has been verified by numerous legal experts to be consistently fair and reliable.
Filming such events, and sharing them on social media, is not only unnecessary and intrusive upon the privacy of the officers and suspects, but also corrosive of public faith in the institution of law enforcement - and leads towards a general disrespect for the principles of law and order, thus constituting a danger to public safety.
In order to have a stable and prosperous society, citizens must be able to trust law enforcement professionals, and therefore, in order to ensure public safety, Twitter will be removing content that casts unnecessary doubt on the integrity of police officers, departments, or the profession of law enforcement in general."
How would you feel if you got that message?
How would you feel if you got that message right after Twitter deleted your tweets about police brutality, and you couldn't post anything about it?
How would you feel if they banned your entire account for it?
How would you feel if your job fired you for tweeting about it?
Or how about this one:
"A stable and prosperous society depends on a shared sense of unity and solidarity among its members. There is currently no evidence that racism exists in the contemporary world, and accusations of modern-day racism sow doubts and contentions among the populace. It fosters suspicion, setting neighbor against neighbor, and worker against worker.
In the interest of societal cohesion, and in accordance with our policy against spreading dangerous social disunity, Twitter will be removing content that sows racial discord. This includes accusations of contemporary racism, which has been independently proven not to exist."
It is not hard to imagine a world in which this happens. We've already set the precedent. It's already happening, with other issues. Perhaps it's only a matter of time before it reaches every issue.
So I ask you:
If this happened, would you be dismissively shrugging it off?
Would you say, "Oh well, it's a private company, so they can do whatever they want"?
Would you say, "Go start your own platform"?
Would you say, "Suck it up, buttercup"?
No. Of course not.
What would you be doing?
Think about it.
You'd be screaming about it from the rooftops.
You'd be calling Big Tech "rabid white supremacists."
You'd be rioting.
You'd be smashing windows again, just like last summer.
Or at the very least, you'd be cheering on the people who are.
You know it.
It's not about "public vs. private companies", is it? No. It's not.
But we're not done. Let's look at a few more issues:
Like... climate change.
Suppose they called climate change "dangerous misinformation," and censored it.
After all, plenty of people do think it's false. They say it leads to "erosion of faith in capitalism," which leads to socialism and communism.
"And that's dangerous!" they'll say.
"Think of how many people communist regimes killed! 150 million!"
"If 3000 people warrants a global war on terror, and 6 people at the Capitol warrants a domestic war on terror, what does 150 million warrant?"
From Twitter Safety:
"As we can tell from the history of the 20th Century, communism is very harmful to public health. And given a pandemic of marxist thought, ripping through the population exponentially, and the number of fatalities we can expect if our country goes communist, we must ban and censor all such thought, and eradicate marxism from our public discourse. For public safety.
And that means censoring information about "commie climate change", of course. Climate change info is a "threat to public safety."
See where censorship leads?
It's not about whether climate change is real or not.
It's not about whether believing in climate change leads to communism or not. It's about the fact that some people believe that it does, and if they were to get their hands on the censorship button, they could censor discussions of it, under the rationale just outlined.
How would you react?
Think about it.
"Oh well, it's a private company. They can do what they like."
Really? Nah. You'd be sitting in a downtown intersection, blocking traffic.
Starting to notice a pattern here?
Next topic: What if they censored atheism, and all criticism of religion?
Twitter Spiritual Safety:
"This type of content violates our policy against spreading dangerous heresies that imperil people's souls."
"This content violates our Community Standards on blasphemy."
See where this is going?
How about college sexual assault statistics?
"These claims about the prevalance of rape on campus are unproven, unsubstantiated, evidence-free, uncorroborated, fallacious, spurious, AND, not only that, but they're also delusional, discredited, disgusting, fraudulent, hallucinatory, AND slanderous, ludicrous, libelous, kooky, and cray. And 20 other negative adjectives that are all synonyms of "not true."
And people shouldn't have to be subjected to vile, baseless, paranoid conspiracy theories every time they open Twitter. If Twitter wants to delete that stuff, they have every right to do so. If you want to discuss fact-free evidence of "rape" where none exists, go over to Parler."
Is it really just about "public vs. private companies"?
If these things happened, would you still be making the same arguments you're making now? Praising censorship? Would you still be shrugging it off, with the "Oh well, it's a private company" excuse?
If the answer is "no," then the "public/private distinction" is not really your argument.
You don't really believe the "private company" excuse. You're just using it because its convenient. And that makes you a hypocrite. A brazen ball of slime.
Censorious people are scumbags. They have no moral principles.
The same person who says "Hey, just move to another platform," will simultaneously demand those very same platforms - the very ones they just mockingly suggested you migrate to - be censored in the exact same way as the one they just defended kicking you off of.
They're full of shit.
The one telling you, "Just go be an entrepreneur and build your own platform" wants your new creation forcibly taken down, even in the off-chance that you actually manage to build it.
They're full of shit.
The ones telling Parler, "Just get your own server farm," would then support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as she pressures Congress to make legislation to censor your website at the DNS level, and block your entire domain, along with all domains that won't submit to censorship rules, so it won't matter how many independent servers you have.
They're completely full of shit.
The same ones telling you, "The 1st Amendment only protects you from the government, not a private company," as if they actually respect the Constitution, will flip on a dime as soon as the narrative tells them that it's time for the 1st Amendment to go. Once their puppetmasters tell them that "constitutionalism equals white supremacy, and therefore domestic terrorism," they will parrot that line verbatim, and cheer on the destruction of the same 1st Amendment they just pretended to respect.
Don't believe that? They already say, openly, that they want to repeal the 2nd Amendment. Why wouldn't they also do the 1st?
While they're telling you they respect the sanctity of the Bill of Rights, they're simultaneously asking for their heroes in Congress to gut it.
Their argument for repealing the 2nd Amendment is simply, "an armed populace is dangerous." And "dangerous", all by itself, justifies banning.
And what are they now saying about the 1st Amendment? Listen to their arguments now. What are they saying about free speech?
"It causes violence."
Guns lead to violence, and therefore we should ban them.
So if freedom of speech leads to violence...
...do the math.
It's not hard to see what they're planning to do next.
They are filled. To the brim. With shit.
And if you disagree with them, they'll punch you. Or call for someone else to punch you. Or, if they deny wanting to punch you, they'll still cheer the news of someone else punching someone just like you, whom they hate for the same reason they hate you.
They'll say "Well someone has to scare the nazis away..."
...while completely oblivious to the epic irony of fighting authoritarianism by abolishing freedom of speech.
But they're not really oblivious. They know what they're doing. They're not ignorant. They're evil.
Censorious people are not motivated by genuine desire for truth and learning. If they were genuine, they would listen to people who disagree with them.