Social Media

Let God Tweet

I shouted out, who killed online freedom of speech? When after all, it was you and me.


We did it, America. After letting our social media panic rise for years, we finally helped convince Twitter to ban God.

OK, it wasn't God, per se, but rather TheTweetOfGod, a satirical account run by a former "Daily Show" writer who posts quips such as, "What happens after you die is pretty funny actually." Twitter, which like all social media platforms is under increasing consumer and political pressure to police bigotry and extremism, ruled on Tuesday that the ersatz Yahweh had engaged in suspension-worthy "hateful conduct" by tweeting, "If gay people are a mistake, they're a mistake I've made hundreds of millions of times, which proves I'm incompetent and shouldn't be relied upon for anything."

The company quickly reversed itself after the ensuing brouhaha, claiming it had made an "error." Still, this should be (though it almost certainly won't be) a wake-up call — not to the Lords of social media, but to the rest of us heathens. We keep asking Silicon Valley to enforce speech manners on the commons, then recoil in horror when the results inevitably don't go as expected.

Every damned day in 2019, far too many of us wake up in the morning, fire up Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, and then demand that the managers of same censor, demonetize, and even ban people who say things we don't like.

Last week it was the eminently dislikable but nonetheless popular conservative shock-bro Steven Crowder nominated for YouTube de-platforming. Crowder has long mocked Vox video producer Carlos Maza, taunting him as a "lispy queer" and "gay Mexican." (Maza, for the record, is gay of Cuban extraction.)

Maza says Crowder's fans send him torrents of homophobic abuse via social media and text message. So, like many of our modern de-platformers, albeit with considerably more skin in the game, Maza went rifling through YouTube's terms of service for disqualifying violations, and came up with the site's prohibitions on "content or behavior intended to maliciously harass, threaten or bully others."

YouTube initially responded that Crowder's trolling didn't quite rise to the level of incitement. But then the video platform, which is owned by Google, suspended his channel's monetization — basically, preventing him from selling ads until he removes specific content such as links to his site selling "Socialism is for F*gs" T-shirts.

With the controversy at a high boil (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz were weighing in on Twitter, natch), YouTube then announced a sweeping policy change banning "extremist" and denialist videos. Almost immediately, legitimate journalists and historians who cover controversial subjects found their work purged from YouTube.

We are asking social media companies to do the impossible — impose and enforce editorial standards on an endless global stream of user-generated content. The very reason that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube et al became popular in the first place — they're so easy to use even Grandpa can do it! — dooms all these post-facto cleanup exercises to failure. An algorithm will never replicate the judgment of a magazine editor, and no human hands can reproduce the efficiency of a 24/7 automated publishing system used by millions.

"Casting a wide net into the Internet with faulty automated moderation technology … also inadvertently captures useful content like human rights documentation, thus shrinking the democratic sphere," warned a joint report published last month by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Syrian Archive and Witness. "No proponent of automated content moderation has provided a satisfactory solution to this problem."

Among civil libertarians, the deeper worry is that social media panics are already turning into bad speech-restricting legislation and regulation. Congress last year overwhelminglypassed a likely unconstitutional Online Sex Trafficking Act that holds web publishers retroactively liable for prostitution advertisements posted by users. Each week brings some new Capitol Hill hearing where politicians browbeat technology companies for alleged viewpoint discrimination.

But let's not give short shrift to government censorship's kissing cousin, censoriousness. That's where users increasingly ask technology companies — sometimes under threat of government force — to shut down the speech of people we find distasteful. We really need to knock that off.

The more we treat social media companies like speech-providing utilities, the more they're going to act like utilities — which is to say they'll never go away. Possibly the best single thing about social media behemoths has been that they have a tendency to disappear. No longer are we under the boot heel of Friendster, MySpace or Flickr. There's a reason Facebook and Google are now openly inviting Congress to regulate them — that way they get to help write the rules governing any future competitors.

There are important reasons for individuals to avoid being a terms-of-service tattletale, too. Especially at a time of increased polarization and political apocalypticism, all of us need to get better at old-fashioned persuasion, and less reliant on third-party authorities to make the bad people go away. Keep politicians away from social media regulation, and let God tweet.

This column originally appeared at the Los Angeles Times.


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  1. “Twitter, which like all social media platforms is under increasing consumer and political pressure to police bigotry and extremism”

    No one has yet successfully pressured any social media platform into reducing the extreme bigotry of the socialists – – – –

    I cordially invite all reasonable people, men and women, to discontinue use of social media platforms.

    1. I also encourage Reason-able people to put that danged warning flag icon somewhere else so I don’t keep clicking on it by mistake.

      How about a two-step process where it asks “are you sure you want to report this post for abuse”? Then if it was a mistake, you can say “no, that wasn’t my intention at all.”

      1. They know we don’t intend to flag everyone else’s posts, but they think we all deserve to be flagged anyway

        1. I just flagged this post.


    2. Hm. Is it the same thing if I continue to not use social media? Or continue to loathe its existence? Whatever. Consider this my RSVP.

      1. It would have more impact if the people who use social media started leaving than if the people not on it, were to continue to not be on it. Facebook, Twitter et al. would notice if lots of people were canceling their accounts (and panic). But it you’re not using their platforms, then as far as they’re concerned, you don’t exist.

        1. “…as far as they’re concerned, you don’t exist.”
          Fine by me

  2. What you mean, “We”, White man?

    I certainly don’t care who posts what on social media, and suspect most Reason readers don’t either.

    1. Welch’s “we” in his Los Angeles Times column refers to the

      legitimate journalists and historians


      1. When SIV says “we,” he is usually balls deep in poultry and epenthesizing heavily.

        1. Oh hey, how bout that? CMB/W has consulted his thesaurus again to make projecting his chicken fetish sound sophisticated.

    2. So Welch is part of the censorious “We”, at least he finally admit it. Beijing Mandarin Chinese makes a distinction between the inclusive “we” and the exclusive “we”. meaning we as in all of us including you, while includes the speaker but excludes the listener.

      Journalism desperately needs this distinction.

  3. “We keep asking Silicon Valley to enforce speech manners on the commons, then recoil in horror when the results inevitably don’t go as expected.”


    “This column originally appeared at the Los Angeles Times.”


    This writer probably considers themselves a ‘moderate’ and they don’t realize their just another morsel the mob will eat later.

    I don’t understand how a person with two brain cells to rub together doesn’t get ‘free speech.’ It’s pretty god damned simple.

    Any asshole I hear scoff at ‘slippery slope’ arguments when it comes to freedom of speech or gun control can go fuck themselves while they read a history book about Europe.

    1. Originally posted in the Los Angeles Times does give this whole article a much better and different context. The LA Times folks probably hate it, but its a good article when having that target audience in mind. They do need to be introduced to basic concepts like, hey, we could you just have social media platforms not moderate people’s ideas.

      1. But then how do you expect me to deal with content I don’t like? I can’t just ignore it, because then I’m left with the knowledge that some other people, surely less intelligent and more susceptible to brainwashing than I, might read it and come to conclusions that I dislike. Therefore the only reasonable course of action is to shriek like a child until providers of the service I use make sure that only people who think as I do are permitted to use it.


        1. Good analysis.

          “And, if necessary, this should be enforced by people with common-sense permission to use firearms.”

  4. The only thing I ever asked of silicon valley was to provide a good product at a reasonable price.
    Instead they provided a terrible product for what they called free, but the true price was a piece of my privacy.
    It was too expensive.

  5. “Every damned day in 2019, far too many of us wake up in the morning, fire up Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, and then demand that the managers of same censor, demonetize, and even ban people who say things we don’t like.”

    The more I read, the more angry I get.

  6. “…links to his site selling “Socialism is for F*gs” T-shirts.” (Ca’t advertise that, says The Google Who Sees All).

    Socialism is for frogs? The French, right? They’re slightly more socialistic than Americans? Would The Google Who Sees All, allow me to advertise “Socialism is for Yankee Running-Dog Imperialists”?

    Since that is what The Google Who Sees All, really-apparently believes, I bet they’d allow selling THAT kind of T-Shirt! Double standard, or what?!?!

    1. Frogs are alt-right now.

      1. “Well it’s alt-right, flying Pepe in the breeze
        Well it’s alt-right, if you say whatever you please
        Well it’s alt-right, trolling the best you can
        Well it’s alt-right, as long as you lend a white hand”

        1. Took me a few minutes to recognize the traveling wilburys there.

  7. In the battle between Crowder and Maza, you deem Crowder the “eminently dislikeable” one?

    1. Crowder is the icky conservative
      You cannot expect Welch not to express some kind of disapproval of Crowder, especially while defending his right to exist.

      1. The target audience is people who think deplatforming is a good idea. Not libertarians or conservatives.

    2. I find Crowder much more likeable than Welch, especially laterly

  8. “Earn tokens by viewing ads in Brave. Ads presented are based on your interests, as inferred from your browsing behavior. No personal data or browsing history ever leaves your browser.

    Estimated earnings this cycle 2.23 USD”

    That’s what it says in my browser.

    $2.23 taken away from the likes of Facebook and Google over the course of a month and given to a YouTube content creator that makes videos about guns, or something else that can’t be monetized, may not seem like much, but then a digital subscription to Reason is only $14.97 per year–and aren’t they always asking us to subscribe?

    Depriving Google of $2.23 a month and giving it to some content creator that the big social media companies hate isn’t about to change the social media landscape by itself, but that power of persuasion thing Welch was talking about can be powerful stuff.

    There are more choices available to you than 1) financially supporting a platform that censors speech with your ad viewing or 2) ignoring social media altogether. For instance, you can download the Brave browser, turn on Brave Rewards, deprive Facebook and Google of any money they might gain from advertising to you, and give that money to the content creator of your choice–even if their content has been “demonetized”. It’s all up to you!

    You can also choose to bitch about the government not interfering in the economy to protect freedom of speech–even while you’re too lazy to use the tools that are available to you to address the problem yourself. But Libertopia may be a place where protecting our rights is a job that’s too important to leave to politicians. There’s only so much libertarianism and capitalism can do for people who are too lazy to download and use a free browser.

    1. Batting .1000, Ken. Keep it up.

  9. Fuck off, Welch.
    I don’t have anything to do with killing online freedom of speech.
    That’s on your progressive idols

    1. Yeah, I was puzzled by that. Neither I, my relatives nor anyone I know or talk to has has the slightest interest in banning anything on the internet. Maybe we’re all desperate backwards clingers or something.

  10. I don’t believe in forcing the shutdown of any platform or of deplatforming anyone. However, Twitter apparently brings out the worst in everyone who uses it, from the president on down to the Jones, Chowders, and Massas—not to mention all the everyday dumbasses stricken with TDS and socon-idiocies.

    I would not go near Twitter with a 10-foot pole. No doubt you’d find far more intelligent and insightful exchanges on an online forum for Kardashian fans.

    1. I suspect journalist types are fond of Twitter because it gives them the illusion of having conducted an interview with a famous or powerful person–and they don’t need to cite some rival publication as the source, when they get it on Twitter, either.

      I don’t really understand the draw for other people. I guess it gives the illusion of access. I don’t know if Trump ever sits there and reads what people post in response to his tweets, but people seem to reply to him as if they think he does. I’ll see similar things in the comment sections of major news outlets, too, where people direct their comments under the story about somebody as if they were talking directly to the subject of the story.

      It’s like a delusional, creepy state of mind people get into when they’re commenting on Twitter. When we’re reading fiction, we get into something like that, but Harry Potter and science fiction don’t really conform to the real world. When people get into that state of mind on Twitter, on the other hand, there isn’t as much of a barrier between our imaginations and the real world.

      For a lot of people, I think it’s like being in a dream state. It gives voice in the real world to the stupidest part of our private, imaginary world.

      Anybody else ever read about the theory that our ancestors were all schizophrenics–much like the way animals are today. They didn’t’ know about modern psychology or the subconscious. They thought their inner voices were the voice of God.

      When your dog sees herself in the mirror, she may think it’s another dog at first. Over time, your dog doesn’t come to recognize the image as an image of herself. Dogs can’t pass the mirror test–and small children can’t either! People start to recognize themselves in a mirror as they mature, but your dog just learns to ignore the image–like it does with all the other things your dog experiences when it dreams and imagines. When we experience what we imagine, isn’t that schizophrenia?

      Magritte’s “This is not a pipe” is the kind of perceptual tweak I think Twitter leverages. All those people think they’re talking to presidents, politicians, famous athletes, etc., but they’re mostly just reacting to images and voices in their own heads. That’s not a pipe. It’s a picture of a pipe!

      1. I think it has some popularity among the pundit class because the fallacy-laden mantras repeated by them are very easy to write in <280 characters, but very difficult to refute in the same space.

        1. Twitter was dead until people started caring about Trump’s tweets.

          1. I remember when Twitter was this thing people older than me did and that I didn’t understand for years, in a weird technological switcharoo.

      2. The Bicameral Mind, the right brain sent auditory hallucinations to the left brain provoking action.

        1. “According to Jaynes, ancient people in the bicameral state of mind would have experienced the world in a manner that has some similarities to that of a person with schizophrenia. Rather than making conscious evaluations in novel or unexpected situations, the person would hallucinate a voice or “god” giving admonitory advice or commands”

          It’s an interesting hypothesis.

          I used to have these arguments in college with people who wanted to believe that Socrates was actually an atheist or agnostic. He was just being coy about what the Oracle told him!

          Socrates heard a voice telling him what not to do. Why wouldn’t he believe in the gods?

          Before the advent of psychology, there was neither homosexual nor heterosexual. Religious people didn’t even see it in those terms. They thought there were people who wanted to have sex for reasons other than procreation, and they were considered aberrant nut jobs. The Victorians thought that people who wanted to have to much sex for non-procreative purposes inside of marriage were nuts. Masturbation, gay stuff, it was all considered the same thing–what Christians for millennia before them called “adultery”. It wasn’t until Freud and psychology came along that people needed a name for homosexual behavior to classify and study it–and so they called the supposedly aberrant behavior “homosexual”. They needed a name for what they considered normal, too, but before the advent of psychology, there was no “heterosexuality” as an identity. Those identities didn’t exist before psychology.

          People didn’t know about the subconscious and their inner voices, much, before the advent of psychology either. In some Latin classes I took, the professor stressed how odd it would have been for Romans to see someone reading without their lips moving or even making any sound. Reading was meant to be done out loud. There was no inner voice as we think of it. It was there, but it was probably part of their outer world. That was the gods. That was the influence of the muses, of Dionysus, of Apollo, of the other realms . . . They experienced all that stuff for themselves and didn’t rationalize it away as their subconscious.

          Or maybe that whole hypothesis is a bunch of horseshit. When I see people emoting online via Twitter at some celebrity or other, however, I can’t help but think of it. People have inner conversations with the Taylor Swift and Donald Trump in their minds. You can read it on Twitter. We imagine discussing those musings is rational, but it might be like talking to the crazy homeless guy that lives behind the trash can at the bus stop. For all we know, the Taylor Swifts and Donald Trumps of the world are in the same states when they’re posting their tweets.

          1. Your long paragraph about history – none of that is remotely true

            1. Are you talking about the part about how “heterosexual” and “homosexual” were identities that didn’t exist before they were constructed by psychology?

              Those behaviors always existed, but the concept of people categorizing themselves as “homosexual” or “heterosexual” did not. This is as good of an account of what actually happened in the public imagination:

              “Heterosexuality,” he says, made its American debut in a medical journal in 1892, where it referred not to desire for the other sex, but to desire for both sexes. It was considered a perversion, one of several “abnormal manifestations of the sexual appetite.” The association of heterosexuality with perversion continued for several decades; as late as 1923, Merriam-Webster’s called it a “morbid sexual passion for one of the opposite sex.” But by 1934 it had become a “manifestation of sexual passion for one of the opposite sex; normal sexuality.” (Note the term “opposite sex,” itself a relatively new way of regarding men and women.)

              Mr. Katz traces the evolution of heterosexuality from its origins as a perverted desire to its present incarnation as normal sexuality. As the medical establishment claimed hegemony over sexual matters at the end of the 19th century — influenced by Krafft-Ebing and Freud — it transformed the discussion about sex from what was “natural” and “moral” to what was “normal” and “healthy.” (At first this seemed like progress.) That done, physicians and psychiatrists sought to explain, and cure, those who were “abnormal” and “unhealthy.” In the first decades of the 20th century, Mr. Katz shows in a chapter called “The Heterosexual Comes Out,” the mass media seized on and validated the concept of “the” heterosexual.


              Before psychology invented these ideas of “heterosexuality” and “homosexuality”, people didn’t think of themselves or each other in these terms. They thought in terms of “perverts”, which, in addition to people who had sex with men, included serial adulterers, people who wanted to much sex even within marriage, and auto-eroticism. I suspect more public acceptance of the latter may explain why prostitution has become less pronounced in the modern world. Doing it to yourself by yourself was just considered nuts. As recently as World War II, you might have thought of yourself as nuts for doing that to yourself.

              That’s the kind of thing we’re talking about with the invention of “heterosexual” as an identity that people could be along with “homosexual.” Psychology had a profound impact on the way people came to understand themselves–and the invention of “heterosexuality” is just one example. When we sit around and talk about our own subconscious, why we dream what we dream, anxiety, depression, phobias, psychological trauma, etc.–yes, these things have always existed, but the way we understand and explain them has changed because of psychology.

              Incidentally, the way average people understand the origin of life has changed dramatically since Darwin, too. Yes, “survival of the fittest” always existed–certainly can be demonstrated to have happened long before Darwin was born, but people explaining ourselves and the way we and the life around us has evolved–we didn’t do that before Darwin. Like Freud, he had a profound impact on the way we understand ourselves.

              1. Suetonius wrote about the Caesars escapades nearly 2000 years ago. Today he’s be branded as a homophobe for his opinions on same sex shenanigans. They may not have had the words but they definitely noticed the the behavior.

                1. Yes, the behavior has always existed.

                  The identity “heterosexual” or “homosexual” simply didn’t exist. The construction of these behaviors as identities like “Catholic, Irish, Democrat”, etc. didn’t exist. “Orientation” simply didn’t exist. Both heterosexual and homosexual are creations of psychology that did not exist before. Having sex with women wasn’t who you were–it was what you did.

                  When a farmer stops farming and becomes a stock broker, he isn’t still a farmer, but when a male homosexual in the modern world isn’t thinking about sex with men or having sex with men, is he still a homosexual? If the “+” in LGBTQI+ can also stand for “heterosexual”, then what kind of identity are we really talking about if it includes every type of behavior possible–including people who behave different at different times? Are we really talking about a legitimate identity at all, or are we just talking about behavior?

  11. “Every damned day in 2019, far too many of us wake up in the morning, fire up Facebook, Twitter or YouTube…”

    Well, that’s the fundamental problem right there.

  12. I am of the opinion that a couple of here posters might be misinterpreting the collective “we” to which Welch refers in this column. By borrowing a line from the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” the blame is not put upon a particular individual, but on all of us, “you and me.” who either participated in the “death,” allowed it to happen through inaction or otherwise “enabled” it. And while “we” might not have “caused” this assault on free speech, there is certainly nobody except “you and me” who can stop it. Perhaps we need a couple of hundred people to start several dozen “alternative” social media sites which aren’t under the control of a handful of government stooges…. er… I mean, billionaires who think they have too much to lose.

    1. To be fair, the Stones’ idea that “you and me” killed the Kennedys is, shall we say, lacking in evidentiary support.

      Though I suppose “you and me” scans better than “a couple of left-wing fanatics.”

      1. You, of course, are correct. Very few people, perhaps only one, sealed the fate of JFK. But, we all play a roles in the shaping of our society, which gave rise to Oswald, etc., etc. JFK’s assassination, in this case, is a metaphor. Expanded, the metaphor would place a good deal of the blame for Hitler and other tyrants, whose rise to power is at least partially the responsibility of those who did nothing to stop it.

        1. Agreed as to Hitler, but what could “we” (average Joes and Janes) have done stop Oswald? Detained him as a Communist subversive? That would have First Amendment problems. Catch him when he tried unsuccessfully to kill General Walker (as I understand he tried to do)? That was on the Texas cops. Maybe the FBI could have followed him around like they did many other commies at the time – but again we later came to see such things as *abuses,* not legitimate police tactics.

          1. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying, in any kind of a real world, that somebody, much less “we,” could have stopped Oswald. Our society is flawed, as all others, and most others much more so. In fact, it is a testament that in over 200 years that no strong-men, at least on the national level, have managed to seize dictatorial-like powers. The “perfect society” would never produce someone like Oswald, (or Hitler). In fact, I could say, that if we had a much better society, we wouldn’t have produced a JFK, either. Such a leader would not be needed, since there would have been no Vietnam, and no civil rights movement, and we wouldn’t need someone to lead us (supposedly) out of the quagmire. On the other hand, the apparent conspiring of today’s “lords of social media” with the government, to better their own position, reminds me of when the railroads had much of the government bought-and-paid-for.

      2. The song is about how evil is in all of us. It is part of life so we may as well deal with it. Have sympathy for the devil because the devil is us. So you and me killed the Kennedys.

        1. Maybe I misunderstood the Stones.

          If discerning the will of God is difficult, that’s nothing next to trying to interpret rock lyrics.

          1. Well they were pretty much wasted at the time.

            Good song though. It was genius to add the congas and percussion. Gives it a samba feel.

          2. Discerning the will of Satan is as easy as determining the will of God. And much more interesting. At least in Milton’s version. 🙂

          3. Yeah

            Who were the three riders approaching in All Along The Watchtower?

            Still haven’t figured that one out.

            1. Two riders, if I recall correctly. I would assume they are the “Joker” and the “Thief,” two entities which have haunted humankind since the beginning of time 🙂

        2. So did you and me kill the Kopechne and the Diems?

  13. Where’s the Koch brothers Social Media Apps?

    1. The orphans are still working on it.

      1. Illegal immigrant orphans.

        1. Let’s hope so!

  14. The real problem here seems to be the collision between private property rights, the ethos of free speech, and the abysmal behavior that anonymity on the Internet enables.

    IF any one of the three has to go, I would vote for the anonymity. That way, social media platforms behave a lot more like actual, physical platforms – everyone knows the identity of the speaker.

    Perhaps a solution would be for a platform like Twitter to require all of its users to submit their real identity before approving their account. That way, people who behave badly (slander, harassment, etc.) can be held liable via the courts for their bad behavior. And it would let Twitter off the hook from trying to police all the bad behavior because there would be a ready remedy for anyone who felt like they were treated poorly from a legal perspective.

    There is already a (somewhat) functioning court system, let this court system be the arbiter of whether particular speech or conduct rises to the level of a legal tort, and not Twitter management.

    “But people would abuse the legal tort system and just sue everyone on Twitter who said mean things about them!” Yeah some people probably would, but there’s legal remedies for that too. And that is how things work right now outside of social media anyway.

    “But it would deter people from expressing valid yet unpopular opinions if their real identity were attached to those opinions!” Yeah it probably would, but that would be no different than, say, attending a physical protest right now, where there is no real expectation of privacy.

    It is not a perfect solution but I think it is one that would stave off attempts by government to regulate social media (which would be horrible), and it would stave off attempts to repeal Section 230 (which would also be horrible IMO).

    1. IF any one of the three has to go, I would vote for the anonymity.

      Although I’m happy to defend the benefits of anonymity, I’d also disagree that it’s a primary pain point. Sure, it makes twitter a toxic place. But neither Facebook nor YouTube are necessarily anonymous spaces. In the YouTube case, it’s the content providers, not the commentariat, that are being targeted. And that’s not due to anonymity. It’s quite the opposite.

      1. Well I am operating under the hypothesis that what makes places like Twitter rather toxic is that people can hide behind anonymity to conduct themselves in a manner that they would never do if they actually had to suffer the consequences of their actions.

  15. he existence of social tools makes us even more fearful because almost all of our personal privacy is exposed. What do you think?

  16. [i]”Every damned day in 2019, far too many of us wake up in the morning, fire up Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, and then demand that the managers of same censor, demonetize, and even ban people who say things we don’t like.”[/i]
    More and more I am unsure of this. Everyone I talk to thinks that everyone else is out of control with sensitivity. How many people actually are clicking that report button? Is it the same 1000 or so people protesting every NWO-faux-pas? I’d really like to meet all these oversensitive snowflakes because I feel they must be more like four-leaf clovers.

  17. We keep asking Silicon Valley to enforce speech manners on the commons, then recoil in horror when the results inevitably don’t go as expected.

    We keep demanding government fix shit and then bitch when the results inevitably don’t go as expected – and then we demand government fix the shit they fucked up. You’re obviously expecting too much of human beings if you’re expecting them to stop being so goddamned retarded.

    1. Good point.

      You know those medical mistake horror stories where a surgeon amputates the wrong part? No one goes back to the same surgeon to fix the mistake: they sue for malpractice and he loses his license.

      But when government makes those kinds of mistakes (way more often than surgeons, to be honest) people do expect the same government to fix it. It makes no sense!

  18. “If gay people are a mistake, they’re a mistake I’ve made hundreds of millions of times, which proves I’m incompetent and shouldn’t be relied upon for anything.”

    In fact this Twitterer has simply noticed a facet of the broader problem of Theodicy – why does God permit people to be tempted? Different people have different temptations – one person might be tempted to sloth but doesn’t care about food, while another person is hard-working and a glutton, etc. And as for the temptation of lust, the amount of temptations in that direction – for gays ans straights – is incredibly enormous.

    So to someone who rejects the idea of God or thinks He must be cool with everything that people are tempted to do, the answer is that whatever a large number of people want to do must be a good thing. Whereas the traditional theist will still say that there are things which some people find appealing, but that such temptations should be resisted.

    In other words, the Daily Show guy defined the problem, he didn’t answer it, no matter how many fist-bumps he got from his colleagues who think he’s TOTALLY OWNED the icky fundies.

    1. How convenient for straight people that they are only tempted to fuck the people God wants them to fuck.

      1. Have you read the celebrity tabloids? It seems that they’re frequently fucking people whom, under any traditional understanding of religion, God doesn’t want them to fuck.

        Anyway, I wasn’t proposing to *solve* the problem of theodicy, nor to explain why different people have different temptations. I was saying the Daily Show guy hasn’t explained it either, or for that matter even acknowledged that that’s the issue between him and the fundies.

        1. Not even the greatest minds in theology ever solved the problem of theodicy, so that’s a lot to ask from a tweeter.

          1. You can ask that they acknowledge that’s what they’re discussing, instead of courageously beating up a straw man.

            1. But by all means, Daily Show guy, follow out the logic of your position: “If your so-called God created me such that I’m peculiarly subject to a given temptation, then He must want me to yield to the temptation.”

              See how far someone can run with that principle.

              But it’s not a principle at all, of course, and Daily Show guy wasn’t thinking so much of articulating principles as of regurgitating half-digested talking points.

              1. It’s hard to have principles that incorporate a magical being that doesn’t exist.

                1. It’s certainly difficult for Daily Show personalities to do it – though that didn’t stop the guy from trying.

                  1. …and it’s interesting to see people like the “Rev” who avoid God but believe fervently in “history” or the “moral arc of the universe.”

      2. Tony that is actually a really funny line. ^

      3. Well, strictly Scientifically speaking, nature and basic biology have a lot to say on this – It’s pretty straightforward what was “intended”, no matter how you try to get around it.

        Now, whether you believe it is “bad” to deviate, and to what degree, is another matter. Opinions have changed greatly on that subject in recent decades.

        But what is “normal” and “intended” is not really up for discussion between rational people

  19. Anonymity should be protected. The Federalist Papers were made under pseudonyms, after all, along with many a great work of literature. Maybe the sheer volume of thought vomiting that is permitted by technology is the wrinkle, which is another way of saying the problem is a lack of editorial standards.

    I think governments should involve themselves as they would in any other circumstance when communication among would-be violent extremists is relevant to maintaining law and order. But for mere toxicity, we have to develop etiquette, which I think comes organically.

    Now, eat my balls.

    1. well I’ll be damned. Every once in a while I can agree with Tony. Except for that last bit.

      1. But his balls are so yummy and sweet.

    2. I agree, anonymity is very valuable. And I don’t advocate ditching it in totality on the Internet. But if ditching anonymity for social media only (which is where most of the brouhaha is) in exchange for keeping government regulation at bay, I think that is a trade I’d be willing to make.

    3. I think governments should involve themselves as they would in any other circumstance when communication among would-be violent extremists

      No one’s stopping the violent extremists from posting–Antifa, the Democrats, the MSM and the rest of the left are free to call for violence against people, places and things. They’re free to DO violence, film it, post it and not only not get banned, but not get charged as well.

  20. At least Welch doesn’t make the “both sides” argument and talk about all the theocrats trying to take down the “God” account. Assuming Twitter is actually monitored by such theocrats, which if there were, Twitter wouldn’t give them the time of day except to ban them.

  21. I have spoken with the almighty creator of the universe about this matter. After several minutes of googling he responded to me from his heavenly throne that the twitter account was “pretty damn funny actually”.

    I guess The Onion is right out.

  22. I’d distinguish between a private platform acting based on its assessment of market forces, or its owners’ political preferences – and the same platform acting because they’re worried about the government getting all up in their business.

    So if Reason refuses to run an article about the glories of socialism (assuming they would refuse) would be an example of legitimate private censorship. Or if they banned the witch-doctor guy (remember him?) from posting because it violates Reason’s editorial standards.

    But if a platform decides “let’s ban these people before the feds and the Europeans do it for us,” then that would be a problem of government censorship, albeit by proxy.

    1. legitimate private censorship

      Well thank heavens there is someone else around here who sees the free speech ethos as subordinate to claims of private property rights.

      1. The thing is, this whole controversy about OMG HATE AND FAKE NEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA! would probably be a much more manageable and less censor-y dispute if the government hadn’t stuck its nose in.

  23. Yeah Matt. Brilliant.

  24. The people sat waiting
    Out on their blankets in the garden
    But God said nothing
    So someone asked him: “I beg your pardon:
    I’m not quite clear about what you just spoke
    Was that a parable, or a very subtle joke?”

    God shuffled his feet and glanced around at them;
    The people cleared their throats and stared right back at him

  25. It is really sad when people have lost all sense of humor. It is satire I get the joke. Comedians get blasted on a regular basis now. What a dismal pathetic culture we have become.

    Was watching some of the old Dean Martin roasts on you tube. Don Rickles was in most of them. Ronald Reagan was on one when he was governor. You could not get away with half that stuff today. Hilarious and people drinking and smoking on stage just having a good time.

    People are too sensitive. I am really happy I am not a young person today growing up in this puritanical society.

    1. We were in high school in the 80s and we LOVED the Martin roasts. We used to (and still do) roast each other. If no one went home questioning their existence, we failed. That’s how bad and vulgar it got.

      Today people are pussies.

      I especially don’t get people like Oswalt, Sykes and Silverman. Wtf dudes?

  26. What is this ‘you and me’ stuff?

    I sure as hell didn’t or don’t condone it.

    1. But you are a man of wealth and taste

  27. >sympathy for the censor?

    1. I had money in the bank, held a senior executive’s rank
      While I censored stuff and my reasoning stank

      1. Not bad at all

        I was there when Zuckerberg
        Washed his hands and the stock price sank

      2. (Cuts to refrain)

        Whoo whoo….whoo whoo….whoo whoo

        Kieth on a good day shows you what a fender strat can do when it really gets angry.

        So where is gods will? Just look around you. It is everywhere.

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  29. “We keep asking Silicon Valley to enforce speech manners on the commons…”

    And there it is….who are “we?” Not any ostensibly free-thinking individuals or “libertarians,” that’s much can be said.

  30. […] purge was supposedly triggered by personality Carlos Maza. In viral tweets, Maza whined that YouTube tolerated homophobia and bigotry (he’s openly homosexual as well as Cuban Hispanic […]

  31. […] purge was supposedly triggered by personality Carlos Maza. In viral tweets, Maza whined that YouTube tolerated homophobia and bigotry (he’s openly homosexual as well as Cuban […]

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