Bruce Carroll, the Gay Patriot, was one of the most entertaining voices on Twitter. My daughters loved him, and his tweets often enlivened our family chat system. But Gay Patriot is no more: not on Twitter, anyway, which was his natural home. Twitter has permanently banned him for unspecified “hateful conduct.”
Given that Twitter does not ban liberals who engage in hateful conduct like threatening to kill conservatives’ children, it isn’t hard to see what is going on here. Gay Patriot was never hateful. What he was, was funny. And liberals can’t tolerate a “minority” who employs humor in service of conservative principles.
Presumably the upcoming midterm elections played a role. Twitter is doing what it can to bring about its party’s hoped-for “blue wave.” If that means shutting down some of the most popular voices on Twitter, thereby driving away traffic and impairing the platform’s market value, hey–you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.
What to do about Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube? These platforms are the main places, nowadays, where political issues are debated. And they are all dedicated to serving the Left, even when it hurts their economic interests. One is tempted to call for regulation. For example, the social media platforms could be treated as natural monopolies–there is a strong argument that this is, in fact, true–and regulated as utilities.
They would be prohibited from discriminating against conservative voices, just as the U.S. Mail can’t refuse to deliver letters that contain conservative ideas, and the various telephone companies can’t censor telephone conversations between conservatives. It’s a tempting scenario. The problem is that the first time the Democrats control Congress, or maybe only the White House, they will use that regulatory power to shut out conservative voices from the public square, entirely. Free speech, these days, is a one-way street: conservatives want it, liberals don’t.
So I am not sure what the solution is. I do know that in banning Gay Patriot, Twitter deprived us–all of us, not just conservatives–of one of the wittiest and most sensible voices in our public life. We are all the poorer for it.