The Volokh Conspiracy

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Free Speech

Twitter Suspends Satire Site Babylon Bee for Tweet, "The Babylon Bee's Man of the Year is Rachel Levine"

The tweet was apparently aimed at mocking Time Magazine for calling Rachel Levine its "Woman of the Year."


Rachel Levine is an admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and is male-to-female transgender; Twitter apparently takes the view that referring to Levine as a man—whether or not within satire or ideological criticism—violates its rules "against hateful conduct," which ban "promot[ing] violence against, threaten[ing], or harass[ing] other people on the basis of," among other things, gender identity. (Twitter's policy states that "This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.")

The ban is apparently for 12 hours but only if the tweet is deleted; the Babylon Bee's CEO is refusing to delete the tweet:

For more, see Newsweek (Gerrard Kaonga) and the New York Post (Ariel Zilber), among other outlets.

Of course, Twitter is a private company and thus not constrained by the First Amendment. (Whether or not it could and should be constrained by state or federal statutes is a separate question, but as of now no federal statutes restraining Twitter's discretion on this have been enacted, and the few state statutes that have been enacted are being challenged and have been preliminarily blocked by courts.) But given that the Supreme Court has referred to these sorts of social media platforms as "the modern public square," I think it's worth monitoring what constraints those platforms impose on the expression of various views, whether in satire or otherwise.

NEXT: Who Decides What Is Taught in Government-Run K-12 Schools?

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    1. Hey, vile toxic lawyer traitors. Twitter is a public utility service, like water and electricity. As with the water company, it may not shut off service for a joke. Twitter needs to be deterred with a $billion fine for each of these bans.

      1. Levine is a male scary clown looking abomination, and he stinks as a doctor. He totally failed at managing Covid in Pennsylvania.

        1. The responsible officials should be investigated and arrested as servants of the Chinese Commie Party. The arrest should include tasering them, and beating them with batons. To deter.

          1. Twitter has allowed millions of internet crimes on its platofrm. It has committed a million internet crimes itself by overstating its viewership to advertisers. Half its accounts do not belong to humans.

            There is full justification to seize it in civil forfeiture. Then auction it off like the Ferrari of a drug dealer.

      2. The outcome of this Texas case may settle the issue:

        Treating big tech as common carriers make sense.

    2. The "female" "admiral" may be a joke. But if you laugh out loud, the consequences you'll face will be no laughing matter.

  1. "as of now no federal statutes restraining Twitter's discretion on this have been enacted"

    Do you think they're ever in touch, informally of course, with government officials about the content of their site?

    1. "Censor harrassment or we will cancel section 230, and open you to lawsuits, crushing your stock value by hundreds of billions, as surely as a rust belt car company."

      Nope. No First Amendment violations there. Twitter, sitting in a chair with a black eye, looks up as Tony Soprano pets his hair, and says, "No, we do this voluntarily."

      1. People in Government: That political opponent is harrassing. Censor them!

        Twitter: Censored!

        People in Government: And that one...

        Twitter: Censored!

        People in Government: And that one, and that one...

        Twitter: Censored! Censored!

        Twitter: I did good, boss! Didn't I? I did good, boss, see, I did good!

        People in Government: Shaddap!

  2. "Of course, Twitter is a private company and thus not constrained by the First Amendment."

    Of course, many public institutions, like federal courts, impose the same rules. Here is a case where a judge ordered litigants not to refer to boys who identify as girls as "biological males" or "males".

    Why litigants in federal court should be forced to express a particular viewpoint on gender issues is beyond me.

    1. That judge is a denier. Zero tolerance for deniers. He needs to be removed from the bench.

  3. My normal rule is that, if you make a joke that's in poor taste or otherwise offends against social norms, you'd better make sure it's funny. And since this is not funny at all, this decision isn't exactly keeping me up at night.

    (As an example of something that I did think was funny and was rightly not censored, here is the story of Jimmy Carr's most recent Netflix special.)

    1. 1. Why do you think whether something is objectionable has a "funny to you" exemption? What kind of standard is that?

      2. There's plenty of stuff online that is "in poor taste or otherwise offends against social norms" that is allowed, even celebrated. Have you seen people commenting on Clarence Thomas' hospitalization? The punch a Nazi (he deserves it!) is quite the standard.

      I don't think "social norms" is the hill you want to charge, let alone die on. Not too long ago, homosexuality violated those sacred "social norms". But your comments further demonstrate people like you aren't opposed to enforcing a public morality on society. You just want YOUR morality imposed. Until 5 minutes ago that was illiberalism.

      I mean, this is why some were trying to get Dave Chappelle cancelled.

      1. O, I'm sorry, I thought we were all agreed that we were talking about the appropriate behaviour for a private company.

        1. You're the one who said it wasn't funny, to you. As if it was relevant. Implying if it had been funny to you, yet suppressed, you might feel differently.

          Now you're suggesting what you or I think, (well, me anway) is irrelevant. However you want to frame your illiberalism is fine with me.

          1. This is the very thing the New York Times recent editorial tried to address: where the First Amendment ends, and the expectation/consensus on freedom of speech begins, beyond government action.

            We seem at risk of back-sliding into illiberalism, from the very parties which until recently suggested any such back-sliding was the beginning of fascism. Why I find some people dismissing private actors censoring some speech according to some nebulous "hatred" societal norm standard positively chilling. The abused become the abusers, once they obtain power.

        2. They key is not that you said you did not find it funny, but you saying the decision didn't bother you. Thus you find it perfectly fine for the State to decide what is funny.

          If that is incomprehensible to you, you have my pity.

          1. I'm utterly lost how you got from:

            "you saying the decision didn't bother you"


            "Thus you find it perfectly fine for the State to decide what is funny."

            There is no government action here.

            1. I guess it's a good thing I didn't suggest otherwise. I asked you why the Fair Housing Act was necessary, given that it addressed the behavior of private parties.

              I'm not suggesting there is currently any government interest in addressing what happened to the Bee. If Twitter is selectively moderating "hateful content", contrary to their stated policy (and terms of service) they may be inviting government action. Maybe because some people object to illiberalism in any form. Others because they want to stick it to Twitter because they view them as an enemy of the people.

              All this is beside my point of calling you out on your selective indifference to private actors acting illiberally. I didn't think those in favor of a free and open society set such boundaries. But like I said, too often the people calling for tolerance are all to eager to impose their morality when given the chance.

              You are perfectly happy to see that the transphobes got what they deserved. I discern this by your calling the Bee's tweet transphobic.

              1. He was responding to someone else's comment here, not yours.

      2. Until 5 minutes ago that was illiberalism.

        the new "liberalism":
        1. label your political opponents "haters"
        2. proceed to shut them down (or shrug when others do so)

        1. Meet the new progressivism ... same as the old progressivism.

          I had friends back 30 years ago who insisted they were open minded, but some opinions simply did not have a right to exist.

    2. As if your definition of "funny" matters to anyone but you.

      Thinking it does is the hallmark of a boring statist.

      1. O, I'm sorry, I thought we were all agreed that we were talking about the appropriate behaviour for a private company. So where that "statist" comes from is anybody's guess.

        1. See my comment above. You think it is perfectly fine for the State to decide what is funny, when it agrees with you.

          1. I really don't. See my earlier comment below.

    3. Martin. Are you a Democrat, or Heaven forbid, a lawyer?

      1. Worse, he's Dutch.

    4. It wasn't funny. It was hilarious.

    5. I would agree with that. My objection to most politically incorrect humor is that it's not funny; it's mostly middle school level. On occasion I do hear a politically incorrect joke that I think is funny, and on those occasions I don't hesitate to pass it along.

      1. it's mostly middle school level

        So, too advanced for you.

        1. Your complete lack of self awareness, and inability to see your own unintentional irony, continue to amaze me.

          1. Sometimes ironically, sometimes not, he's been singing the same belligerently insulting note for years. Stop being amazed.

          2. Your complete lack of self awareness, and inability to see your own unintentional irony, continue to amaze me.

            LOL! Your dishonesty is boundless.

    6. is it a joke when its the truth?

      When we neuter a male dog it it still a male dog, same when we geld a horse.

      Yet with humans it magically different?

      1. Humans are special, and can change sex just by thinking about it.

    7. this decision isn't exactly keeping me up at night.

      Will you feel differently when Babylon Bee is denied banking services? When its domain registration is revoked (i.e., it's kicked off the Internet)? When its editors are investigated / prosecuted / imprisoned for "hate speech"?

      1. It might, if it was state behaviour (as some of your examples are, and others might be).

        1. "Might"? There's a statist thought.

          1. A bank is not the state, but it might have been acting under state coercion. What part of this confuses you?

        2. Why was the Fair Housing Act of 1968 necessary? It primarily addressed the conduct of private actors.

          The underappreciated despicable aspect of Jim Crow in the South was that even if the Woolworth counter had wanted to desegregate, the law didn't allow it. But let's pretend there were no segregation laws...would it have been okay for them to "choose" to segregate? No state behavior involved then.

          In other contexts, you would never make such an argument that lack of state behavior in such a controversy make it none of your concern. If you're going to appeal to a "protected class" or prior discrimination, those are applied legal principles to rectify behavior under law.

          I'm talking about whether some action is morally defensible in a free society. If liberalism means anything, I thought it included being tolerant of speech you disagree with, especially when its objectionable.

          1. I'm sorry, are you comparing transphobic internet commenters to black people during Jim Crow???

            1. I'm sorry, are you comparing transphobic internet commenters to black people during Jim Crow???

              No, mush-for-brains. He's comparing private actors with private actors.

            2. How can you possibly compare a group I'm sympathetic with to a group that's definitely awful? I'll repeat something in my prior, to focus your attention:

              "In other contexts, you would never make such an argument that a lack of state behavior in such a controversy make it none of your concern."

              If your level of interest in an injustice is a dependent on what group is being harmed, that's not a principled position. I'm specifically taking issue with your dismissal of the actions of a non-governmental actor by giving you a different example where I suspect you would not dismiss it.

              1. I'm having a little trouble understanding exactly what you are advocating here. Do you want the government to step in and force social media companies like Twitter to change their policies concerning what content they block? Or are you advocating some other type of action against Twitter? Or are you just being argumentative?

                1. I'm not advocating for anything. I'm trying to get at the principles involved here. One can say that what Twitter did here was illiberal, without calling for any action.

                  People denouncing the awfulness of MAGA is argumentative, yet no one seems to think that unhelpful. (I'm a Never-Trumper FWIW, lest anyone misunderstand.) If you're selective with your denouncements, depending on which side is committing the offense, that's unprincipled partisan hackery.

    8. too bad Moe Howards not around to give you a Dope Slap/Eye Gouge combo. Whose "Social Norms"?? that Circus Bearded Lady Levine? I've seen better looking faces on Iodine bottles!! Two guys broke into Dr. Levines Bedroom, she yelled "Rape!!" They yelled "No!!!!!!!!"

    9. Is this the same standard as Justice Potter Stewart's position in Jacobellis v. Ohio?

  4. I wonder if the ban was done by a program? I would hope a human being would recognize satire.

    1. So the twitter mob is not human?

      1. Subhuman

  5. Putin, Xi and the Iranian supreme leader have not been banned from Twitter.

    1. All are buds with the Biden cabal.

    2. I'm guessing they don't think invading Ukraine is hateful conduct.

    3. The Babylon Bee should delete the tweet then declare Putin and Xi to be the lesbian couple of the year. Lets see how far this hate speech policy goes lmao.

    4. But Trump remains banned. Tells you a lot.

      1. It tells you that Trump violated Twitter's rules — which govern the use of Twitter, not everything one does in one's life — and Putin, Xi, and Khamenei did not.

        1. That's the answer of a bureaucrat. You can literally commit genocide, but so long as you follow our "rules" we will give you a platform to spout your views.

          1. Do you have specific guidelines for who is a moral enough person to be allowed to use privately owned social media? How will these guidelines be enforced?

            1. To answer your questions out of order:

              As I said on this thread, I am a libertarian on this issue. Twitter is free to do as it wishes, and I am free to criticize it. Any enforcement is up to Twitter.

              As for "specific guidelines," Twitter can draft them. I don't run its platform nor make billions doing it. But whatever the guidelines, a person who heads a regime that commits genocide (Xi), or heads a regime that openly calls for genocide (Khameini), or heads a regime that aggressively invades its neighbor and commits horrific war crimes (Putin) should be on the banned side of those guidelines.

              That's my opinion, and I am as free to express it as Twitter is as free to ignore it.

              1. Let me add that Twitter and other social media are different in kind from many other sites. Putin, Xi and Khameini are not using Twitter and other site to sell knicknacks, they are using them as a platform to support and promote their regimes and the policies of their regimes. That, in my view, puts an extra moral onus on these sites that perhaps someone like Amazon would not have.

              2. If Twitter did that, and started banning users based on their behavior outside of Twitter, would anyone benefit?
                Or, if the rationale for your preference is not based on somebody being better off, what is it based on?

                1. Maybe you did not read my additional comment. Twitter should not be giving a platform to criminal, murderous regimes to promote their regimes and policies. That is what connects their "behavior outside of Twitter" to Twitter. (If Putin's Russia was a model regime, and Putin just enjoyed torturing little puppies in his basement as a weekend hobby, then perhaps you would have a point.)

                  And yes, the world would be better off if such regimes had a harder time getting their message out to the world.

        2. If behavior they like violates the rules, the companies will just change the rules - see how they now openly allow death threats against Russians.

          1. "...they now openly allow death threats against Russians."

            While that is arguably an interpretation of the facts, it is not a truthful one.

            1. Except that it literally is the truth?
              Facebook, for example, explicitly said that due to the invasion of the Ukraine, they would now allow "forms of expression previously banned" - including death threats against a broad category of Russians.

              So, why are you unwilling to admit what Facebook and their ilk are flat out and openly admitting they are doing? Do you think that you know better what the policies are than the official statements by the companies?

        3. "Twitter's rules" is a meaningless statement. They write their own rules, their own terms of service, and there is no independent oversight or legal appeals process. You could tweet "good morning" and they could ban you for "hateful conduct" if they wanted to.

          In other words, the rules mean whatever Twitter wants them to mean at any time. So they aren't rules, they are feelings and whims.

      2. BL, true libertarians hate Trump more than Putin, Xi, and Khamenei

        1. Only supremely stupid ones. (And my view of Trump is just slightly better than the scrapings from the bottom of my shoes.)

  6. violates its rules "against hateful conduct,"

    Banning the truth is the most "hateful" thing I can imagine.

    1. People who're trying to get you to believe lies hate the truth, and those who speak the truth. They'll go to any length to suppress them. And they'll say they're doing it to combat "hate."

  7. That's no woman, that's a Man Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Remember when they said “man” “woman” were terms that described gender and “male” and “female” meant biological sex and never the two shall be munged?

    1. Remember that "we" don't care what "they" think anymore?
      Men are men.
      Women are women.
      (DNA) science.

  9. Soon this post will also be banned, for calling attention to the matter.

  10. I remain a libertarian on this issue. The First Amendment gives you the right to behave like an equine rear parts, and grants me the right to identify you as such.

    1. Maybe so in the abstract. But Twitter has Terms of Service, which I believe is FTC enforceable. Selectively applying a "hateful conduct" standard, especially in the face of all the awful things, including physical appearance, said about The Orange Man, seems arbitrary and capricious.

      I recognize a challenge with Twitter's enforcement is that it relies on AI and users reporting offensive content. That can lead to what appears to be uneven enforcement, particularly for a high value offender targeted.

      It's a problem when your terms of service suggest a non-partisan/politically viewpoint neutral forum (which is also how you describe yourself in SEC filings), but your business conduct suggests otherwise.

      1. Maybe. That's a matter of contract, and maybe fraud. (Although what do users give up for using the Twitter service?) I would bet, however, that the Twitter ToS are vague enough to permit whatever they want, and if not some clever lawyer will think of a way to rewrite them to cover their rear-parts.

        1. I didn't mean to suggest there was a path to victory here for the Section 230 fetish crowd. A determined plaintiff willing to grind this out might get lucky enough to reach discovery in subsequent litigation. Personally I'd like to know how the Trust & Safety Council operates.

          This operates at two levels. One is the hot take/sniff test, whether this is objectively defensible ("it's not funny"). The other is whether there is (or will ever be) any legal recourse. It's interesting to watch whether people get the vapors consistent with their principles. Or they just twist them according to their tribe's exposure.

      2. Good point. I may buy a share of Twitter and file a derivative lawsuit for its breach of its fiduciary duty in the SEC filing.

    2. I remain a libertarian on this issue. The First Amendment gives you the right to behave like an equine rear parts, and grants me the right to identify you as such.

      When you behave like a horse's ass, Twitter / Facebook / etc. let you do so. When I do it (or when I call you a horse's ass), they censor my comment.

      1. Which is one reason I do not have a Twitter account, and do not intend to have one.

  11. Is mainstream, modern America in the market for pointers on this subject from a disaffected law professor who repeatedly censors terms such as "sl_ck-j_wed" and "c_p succ_or" (at least, when those terms are used by non-conservatives) and who actually banned a commenter for making fun of conservatives?

    Why are movement conservatives devoid of self-awareness?

  12. "Of course, Twitter is a private company and thus not constrained by the First Amendment."

    From the declaration of independence:
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    When a business, and especially a collection of businesses, conspire to deprive a citizen of his constitutional right to free speech, it is the duty of the government to protect those rights.

    While the Supreme Court has referenced the “vast democratic forums of the Internet,” Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844, 868 (1997), has described the internet (including social media platforms such as Twitter) as one of “the most important places (in a spatial sense) for the exchange of views,” Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730, 1735 (2017), and has analogized the internet to the “essential venues for public gatherings” of Case 1:17-cv-05205-NRB Document 72 Filed 05/23/18 Page 60 of 75 61 streets and parks, id., the lack of historical practice is dispositive, see Forbes, 523 U.S. at 678. Accordingly, we consider whether the interactive space is a designated public forum, with “governmental intent” serving as “the touchstone for determining whether a public forum has been created.” Gen. Media Commc’ns, Inc. v. Cohen, 131 F.3d 273, 279 (2d Cir. 1997). “Intent is not merely a matter of stated purpose. Indeed, it must be inferred from a number of objective factors, including: [the government’s] policy and past practice, as well as the nature of the property and its compatibility with expressive activity.” Paulsen v. County of Nassau, 925 F.2d 65, 69 (2d Cir. 1991) (citing Cornelius, 473 U.S. at 802-03). Here, these factors strongly support the conclusion that the interactive space is a designated public forum.

    1. Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be.

      You also misunderstand your quote from Knight First Amendment Institute, which was talking about action by a state official, not a private entity.

    2. From the Twitter 'About' webpage:

      "We serve the 
public conversation. That’s why it matters to us that people have a free and safe space to talk."

      Twitter represents its platform as public space where people can freely engage. Then it limits access to that public space for people exercising free speech. Even with ToS, this is not supported by the spirit of the law and relevant precedents.

      For example: Planned Parenthood may build the sidewalk in front of their clinic, yet as a 'private entity' they are prohibited from limiting the exercise of free speech in that public space once they have provided it, even if that sidewalk provides access only to their clinic. Even if the speech is offensive to the staff and patrons of the clinic. How is Twitter not similarly enjoined?

      Removal of a speaker from such a public space by police has consistently been seen as a violation of the 1st Amendment, even at the request of the owners of the space. If the staff of the clinic or patrons were to remove the speaker themselves, it would be an assault, a criminal violation. So there is no way to eject a speaker from a physical public space without violating the law. Why is the ejection of a speaker from an electronic public space not similarly enjoined?

      1. Twitter owns Twitter. Planned Parenthood does not own the sidewalk.

  13. OK, you lawyers are such smarty pants, figure this one out....

    It's long standing policy that a male Physician examining a Female Patient must have a Female "Standby" (also called a "Chaperone", you know, just like the Old Fashioned Chaperones, make sure no funny business happens)
    Buttt.....what if the Patient is a "Female to Male"? Do I not need a Standby? She, I mean "He's" legally a Male. Or do I need one, because I might make a face when I see the disaster area her (his?) former snatch was (is?)
    So does Ms. Dr. Levine need a Chaperone when "She" examines a (real) Female? I mean He's a "Woman"* fight?


    and as the great Moo-Hammed Ali said of Smokin' Joe Frazier, "Ugly as a Bush"

    1. Not so much to prevent funny business, but to make there are no false claims that there was funny business.

      And there are cases in Great Britain, where the law requires doctors to accept false claims of sex, of "female" patients dying of undiagnosed prostate cancer because the diagnostic test cannot legally be done.

    2. There was that recent revelation about the rape in a British hospital female-only ward which was deemed impossible for a year, until it turned out that one of its "female" patients still had male baggage (both mentally and physically). A full year to admit reality.

    3. In a parallel to that, there are quite a few cases of MtF transgenders insisting on being housed in women's prisons, but I can't find a single case of a FtM transgender insisting on being housed in a men's prison.

  14. I was suspended for responding to someone who insisted Roger Stone will certainly face the consequences for a lifetime spent being Roger Stone by noting “Maybe he’ll die soon.” This rhetorical statement was viewed as wishing he will die soon, thus violating the terms. I appealed but didn’t delete. I then found I couldn’t even view Twitter until I deleted, plus I wasn’t sure whether my clock started. So I deleted it, found my clock had in fact started, and my life will continue on otherwise unmolested with or without Twitter.

    Anyway, if BB’s precious tweet is worth permanent suspension I say “stick to your guns guys.” But however BB’s current “problem” shakes out, if anyone is suffering from the absence of BB’s comedic stylings, Mallard Fillmore is probably still being published somewhere.

    1. It's the the "precious tweet" it's the principle of the matter, which in this case, is telling the truth.

    2. This rhetorical statement was viewed as wishing he will die soon, thus violating the terms. I appealed but didn’t delete. I then found I couldn’t even view Twitter until I deleted, plus I wasn’t sure whether my clock started.

      I appealed recently and won. It's a bizarre process: if you tweet something that they decide violates their rules, they make you delete it; they won't do it for you.

      1. Until you delete it, you can't post on Twitter — but you can read Twitter.
      2. If you do delete it, a 12-hour clock starts ticking, and then you can post again.
      3. But if you appeal it, then (as you said) they freeze you out entirely, including not being able to read Twitter, while they consider your appeal. If you win, they reinstate you immediately. If you lose your appeal, then you're back to step 1.

      1. I heard a story like that about the DMV. A driver's license was suspended based on mistaken identity. The right to drive was suspended immediately, but the time to have it restored was based on when she turned in the physical license and admitted guilt.

  15. "I think it's worth monitoring what constraints those platforms impose on the expression of various views, whether in satire or otherwise."

    This, coupled with the point that Twitter is offering Babylon Bee a second chance, prompts haiku.

    The Ballad Of Artie Ray:

    An instructive tale
    of right-wing hypocrisy:
    Artie Ray was banned

    Our disaffected,
    authoritarian prof:
    'no second chances'

    After this, we see
    conservatives still call him
    'free speech champion'

    Thus finding solace,
    culture war casualties
    await replacement

    1. Speaking of equine matters, see you are still not tired of beating that dead horse.

      "Twitter is offering Babylon Bee a second chance"

      LOL. Only if they kowtow to their masters. Only in an Orwell novel or Communist regime is that called "free speech."

      1. Just as Prof. Volokh has not tired of using his authority to prevent Artie Ray Lee Wayne Jim-Bob Kirkland from poking fun at conservatives at this blog.

        If Prof. Volokh ever chooses to acknowledge his error and reinstate Artie Ray, it would become more difficult to fault him for being a partisan, paltry hypocrite. But the viewpoint-driven censorship stands, making it easy to skewer and mock Prof. Volokh's ostensible devotion to freedom of expression by noting that he is a partisan, right-wing hack.

  16. For those who think the suspension by twitter prevents us from enjoying true statements;

  17. Streisand called and wants her attention back.

  18. Reviewing VA disability claims, seen a few where a Veteran's getting benefits for Erectile Dysfunction and "Female Sexual Arousal Disorder" (it's a "real" condition, at least one peoples are getting money for, you have to look it up in the DSM (Deviated S&M Manual)-5, and not saying FSAD doesn't exist, but that I thought it was more the natural state of Females I'd dealt with...
    What the Sexual Reassignment Surgeon Giveth, the VA tends to take away, it's one disability from Column A and one from Column B, like the old Chinese Restaurant menus...


    1. I see a "Deez" joke coming

  19. Oh, hell. If she believes she is a woman, let her be one. She's an adult, not a child. I get so tired of people getting all bent out of shape over this issue. What big difference does it make?

    OTOH, I tend to agree with Ben Shapiro and deplore violent people like Zoey Tur who can't handle criticism.

    Now I demand that everyone leave Dr. Levine alone. She's not doing anything to bother you! What bothers me is men converting themselves to women and then competing against genuine women in sports. That should not be allowed. Nor is a child of sufficient maturity to convert. The law should intervene to stop sex changes of children.

    I have this troll in usenet that follows me around using the suffix "belle" after my moniker after I defended Dr. Levine. He is obsessed with her, constantly squalls about her, calls her Rachel Laverne, goes on and on and on. I believe he should be taken out and flogged on the town square of Huntington Beach.

    1. So, if I CHOOSE to identify as a woman, I am then eligible for all the benefits of owning a Woman Owned Business?

      I mean, that get me moved up to the front of the line for government contracts. Who is to question that?

      1. Of course, in theory, the law does not discriminate among citizens.

        1. And this is why I know a number of small businesses which were actually founded and run by a man but his wife is owner on paper. There are so many advantages to having a female name at the head that it's foolish to not do this.

    2. Wow, sounds like you've got some ish-yews.

    3. "Oh, hell. If she believes she is a woman, let her be one."

      As a right-libertarian myself, that makes sense.

      At the same time, it can't be justification for a downright dystopian sort of censorship. There are many nuances to the issue...including multiple legitimate concerns that can often be in tension/conflict with each other. The public square needs the breathing room to debate all aspects, as we figure out a way to resolve such conflicts with (hopefully) maximum fairness and respect all around.

      1. No one really cares if a man wants to pretend to be a woman.
        Most object to that person demanding, through force, that we all enable the delusion by saying it is true.

  20. Has Twitter followed Meta's lead and allowed anti-Russian hate?

  21. Just another example of globalists, zionists, chosen folks who don't celebrate xmas, censoring criticism of a jewish ideology that sex or the concept of man and woman is not to be recognized by the goy in the gulag. SZ

    1. While I'm not a fan of the censorship on Twitter (and long ago got off that platform, not that I ever actually *posted* anything there), I think muting users on an individual basis due to their drivel is a great choice. You, the Rev, and Mr. Behar make an excellent grouping IMO.

      1. It is interesting that you aim none of your unkind words and censorious thoughts toward the wingnuts at this blog who write repeatedly about gassing liberals, placing liberals face-down in landfills, raping liberals, sending liberals to Zyklon showers, shooting liberals in the face when they answer doorbells, etc., Da5id.

        I ascribe this to your bigotry, hypocrisy, and stupidity. Getting stomped in the culture war by your betters seems to have made you a boor.

        Carry on, clingers.

  22. Was this joke funny? Not really. Was it ridiculous? Yes. As ridiculous as a man being honored as Woman of the Year, or a man being honored as a top female athlete. As ridiculous as watching these simpletons force the patriarchy on women everywhere, all while proudly patting themselves on the back.

  23. Aside from the question of whether "big tech" have become utilities/public-square/etc., I think the *cultural* issue is bigger.

    The main pushback from the left against the recent NYT position against "cancel culture" seems to be that cancel culture is merely about "criticism" of views that progressives find objectionable. But really, it's also about firing, doxing, and bullying.

    I tend to be a mix of conservative and libertarian; naturally nobody can expect to be immune from "criticism" (culturally or legally), and from a legal standpoint we can't even stop shaming/shunning. But a key issue remains as to whether *culturally* we want to have norms that use shaming/shunning as the way we resolve our disputes.

    I actually question whether shaming/shunning is *ever* the right approach, even for genuine matters of overall societal consensus. But surely it cannot be the way we deal with *non-consensus* issues (e.g., the recent and drastic expansions of the definition of racism, gender, etc.).

  24. THanks go for the Streisand effect. I often miss the best of the Babylon Bee. But twitter helped me to find it this time.

  25. Several transracial university professors have been fired in recent years because universities dissapprove of transracial identification and claim race is strictly biologically based. Those firing them articulated the full anti-trans agenda, saying people with racial dysphoria or who exhibit transracial behavior or exhibit transracial iddentity are nothing but frauds who shouldn’t be teaching in universities.

    What’s the difference? So far as science is concerned, claims that racial identity is biologically based would seem considerably more tenuous than claims that gender identity is.

    1. And I found myself astonished that none of the outed and fired trans professors sued under Bostock.

    2. If I were the Babylon Bee, I’d sue. Twitter never deleted any of the accounts of the universities and administrators who openly outed, harassed, vilified, and fired transracial professors, nor any of the faculty or students who used Twitter to clamor for their removal.

      Twitter’s claim that it enforces any sort of general policy towards people who tweet about trans people is absolutely rediculous. It is completely belied by the total non-enforcement of its policy when racial trans people afe concerned.

      It’s a pretext for religious discrimination, nothing more.

      If they want to maintain a general policy, they need to enforce it generally.

      1. If they want to maintain a general policy, they need to enforce it generally.

        They do not, in fact.

        1. ReaderY seems adamant.

    3. Define "race". We're in a post-factual era, so go to town.

      1. We are in the is weird place where a portion of the old school left remembers the arguments that "race doesn't exist" because there is no hard line in human biology between, say, an Irishman and a Nigerian. This was, of course, a way to counter the race realists who used race as a classification for discrimination.

        However, the antecedent left nay-says that "race doesn't exist" because they view all social relations through the lens of race and use it as a way to justify race based discrimination (against whites).

        So, in an ironical way, the far left by viewing race as the most vital aspect of social relations is doing the same thing as the segregationists, just the arrow of political power for subjugation is pointed at whites rather than blacks.

        1. What I find so ironic is that the claim "race doesn't exist" is considered horrendously evil by the left these days, despite race being a vaguely defined supergroup of family that is effectively useless for determining any trait whatsoever. On the other hand, the concept that "sex exists" is controversial to the extreme, despite sexual dimorphism being so prevalent as to have its own word and being recognizable to toddlers.

      2. Bostock forces it to be a subjective form of personal identity. You are what you want and believe yourself to be. Any attempt to associate that subjective internal belief with a form of external manifestation is a stereotype prohibited by Bostock. To define black people as having dark skin is as much a prohibitted sterotype as to say that only women are able to get pregnant, or that Norwegians can’t have been born and raised in Damascus or Johannisburg.

        People are what they want to be. Plain and simple. To suggest otherwise is hate. That’s the logical consequence of Bostock.

    4. Consider this poor outed trans professor who, rather than showing backbone and standing up and calling her harassers on their hate, caved, “admitted” she was “really” white, said her true identity was nothing but a “lie,” and expressed the kind of guilt and shaming for having experienced racial dysphoria that would stimulate trans-baiters’ sadistic tendencies into a truly big hard-on.

      Where was Twitter when this woman was being shamefully maligned?

    5. anti-trans agenda

      This kind of bullshit rhetoric is one of the things that makes meaningful public discourse impossible. There is no "anti-trans agenda" to any statistically significant degree. There is significant backlash against an agenda that seeks to force public acceptance of the lie that a biological male/female is in reality a female/male so long as one chooses to "identify" as the other. But that is not even remotely the same as being "anti-trans".

      1. If question begging were an Olympic sport.

        1. If question begging were an Olympic sport.

          If bullshitting was you'd be unbeatable.

  26. On the Bee today: "Babylon Bee Writers Struggling To Come Up With New Material After Twitter Bans 1 Of Their 2 Jokes"

  27. I think the Bee is often funny, whether or not I agree with their particular take. They are the court jester, daring to point out the emperor has no clothes. Not a fan of attempts to silence them, even if that is Twitter's right as a business.

    A better solution is to get off Twitter, for both producers and consumers. Sadly in terms of access Twitter has a bit of a natural monopoly due to network effects. There is no other competitor that comes close. And if one did start to arise with a more tolerant view towards freedom of expression, well, the Parler example shows that such will not be tolerated by big tech. "Nice app you have there, pity it won't be in the duopolies app stores, hard to find hosting and infrastructure or people to process payments or bank with, etc".

    1. If you ignore the wingnats, Gab's not to bad.

  28. "Of course, Twitter is a private company and thus not constrained by the First Amendment."

    Yes, but last I checked, libertarians are in favor of punishing fraud. When your CEO says things like "Twitter is the free speech wing of the free speech party" and then your company does *this*, that qualifies as far as I'm concerned.

    1. Who is being defrauded? The slogan is advertising puffery, which is protected speech. The terms of service make it clear that Twitter is in no way a champion of free speech. If the statement could be proved a lie, a lie alone does not constitute fraud. You need a victim deprived of money or something of value.

      1. The value the users are providing is in the network effect. People use Twitter (or Facebook or whatever) because other people use it -- only an extreme narcissist would make social media posts that only they could read. The more people using it, the more valuable it is. When Bob uses Twitter, he provides value to Twitter by adding himself to the pool of people that can be reached with it, and by encouraging people who know him to start using it in order to reach him. Now, consider how much smaller Twitter's userbase would be -- and thus less valuable the company would be -- if they'd come out and said "we're the progressive wing of the progressive party."

        As to "puffery", claims like that (and it's hardly the only one) go well beyond things like 'we make the world's best burgers."

      2. Stock investors who may be relying on such presentations by Twitter's executive management. If suddenly they become associated with political extremism, they may lose even more users (AKA the product they sell to advertisers). I know the MAGA exodus was a tiny fraction of their users, but becoming associated with one side of additional hot button issues might drive away a more significant number.

    2. that qualifies as far as I'm concerned.

      Well, then, you should return your law school diploma to the TikTok video from which you got it.

      1. I wasn't voicing an opinion on whether the law covers it, I was pointing out Twitter et. al. have done things for which punishment would be within libertarian principles.

    3. " Yes, but last I checked, libertarians are in favor of punishing fraud. When your CEO says things like "Twitter is the free speech wing of the free speech party" and then your company does *this*, that qualifies as far as I'm concerned. "

      It is thoroughly stupid to advance that comment at a white, male, right-wing blog that masquerades as libertarian and imposes viewpoint-driven censorship.

      Are you that stupid, David Emami, or are you new here?

      1. Viewpoint-driven you're against the way Twitter moderates its users? Since actions against minorities so offends you, you must be really bothered by all the ill-will expressed on Twitter about the health of Clarence Thomas that has gone unchallenged.

        Why do you care, or even have standing to say, whether this blog masquerades as libertarian? Do you have particular rights to the term? If you thought such false pretenses were important, you'd also be objecting to how Twitter behaves.

        1. Ill will expressed on Twitter toward Clarence Thomas with respect to his health -- not a word of which I have seen -- is or would be boorish, lousy conduct.

      2. Are you that stupid, David Emami, or are you new here?

        He may be, but at least he's not still lying about something that never happened, the way you are.

    4. That was the former CEO though.

  29. Do I understand correctly that the "hateful" content will stay up indefinitely if the Bee does not delete it? What does it take to get a tweet taken down by Twitter?

    1. A college campus had a stated policy that if your bicycle was in a place where it was obstructing other traffic (mainly pedestrians) it would be locked in place with a school-provided bike lock until you groveled and/or paid ransom.

  30. Caitlyn Jenner also won a woman of the year award, the same year as the transition.

    The real question is, why are people who have lived most of their lives as men so much better at being women than actual women are?

    1. "people who have lived most of their lives as men"

      You mean Ex-Men?

  31. Prof. Volokh, saying "and is male-to-female transgender" is buying into the fiction that it is possible to transition from one gender to another. People who are born male are forever male, regardless of hormone therapy, so-called sexual reassignment surgery, clothing, lifestyle, and so on. When someone appears to have a genuine gender dysphoria, the brain should be treated, not the body.

    1. By the way, I think one of the reasons that so-called gender transitioning is supported by progressives but not ethnicity transitioning or identification is that the former involves surgery.

      But then, why is Lia Thomas described as having transitioned, since he hasn't had surgery? Isn't he just identifying as a woman?

      1. I mean, this is the same foot-stamping nonsense as people who were against gay marriage said.

        If it follows the same trajectory, the number who cares overmuch will shrink until you're left just you and your sour grapes.


        1. "I mean, this is the same foot-stamping nonsense as people who were against gay marriage said."

          Which, the complaints about gender transition or the complaints about ethnicity/race transition?

          1. Really? Have you bothered to think at all about the differences between race and gender?

            The brain has a lot going on when it comes to sex and reproduction; its complicated and varies a lot and interacts with a whole bunch of other neurological systems.

            Race, neurologically, is barely present. Society has a lot to say, and it is part of people's identity, but outside in, not inside out; nurture, not nature.

            So race and gender identity are not, as it turns out, very good analogies. Gender identity is a lot more like sexual orientation than race.

            But you knew all that, you just ignored it to try and get a shitty own in.

        2. That's not a counter argument, it's just whining on your part.

      2. My cousin was born and grew up female, but about 10 years ago decided to be a man. Didn't ever have surgery, just hormones. Now believe me, neither you nor anyone else on earth would look at him and see him as anything other than a man, and a pretty ripped one at that. You could go ahead and call him female if it's somehow important to your worldview, but society views him and treats him as male, and that's just fine with me if it makes him happy. I think it's your apparent worldview that's the problem here.

        1. Clingers gonna cling.

          Until they are replaced.

          By their betters.

          It's the American way.

        2. I bet you plenty of people including yourself still see the female body structure.

      3. By the way, I think one of the reasons that so-called gender transitioning is supported by progressives but not ethnicity transitioning or identification is that the former involves surgery.

        That's not correct. Under current orthodox transgender ideology, no surgery, or even hormone treatments, are required for someone to be deemed transgender and/or to transition. The Babylon Bee's one joke may not be funny, but it isn't wrong; all one has to do is identify as the opposite gender.

  32. I thought that the whole thing was hilarious. They make this trans woman, who probably got her job mostly because she was trans, the Woman of the Year, and the Bee parodied that by making him Man of the Year, because, in actuality, despite wearing a dress, they are still a biological XY male. What has she done, other than being trans, to be Woman of the Year? Really nothing. The CDC head actually probably did something in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic (much of it was arguably detrimental- but that’s a different subject), and would have made a much better Woman of the Year, but appears to have XX chromosomes, so wasn’t considered. I am still in the dark about what Rick/Rachel did this last year to earn this distinction besides wear their Admiral’s uniform in public.

  33. I just shared this article on twitter. Please join me.

  34. Noooo, don’t ban the Babylon Bee. Now where are people going to go to see “I identify as an attack helicopter” posted ad infinitum???

    1. It's funny that you think you're owning them by making the same exact joke they did.

  35. Yes, it's a private company with freedom of association and the legal power to control access to its property.

    On the other hand wide-ranging speech is an ideal we might want to judge people against even if it's not a First Amendment issue.

    In this case, I find Twitter's policy reasonable because of the serious impact of being misgendered: I will understand any argument that "reasonable" restrictions should not be made.

    I would not find it reasonable if they blocked an account for simple error. Based on peer reviewed neuroscience going back to the 90s, it looks like it would be an error to deny that gender identity is a matter of brain wiring and therefore biological. (We do not have a complete picture but it fits clinical observation).

  36. We are on the brink of war with Vlad Putin and his nukes and hypersonic missiles; and meanwhile, nutcases have rashes about the sexual identity of innocuous Dr. Levine, who is a respected pediatrician.

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