Douglas Andrews / Jan. 15, 2021

Jack Dorsey and the New Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

The Twitter CEO’s concerns about censoring Trump are a bunch of hot air, and a leaked video proves it.

“Patriotism,” said the great British man of letters Samuel Johnson, “is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

It’s a clever quip, to be sure, but we’ve never much cared for it. Maybe if he’d zeroed in on pretend patriotism instead of blasting away at the behavior as broadly defined — summer soldiers versus winter soldiers, that sort of thing. He was a Tory, after all, so he no doubt knew that a nation without patriots is a nation without a future.

Anyway, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is certainly no patriot, but it’s hard to think of a more scoundrelly scoundrel. Almost like clockwork, he’s once again taken to tweetstorming both his phony remorse and his righteousness for having silenced the president of the United States.

“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban Donald Trump from Twitter,” he began. “We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.”

Dorsey then ladled out some disingenuous slop about “the real and significant ramifications” of, oh, banning U.S. presidents and “the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet.”

He continued, “Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation. They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning. And sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.”

How do we know that Dorsey is lying about all this? Because James O'Keefe’s Project Veritas has captured him saying as much. “We are focused on one account right now,” says Dorsey in the leaked video, “but this is going to be much bigger than just one account, and it’s going to go on for much longer than just this day, this week, and the next few weeks and go on beyond the inauguration.” By “this,” of course, he means total censorship.

Dorsey is right about one thing: The precedent is dangerous. As we noted recently, “If we seem a bit obsessive about Big Tech’s efforts to selectively silence political speech and thereby restrict the marketplace of ideas, it’s for good reason. Media censorship breeds frustration, because it eliminates what we might call a pressure-relief valve. When we as citizens have no voice, we stew and we simmer, and sometimes we boil over.”

Recall that Facebook and Twitter blacked out user references to a New York Post story connecting Hunter and Joe Biden in a quid pro quo with corrupt Ukraine officials. As Mark Alexander had previously noted, the Democrats attempted to impeach Donald Trump for what Joe Biden actually did in his shady influence scam with Ukrainian officials.

On behalf of Twitter’s disgraceful blackout, a month after the election CEO Jack Dorsey admitted, “Our communication around our actions on the New York Post article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable. … Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that.” Too little, too late.

Put simply, censorship is what powerful people do when they’re afraid of losing the argument.

Censorship is what people like Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong and Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and Xi Jinping and Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey do. In a perverse way, Big Tech is paying Donald Trump a compliment: It’s silencing him because it fears what he might say. It’s trembling at the power of his words alone.

Perhaps, were he around today, Dr. Johnson, having observed the actions of Dorsey and Zuckerberg and their speech-suppressing ilk, would’ve instead quipped, “Censorship is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” After all, there are precious few acts more cowardly than silencing one’s opposition, nor a more fitting word than “scoundrel” to describe the billionaire speech suppressors who are doing it.

And would that it were only Big Tech. As Fox News’s Tucker Carlson asks and answers, “Where is this going? We’ll tell you: Wherever corporate America wants it to go, because they’re effectively in charge. Corporations are now fully aligned with a political party. How much distance is there between the Biden campaign and Google, the most powerful company in the world? Right around none. Publicly held multinationals like Facebook and Twitter and Google can do whatever they want and what they want to do is become partisan actors. They’ve silenced Donald Trump, and they will silence you if you dare dissent, make no mistake.”

In the end, Dorsey tries to polish this travesty, but to no avail. “Our goal in this moment,” he says, “is to disarm as much as we can, and ensure we are all building towards a greater common understanding, and a more peaceful [totalitarian] existence on earth. I believe the internet and global public conversation is our best and most relevant method of achieving this. I also recognize it does not feel that way today. Everything we learn in this moment will better our effort, and push us to be what we are: one humanity working together [toward a glorious socialist paradise].”

PS: The bracketed material in the paragraph above is satire. Just in case Jack’s minions are watching.

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