Just days after taking over Twitter and firing a slew of top executives, Elon Musk announced Friday afternoon that the company will be forming a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” and that “no major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”
I know, I know. Meet the new boss same as the old boss, right? But maybe not! If Musk really wants Twitter to be “a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” as he said recently, then he can prove it right now, by appointing me to the content moderation board.
I’m the perfect candidate, whose appointment to the council will show the world that Musk’s Twitter takeover isn’t some cynical ploy by an eccentric billionaire but a genuine push to transform the platform from a propaganda machine for elite media and the political establishment to a freewheeling forum for free speech.
Why me? Because my Twitter account has been locked since March for violating Twitter’s ridiculous rules against “hateful conduct.”
What did I do that was supposedly hateful? I said that Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary for health in the Biden administration, is a man. Which he is. But Levine is also transgender. That is, he “identifies” as a woman, dresses in women’s clothing, and wears makeup and jewelry. Calling him a man counts as “targeted misgendering” according to Twitter’s hateful conduct rules.
But it’s not so simple. I didn’t do anything hateful, nor did I call Levine a man to insult him, but to make a point. The background here is that in March, USA Today named Levine as one of their 2022 “Women of the Year,” and published a totally unironic interview with Levine about being true to yourself. It’s hard to think of a more tone-deaf or insulting way to honor women than to include a man in a “Women of the Year” piece, but there it is. It’s as if the editors at USA Today were trying on purpose to demonstrate how wokeness turns in on itself, like a snake devouring its tail.
Anyway, the Babylon Bee rightly mocked USA Today by naming Levine its “Man of the Year,” which was brilliant and funny but didn’t amuse the censors at Twitter one bit. The Bee’s account was locked for violating those “hateful conduct” rules, prompting Editor-in-Chief Kyle Mann to tweet: “Maybe they’ll let us back into our @TheBabylonBee Twitter account if we throw a few thousand Uighurs in a concentration camp.” Mann’s account was promptly locked for that, and later the Bee’s founder Adam Ford has his account locked for retweeting Mann.
I wrote about all this in a column, noting that eventually firms like Twitter will silence everyone whose views do not align with their own woke orthodoxy. It doesn’t matter that Levine, a 65-year-old who fathered two children with a woman he was married to from 1988 to 2013, is in fact a man. Truth is no defense against the censors of Big Tech.
Then I tweeted my column out, with a summary of that main point:
Not long after that, my account was locked for — you guessed it — hateful conduct. Twitter informed me that I could unlock my account if I deleted the tweet, and that by deleting the tweet I was acknowledging that I engaged in hateful conduct and promising not to do it again. Sort of a sacrament of reconciliation for the woke gods.
I refused — and continue to refuse — to delete the tweet because I reject the idea that what I wrote amounted to hateful conduct. Quite the opposite, what I wrote was the truth. Arguably, it’s far more hateful and cruel to people like Levine to affirm them in the delusion that they aren’t really a man but a woman, or that they can become a woman by dressing like one.
Just look at the testimonies of the growing number of detransitioned young people, who are now stepping forward to tell their stories about how they were lied to and manipulated by health-care professionals who purported to be giving them “gender-affirming” care instead of treating them for gender dysphoria and helping them to accept themselves for who they really are.
But anyway, I relate all that to demonstrate that I’m the ideal candidate to serve on Twitter’s new content moderation council — if, that is, Musk really wants Twitter to be a place for free and open discourse. In that case, if I’m appointed to the council the first thing I’ll do is unlock my account.
If that’s not what Musk wants, though, maybe it’s just as well. It’s kind of nice not being on Twitter.
John Daniel Davidson is a senior editor at The Federalist. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter, @johnddavidson.
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