When Twitter banned leading Canadian feminist Meghan Murphy, it once again showed itself to be an ideological echo chamber, unwilling to serve as a forum for the free exchange of ideas.
With a Master’s degree in women’s studies from Simon Fraser University, Ms. Murphy has spoken about sex, gender, politics, ideology, transgenderism and other topics, on her Feminist Current website and elsewhere.
But Ms. Murphy violated Twitter’s “hateful conduct policy” when she tweeted “Women aren’t men,” and “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between a man and a transwoman?”
Twitters rules on misgendering and “deadnaming”
Twitter’s rules on “hateful content” prohibit “abuse motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance, particularly abuse that seeks to silence the voices of those who have been historically marginalized” due to gender, gender identity and other factors.
For Twitter, abuse includes “slurs or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes.” This, in turn, includes “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”
As if it were a university campus, Twitter predictably pays lip service to free expression as a human right: “everyone has a voice, and the right to use it; to express their opinions and beliefs without barriers.” Similar to what a university would say about its mission to pursue truth and foster debate, Twitter claims “to serve the public conversation, which requires representation of a diverse range of perspectives.”
A company with an ideology
Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey recently asserted that his company has no ideology.
Apart from banning Meghan Murphy, Twitter’s ideology is made abundantly clear when it continues to welcome Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan, who has compared Jews to termites, yet locks out LifeSiteNews over an article by molecular biologist and microbiologist Dr. Gerald Nadal about the rise of sexually transmitted diseases among gay men.
When it comes to pleasing men who identify as women, by insisting that everyone must refer to such men as “she” and “her,” Twitter is decidedly ideological.
These transwomen, claims Twitter, have a basic human right to force others to refer to them by their preferred gender. So when Paul claims to be a woman named Sandra, it’s “abuse” and “hatred” to refer to this person as “Paul” (this would be “deadnaming”) or as “he” or “him” (this would be “misgendering”).
The free expression rights of Meghan Murphy and others must be sacrificed in order to combat “prejudice, intolerance, and degradation.”
Ms. Murphy’s last tweet, before Twitter banned her, garnered over 20,000 “Likes” from other Twitter users: “I’m not allowed to say that men aren’t women or ask questions about the notion of transgenderism at all anymore? That a multi-billion dollar company is censoring basic facts and silencing people who ask questions about this dogma is insane.”
Twitter’s double standard
Ms. Murphy points to a double standard:
What is insane to me, though, is that while Twitter knowingly permits graphic pornography and death threats on the platform (I have reported countless violent threats, the vast majority of which have gone unaddressed), they won’t allow me to state very basic facts, such as ‘men aren’t women.’ This is hardly an abhorrent thing to say, nor should it be considered ‘hateful’ to ask questions about the notion that people can change sex, or ask for explanations about transgender ideology. These are now, like it or not, public debates — debates that are impacting people’s lives, as legislation and policy are being imposed based on gender identity ideology… feeling uncomfortable is not a good enough reason to censor and silence people.
If honest debate is the way to arrive at truth, then it is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle a question without debating it.
Sadly, when Twitter (or any organization or person) labels as “hateful” a view it simply disagrees with, this kills off debate. What is deemed “hateful” by some people quickly becomes a target for “no platforming,” which can include physical force to shut down speakers, debates, displays, and events.
Ms. Murphy has been denounced by some as a hateful “TERF” or “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist.” They justify silencing her because she is “hateful.”
Fortunately, Twitter is a private company, not a government body with coercive powers. Nobody has to use Twitter or rely on it.
Libertarians, conservatives, traditionalists and others can use Twitter to engage in an uphill battle on left-wing terrain, and some (e.g. Ben Shapiro) do so successfully.
Still, like universities which condone the mob censorship of politically incorrect voices on campus, Twitter tries to portray itself as objective and neutral, and a forum for frank and honest debate. In the long run, most people will see through these false claims.