Trump and social media censorship

These tweets by now are sorta old, but Trump addresses social media censorship:

It is very easy to police when the people who are doing the censoring are also doing the policing. It’s the society we live in, where the left controls our lives through long arm social media shaming (such as by digging up old posts) and censorship. I for one am not ‘getting used to it’. Even if ‘getting used to it’ is the most pragmatic response, it’s still sounds defeatist. These are the same people that want to destroy his presidency. And it’s not like the left is only playing in their lane, but also encroaching on everyone else too. [on top of the Alex Jones banning, just recently, BitChute, an alternative to YouTube, lost is payment processor, which has hurt its crowdfunding efforts].

In the first tweet he says “we won’t let that happen.” Then he says “yet I do not ask that their sick behavior be removed.” This seems sorta contradictory. Parsing the tweet, he is saying that the left should be allowed to spread fake news, because if we accept the premise that all censorship is bad, then that includes censorship against fake news. But the problem is, the left is not just spreading fake news but also censoring right-wing voices. If the left is going after the ‘right’ with impunity, doesn’t that necessitate some retaliatory action?

But many on the MAGA-right have an anaphylactic response to censorship and many get mad when you bring it up (which is related to right-wing infighting as discussed earlier). As much as they may hate the left’s tactics, they cannot play at the left’s level [except the Sarah Jeong thing, but they still oppose censorship vehemently, even when the left does it]. Either punish the left or forbid censorship. Either choice involves censorship of some form. The third choice is do nothing and things stay the same. So 8 yrs from now when things are much worse we can all agree we fought a principled but losing war. The fourth option is for the ‘right’ to create its own institutions , but the left has such a huge lead that it will be a long time before this happens. Until such institutions are created, sacrificing some principle may be necessary. Because the left will not give an inch.

I think many young people on the right adhere to the ‘no asshole rule.’ They don’t want to be seen as too close-minded, too punitive, too imposing of one’s values, too controlling. They oppose the SJW-left, but don’t want to be seen as too overbearing, opinionated, and monomaniacal in their own views. This is a commendable, principled view, but sometimes leads to losing to those who aren’t constrained by such rules. It makes it hard to propose solutions, because a solution often necessitates some sort of action or imposition of values.

Finally, the fifth option, which already exists, is what I call the ‘parallel web,’ that coexists with the internet we all use today. The parallel web is the same as the ‘dark web,’ but without the negative branding associated with the latter. The parallel web hosts content, that for wherever reason, is censored by the ‘normal web’ and accessible through a tor-like network. As the parallel web grows in popularity, the stigma associated with it will dissolve and average people will be as comfortable accessing the parallel web as the normal one. Websites on the parallel web would have a .onion domain, which is much harder to confiscate than a regular domain name. The only way such a site could be seized is for the FBI to try to shut it down, such as the Silk Road example, but otherwise censorship is much harder. As for payments, cryptocurrency would act as a parallel payment system, as is already happening. This however would not work as well for social networks, due to the complicated coding requirements and high bandwidth of a site as feature-rich as Twitter, YouTube, or Facebook.

Regarding Trump again, there are things he can do to at least exercise some power over the left. He can threaten to cut off federal funding for PBS and public radio. There’re possible anti-Trust violations regarding social media and other companies colluding against right-winger users and right-wing non-profits and brands. He can try to cut off federal funding for tax-payer funded universities such as U.C. Berkeley that fail to provide adequate security for right-wing speakers. These are all tentative ideas, but at least more effective than telling us to get used to it.