Trump Is Tribune of the People
His social media censorship initiative is genius.
President Trump is showing that he hasn’t forgotten his good political instincts. His new initiative is brilliant: Begin the conservative pushback against social media censorship by going to the people. Instead of allowing the media to frame this issue as a few racist cranks locked out for their nastiness, Trump’s asking you and me. His “tech bias sharing tool” addresses ordinary Americans right on its splash page:
SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear “violations” of user policies.
No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.
Brilliant. Now ordinary people can report how they got banned. How their pastor or favorite columnist suddenly disappeared. And the president can take their stories — as he took those of “Angel Moms” on immigration — as a mandate for action.
The Crisis of Online Censorship
The social media problem is all too real. We’ve let far-left private companies buy up all the public squares in the country (social media platforms). And now they can banish free speech from them. We’ve no recourse to the First Amendment since it’s all “private property.” I’ve already pointed to two possible avenues of action for fixing this and restoring open debate. (This in the teeth of a left which wants to banish free speech even from college campuses.)
Plan A: Rewrite federal communications law, such that social media platforms are subject to lawsuits by victims like Nick Sandmann. Since they’re not really neutral platforms. A neutral platform is Sprint, which doesn’t listen in on people’s calls, and disconnect them if they talk about the Bible, or Donald Trump. (Then deny them phone service forever, with no appeal.) Watch Facebook and Twitter fall all over themselves relearning their one-time neutrality — or end up literally owned by victims like Nick.
Plan B: Will Chamberlain’s idea, which he floated at Human Events and in an interview with The Stream: Pass an Online Civil Rights Act, defining platform access as a civil right. Make it just as impossible for Instagram to ban evangelical Christians as to ban Asians or blacks.
I don’t care which Trump pursues. Neither one would grow the government. They’d only limit the liberty of a few leftist billionaires to silence their fellow citizens. And defraud their customers, by pretending that political party lines are real “community standards.” Either plan would advance the freedom of expression of hundreds of millions of citizens.
The Elites Can’t See the Problem
Of course, there are elitists who sneer at such concerns. They’ve never been banned. Maybe not even “reported.” That would have entailed taking a stand more than ten degrees to the right of “center.” (That goalpost, of course, moves constantly, and always in one direction.) The same people have been sneering at our concerns about immigration, American jobs, and the legal assault on our churches. And of course, at Trump himself.
The longer the NeverTrump faction ekes out its existence, the more noxious they prove themselves. At the heart of this self-mitred coterie? It’s not genuine outrage at the president’s personal history. These same people still seem awestruck by John F. Kennedy. His sexual adventures were genuinely sordid. They continued while he was in the White House, making a fool of the gracious Jackie. Nor is it concern at any “authoritarian” tendencies allegedly present in Trump’s exercise of office. If anything, President Trump has been excessively patient with a Deep State out to destroy him. And with a GOP establishment determined to govern as if Mitt Romney had been elected.
Sneering Social Darwinists of the Squishy Center-Right
What drives the Romneys, the Kristols, the Kasichs of this world? It’s a kind of Social Darwinism. That worldview, you’ll recall, was a grand intellectual effort of self-congratulation:
We who have somehow “made it” in this world are clearly inherently better. The whole course of Evolution has teleologically striven, via purely random mutation, to produce good Victorian gentlemen like us. It’s not the job of government to second-guess Mother Nature. If anything, it ought to speed up the process of eliminating the misfits. Delete those failed drafts of human beings on the lower steps of the pyramid atop which we sit. Much more humane if those troglodytes stopped reproducing altogether, don’t you think? Harrumph, harrumph. …
The NeverTrumpers agreed with Hillary Clinton that Trump’s supporters were a “basket of deplorables.” In fact, they’d spent their period of dominance over the GOP (1996-2016) trying to suppress, silence, neuter, or expel from every corner of the conservative movement anyone who didn’t fit their mold. Who dissented from crony capitalism, go-slow social liberalism, and foreign policy adventurism. If Communists were once called “liberals in a hurry,” the GOP establishment were liberals sleepy after a three-martini lunch at the country club.
As I observed today of the NeverTrump outlet The Bulwark:
Every reader of The Bulwark could fit in the Acela Quiet Car. They may all in fact be riding on it right now, going back and forth from Manhattan to DC, over & over again, for no reason at all.
— John Zmirak (@JZmirak) May 16, 2019
Would Flyover Country Just Die Off, Already?
It’s one thing to argue that tariffs won’t really help the common man. It’s quite another to sneer at whole regions of the country and entire industries, along with the Americans who work in them. To join in the bi-coastal sneer of self-anointed elites that the old, benighted America should really just die off, already.
Likewise, the haughty disdain at those concerned about immigration. Your kids all go to boarding schools in New England. Why should you worry about overwhelmed public schools? Who cares if grants of in-state tuition to illegal immigrants hurt LSU or OSU students? Your kids are going Ivy. Nor will your well-connected children have to worry that their wages are undercut or jobs simply taken by newcomers. You’ve greased their path to the top, and convinced yourself that this is merely “meritocracy in action.” Natural selection, harrumph, harrumph.
I’m glad to see Trump following his old, populist instincts on dealing with social media — which currently and increasingly runs as a method of elite re-education and private sector censorship. I hope he hits these companies hard. If he doesn’t, they might well swing the next election against him, by silencing his supporters.