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Taibbi on Censorship, Alex Jones [Rolling Stone]

August 17, 2018

link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/facebook-censorship-alex-jones-710497/

In the US tradition of free speech, even the most odious groups, like the KKK and their various Aryan / white-supremacist cousins were often protected – on the general principle that it would be inviting disaster to set up an authority empowered to pick and choose whom to restrain. This isn’t the case everywhere, plenty of countries ban such groups. But the first amendment is kindof the pride of the US political system. So you would think the prolific conspiracy-theory monger gets an easy pass. Not so.

Now we get to find out a couple of things I’ve kindof wondered but actually would really rather not find out. Will Jones’s followers and Trump fans in general leave twitter and facebook begin communicating in long form again, rediscovering complete sentences and paragraphs, forming original thoughts beyond regurgitating the talking points of their leader? A scary scenario, especially if all the public faces of the genuinely more moderate anti-Trump side take comfort in exchanging postcard sized messages, which forces all complex ideas to be reduced to kindergarden level? And in general, will shutting down your political opponents’ communication become the practical everyday way to handle rhetorical shortcomings? Something tells me that the proto-authoritarian government that’s currently gestating in DC wouldn’t mind that one bit.

See also: https://jacobinmag.com/2018/08/fascist-free-speech-repression-far-right

 

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