What took them so long? When reviewing the list of people banned by Twitter, you have to wonder how the President of the United States could be “permanently suspended” (is that an oxymoron?), but Nick Fuentes remained. He must have done a careful dance to avoid somehow violating Twitter’s “terms of service” until now. And even now, Twitter won’t tell anyone what was the last straw.
Fuentes, at the ripe old age of 22, has already made quite a name for himself. His initial videos, which he started posting as a college freshman, weren’t terribly alarming. He would initiate debates over immigration with people who disagreed with him, and appeared to be having the time of his life. This quality, the gleeful troll upsetting Leftist pieties, at first probably disarmed some of his critics. In a 2019 interview with Milo Yiannopoulos, those qualities come through loud and clear.
What also comes through, then and now, is a young man who openly admits he wants to live in a society that is majority white, condemns homosexuality, and claims America’s media and financial sectors are dominated by Zionists. Should people like Nick Fuentes be permitted to share their opinions on public online forums?
The answer to that is clearly open to debate, but along with Ben Shapiro – no fan of Fuentes – we’ll error on the side of inclusion. Not only because speech, no matter how much we disagree with it, remains protected under the First Amendment. Not only because the Section 230 exemption requires publicly used platforms like Twitter to refrain from editorial censorship. But also because of the double standard.
It doesn’t matter if you agree with the double standard. Free speech laws aren’t designed to protect speech you agree with.
Why is it that other nations, from Japan and Israel to virtually any Islamic nation, are permitted to scrupulously preserve their culture, whereas critics of culturally disruptive mass immigration to the United States are branded as racists? Why is it that Islam condemns homosexuality, but if some Christians share those beliefs, they are subject to lawsuits and online censorship? Why is it that members of Congress such as Ilhan Omar can condemn alleged Zionist influence, but Nick Fuentes cannot?
There’s another reason it is a mistake to ban someone like Nick Fuentes from platforms like Twitter, and it is what this will do to him. Everyone pushed off the mainstream platforms doesn’t just lose their audience and years of work. They are reminded that free speech isn’t free. They are reminded that only narratives that meet with corporate approval are tolerated. They are reminded that there is a shocking degree of unanimity among what corporations tolerate.
Finally, they are reminded that if you are a Leftist and say offensive, outrageous things, you are tolerated, whereas on the Right, not only are you not tolerated, but you are held up as supposed evidence that the entire Right thinks like you do, and should therefore be destroyed. Nick Fuentes no longer has reason to be reasonable.
This is no way to unite the nation. Allowing people like Nick Fuentes to speak their minds, exposing them if they’re loose with the facts, engaging them if they’re proposing solutions or expressing preferences that are unpalatable or ill conceived, is a pathway to reconciliation. It’s also the American way.
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