Last week, Meta-Facebook-Instagram announced a program to combat “misinformation” during the referendum for the Voice to Parliament. This is a bad move, if for no other reason that it will be viewed, probably correctly, as the silencing of voices in order to support the Voice. The ironic anti-message will undoubtedly be clear to Voice sceptics. We had thought to write on this, but figured we’d already written enough on inappropriate Voice spruiking, and on the dangers of half-wit authorities declaring what is or is not misinformation.
M-F-I’s misinformation program is not just a bad move, however, for unintentionally screwing up the Yes guys on the Voice. M-F-I claims that their program is “contributing to democracy”, but there is a solid argument that they’re doing the exact opposite. Which brings us to Matt Taibbi. Again.
A few days ago Taibbi gave a speech, on the undermining of free speech and dissent, and even the desire for this, by the internet behemoths. Here are some excerpts.
I’d learned a trick over the years. If something about a story doesn’t make sense, you probably got something wrong. Something about the Twitter Files story was off.
It wasn’t hard to understand why the FBI was organizing a censorship scheme, or why companies like Twitter and Facebook that lived off lucrative regulatory subsidies were going along with one. The motives of the powerful actors in all this were never mysterious. The part that didn’t compute was why so many in the general public were accepting of the situation. This included people I knew. Many people in America are not just accepting of digital censorship, they believe it to be vitally necessary.
A few weeks ago I read a draft of a new book by Greg Lukianoff and Rikki Schlott, called The Cancelling of the American Mind. They quoted Judge Learned Hand, who wrote in 1944, “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.”
Justice Hand had a hard time defining this thing that “lies in the hearts of men and women.” But, as an American, I believe I experienced it growing up. As [ACLU president] Nadine [Strossen] said, it’s that “right not to remain silent”, something in which I believed almost religiously.
But if that spirit of liberty Justice Hand talked about dies, no amount of lawsuits or congressional hearings will revive it.
It was once a virtue for Americans to say, when asked about their politics, “None of your damn business.”
Nobody thinks that way anymore, either. Young people especially are worried to the point of mental illness about their likes and ratios. We not only want people to know what we think, we’re terrified of people not knowing what we think, lest we be suspected of harboring something unsavory underneath.
This is how it is for Americans trying to be themselves now. First they became addicted to the Internet as a tool of convenience. Then it became a cheap substitute for real-life interaction. Finally they learned to submit to the wisdom of crowds, which on the Internet, as we also found out, is really an artificial representation of a crowd, generated by political and social engineers from the FBI, DHS, the Pentagon, Meta, Google, and other bureaucracies. These groups are letting loose algorithms on that “Spirit of liberty” Justice Hand talked about. The results have not been good.
Read all of Taibbi’s speech, and then scream.