Aaah, Milo. Milo, Milo. Say his name three times and suddenly – he’s there in smoke and glitter! This time the professional provocateur wrote an incendiary review of the new Ghostbusters remake before taking to his limelighted Twitter platform to harangue actress Leslie Jones. Some of Milo’s followers then unleashed waves of racial abuse at Jones, resulting in Milo being banned from Twitter. And that will be all I have to write on this spangled egotist (the review is filled with such self-reverence even Narcissus would wince). Besides, like all naughty children, Milo thrives when you give him your attention. What is more concerning is Twitter’s ban, and the free pass this gives to racists.
There is no one who benefits more from this ban than racists. You might think otherwise: instead it symbolises our solidarity with the victims of racial abuse, our united stand against prejudice. Those of you in the Humanities might even interpret this event within a postmodernist framework, contending the ban subverts the institutions of racialist discourse. (Though, why you would trust someone who thinks science and logic are social constructs anyway? I often muse to myself if postmodernists think a mother’s love for her children, or say, modern medicine, are illusory too). But common sense rejects these platitudes. The ban protects racists from being challenged in a true free market of ideas.
Certainly, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey doesn’t profit from this ban. No one will question Dorsey’s moral fibre for another five minutes, but Twitter’s stock value has been waning. Now that Dorsey must employ his personal Kremlin to censor his own patrons, I wouldn’t be surprised if that downward trend continues. So not only will the holes in Dorsey’s coffers probably expand, but racists will be driven underground where they can foment and refine their pernicious ideas unchecked and without recourse. That was the good thing about Twitter: the constant bickering! Like when Piers Morgan criticised Susan Sarandon’s outfit (first one that came to mind for some reason). We could all chime in and discuss the pros and cons of the matter (whilst recognising Piers Morgan’s irrelevance). Twitter could have served the democratic function of educating us all, and provided us the opportunity to change our minds.
With Twitter under the control of the Comintern, racists who were plucky enough to openly admit their views will retreat from public scrutiny where no one can persuade them to consider a different perspective. In an nutshell: you can’t convince someone to change their viewpoint if you can’t have a dialogue with them. Even if you don’t want that conversation (which is fair enough), you should realise that it is better to know what other people believe. Political censorship is a form of ignorance, a refusal to accept the reality that others possess heinous ideas. And when you are ignorant of brute reality, you cannot hope to change it.
In our society today, political correctness is erasing the liberal traditions of Western Enlightenment. And even worse, we are fragmenting society into polarised political camps instead of acknowledging our shared tribulations. When we turn Twitter into another safe space we inhibit our ability to forge relationships between individuals and communities, limiting our collective power to confront racism. So we must accept the good with the vile, and not trade freedom for another’s emotional security.