From the most recent dump of Twitter Files:
38. Outside the United States, Twitter’s decision to ban Trump raised alarms, including with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, and Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
39. Macron told an audience he didn’t “want to live in a democracy where the key decisions” were made by private players. “I want it to be decided by a law voted by your representative, or by regulation, governance, democratically discussed and approved by democratic leaders.”
Not everyone sees this in the light in which I see it.
That other potentates were disturbed by Twitter’s silencing of President Trump, a man with whom several of them had had clashes of importance, is noteworthy. But reflect for a moment on that statement by France’s President Emmanuel Macron. What has he said beyond his disapproval of the ban? Do you grasp what he’s suggested there? Do you approve of his suggestion?
Apparently, Monsieur Macron disapproved of Twitter’s banning of President Trump because it wasn’t a decision of State! He would have been just fine with it had it been the result of an Act of Congress, perhaps passed by veto-proof majorities. But to have “private players” decide such a thing? Mon Dieu! Incroyable!
We see here a perfect illustration of the cleavage that separated all the rest of Mankind from these United States…until recently, at least.
Europeans, Asians, South Americans, and Africans have no rights as Americans understand the term. To them, a “right” is a permission granted by the State, with all sorts of procedures, fees, and restrictions layered onto it. As it is granted by the State, the State may retract it, or change the qualifications pertinent to it, at any time and for any reason. Nor does the process necessarily require parliamentary enactment. In lands other than ours, arbitrary decisions by nameless and faceless persons often determine the availability and scope of a “right.”
And they are not coming to be more like us. We are coming to be more like them.
Allow me to cite a fictional thinker:
“Rights are an archist concept. Rights have no meaning except when confronted with superior power. They are what is left to the people after the government has taken all its wants. Your country’s Bill of Rights defines your most cherished freedoms how? By limiting the legal power of government to encroach upon them.” [Eric L. Harry, via fictional anarchist theorist Valentin Kartsev in Harry’s novel Protect and Defend.]
Eric Harry’s character Valentin Kartsev has struck the jugular. In the absence of States – governments – there would be no need to concern ourselves with the itemization of rights as the Founding Fathers did. They did so because they were aware, in John Gall’s classic formulation:
Government Systems, acting in accordance with the laws of growth, Tend to Expand and Encroach. In encroaching upon their own citizens, they produce Tyranny, and encroaching upon other Government Systems, they engage in Warfare.
So they erected Constitutional barriers to “prevent” such encroachments.
But Monsieur Macron is disturbed that a private enterprise, decisions about which are in the hands of private actors, did what “should” have been the province of government. And why is that?
And so we come to the magic word: accountability.
“Accountability” is one of today’s premier shibboleths. Politicians and their flacksters natter about it frequently. Yet in point of fact, it exists only so far as those determined to obscure their responsibility for their actions fail to do so adequately. Those who shelter under the wings of the State are masters at the art of obscuring things and deflecting accountability. Indeed, the primary function of a bureaucracy — any bureaucracy – is to muddy questions of accountability all the way to complete opacity.
Elon Musk, for all the good he’s already done, is not a free-speech absolutist. He’s already said that there are varieties of material that his Twitter will not abide. This was inevitable, for every person who has ever lived maintains a catalogue of subjects on which he’ll brook no opposition. It would be folly to expect otherwise, regardless of the identity of the person at issue.
But at least for the time being, we will know the person ultimately responsible for whatever regime of suppression is applied to Twitter. That’s better than it was. Over time, Musk might recede into the background, as was the case with Jack Dorsey. His preferences might be respected ever less as time passes.
If this is a discourse on anything in particular, it’s about change and the dynamics that operate within it. Given all that I’ve seen these past seven decades, the odds favor a steady infiltration and recolonization of the power centers at Twitter by Leftists. They, after all, are the persons most motivated to control popular discourse. The strength of their motivation gives them an edge over persons of other inclinations.
Should events move in that direction, the present accountability – “It’s Musk’s Twitter, and Musk’s decision who gets to say what” – will fade and ultimately disappear.
Keep moving, Gentle Reader. Accumulate and protect options. In mobility and flexibility lie our best chance to remain free in any sense and to any degree. Head on a swivel. Know who your friends are. Stay away from crowds. And “Before all else, be armed.” (Niccolo Machiavelli)