The recent controversy over Milo Yianoppolus’s lifetime ban from Twitter has generated almost as much buzz in the last week as the 2016 race itself, and for good reason too. Whether or not you agree with his methods, no one can deny that Milo tends to push the envelope continuously when it comes to free speech and I for one applaud him for it. He has shown young people in America that free speech can and should actually be provoking, edgy, witty, and yes, even uncomfortable at times. For their part, Twitter has actually helped Milo by banning him, thus demonstrating to us that censorship is alive and well here in America. It’s true that it’s not the type of censorship that people usually think of, but it’s still censorship nonetheless.
It’s Not About The First Amendment, And Yet It Is At The Same Time.
The general quote that I read/hear a lot from Milo’s haters is as follows:
“Twitter is a non-government entity so therefore, The First Amendment does not apply here”.
From a technical and legal perspective, they’re right, but they’re wrong when it comes to the principals and ethics behind The First Amendment. The Founding Fathers would not have even begun to comprehend what a personal computer is, let alone new media formats such as Twitter, YouTube, blogs, etc. At that time, governments were the only real opposition to free speech and there wasn’t a huge information super highway either. Today companies like Facebook and Twitter have more influence over free speech and communication then the US government ever has and they’ve shown us that they’re not exactly unbiased when they support Black Lives Matter being able to post artwork depicting cop killings in a graphic manner, yet suppress Milo’s harsh criticism of an actress who starred in a poorly received film. Yes it might be legal, but it goes against the very concept and spirit of Free Speech. In regards to Leslie Jones herself, she’s a movie star and a stand up comedian. Harsh and often insulting comments practically go with the territory in these two entertainment mediums so please excuse me if I don’t exactly buy this notion that Milo’s trolling damaged her somehow. Hollywood is a cruel place and I’m sure directors have said much worse. Let me also say that instead of complaining about the criticism, she could’ve spent that energy writing a rebuttal to Milo’s review of Ghost Busters instead.
And that my friends, is the beauty of free speech. I can criticize you freely and in return, you can choose to criticize my criticism in response. At least, that’s how it used to be before political correctness ran amok. We are living in very dangerous times for free speech. Today Milo is the one being banned on Twitter, but tomorrow it could very well be Bill Maher for “hate speech” against Islam, and until rabid political correctness has been beaten, no one is truly safe from this monstrosity. America has two choices, stand for free speech, or risk being silenced for good in the name of political correctness. The choice is ours.