The Pain of Listening to Twitter Censorship Testimony

As I type, I am undergoing the excruciating experience of listening to C-SPAN, which is airing “Twitter’s Response to Hunter Biden Laptop Story.” The larger issue is: who censored Twitter, and why, and whether there was illegal collusion (there was) between Twitter and the US government.

So I finally am seeing them — up close, in real life, in person. I am finally able to look at the faces of the heretofore faceless technocrats who took it upon themselves to try to destroy my life and ruin my name.

I am witnessing, as I see them seated primly in rows in a Congressional hearing room, the very faces — the somber, ill-cut but costly blue suits, the bad wire-rimmed glasses, the judgmental expressions — of those who were personally responsible for the misery, trauma, reputational damage, shattered dreams, and loss of income, in my one life, over the course of last two and a half years.

Here at last are the very people who took it upon themselves, or who oversaw their colleagues, to single me out, to collude with the White House, and with Carol Crawford of CDC, and with DHS perhaps, to suspend me — following an accurate tweet of mine that warned women of menstrual harms following mRNA injection.

The positions of these people, the views of them — their self-regarding, self-satisfied, smug certainty that their rightness is the only rightness that could ever be — do not remind me of the testimony or views of actual Americans. They remind me rather of the affect of functionaries in a Stalinist show trial, or of the nameless bureaucrats in Kafka’s The Trial.

There, onscreen, present at last, is Yoel Roth, “Former Twitter Head of Trust & Safety” – with that oddly prim, pursed mouth that these technocrats all seem to have; with those fingertips touching each other, presenting himself as if he is the moderator of reality itself, and as if he finds himself in the presence of something that smells bad. There are his glazed defiant blue eyes, his slightly balding pate; the costly haircut; there is the sneering downward cast of his mouth. I try not ever to make critical personal remarks, but the ugliness, sorrow, loss, isolation and pain I sustained, and still sustain every day, at the hands of these until-now-faceless, self-righteous people, tend to make me see them aversively; or perhaps I see the moral ugliness of their decisions, as if manifested in their faces and body language.

Sorry — not sorry.

There he is: Mr Roth, wrongly claiming that, “paradoxically,” more speech equals more danger and not more safety for society. There he is, this person so sure that he is so right, having tweeted that Republicans are “NAZIS”. And here he is, sorry about that tweet now – that is, now that he is being asked about it — by those same Republicans.

There is Anika Collier Navaroli, “Former US Safety Policy Team Senior Expert,” talking about “dangerous speech”. There is her pale-gray jacket, her earnest if not bullying posture, as she leans forward, passionately describing the terrifying nature of freedom of speech. She describes a Twitter policy to address “coded incitement to violence” and to “address dogwhistles”. Overt threats of violence are of course already illegal, and they are the province of law enforcement, not of social media functionaries. Yet based on these “coded” tweets, rather than on actual threats of violence, Ms. Navaroli calls for more censorship. Thus she is already staking out and defending the Orwellian province of “thought crimes” or “pre-crime.” It was never Ms Navaroli’s role to decide if “dogwhistles” would lead to violence; that is the role of police and of the FBI. Why is she claiming that a social media platform is supposed to take on the role of maintaining physical public safety, that belongs to law enforcement?

Ms. Navaroli ends her hectoring introductory peroration with a pious, condescending conclusion that her mission is to make communication online “safe.” Her evidence of the crimes committed by speaking on Twitter, include this 1984-level sentence: “The President said he liked to send out his tweets like “little missiles”; and to me that sounded like weaponization of a platform.”’ Has the woman never taken an English class or learned about metaphors? Still later in the hearing, she accuses “fan fiction” of leading directly to the murder of people on Jan 6 — putting herself right in line with the many despots and tyrants who, since the birth of the novel, have accused the act of reading of causing social mayhem.

Here is Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), asking Yoel Roth about Twitter’s marking of certain speech as “unsafe”.

There is Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton, a leader whom I used greatly to respect, fulminating about “conspiracies.” There she is using the dangerous language of “incitement”, a meaningless word that serves only to criminalize First Amendment- protected speech. There is Rep. Summer Lee (D-PA), on her first week on the job, alarmingly wrongly stating that it is her task to “protect the American people from misinformation” — a role for a member of Congress that is identified literally nowhere in the Constitution or in the Bill of Rights.

There is former Twitter counsel, former “head of legal, policy and trust” at Twitter, Ms Vijaya Gadde, with her slightly more polished look and her sapphire-colored jacket; a package that proves however only that pure evil can be as well dressed and coiffed as not. There Ms. Gadde is, prevaricating when Rep Nancy Mace (R-SC) asks her directly if Twitter ever censored Americans pursuant to demands from the Government. After Ms. Gadde’s mumbled gibberish in response, haplessly phrased in the passive voice, Rep Mace thanked Ms Gadde for admitting that Twitter had become a “subsidiary” of the FBI in illegally violating the First Amendment rights of Americans.

It is so painful for me to see these faces. I have a very intimate relationship to these people.

They tried to destroy me, and did a fair job of it, by some measures.

These are the people — “my”people, paradoxically; people educated like me, people who shared my political views until 2020; these are people who vacationed where I used to vacation, who hang out with people I know — who were the agents behind full- on Stalinist-type persecution of innocent Americans; of me; these are the people who ruined my life, or sought to do so, and destroyed my career, or sought to do so. These emotionally ugly, these nasty, self-satisfied folks, so sure that they are right, so very, very wrong; are here at last; right here on C-Span.

They persecuted not just me but Dr Martin Kulldorff; Dr Jay Bhattacharya; Dr Paul Alexander; Dr Peter McCullough. So many others. They scrubbed and manipulated the discourse of a platform that has no right to be any more censorious than a telecom company, because they were willing to collude illegally with the government to decide what can be said in America. The messaging from the FBI via “the super-secret James Bond tele-portal”, as Rep Jim Jordan so brilliantly and rightly put it, reached into the voices of Americans and strangled Americans’ rights; but Twitter and the company’s political friends went further than mere silencing. These smarmy people ultimately hurt, and may have helped to injure and kill, many thousands.

These are the people who decided to remove the accurate tweet of mine about menstrual symptoms subsequent to MRNA vaccines, that could have saved millions of women from the current agony and infertility that they now endure. These are the people who obeyed the instructions of their colleagues in government to censor me.

I looked at the bios of the people cc’d on Twitter’s communications with the White House about attacking my accurate tweet; they were a lot of young functionaries at the US Bureau of the Census, at least two of them, oddly, educated at the University of Delaware. These low-level Gen Z apparatchiks, and their incompletely articulate bosses, thought it was fine to destroy the career and try to shred the reputation of someone who had written eight international bestsellers, who had been a Rhodes scholar, and an advisor to a Presidential campaign and to a Vice President; who had gone back to school at midlife and had worked for seven years successfully to complete a D Phil at Oxford University; who had been invited onto every major platform and written for every major newspaper and was a commentator on every major news network for 35 years, and who, for those decades, by those same platforms and news sites, had been identified as a global leader in the feminist movement.

These nothing people in front of me, these hacks, these people of zero cognitive distinction, these essentially trivial-minded humans, used their unearned, thuglike, intellectually meaningless power — the intellectually two-dimensional power of a social media platform — to announce to the world that I was crazy, unhinged; to present what appears to have been a file, to the BBC, to NPR, to The New York Times – to my own former colleagues — seeking to re-present me, a lifelong writer of heavily annotated bestselling nonfiction, as not credible.

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