Easily the dumbest article I’ve read this year was one by a posh liberal columnist in a high end political journal explaining why freedom of speech wasn’t under threat in the West. Anyone who argued otherwise, he claimed, was a “grade A chocolate-coated plonker.”
It was, of course, the kind of glib nonsense you could only spout if you were on the squishy left/bien-pensant/progressive side of the political argument.
Everyone on the right knows better because they have all experienced at first hand what it’s like to live in a culture where you cannot speak your mind without being punished for it.
Sometimes – speaking up for Brexit or Donald Trump at a London dinner party, say – it merely leads to social ostracism; or losing friends who probably never deserved to have you as a friend anyway.
The thing that puts me off libertarianism is the “more libertarian than thou” game so many libertarians like to play.
“What? You mean you don’t believe that enterprising heroin dealers should be free to ply their wares in kindergartens so as to catch ’em while they’re young? You’re not a real libertarian. You’re a fascist control freak…”
All right, I exaggerate. But the latest libertarian test is very real – and is the subject of a big falling out between two National Review writers Victor Davis Hanson and Kevin Williamson.
See where you stand.
a) Facebook, Google, Twitter etc are the equivalent of 19th Century robber baron monopolies ripe for breaking up under Anti-Trust regulation because of their overmighty power and their iniquitous war on free speech and their outrageous bias against conservatives.
b) What are you saying, man? Don’t you see, this is, like, a violation of everything we libertarians believe in? You can’t – Pass me that joint, will you? You’re bogarting it. Yes you are – where was I? Oh yeah, look, it’s like this: if you’re gonna complain about Christian bakeries being prosecuted for refusing to bake gay cakes because of they violate their religious principles, you’re just being hypocritical complaining when YouTube puts restrictions on PragerU videos because they violate their liberal principles. Either you believe in free markets or you don’t.
If you’re a) you’re with Victor Davis Hanson who outlines his case here.
If you’re b) you’re with Kevin Williamson, who has now unfathomably accepted the King’s Shilling to take on the job of house libertarian at that famous bastion of free speech, liberty and alternative viewpoints The Atlantic.
Twitter thread genius Thomas Wictor has become the latest victim of the liberal-left tech sector’s war on free speech.
If you’re unfamiliar with Thomas Wictor, you’re missing a treat. He’s a Venezuelan-born recluse with a rich and varied past who, besides being the world’s greatest (and only) expert on World War I flamethrowers, also happens to produce some of the most fascinating Twitter threads and social media video commentary you will ever see on subjects ranging from Antifa to Pallywood to what’s really going on in Syria and Iraq.
Some of his output is so kooky and recondite that, quite possibly, it strays into the realm of conspiracy theory.
But with Wictor you can never be quite sure because his exposition is so thorough and well-documented.
One of his specialties is forensic video analysis. This is how I first came across him, a few years back, when I wrote my first Breitbart News story based on his research. It concerned the four Palestinian boys supposedly blown up on a beach by Israeli artillery during the last Gaza conflict — but really, or so Wictor claimed, murdered by Hamas who then exploited the dead children for propaganda purposes.