Milo and the Right to Speak

Only moments before he hosted the party of summer, Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter. (This follows last weekend’s purge of prominent shitlords, including @AltRight and @Bidenshairplugs.)

The Great Shuttening is happening, though it might not be happening systemically, as who gets banned, for what, and when seems to depends on the whim of the Diversity Administrator who’s on staff during a controversy.

Twitter claims that Milo’s ban is related to “harassing” the Harabean comedienne Leslie Jones. What’s most remarkable about their exchange is how tame Milo was.

Milo: If at first you don't succeed (because your work is terrible), play the victim.

After that, Leslie demanded “muh safe space.”

Liberals blush at the thought of “censorship,” even when it’s directed at a right-winger. Buzzfeed, for one, resorts to an interesting euphemism:

Yiannopoulos’s permanent suspension isn’t a matter of speech as much as a matter of behavior.”
[emphasis added]

As far as I know, the only “behavior” one can engage in using Twitter is typing. The ban was all about speech, whether Twitter and its enablers like it or not. Milo is openly anti-feminist and has been one of the few mainstream conservatives to discuss the Alt Right seriously and sympathetically. This is why he was banned.

The episode demonstrates, once again, the new world we are headed into regarding the concept of “free speech.” A “principled” conservative or libertarian has no real objection to Twitter’s actions, because they are done by a private company. “Censorship,” in their minds, only takes place when a sovereign state bans writings, ideas, or art within its territory. Twitter is just a private company making business decisions.

This view has fading relevance in The Current Year. First off, Twitter and every web company are inherently supranational; they are, indeed, everywhere. One could also ask whether my recent banning from the UK really just amounts to preventing me from enjoying tourism and does not actually "censor" me at all: British citizens can freely listen to my podcast, read my articles and tweets . . . at least for now.

Turned around, Twitter has more power than any government to suppress the promotion and exchange of ideas. If you believe that Milo or anyone else has a “right” to free speech, then you should be more worried about Twitter and other web services than governmental speech codes. That is, if you think the Right has the right to speak. . . .