For many years, Cat McGuire (watch her above on this week’s False Flag Weekly News) was one of New York City’s sharpest and most energetic left-wing activists. In 2016 she brought me to the Left Forum to explain Why Noam Chomsky Is Wrong About 9/11.
Traveling to the Left Forum in NYC to attack Chomsky is like going to the Vatican to diss the Pope, so I should have known we were asking for trouble. Cat soon found herself in hot water with other Left Forum organizers. The following year, the Left Forum bought me a plane ticket but then canceled my speaking engagement and banned me and other 9/11 skeptics. Cat and some like-minded colleagues responded by organizing The Left Out Forum, which took place in the same building, just down the hall from the people who had banned us.
Cat, after feeling increasingly “left out,” finally just left the left. She had plenty of reasons. But by far the most important was the plague of mass formation wokeness that has led to the left’s neo-Stalinist embrace of censorship.
The woke censors fancy themselves nice, thoughtful, tolerant people, and view their victims as hateful bigots and misinformation-spreaders. They think they are defending “historically marginalized groups” and protecting people from dangerous ideas. That, of course, is very close to what Chinese Communist Party censors think. Twenty years ago, maybe even ten years ago, nobody could have imagined that Big Tech would jettison the Enlightenment ideal of free speech and become almost indistinguishable from the CCP.
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The latest Twitter censorship scandal provoked this darkly amusing headline:
Mainstream media won’t repost the “hateful tweet,” which makes it hard for readers to understand what got banned and why. So I found Peterson’s pushback video which includes a shot of the tweet and the rules it supposedly violated.
It seems that some actress named Ellen “call me Allan” Page decided to have her breasts cut off in order to enhance her claim to being something she obviously is not: a man. That, at least, is how I (and presumably Peterson) would describe the situation.
Twitter’s woke censors, however, disagree. They think people have the right to pretend to be whatever gender they choose, of a potentially unlimited number, and to force others to pretend to believe them. Mutilation and hormone-poisoning are welcome but optional.
And they think schoolteachers should push this view on children, and convince them—even behind their parents’ back—to get mutilated.
The vast majority of people where I live, rural western Wisconsin, think the woke brigade is certifiably insane. I suspect that at least half the US population tends to agree.
But the Internet commissars think Peterson’s tweet might hurt Ellen Page’s feelings. They view gender pretenders as a “historically marginalized community.” They just want to protect these folks from hateful bullying.
Speech whose only purpose is hateful bullying may be indefensible, even when it is Constitutionally protected. But Jordan Peterson’s “hateful” tweet is a mordantly witty contribution to a debate on a topical issue with significant public-policy ramifications. Throughout the history of First Amendment jurisprudence, judges have consistently noted that it is the most “offensive” speech that deserves the most protection, and that the purpose of the First Amendment is to enable lively debate on the issues of the day. Even the most extremely offensive speech, such as obscenity and pornography, can be protected if it has redeeming social or artistic value. And the kind of redeeming social value that the First Amendment is designed to protect is, above all, the “offensive” but provocative contribution to a serious public debate on issues related to public policy.
I realize the courts have ruled that Twitter can flout the First Amendment, and traditional American principles of free speech, as much as it likes. If it wants to censor one side of a debate in order to ensure that the other side wins — or rig its algorithms to make sure one political party defeats another — that’s perfectly legal.
Those court rulings, like the gender pretenders and their defenders, are certifiably insane. By destroying free speech as a fact if not as a theoretical ideal, the internet oligarchs will ultimately force the angry majority to take up arms and win the debate militarily rather than verbally.
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror.
He also has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS, and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications.
Dr. Barrett has taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin; where he ran for Congress in 2008. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, author, and talk radio host.