Progressive activists try to cancel South Park on Twitter
South Park is trending on Twitter these days. People don’t like it. Well, many do, but they just quietly enjoy the show from the comfort of their own home. The ones who don’t like it, need you to know about it because it’s not too late for you to change and be like them. I don’t know what it is these days but activists hate comedians.
Wait, I think I might know. It’s probably because while many activists are atheists, they are vehemently religious about their particular cause and if you don’t share that same passion, you’re a heretic. You, as a comedian may joke about a broad range of issues, just not their issues.
Twitter has censored an official video released by RNC Research, which is managed by the Republican Party in the United States. In the video, manufacturing workers in the “blue collar room” praise President Donald Trump for his work on strengthening the US economy.
Subtitled “I’ve seen it getting better and better,” the RNC Research video was flagged by Twitter as a piece of media containing “potentially sensitive content.” Precisely what is “sensitive” about the President’s accomplishments is something only Twitter’s moderation team—and no one else—knows.
The censorship was quickly pointed out by Steve Guest, the GOP’s Rapid Response Director, who was signal boosted by the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., who wrote: “This is a disgrace. Something we should be celebrating the social media masters are censoring such bullsh*t!”
In recent days, the social media platform has come under fire for its move to crack down on “doctored” videos and other forms of deceptive media, including memes. Journalists in the mainstream media cried foul earlier today over a “deceptively edited” video published by the Mike Bloomberg campaign account that showed him mocking his opponents with the sound of crickets playing in the background.
Following the outcry, a company spokesperson for Twitter told Huffington Post that the Bloomberg video would “likely” be labelled as manipulated media under its new rules, which take effect next month.
The rules may be forthcoming, but Twitter—it seems—is already hard at work to prevent any of Trump’s accomplishments from gaining any traction.
Twitter is working out ways to combat misinformation on the platform, and one of the ideas, per a leaked draft to NBC, is to add warning labels beneath perceived lies and misinformation.
Posts by politicians or their campaigns would be vetted by verified fact-checkers and journalists. Presumably, these people would be entirely objective and able to parse information evenly, cleanly, and without any personal bias whatsoever.
This effort comes in the wake of a rollout of a new policy from Twitter to detect and delete deep fakes and manipulated videos. The new system would also enable something of a social credit component, where “users could earn ‘points’ and a ‘community badge’ if they ‘contribute in good faith and act like a good neighbour’ and ‘provide critical context to help people understand information they see.”
Per NBC, “The points system could prevent trolls or political ideologues from becoming moderators if they differ too often from the broader community in what they mark as false or misleading.” What that means is that one, lone, dissenting voice, that does not go along with the opinion of everyone else, could lose their status as a moderator simply because they are willing to diverge from the group opinion. Having an opinion that differs too often will be reason for invalidation.
That an entire group thinks one thing does not make it true. Truth is not discerned by the number of people who believe it. In fact, the mere fact of total consensus is reason enough to investigate.
Warning labels are present in many aspects of life. They are on both prescription and over the counter drugs, on car seats, side view mirrors, and at the edge of cliffs suggesting we not get too close. Health Canada and the US FDA require ingredients labelling on foods. Tobacco products are covered with images of diseased lungs per government regulation. Information is not something that should come with a warning label.
This is not new, but it is more insidious, given just how much information the public currently consumes. In the 1990s, Tipper Gore advocated for warnings labels to come on albums, and she succeeded. Perhaps nothing was more enticing to a kid than an album with the black and white label reading: Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Books by renowned authors like James Joyce were banned for their sexual content.
Tech giants are concerned over their complicity in making misleading or downright incorrect information available for public consumption. They are worried that, as a result of their proprietary algorithms, stories and posts that contain inaccuracies will appear on users’ feeds. What the tech companies want is a corrective. They want to fix it. They want to be able to slap a warning label on there, give it a splashy Pantone shade, and let the issue drop, solved.
If the standard for misinformation were to be applied equally across ideologies, the BuzzFeed’s and Vox’s Twitter feeds would be very colourful indeed. But there’s no reason to believe that will be the case, given past examples. From the dirty Trump dossier to the Covington kids hoax to Jussie Smollett, misinformation flows freely from the woke outlets. And they are always given a pass by big tech.
Andy Ngo had to delete his tweet stating facts from the Human Rights Campaign because they were inconvenient to the progressive narrative. Meghan Murphy is still banned from Twitter for speaking a simple biological truth.
Here’s a thought experiment: How would Twitter categorize this tweet from Hillary Clinton? Is there enough evidence of collusion to warrant her calling Trump Putin’s Puppet?
Twitter’s plan to know what is true based on what the largest quantity of verified moderators believe is true is thoroughly flawed. The plight of heterodox thinkers on Twitter has been well documented, with those who diverge from the common narrative banned or threatened with deletion. Twitter does not know how to discern fact from fiction, and their plan of labelling information with warning labels will stifle truth and discourse, not advance it. The truth is that Twitter is the last place to trust when it comes to the truth.
Working in the media for over two decades has afforded me the chance to meet many of my heroes. Some encounters lived up to expectation and others were small disasters.
Lighting up an imported stogie with Robert Lantos in his midtown home was delightful. Sitting under a cabana at the Beverly Hilton with Gary Shandling was heavenly. And sitting in the green room with the late Don Rickles in Montreal was emotionally orgasmic.
But how do I describe my exchange with Jordan Peterson?
Let me give it my best shot. Some moons ago, a friend of mine was one of Peterson’s students. She spoke of her intriguing psychology professor and promised that she would let me tag along for a morning lecture at U of T. I passed it off as a flip invite that would never come to be—but I secretly hoped I was wrong.
Sure enough, one day, as I had my face buried in paperwork at my Summerhill intern desk, my friend Sarah stopped by out of nowhere. She told me to pack up my stuff and escorted me to class with her. I should have never doubted her.
Sarah and I did a fast parallel park on Bloor Street West and sauntered over to The Arts and Sciences Building. Cue Sinatra’s “Come Fly with Me.” Sound the trumpets. I was in Peterson’s world.
I guess you might say Peterson was enjoying relative obscurity then, in as much as genius can ever be truly obscure. It tends to illuminate, even under the dim of low wattage bulbs. But compared to his ubiquitous fame now, he was an unknown.
The lecture hall filled quicker than a king-sized beer mug at happy hour. The empty glass of water at the podium was a prolepsis for some of Peterson’s epic rants and proliferating insights. The excitement was palpable. And so was the budding adoration for the professor at the helm.
“This guy’s lectures are dope. The best Prof in Canada. Dude’s got game” proclaimed a well-tattooed man sitting one row under me.
I took another look around as Dr. Peterson made his way to the podium. To my surprise, students were devoid of the glassy film that usually covers the eyes of hopeful graduates. Laptops were fully charged. Pens were dipped in fresh ink. Hangovers were whipped into submission by copious amounts of caffeine and adrenaline.
This was not the lecture hall culture that I remembered. This was a brave new world known as Peterson’s Playhouse. Peterson wore blue jeans with a dark cardigan and a dress shirt underneath. He was clean-shaven with an ashen pallor. He was dark under the eyes and looked quite exhausted— which as I understand it now, was insomnia’s doing.
After gathering his thoughts, Peterson started lecturing. He quickly led us into a comprehensive examination of why both individuals and groups participate in social conflict, and the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (ideological identification) that result in mass killing and pathological atrocity.
Just another day at the office for Alberta’s most influential intellectual export. Midway into his 2-hour lecture, Peterson started to speak about the Holocaust and the horrors of Auschwitz. He did this as an academic adjunct to his primary supposition about belief systems.
Unexpectedly, he went into a searing psychological examination of the Nazis and the hundreds of thousands of German soldiers who were left bereft of human conscience as they dangled in the throws of ideological imposition by the Hitler regime.
Now I have attended many Holocaust remembrance events over the years. Each one, heart-rending in its own way. I have sat with survivors of the camps—each conversation sending shivers down my spine and taking me into the deepest recesses of spiritual pause.
But this was something different. Peterson struck an isolated chord.
Maybe it was the surprise of seeing a gentile Professor speaking with such passion and conviction about a topic that was so personal to me. I am not quite sure. But as Peterson’s voice cracked with raw emotion, I felt my own connection with the worst tragedy of Jewish history, grow deeper and stronger.
“We read about the Holocaust, and study it now, but we have no way to actually comprehend this kind of evil. This kind of unbridled malevolence,” Peterson said, eyes watering and body trembling.
“You don’t think it can happen again, well guess again man,” the professor exclaimed.
“Don’t underestimate the human capacity for evil. And it lives in all of us. You need to know how bad you CAN be, to commit to how good you MUST be,” said Peterson, as though it was his last breath.
I was so taken by the emotional power of the lecture that I waited 40 minutes after class to shake Peterson’s hand and thank him personally. I watched from a distance as he met his perfunctory obligations and shook hands with students.
The line moved quite slowly but I finally got to meet him.
“How can I help you, young man,” he said to me playfully.
“I just wanted to thank you, Professor, for such an amazing lecture,” I said. “As a Jewish person
I found your words about the Holocaust to be soul-stirring. I did not expect such words in a university environment,” I said nervously.
He said, “What is your aspiration? What are you hoping to do in life?”
I said, “I am a poet and aspiring writer, director, producer.”
“Well, history is in the hands of our best writers. So make us proud,” he said with a smile.
I would like to say the chat went on longer but that was it. Over before it really began. Some shlemiel came out of nowhere and nudged me to the side with an oversized Macbook. I could have sued. Diamond and Diamond could have sent me into early retirement with that one.
When I see Peterson on the big American talk shows or speaking at sold-out theatres across the world, I think back to the early lecture I attended. Was there any sign back then of the international fame that awaited him? Was he earmarked for world influence?
I don’t think anyone, including him, could have predicted the Peterson phenomenon. But I do think he was always an eminently smart and compelling character. And his proclivity to hold firm on his beliefs, and still confess deep vulnerability, was so rare.
So yeah, I think the signs were always there from the beginning.
Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos has dominated the best-sellers charts in dozens of countries. Estimates say the popular self-help book has moved in excess of 3 million copies worldwide. The book has given inspiration, insight and hope to struggling folks in virtually every corner of the globe.
Thank you, Dr. Peterson, for doing so much good. I can always say, I knew you—briefly—way back when.
In recent weeks, there has been much written about Peterson’s health challenges (and near-death experience) with a dependency on and severe reaction to clonazepam, a commonly prescribed drug in the benzodiazepine family. He started taking the drug shortly after he found out his wife, Tammy, had terminal cancer.
When a prominent self-help guru loses his footing, I suppose there is a sense of irony and morbid curiosity that naturally ensues. But that does not justify kicking a guy while he’s down. Some of the remarks directed at Peterson and his family, since news of his medical condition emerged, have been downright grisly.
It’s sad that being ill and bed-ridden in Russia gave his political adversaries an opening for rancour and an opportunity to push their own twisted agendas.
But this is the world we live in.
Be that as it may—even if Peterson were to never speak publicly again, I am convinced history would remember him as a brave friend to humanity. Maybe not the kind that one expected or summoned for. But one that said what needed to be said. And one that did what needed to be done.
It seems counter-intuitive to claim that the re-election of the free-speech champion, the notorious politically incorrect jackhammer, Donald Trump, would pave the way to greater censorship rather than greener pastures.
Let me be clear: I’m saying if a Democrat wins in 2020, the first wave of censorship would have proven to be not only an effective political strategy, but it would achieve what Project Veritas has exposed as Silicon Valley’s desire to “change the way people think.” The digital book burners, modern-day tyrants, and behavioral re-educators, could take pause, needing only to tweak the successful model to be re-deployed in future elections, and set on autopilot.
What happens when the king senses his power is fading, and control is slipping from his grasp? Typically, they double-down on the very behavior that makes him the tyrant in the first place. If the past is prologue, then the re-election of Donald Trump will be the breaking point in 2020. The first wave of censorship would be deemed a failure, requiring retaliation and a second wave of expurgation. Unfortunately, what is even more chilling is that the political excommunication will worsen, and Donald Trump will do nothing about it.
According to a recent press pool report, the president applauded the so-called MAGA club. “For 144 days, we set a record stock market. It means 401Ks, it means jobs. Four trillion-dollar companies: Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft. You have MAGA. The trillion-dollar club.” Perhaps, he may be more concerned with the flattering numbers of financial success rather than the staggering numbers of banned or demonetized patriots: Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnes, Steven Crowder, Laura Loomer, and the list is literally endless.
Within minutes at the Social Media Summit, intended to highlight big tech censorship and biases, the president began to compliment the stock market and skyrocketing 401(k)s. Great, slow hand clap. Unfortunately, Trump’s showmanship on censorship won’t repair the harm done to those banned online, many of which depended on their conservative activism for a living, and ultimately assisted the president in his electoral success.
Is it financial success if the next 50+ years are consumed by technological oppression? None of the major players banned were in attendance even though they are widely credited for the president’s election. Why, are they too controversial? Would it detract from the summit’s purpose? On the contrary, it would have reinforced its objective. But, we as conservatives have allowed the left to designate what is considered fringe within our own party; meanwhile, the radical left runs rampant with no guardrails or moderators, only having drunken cheerleaders on the sidelines.
The left has lost the battle through the judicial system, and they have been unable to materialize hate speech as a legal definition. Consequently, leftist technology companies are embracing the concept of hate speech by creating community guidelines and banishing violators from their platforms.
Recently reported by The Post Millennial, Censored.TV, founded by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes, has been banned on Facebook and Instagram and it is literally impossible to send links to his channel through private communication or DMs. The leftist behavioral re-educators not only want to control what you post in public and in private, they seek to control how you think about issues through conditioning and intimidation.
According to Statista, 59 percent of the earth’s population is plugged into the world wide web, approximately 4.54 billion people. More than ever these social media platforms and applications are an essential component in our social environment and establishing itself as the modern public square. Ignoring the phenomena of digital gulags would hinder controversial, provocative, and inquisitive thinkers from ever reaching an audience, and without radicals, we wouldn’t have Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., or the other Martin Luther.
Out of fear of violating conservative orthodoxy and the idolization of free-market absolutism, we are afraid to take meaningful steps in reigning in the political targeting and digital assassination exhibited by those who control information. YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, is the second largest search engine, and many of the conservative firebrands have been de-platformed and deprived of access to a market that many leftist radicals continue to reach and enjoy.
If the right doesn’t take action on censorship in fear of advancing the tentacles of big government, then the Trump phenomenon will fade; meanwhile, the burgeoning tentacles of big tech will strangle conservatism into a slow death, and there are only so many missteps one can make before the fall becomes fatal. Behold America, a new tyranny is amongst us. A citizen-tyranny where fellow Americans report you not to the government, but to a soy-pounding drone tech employee, sifting through content and complaints made for your improper and impure thoughts (posts).
How would the great architects of Western civilization see today’s frenzy of censorship? We have inherited the world’s greatest tradition and we are squandering it to pathological political knuckle-draggers. Aristotle famously said, “Man is by nature a political animal” with the gift of contemplation and the power of morality. It is indisputable that those who have been targeted for censorship are not the hate-mongers they’ve been falsely accused of being. The real hatemongers are hiding in plain sight, like David Duke, Richard Spencer and radical Islamic terrorists. Strangely, they all have been graced with the privilege of maintaining Twitter along with other various social media accounts. Perhaps, it serves the left’s purpose to raise certain individuals to prominence while degrading true conservatives into obscurity.
Aristotle would have probably agreed, to deny a man his political voice, is to deny him his humanity.