X Close

Can Twitter exist in a democracy? Donald Trump isn't the only problem: liberty depends on the virtues social media erodes

Donald Trump as Adolf Hitler. Credit: Ben Stansall /AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump as Adolf Hitler. Credit: Ben Stansall /AFP via Getty Images


January 11, 2021   6 mins

Back in the early 1980s, during the worst period of urban squalor and decay in the United States, a feeling of despair had set in about crime. Could cities ever be made liveable again? Who would want to raise a family in a place with so much everyday disorder and violence?

It was at this point that political scientist James Q. Wilson came up with the theory of Broken Windows, an idea that was to become hugely influential in turning the tide and restoring American cities to civility (much of which has been undone in 2020). Wilson argued that if the authorities crack down on minor incivility – graffiti, fare-dodging, panhandling – then very soon it will start to have an effect on major crimes too. It was to some degree basic common sense – give them an inch and they’ll take a mile – but then the 1960s had been a unique time of unlearning common sense in favour of exciting and fashionable new theories about human behaviour.

Broken Windows works partly because, even in the most violent places, huge amounts of serious crime is committed by a very small percentage of men. In Central American countries such as El Salvador or Honduras, which are plagued by horrific homicide rates, violence is mostly concentrated not just in a few neighbourhoods but even a few streets. Removing only a very small number of men has a drastic effect on wider society.

I often think about Wilson when perusing everyone’s favourite forum of thoughtful political debate, Twitter, which in terms of civility is somewhere around the period of The Warriors or Joker, the nadir of late 70s/early 80s urban decay.

If Twitter were a city it would be the sort of city where the authorities allow people to defecate in public or shoot up outside a school, and then express surprise when middle-class families wish to leave because of “the better quality of life” found in a four-hour commute away exurb.

The situation has been deteriorating for some time, although users of the site have rather adopted a Golden Age myth of a non-existent time when Twitter wasn’t filled with hysterics and fanatics. But this weekend, and with the moral courage of Ecuador or Paraguay declaring war on Germany in February 1945, Twitter finally decided to ban Donald Trump. After years of winding people up, lying, inciting hatred and worse, the outgoing President had finally overstepped the mark on 6 January.  Three days later, and his Twitter opus was gone.

To anyone who still believes in liberal democracy, the question of what to do with Donald Trump provides no easy answers – and anyone who says it is simple is a partisan with an axe to grind.

Most people tend to be more favourable to censorship when they think they’re the ones who will do the censoring, rather than being the censored. And censorship, of course, comes in gradations; the government sending goons around to your house for a critical YouTube comment is at the hard end, but being de-platformed by tech monopolies still entails a degree of lost liberty.

Tech monopolies, after all, aren’t like ordinary websites; they have the sort of media power that just didn’t exist before the 21st century, the ability to overthrow governments, to shape the news agenda, to curate our views not just of current affairs but of history, too. In terms of cultural power they are closer in scope to the churches of old than any newspaper.

Monopolies are generally bad for freedom and despite, or perhaps because of, its great love of capitalism, the United States has historically been very strong on breaking up monopolies, far stricter than Britain. But then America was founded on the idea of breaking up the most important monopoly of all: belief.

Before the late 17th century, almost no one believed in “freedom” of conscience or speech in the modern sense: they simply wanted more freedom for themselves. The first English colonies were founded by sectarian groups who fled persecution so they could do the persecuting, and this they did – Rhode Island was founded by people escaping Massachusetts, for instance. However there grew such a diversity of religious congregations in the colonies – Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Independents, Methodists, Quakers, even Catholics and Jews – that a balance was established.

America’s founding ideals — and its subsequent success — derived from this diversity of beliefs, and the fact that no sect could dominate the others.

The problem arising in the 21st century is that politics has evolved into a new form of sectarianism, with two rival worldviews at loggerheads, and with the internet doing the job that pamphlets once did, of stirring up hatred between the two. And while a country might flourish with one sect or with many sects, a society with two is doomed to unending conflict.

Conservatives fear giving big tech further control because they believe, with good reason, that big tech is against them; it is controlled by the other sect. Even before Trump and when the Republican Party was fairly normal, employees at Facebook, Twitter, Google and elsewhere were overwhelmingly more likely to be liberal and Democrat-voting – and as with all of these patterns, the same thing applies to Britain, too.

And yet, by any Wilsonian reading of social media, Donald Trump ought to have been banned ages ago. He does to online debate what a man selling drugs outside your kid’s school does to neighbourliness; his behaviour is corrosive for the wider community.

For most Twitter users, the site is a fun, informative and entertaining place to make friends, learn things, share articles and find out about the world. For a small but significant amount of time, it’s marred by horrendous bullying and incivility; and just like with big cities, where life is often scarred by violence even in relatively wealthy areas, much of this is preventable.

As in real life, where you only need to lock away a few people to turn a city around, social media platforms can make a huge difference by removing a small number of individuals. For example, an analysis of 1.8 billion Reddit comments found that “0.1% of all communities generate 38% of attacks” and “1% accounts for 74%”.

Unfortunately, while Twitter tends to reward and promote provocateurs and narcissists, the real problem is that, like with many American cities in the 1970s, the Twitter police cannot be trusted to be fair.

The platform has a consistent policy of allowing high-follower accounts to get away with extreme incivility, incitement to violence and even racial hatred. It lets them do so for the same reason that bad behaviour is often indulged – because the people doing it are seen as having the right politics, in this case of the progressive variety.

But it’s also the deeper problem of the social media site that, despite its progressive vibe – and it is no more than a vibe – it is obsessively hierarchical. The entire system is designed to signify people’s status; not just the follower count, but the very idea of blue ticks which initiate a modern-day noblesse de la robe. Blue ticks were supposed to be used for authentication — to distinguish real users from painfully unfunny parody accounts — but they are quite clearly treated as an endorsement. That is why conservative Douglas Murray had to have two bestselling books and 200,000 followers before being raised to the nobility of the blue tick, a far higher bar than for progressive writers.

In the English-speaking world, status derives chiefly either from wealth or education, but it also increasingly comes from political virtue, the possession of correct beliefs, and having those views often exempts the privileged from the boring rules everyone else has to observe. Nothing better epitomises this system of political privilege than the Yale students found screaming obscenities at a Master because he didn’t take seriously their concerns about Halloween costumes. That is a level of overt, aristocratic privilege far more resembling ancien regime Europe than a democratic republic.

Twitter’s privileged elite often behave in absolutely appalling ways, including inciting violence or fantasising about teenaged boys getting killed, and yet nothing happens. Other blue ticks have popularised the racially derogatory use of “white” (“white feminists”, “white tears”, “mediocre white men”) which has seeped into wider media discourse. At best it’s tiresome – especially as a lot of the worst offenders are white people; at worst it’s needlessly degrading and inflammatory, and lowers the tone. Yet they are excused because they are privileged by the right politics.

The problem with Twitter is that it mixes this essentially pre-modern aristocratic mindset with a radical egalitarianism. It wants to be a democracy without the values necessary for a democracy, including restraint and civility; these are all things that America’s founding fathers well understood. They saw that “virtue” was necessary for democracy — and being an ostentatiously virtuous Christian did not excuse anyone from obeying ordinary rules of behaviour.

The most reactionary of the Founding Fathers, a man called Fisher Ames, worried that the people didn’t possess enough virtue and that eventually a demagogue would rise to power in America. The Massachusetts representative wrote in his wonderfully pessimistic-sounding The Dangers of American Liberty that “Our country is too big for union, too sordid for patriotism, too democratick for liberty” and declared that “Few can reason, all can feel” – which could almost be Twitter’s motto.

Despite Ames’s worries, representative democracy has proved the best form of government to date, but social media pushes us much closer towards an ancient Athenian form of direct democracy, a system which lasted barely decades before bad decision-making by the mob brought it to disaster. And following a year in which China has successfully dealt with an external threat while the United States has seemingly fallen apart, I do wonder if social media and democracy are essentially incompatible, eroding all the qualities necessary for its initial creation – moderation, tolerance and, most of all, loser’s consent.

Trump is an antithesis to all these democratic virtues, and the world would have been a much better place had Twitter banned him a decade ago. But then the real problem is the medium itself, a system which mixes aristocratic arrogance with populist anarchy, a toxic combination almost perfectly designed to erode democracy.


Ed West’s book Tory Boy is published by Constable

edwest

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

285 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Aldo Maccione
Aldo Maccione
3 years ago

“If Twitter were a city it would be the sort of city where the authorities allow people to defecate in public or shoot up outside a school, and then express surprise when middle-class families wish to leave […] “

so, San Francisco, then ?

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Aldo Maccione

The MSM city this writer inhabits is one much like the old Boston that had ‘No Dogs, No Irish’ signs posted at the park. He gratuitously throws out President Trump “Lying, inciting hatred, and worse” and says he should best have been banned a decade ago. He is the ‘All Views tolerated, except…’ school of thought, but gets away with it by his clever but snarky humour making him seem a pal and smart, and letting us in on the joke.

What he calls Trump inciting hatred is Trump endorsing the Broken Windows theory.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

This article is a bit schizophrenic. First this…..

“America’s founding ideals ” and its subsequent success ” derived from this diversity of beliefs, and the fact that no sect could dominate the others.”

Followed by….” And yet, by any Wilsonian reading of social media, Donald Trump ought to have been banned ages ago.”

The author will have to make up his mind. It cannot be both. And therein lies the problem not only with this article but also with social media.

Robert Montgomery
Robert Montgomery
3 years ago

America’s founding ideals and the just extraordinary omission of any mention of the inarguably genocidal treatment of the natives while writing about religious persecution in the article just leave me stunned.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

If the FF did think of Rome when formulating their ideals as well as the first US government, then certainly genocide would have been a component as it was known in Rome and throughout the European continent for centuries of course. It was after all, Europeans who settled the US so escaping a predilection like that would have been miraculous. The ECHR co-exists with the Bosnian genocide.

And then of course the US “natives” who also arrived from elsewhere, were known to partake in a bit of genocide amongst themselves. Slavery too. I find the whole Rome thing pretentious personally.

The FF were far more about getting rid of British or English oversight than anything. The FF no more created a perfect society than anything else ever has. Still ideals are not irrelevant even if you fail repeatedly to live up to them as we all do.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago

“genocidal treatment” suggests more history needs discovery. The settler tribe and the native tribe disagreed about property use, often violently. Not much different than disputes between farmers and cattle ranchers who were equally violent. The stronger tribe won, as has happened everywhere for all time. At least the stronger tribe didn’t fully destroy the opposition as history elsewhere reveals.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

In Newfoundland they did.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

I doubt if you have been left stunned by “…the just extraordinary omission…” You are just taking this opportunity to bang on about one of your favourite topics.

Beware of reckless use of the word “inarguably” and when reading Dee Brown’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” don’t allow critical intelligence to be overwhelmed by sentiment.

Collective guilt is a moral sentiment best savoured in the peace and comfort of a world created by those who did “the heavy lifting” for you. I guess it puts a comforting moral shield around you while you continue to enjoy the benefits of advanced civilisation.

Robert Montgomery
Robert Montgomery
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Go away

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

Why should I go away? I’m not stopping you from banging on.

Surely you don’t expect everyone to nod along in agreement with your bit of moral grandstanding.

Nick Pointon
Nick Pointon
3 years ago

Hark! an aristocrat dismisses the unwashed and “unenlightened”.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

As Adolf tediously explained to Eva, repeatedly.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Never mind what Adolf said ““ what do you have to say for yourself?

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

It also is a lesson for us with the diseases brought into the new world by the settlers causing the genocide, much like the China virus today, with the 3 deaths per million in China and the entire West Pacific Region, to the USA UK 1200 deaths per million.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago

Westward expansion & thus subjugation of native Americans occurred after the founding of the United States.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

Is that a plus or a minus?

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

It invalidates the simplistic argument that the US is “a nation based on genocide”, and doesn’t detract from the integrity of the person who wrote the article.

How can I put it – the US was founded without genocide, but in the “Indian wars” of the 19th century many acts of genocide were committed?

As so often happens with the principles of movements based on a sense of injustice, after the revolution had succeeded the U.S. lost sight of the fact that if such principles have any value they should guide actions once power has been obtained.

The way that this happens, over and over again, make me very suspicious of grievance-driven movements.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

‘As so often happens with the principles of movements based on a sense of injustice, after the revolution had succeeded the U.S. lost sight of the fact that if such principles have any value they should guide actions once power has been obtained.’

I agree but I think the immigrant community in North America had abandoned those principles long before Independence. ‘Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ to us and our kind.

There were campaigns (Pequot War, King Philip’s War) prior to independence – where the locals were pretty much eliminated in order for the immigrants to prosper.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Hmm, a quick read of the wikipedia page on King Philip’s war shows it to be one in which atrocities were committed by both sides (initially by Indians), and with surprisingly similar casualties. I don’t get “locals were eliminated in order for immigrants to prosper” from that; the way the conflict started seems to be that the colonists wanted to restrict Indian possession of guns & Indians (rightly, IMO) saw this as a threat to their independence.

That said, I’m not familiar with US history but being very much into South African history I can imagine the attitude that colonists had towards the indigenous population.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

One tribe conquered another – such is history.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

Agree. A nation based on genocide. Not that unusual, of course. But it needs to be acknowledged and understood before moving on.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

As an American I can tell you that we did learn in school about slavery, Jim Crow, Indians and discrimination against Catholics, Jews, Eastern Europeans, Germans, Asians, etc. But most Americans (like me)…say let’s move on.
Here is the dirty secret – the Germans and ONLY the Germans have come to reckon with their past. Japan hasn’t, Russia hasn’t, China hasn’t, Turkey hasn’t…the list goes on.
So the American position is pretty much normal.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Absolutely – every country needs to reflect back on it’s foundation myths and bear them in mind, always. If the US really remembered, and acknowledged what took place in ‘taming the West’ would it still have been incarcerating children separately from their parents (who have committed no crime other than travelling) on it’s southern border in 2020?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Despite the track record of American those people (Central America!) came to USA. They didn’t stay in Mexico or go south to Venezuela or sail to China…see?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Well, might still have been Mexico if not for 1846 and all that….

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Nice try.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Yes, and if it were, the only likely difference is that Mexicans and Central Americans would then have a longer journey to find a border across which to immigrate illegally. Mexico isn’t that densely populated country, nor would the US be if we didn’t have our SW quadrant. Oh, and Canada might have more of a problem with illegal immigration than they do now, given how much closer Mexico would be.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Yes, those are two widely different things. In fact controlling their borders is what the native Americans were trying to do.

What America should learn from its past is not to keep invading the world, instead it lectures the rest of us about multiculturalism while invading half the world.

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Apart from trying to enter the US illegally ?

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Only the Anglosphere wallows in self loathing guilt. If only it would move on.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Pretty simplistic-” a nation based on genocide.”? There is a bit more to the nation than that, but woke, junior-college level debates need this tired trope to justify their anti-Americanisms.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Of course it’s simplistic – doesn’t necessarily make it a ‘tired trope’. All that means is that it’s been said before by people you disagree with and you’re tired of arguing with.

I’m not anti-American. I’m anti a national narrative that proclaims a foundation myth of freedom of belief and universality while ignoring the inconvenient fact that in order to establish the nation the immigrants found it necessary to eliminate the locals and then bring in a load of other people, initially indentured poor people from Europe, and later differently coloured people from Africa, to work ‘their’ land.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Do we level this against Turkey or China ?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Delszsen

I don’t think anyone would take seriously a claim that China or Turkey were bastions of humanitarian free speech and religious and ethnic tolerance. That is what we are expected to believe of the USA.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

It’s not really relevant to the Twitter conundrum, though, is it?

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago

delete

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago

It certainly is arguable there was no genocide. Jeff Fynn-Paul, associate professor in history at Leiden University, made just such an argument in the Spectator last September and it was a persuasive one. I would link it but that causes problems here with moderation.

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago

You self diagnosis of being stunned seems to be supported by your left wing rhetoric . The contrived self conditioning state of theatrical excessive horror, rage ,hurt , disgust , stunned etc when encountering non compliance , dissent or opposition to dogma is the usual political theatre of the left, and the contrived extreme emotional states are likely making you emotionally ill…even stunned.

Robert G
Robert G
3 years ago

I think the confusion stems from the fact that the author suggests that Trump should have been banned from Twitter “a decade ago,” before he ventured into politics. He’s criticizing Trump based on a perceived lack of democratic “virtue,” such as moderation, tolerance, and civility. It’s more a stylistic matter than a substantive one premised on ideology or belief. The idea being that Trump and others like him contribute to the toxic climate on Twitter.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert G

My understanding is that a decade ago everyone in the US loved Trump. He had a number one TV show and was featured in ‘songs’ by countless rappers, all of whom envied or respected his wealth and ‘style’. Hosts like Oprah repeatedly implored him to stand for office. It was only because he stood for the Reps and not the Dems that the media, as one, viciously turned on him. Of course, I don’t deny that his inability to express himself, or to act, in a ‘statesmanlike’ manner did not contribute to this.

On the other hand, I would prefer a Trump who gets things done and does not start war, to a ‘statesman’ like Obama who achieved next to nothing while being responsible for Libya, Yemen and, according to leftists like Jimmy Dore, various other conflicts.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Your understanding is wrong.
in NYC Trump was always seen for what he was; a clown and an incompetent Real Estate “developer”. It was the rubes in the sticks that thought he was a genius developer and bought his crap for gold. The same ones that enrolled in his Trump University and conned people (working class) out of their money. Since you case so much about working class people!!!
Obama saved the car industry (millions of blue collar workers that you care so much) and gave the country the first (almost) universal healthcare – the one that Trump was supposed to repeal and replace on day 1 with a better and cheaper system. Still waiting for it – fingers crossed he will deliver on his promise in the next 8 days.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I have seen numerous chat show appearances by Trump on YouTube. The audience seems to love him. Personally I have always considered Trump to be a vulgar real estate mogul who probably should have gone bankrupt years ago. However, I do, on the whole agree with his policies.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

People also “love” Kim Kardashian.
Do you agree with his policy to slowly defund Obamacare and not replace it with anything?

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

To be fair, US talk show audiences seem to love absolutely everyone.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

“To be fair”?

Whatever…

john dann
john dann
3 years ago

Bad spelers unight!!

John Mcalester
John Mcalester
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

If you’re basing your perceptions on the reactions of studio chat show audiences I don’t think you understand chat shows very well.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Youtube is deleting it all. He is going into the oubliette of cyberspace.

The one thing his enemies have never managed to do is construct a coherent argument against him. All they ever do is misrepresent him, traduce him, misreport him. After four years of inciting hatred against him and his supporters, they still haven’t managed to come up with a convincing denunciation based on truth.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Trump did A lot of good Lowering blue collar Taxes ,Bringing Troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, Brokering Peace between Middle East & Israel, trying to calm kim Ill sung in north Korea etc..Yes he is crass, but he followed his manifesto, he is despised by mainstream,as he didnt take a President Salary..he will have the last Laugh….I seem to remember Nixon saying in 1972 ”/no truth in Watergate allegations” senile Joe has his karma to come with his No Delegate VP

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

He also made the country a net exporter of energy, a peace enterprise in itself. He set up opportunity zones with business lured back from abroad. He instituted criminal justice reforms which helped African Americans. He tried to hold back illegal immigration to give poor workers a chance to progress. He lowered corporation tax which created jobs. People at the bottom said they didn’t mind about tax cuts for business so long as hey benefited from them which they did. Employment rates for African Americans, Latinos, and Women were at an historic high before the pandemic. He built up defence again, an essential component of peace. He got the Germans to stump up for NATO. He appointed record numbers of judges, including 3 for the Supreme Court.

How did he manage all this when he was being persecuted full time by the Democrats and their agents in government?

johngrant4est
johngrant4est
3 years ago

Please explain how “People at the bottom” benefited from Trump’s tax cut in the upper band.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

My goodness-I know that you cannot abide Trump, but putting forth Obama as an effective leader is too much-Health Care? once in America a person could simply go to the family physician, and pay for services without the government involved. Obamacare mandated enrollment in a wildly more expensive insurance scheme, or you paid (as I was forced to do) a fine. Everything in health care became more complicated and expensive. Oh, and yes, he saved the auto worker unions.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

once in America a person could simply go to the family physician, and pay for services without the government involved. “

And Obamacare destroyed that?
USA spends c.17% of GDP in healthcare – Germany spends c.11% and gets better results.
Surely if it as bad as you say why didn’t Republicans and Trump “repeal and replace”?

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

And he let the Russians into the Mediterranean and paid the Iranians to terrorise their neighbours.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

NO ONE talks about how the Obama admin. taped the personal phone of Angela Merkel. It even got silenced in German media after a few days, but not before my attorney there had to calm himself down before getting back into professional mode with me, an American there. His DOJ and allied institutions were a piece of work.

Walter Brigham
Walter Brigham
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Hillary lost for calling half the US population deplorable. Untrue and completely tone deaf. She suffered from isolation in the elite bubble. The same bubble that emits self serving nonsense about correcting income inequality and global warming from its private jets, limos and multiple mansions. Unlike Charlie Brown who kept being fooled by Lucy’s pulling the football away – those ‘clinging to guns and religion’ won’t be fooled again.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Brigham

those ‘clinging to guns and religion’ won’t be fooled again.

I honestly hope they do not get fooled again. But let’s not ignore the fact that the rest of the country outvoted them 2x in presidential elections. Only the electoral college keeps them competitive – and that is fine.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

California and New York have teaming barrels of fish to shoot/educate to their agenda in their public schools.

Walter Brigham
Walter Brigham
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

The elite coast, flyover country divide will remain. Republicans challenge is suburban soccer moms; educated, high middle income women who were, for valid reasons, disgusted by Trump. They voted out the person, not the policy. Fundamentally they lean right center.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Brigham

Choate and Harvard educated Black elites want their cut of the pie. Hillary spent her time campaigning at dinners with Beyoncé and Katy Perry rather than with the people. And I still want to know why Haiti got devastated in the hurricanes a few years back when the Clinton Haiti funds were sloshing in cash. Dem. Or Rep., they have their hands in the cookie jars. I hear the same thing from left and right intellectuals, that the press is stifling their side. Varoufakis, for one. But that is because Big Business works for their own interests, and will work with any pay to play politician. This is prob. my last post!

Scott Powell
Scott Powell
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

What car industry? It’s been decimated (except Tesla)

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I was the other way around. I disliked him when he was a reality-TV star, but was pleasantly surprised by his presidency. Say all you want about Donald Trump, he did expose the swamp.

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Jeremy, the parroting of primitive debunked leftist propaganda memes depicting your fellow Americans and political rivals as all gullible rubes sucked in by an incompetent con man and leftist reflexive modeling of hate and derision towards them and all your targets with Twitter being the medium for this has had its direct corrosive effect on the divisions and anger we now see.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Gaughan

Most Americans voted against Trump in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Yes, but that doesn’t mean they were wise in doing so. Nor does it tell us what the results would have been with less biased media and university cultures.

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

The unproven and assumed variation of the leftist meme that those who are not for us are against us.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Gaughan

Good grammar enables comprehension..

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Dunn

Peter, you appear to comprehend it enough to recognize a dissenting post that activates your leftist Pavlovian programmed response to muzzle .

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Obama Care, as it was conceived by his administration, was/is a flop. Even Bill Clinton admitted that it was poorly executed and needs reform…
Also wonder why Ford refused to take any money from the Obama government and is doing very well, because it can act more flexible without bending its knee to the unions. The unions were the problem in the first place, why the US car industry did so badly .

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Trump brought reconciliation between Israel and much of the Middle East. Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize as encouragement to do that but soon lost interest and did nothing.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Fraser, how could you leave Ukraine out of the list of countries that Obama wrecked? EU representatives had just finished brokering an agreement for early presidential elections in Ukraine that would almost certainly have seen the incumbent president Viktor Yanukovych removed from office, but Obama saw an opportunity to ensure a NATO-friendly government take power immediately and disgraced himself by endorsing the unconstitutional removal of Yanukovych from power and his replacement by an interim president who was pro-NATO. The Russian takeover of the Crimea and the horrors of the continuing civil war in Donbas might never have happened without the Obama-Biden regime. The ultimate obscenity of the 2020 presidential election is it brought to power an odious man whose family profited immensely from the misery inflicted on the Ukrainians. Joe Biden turned his son Hunter into a Ukrainian oligarch.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert G

When we heard the stolen telephone call to Georgia it was noticeable that Trump was calm and polite, if rambling. He was being sorely provoked by obfuscation and hostility yet there was no foul language or temper such as you might frequently find in a politician behind the scenes.

Daniel Björkman
Daniel Björkman
3 years ago

Because if we don’t give every subhuman lunatic a platform to stir up hordes of mouth-breathing savages, we might as well be Communist Russia?

I frequently disagree with Ed West, but he’s an actual conservative rather than a Trumpist, which means that he believes in freedom under responsibility – and that if you show yourself incapable of responsibility, that you no longer deserve freedom. If you honestly think that we must never touch a hair on anyone’s head no matter what they do because otherwise we’re BULLIES, then congratulations, you’re a living liberal strawman.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Because we all agree on who exactly is a mouth breathing savage?

And yes I believe that we don’t touch a hair on someone’s head because someone else did something we don’t like. That’s the hallmark of an uncivilized society. Odd that you disagree.

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago

Daniel, your typical leftist intolerant political bigotry and hate mongering is showing…and affects your credibility.
The evil.populist meme you parrot to demonise and degrade your targets merely reveals your own intolerance and dysfunctional toxic groupthink mindset .

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Gaughan

On the other hand; you sound like a brainwashed, overflowing -at-the-mouth member of a weird and nasty cult.
Try punctuation.

Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Dunn

Love it!

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Dunn

Woke cancel cult fanatic Peter, try truth…and provide some evidence ( if you can) of your public slanderous defamatory insult accusations .If you can not provide evidence,would it be fair to assume there is none , because it’s not true, and you are fabricating falsehoods to suppress and violate the human right of peoples free speech?
( Watch for woke troll Peter’s response, evasion…or disappearance when asked for evidence. )

Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Gaughan

Don, your rhetoric is so artificial, it just makes me laugh!
Did you swallow a dictionary?
But I suppose you are doing me a favour, by cheering me up during the restrictions imposed upon us – throughout this Covid-contagion crisis!
You obviously know nothing about psychology – and the projection of your own shortcomings onto others!
And, for your information, Daniel Bjorkman is perfectly entitled to hold a differing view to your own, without being pilloried for it!
You might try making more constructive posts, perhaps with good alternative ideas – or is that asking too much of your psyche?

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago

As now recognized throughout the all the free democracies of the west , the left woke censor trolls reflexively model hate and disdain with truthless juvenile level insults ( ie “subhuman”, contrived laugh mocking, etc,), and false fabricated subjective profoundly hypocritical slanderous accusations with out evidence, to “pillory” ,discredit ,intimidate , and silence dissenting opinions.
Your accusation of pillorying is a truthless depiction of dissent, and while you pose as someone who champions the right of Bjorkman to his opinion, your faction is systemically violating that right in all the free democracies..woke left censor trolls are also doing it here and everywhere on the internet.
As now seen everywhere, the left progressives are verifiably guilty of everything they falsely accuse.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

I remember parts of the Cold War. If you called for insurrection then, or led an insurrectionary mob, or demanded communism, or marched with the communist party, or the socialist workers trotskyite party, nothing untoward happened: instead of being arrested you could get a well paying job as a journalist or academic.

This was the selling point of the West, we had freedom, which if it means anything means the freedom of speech. Of course actual incitement to violence was illegal, but Trump didn’t do that here.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 years ago

I think the problem is more of who decides to delete somebody’s accounts? Some lefty Twitter, Facebook or Google mogul?

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
3 years ago

It’s entirely possible that it’s paradoxical. Politics often is.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Terence Fitch

Or it simply doesn’t make sense which is the case far more often.

Fiona Mortimer
Fiona Mortimer
3 years ago

The implication is that while the US’s initial success as a society was predicated on the inability of any individual sect to dominate, Trump and his ilk,aided and abetted by social media, have created an environment where in effect only two sects remain- right and left battling it out for dominance.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Mortimer

A very odd implication if you know anything about US history, wouldn’t you say?

Fiona Mortimer
Fiona Mortimer
3 years ago

Sorry I don’t quite grasp your meaning. I am certainly not knowledgeable about American history. If say, there has always been a schism based on religious observance (such as exists to this day in Scotland and Ireland between Catholic and Protestant) then that would certainly detract from the author’s argument. I was not aware that such a marked divide between two distinct groups in the US had previously existed and so accepted the author’s implication that the present state of affairs under Trump is unprecedented.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Mortimer

It would be very hard to name country more diverse and divided than the US. And it’s far less homogenous than say Ireland or Scotland. Surely religious tension has existed in the US as elsewhere with anti-Catholicism prominent at some points. Today there are tensions between Islam and other religions although not to the extent you see in Europe. A significant proportion of the left is anti-Semitic even today. But it isn’t only religion that makes American culturally different from one another. And on the matter of religion, I’d say the US has done better than most getting various religions to live together peacefully.

You might recall that at one point our ancestors fought a civil war. The author is doing what a lot of people tend to do with Trump- this is the first time ever for anything. You’ll even hear such jarring idiocies such as “It’s the first time any losing presidential candidate refused to accept the results” – well except for the losing candidate in 2016. It’s just historical amnesia.

Fiona Mortimer
Fiona Mortimer
3 years ago

The first time US citizens have stormed and vandalised their Capitol ? Perhaps as an outsider I lack awareness and that ( horrifying) event was not a ‘first time’ occurrence. Has it ever happened before? The first time a departing president has accepted defeat so ungraciously and with such little regard for common courtesy? Not idiocies but certainly jarring. I will leave you with the thought that I who have been happily mesmerised by your popular culture through the medium of cinema and tv; read and enjoyed your literature, and your music in its many forms; appreciated the kindness, good manners and decency of those of your citizens that I have met down the years; and been a little overawed by such a mighty power as the US represents, now regard your country with the sort of pity tinged with sadness and contempt that one feels when discovering that one has been conned and betrayed by a very dear friend

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Mortimer

We are so very sorry to have disappointed you with our jarring ways. Perhaps trading a US popular culture fixation for a better historical understanding of the US would not go amiss? Certainly there is room for both at the very least and lack of awareness is rarely a good justification for contempt.

There’s been plenty written about our history all the way from the Revolution through the civil war to the unrest of the 1960s, the tumult of two world wars, etc. through it all, Americans have remained gloriously divided in so many ways that our success as a country must seem baffling. At times it baffles me. It’s been said that the US is an experiment in democracy. I find that to be true in that accepting a diverse group of people with all their foibles is probably better accomplished in the US than anywhere else.

I’d say that we will try to do better to alleviate your sadness and contempt. But we likely won’t.

Fiona Mortimer
Fiona Mortimer
3 years ago

I spoke from the heart you replied with bile. Sums up the state of affairs nicely

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Mortimer

Although there was no bile, I surely missed the heartfelt nature of your comments about the contempt you feel for the US. Perhaps I’m just not used to contempt as a tool in formulating such heartfelt sentiments. It must be very helpful in personal and romantic relationships. Come whisper sweet contempt in my ear, Fiona.

And I meant no disrespect in suggesting that historical education could fill in the gaps in your knowledge that movies and music have failed to supply. Americans tend to over-estimate how much others know about our history. In fact, Americans tend to over-estimate how much Americans know about their own history. In any case, I did take your admission of lack of knowledge as an invitation to suggest ways to remedy that state. If I was mistaken in assuming your admission meant that you wanted it remedied, my deepest apologies.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago

That’s told her! Nothing.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Dunn

Then it matches her comment.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Mortimer

First time good reason exists about vote harvesting taking the Presidency, and the MSM and Liberal infested ‘Justice’ system refuse to investigate.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Also, having been thrown out without being heard, all the way up to the Supreme Court, the cases were finally going to be heard in a different forum, the first and last chance to hear some of the evidence. Congress was to devote two hours to each one of the disputed States. As the first one was just about to be debated, Arizona, Nancy Pelosi came off the telephone and in came Antifa.

Now who do you think would have wanted that evidence heard, for two hours for each state, in front of the whole world? And who do you think would stop at nothing to make sure it was not heard?

Michael
Michael
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Mortimer

Good question, Fiona. I found this reference… http://www.washingtonpost.com/hist... Looks like 1915, 1954, 1971, 1983 all saw bombings or shootings/attacks within the US Capital buildings.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

Ireland is doing its best to change the face of Ireland. It is going to be so boring when every country loses its identity.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Delszsen

I adore Ireland. Beautiful country, had a wonderful month there a few years ago.

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Mortimer

The exaggerated demonization political narrative propaganda of the marxist left progressives who wildly truthlessly inflate and fabricate the singled out acts of their targets and scapegoats , every one from Trump ,conservatives, men, the free democracies of western civilisation, etc as ” unprecedented ” , to systemically persecute them , by a dogma driven faction globally in tyrannical control of public communication/ infosphere, is actually unprecedented.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

The USA is not two sects battling it out – not at all. It is a divided society into tribes. The immigration policy from JFK onward has been to bring in huge numbers of people with a different culture from the Anglos and European one, to make many divisions, and to make wide differences between them in income and education to become client sub groups under the Democrat party.

These groups actually are who pick the President of USA! Divide and conquer, that is the Democrats, and they have taken the long view, and won. Much like the Frankfurt School has by making the self and nation and culture loathing Liberals.

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Mortimer

The left progressive censor cancel cult systemically suppresing, cancelling and persecuting any and all.non compliant voices in every free democracy in western civilisation is aiming to be the one and only ruling sect.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona Mortimer

It started long before Trump’s election as POTUS. His election was the effect, not the cause of the division. At most, he exacerbated the divisions – but I have my doubts about even that.

Mark Gilbert
Mark Gilbert
3 years ago

Being anti-Trump is de rigeur for our intelligentsia.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Gilbert

In 1999 our desk got a call from a broker. He wanted to do a deal for Trump.
My boss (half a degenerate) said: “I want nothing to do with that charlatan.”

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

The charlatan being the broker, or Trump?

john dann
john dann
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Gilbert

I find Trump abhorrent in so many ways, however G.W, Clinton, and many others are strong competition. Obama liked bombing people, what about Kissinger, Albright, Hillary? And will Biden now follow suit?

One needs to realise that about Ă‚Âœ of voters voted for Trump, in 2020 as well. The intelligentsia ought to ask themselves “why”.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  john dann

Biden really is too close to China, but no one really cares, do they? It is all careerism and one’s own share of the pie.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago

Annette, the two statements seem perfectly aligned to me, and you are trying to pull them out of context to make them appear contradictory. Please follow the rationale: The founding ideals supported diversity of beliefs on the condition of civility. Wilson’s logic dictates that Trump should have been banned long ago because he clearly fails the condition (i.e. he declined to communicate as a civilized adult). There is no contradiction in the Author’s arguments.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

Of course they are contradictory. If you can read English. Where are you getting the civility aspect of the Founding Fathers ideals? There’s no civility clause. Diversity of belief is protected by law, not by civility. The FF would not have thought they could legislate civility. Nor would the FF have even agreed on what constitutes civility just like we wouldn’t today.

A M
A M
3 years ago

Bravo, Annette!

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago

Don’t like your tone. I can read English as much as you can, and also understand the concept of gracious debate. Will leave the field for you to enjoy with your peers, at the level of civility that you have chosen.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

No intent to offend but you really should brush up on the Founding Fathers if you are going to discuss them. And you should be able to point to the civility clause in the FF ideals if you believe it to be there. No one had a better understanding of the foibles of humans than they did and no one would have been less likely to attempt to legislate civility. Inserting your political preferences on the Founding Fathers isn’t likely to work.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago

If you&any neighbour can’t decipher what civility is,how can you even live?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Dunn

What has that to do with the law? Or the Founding Fathers for that matter? Civility is subjective, of course.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago

I cannot access my Parler account this morning, through Google, Safari or Duck Duck Go.

Well done Big Tech, tolerant, inclusive, liberal. I can’t read the thoughts of all those tyrants like Kathy Gyngell and Laura Perrins, now. I’ve got nowhere to put the pictures of my Christmas hyacinths, nowhere to link my poems, or my violin videos.

It’s always good to assume your opponents are knuckle dragging morons, always good to make sure there can be no decent conversation between ordinary people. Let’s keep everything brutal and severe.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

Start your own Operating System

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

is that sort of starting your own bakery to make whatever cakes are demanded? And can I count on govt actors to help my operating system, perhaps collude with me in making sure that certain people are cut out.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Not gay cakes , of course.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Yes, certainly…and after the political purity test is applied to not only twitter, parler, reddit facebook, et al, we can move on to grocers and gas stations-they are private businesses, and have no obligation to sell to you should you not be approved-“start your own business”. Perhaps we could mandate that a special emblem be sewn onto your clothing indicating your unapproved status…

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Oh, don’t worry; those purity tests are likely in the works. As it is, numerous people on the left are cobbling enemies lists so that the great purge can unfold. It’s not just trying to prevent anyone who worked for the administration from being hired, it’s attempting to do that to conservatives period.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Sort of McCarthyism, then?

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

They’re already there. Yelp has a button for customers to report racist businesses.

Banned User
Banned User
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

So there really isn’t anywhere on the internet you can share your hyacinth snaps and violin videos except on a right-wing extremist site? Maybe you could ask other people how they manage to cope.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

How long have you been in favor of businesses colluding with govt to silence people?

Banned User
Banned User
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I’m all in favour of silencing Nazis, and would encourage businesses and governments to collude as much as they like to achieve that noble aim.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

When you are colluding with govt to silence anyone, YOU are the nazi. It’s straight out of the text book.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

Nazis presumably being anyone not on board with your ‘woke’ groupthink? That’s how it starts, you know.

Banned User
Banned User
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

No, Nazis being Nazis. Parler is actually a right-wing extremist gathering place. The Nazis there are quite frank and proud about their embrace of Nazism, and the Parler admin are happy to have them aboard.

Apparently Parler also also has non-Nazi right wingers and people posting flower snaps, but if they choose to post in a Nazi gathering place, that’s their tough luck when the site is pulled. There really are plenty of non-Nazi sites on the internet they could use.

Banned User
Banned User
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

No, Nazis being right-wing extremists. Although the Unherd moderator apparently thinks I’m lying, Parler is actually a site popular with right-wing extremists, and the Parler admin are happy to have them aboard.

Apparently there are also some less extreme right-wingers and people posting flower snaps, but if they choose to post on a site that features a load of right-wing extremism, that’s their tough luck if the site is pulled.

There really are plenty of non-extremist sites they could frequent instead.

David Lawler
David Lawler
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

Always interesting how anti-facists closely resemble fascists.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  David Lawler

Antifa were a Marxist Fascist group in 1930s Germany who had a different horror in mind for the European people but the Nazis stood in their way, both groups having similar tactics, so they called themselves antifa because they opposed the party of ‘Fascists’ taking over, not the brutality, just that antifa want to be the brutal ones taking over. They are mirror images of the Nazi Fascists.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  David Lawler

As with the pigs and humans in Animal Farm.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

But Banned User, I feel your ilk are the actual Nazis, so how can we proceed?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

You are the Nazi nut Globalist village idiot…

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

You’re aware that the collusion of business and government is the textbook definition of Nazism? No, probably not. You’ll have been to university.

Banned User
Banned User
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

“I cannot access my Parler account this morning”

Ha, I can’t access my Unherd account 🙂

Whatever I post is now trashed by the moderator.

I’m not complaining though, they’re perfectly free to reject left-wing contributions in the interests of maintaining this place as a right wing ghetto.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

When I was a boy you could spot the right-wing extremists – they wore black jack-boots, shaved their heads and sported N a z i memorabilia. Now it’s everyone who isn’t on board with academic critical theory dogma.

Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

I had a Facebook account until the first of January 2016. I knew I would not be able to stand the endless bickering about the EU from old school ‘friends’ (in fact other females, who bullied or ignored me half the time at school, but whom I had convinced myself were alright now they were grown up) who knew nothing about politics, but liked to be fashionable in all their opinions who would suddenly become the EU’s biggest fans over night. Also I had a great many of the Spiked crowd as ‘friends’ because I agree with them about many things, and my sister knows many of them personally through the Battle of Ideas and running the Birmingham Salon. But some of them are really extremely loony about ignoring FGM in order to promote social cohesion and abortion to full term and certain other issues I find religiously abhorrent and really do not want to debate. Though Kevin Yuill was always excellent on the sanctity of life after birth.

I had a Twitter account for a short time between the start of the lockdown and the end of June this year. I was even more shocked by the behaviour of conservatives who seemed to be on my side about many things, but loved lock down and blocked me for calling out Cummings as a hypocrite. Then there was Peter Hitchens whom I admire and respect, but was very obviously fanatical and slightly deranged on Twitter, keeping up the same arguments day in, day out, engaging with nutters, all day long who loved to provoke him. I don’t like to pathologize but it drove me mad and I could see it was driving others mad, too.

I still use Youtube at the moment but one really does meet the most vile people there, if you follow interesting conservative thinkers on the one hand you get comments from severe anti Semites, and if you post content from conservative thinkers you get left wing anti Semitism and wild accusations of pederasty against our most famous conservative, British philosopher.

Parler was not a right wing organisation, its creators and directors simply believed in upholding America’s FIRST Amendment. They do not believe that people against whom there is no suspicion should have their thoughts and ideas subject to surveillance, but they worked with law enforcement to remove content which was criminal. On this basis they did not use AI as surveillance against their users, but monitored content personally where a genuine suspicion had been raised. They now no longer have the opportunity to work with law enforcement to do this, because the company itself cannot access its own site.

Since Google, has been the major purveyor of child and other forms of extreme and abusive pornography, terrorism and the promoter of suicide sites for adolescents around the world, since Twitter still carries accounts of they Ayatollah of Iran and the leaders of Communist China, since Facebook has groups for Hezbollah and various other extremist terrorist organisations, I am proud to have decided to try, like many other Parler users, to remove them from my life in 2020/21.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

Well, there are the ubiquitous left-wing extremest sites like Instagram, YouTube, twitter, and Facebook, but I feel it is a pity if only they are allowed space on the internet.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Who oversees the gatekeepers?

The problem is that the gatekeepers increasingly and disproportionately influence those in a unique position to oversee them and that, surely, is no accident.

It’s apparently been absolutely fine for these self styled platforms for social good wielding huge power and led by pretty much unaccountable oligarchs to host all manner of truly unpleasant, socially toxic, often illegal content on their pages for years largely unbothered by conscience, let alone regulation or any meaningful censure on the spurious grounds that the sheer volume of content precludes any chance of successful intervention, but as soon as the opportunity is ripe to purge those that deviate from their carefully propagated ‘do no evil’ artifice very little time is being wasted.

Jeff Bartlett
Jeff Bartlett
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Perhaps something like a Supreme Court structure could be set up, with members made up from opposite viewpoints to take a view on what is or is not permissible. The fine detail obviously eludes me at the moment but perhaps folks with experience of international mediation could work up global and national responses? Getting the balance right between free speech and censorship is always going to be hard and contentious, but better to try and sometimes fail than fail to try…

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Bartlett

What you propose is a Liberal/Left CPVPV, the KSA police Committee for ‘promotion of virtue and prevention of vice’.

I think I saw a picture of them in today’s Daily Mail, marching in black clad, milityesk phalanx with shields, helmets, and black balaclavas. Antifa they were called in the caption.

Jeff Bartlett
Jeff Bartlett
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Oh no it isn’t! Your view appears to be firmly entrenched in a ‘left/right’ universe, and I feel sorry for you. The world from my perspective is not black and white but multiple shades of gray, and the best we can hope for is to have ideals but accept that they have to be modified in the light of reality. If you read both the ‘left’ and ‘right’ media you will see different facets of the same incidents; it’s then down to you/us to interpret the reality, reading between the lines (literally and figuratively) to understand the basis for the views and deduce your own views accordingly. I commend wider reading to you if you do not already partake. Regards

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Bartlett

I DONT approve of Politicization of Police,Judiciary,BBC or Supreme court ALL accelerated under UK PM’s Blair,Brown,Cameron,May..

Walter Brigham
Walter Brigham
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Well put.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Todays ”Anti-fascists” WILL be tomorrows Fascists = george Orwell after his spanish civil War duties..

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Aren’t Antifas already Fascists? Seems to me they are.

Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
3 years ago

Let’s be realistic. The reason Trump was not delisted earlier was because Twitter was afraid that he would instigate an antitrust investigation in revenge.
Now their pals are coming to power they can silence him.

Banned User
Banned User
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Carr

Nah, the reason Trump was not delisted earlier was because Twitter were making a shedload of profit from his constant stream of attention-seeking dross and his many millions of followers. Eventually they had to give him the boot or be accused of helping to facilitate a fascist coup.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

Please show where his words called for a coup or whatever other word you’ve told to say.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Banned User

The ‘Fascist Coup’ has been perpetrated by the Democrat Party and ‘Peking Biden’ who have stolen the election in spectacular fashion. There will never be another free and fair election in the USA again, just as there wasn’t in Germany in the 30s.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

A private company colluding with govt actors to silence opposition. Twitter has no desire to live in a democracy and worse, a lot of Americans appear to agree with that.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

Much of the trouble stems from the MSM left wing view point being pushed all the time – like here.
No mention of the democrats supporting rioting in Portland etc., in your article.
No mention of some states changing the rules for postal voting, by going to the judges, but not going through legislation.
No mention of the police man, who stood by in Bristol, whilst a mob tore down a statue and yet gets a New Years honour!
No mention that the Chinese virus, cannot be called Chinese, but the new variety found in England can be called the Kent or English one.
No mention that the US has vaccinated more people than the EU – where is the mention that the EU has fallen apart.
No mention of the banning of talk radio.

Yet it is all the fault of a man, who is leaving his job in a few days!

The only miracle, so far, is that the right have not taken matters into their own hands in the same way that the left does.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

How about no mention that pigs don’t fly

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

No need Jeremy, all sane people know that.
All I am saying is that the MSM has a left wing bias.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

Of course it does! Nothing new there.
But the conservatives in USA do have Fox news, WSJ, (dominate) talk radio and plenty of website. As far as we can tell Trump voters that watch Fox News and listen to talk radio do not read NY Times.
But MSM left wing biased is not responsible for Trump’s long track record of craziness. When the leftist (be sane or crazy) point out Trump’s conspiracies, incitement of violence, they are NOT making stuff up. They are pointing out the obvious truth.

I don’t think he should have been banned (or Parler for that matter) but here we are.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

How about the new accord between Israel and the countries in the middle east, brokered by Trump? Not really news is it?
Or the attempt by the democrats to besmirch Trump for Russian connections?
Or the silence by the MSM on Biden’s son?
Or the silence on Biden’s incipient senile dementia, on show when he introduced his granddaughter as his dead son?

The MSM is certainly responsible for these omissions and I believe that one sided reporting is a grave danger to our society.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

People in Alabama that voted Trump don’t care at all about Israel/UAE relationships. You know about the “peace” in the ME because it is ALL OVER THE MSM.
From the mouth of Trump “Russia if you are listening…”
Biden dossier was first given (based on NY Times) to WSJ from Rudy and Bannon. WSJ couldn’t verity the source so it refused to publish it. Only after that did Bannon/Rudy go to NY Post.
And WSJ 2x supported Trump for President.
The NY Post journalist – Bruce Golding – that wrote the article refused to put his name because of credibility concerns.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

You’re complaining here not about the suppression of facts, but the meaning and significance given to the facts that are reported. That’s a matter of opinion and preference. You’re essentially complaining that some media outlets don’t support your worldview.

For instance, the media did report the accords signed recently in the Middle East. Some may not have agreed with the vierw that they were momentous in securing peace in the region, or very important in the scheme of things. That is a matter of debate.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

How about the new accord between Israel and the countries in the middle east, brokered by Trump? Not really news is it?

Not really. Corporations make deals. Makes very little practical difference to most poor in the Middle East. I don’t think Palestinians, Lebanese, Iranians, Iraqis or Yemenis have looked to Israel, UAE or USA for meaningful help for a long time.

Joe Francis
Joe Francis
3 years ago

It seems to be a compulsory feature of journalism that one must make a point of telling everyone how much they despise that awful Donald Trump fellow before pretty much explaining why they agree with everything he stands for. As here.

Ed, allow me to direct you to a pithy but Earth shattering piece of gutter poetry from history’s second greatest monster, Dinesh D’sousa (as advertized on Twitter, Facebook and all good wokeist outposts) “Trump didn’t create the problem, the problem created Trump” Once you have got this through your head, a lot of things make a lot of sense, but in a cold and terrifying way. Like when Bruce Willis pieces it all together in The Sixth Sense

Trump is a crass, coarse, loud-mouthed, hectoring vulgarian. And he’s still the good guy. That’s shocking, because what does it say about everything you thought you knew about the American republic in particular and the west in general? The somewhat schizophrenic nature of this piece indicates to me that you’re sensing this, but for (I assume) the same reasons I was so resistant at first, you’re reluctant to go the whole hog and embrace the paradox. It’s an appalling vista, isn’t it?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

And he’s still the good guy.

He conned poor people out of their money with his Trump University. Need I say more?

Joe Francis
Joe Francis
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Yes, he did. And he’s still morally superior to Biden, Harris, every journalist in mainstream media, the entire Democratic Party (although admittedly, that’s not a high bar to clear) and most of the Republicans. Do you start to see the problem? Are you getting my point, now?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

Yes I get you point. You are nuts or completely lack perspective.

Joe Francis
Joe Francis
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

An eloquent, persuasive (and somewhat revealing) rejoinder. I’m glad we’re having this guy time, but if we do it again, maybe you can bring some arguments? I’ll bring the beer.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

Your comments are full of facts (alternative facts?)!

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

I so wish I had said that.

Walter Brigham
Walter Brigham
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

He’s making a lot of sense. The DC establishment, my preferred term, has unhinged itself form moral governing. They serve themselves and their financial supporters. They pay billions to campaign consultants and managers that keep them in office until once out, they get their consulting gig, elite university professorship see Biden at Penn), speaking fees (Clinton’s everywhere), book contracts and/or Netflix deals (Obama’s). They move to Martha’s vineyard to lament with their privileged mates global warming and income inequality. Step back and look where the worst environments and income inequality exist – the liberal governed urban centers. The policies they tout produce the mis-education, crime and poverty they claim to correct.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Brigham

All true – but what is new?
What working class American (the true people) will oppose his son/daughter going to Harvard?
Those people – as you say – keep getting elected. In case of congress every 2 years. I don’t see why the rubes in the stick are true Americans but the failed writer that works as barista in a hip LA bar is a fake American.

Jaden Johnson
Jaden Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

I’m sorry – I don’t see anything in Trump’s past or in his term of office as President that suggests he’s morally superior to anyone. And I do see plenty to suggest the opposite. And to your point about bringing some arguments, I’d happy engage in a debate with you if you cite some examples and instances of Trump’s moral superiority.

None of which should suggest that I’m pro-Biden, Harris or any of Trump’s opponents. It’s simply my view of the moral standing of Donald Trump.

Joe Francis
Joe Francis
3 years ago
Reply to  Jaden Johnson

No new wars, thousands of troops brought home. Discuss.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Jaden Johnson

True. So how did Hillary manage to be an even worse choice?

Blue Tev
Blue Tev
3 years ago
Reply to  Jaden Johnson

– Didn’t start any wars that killed masses of innocents
– Implemented a practical solution to the Israel problem which might actually bring peace
– Rapid economic growth, especially among blacks
– Combined with prison reform law
which would benefit blacks (the opposite of Biden / Commala btw)
– Tried to curb the awful, destructive CRT philosophy
– Aimed (albeit failed) to cut down illegal immigration, which (excluding Hispanics) majority of Americans want
– Cut back in business red tape

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Blue Tev

– He bombed syria and abandoned the Kurds.
– No it will not. He simply rolled over for Israel.
– economic growth (we can measure it) was as fast as Obama and he blew the budget with his tax cut.
-true
-true
-failed
-assaulted pretty much every single rule about environmental protection
-failed to Repeal and Replace Obamacare
– failed to publish his taxes
– failed to balance the budget
-failed to curb the trade deficit
-spread endless conspiracy theories

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

You’re flogging a dead horse mate. Trump is what you say he is, and that’s not a politician but a Queen’s businessman – I know, I’ve met lots of them very much like him. But what people like Ed never seem to ask themselves is why so many people voted for him in 2016 and again in 2020. They leap over themselves to say ‘oh people were lied to’ etc, etc, etc, just like they try to explain away Brexit. What they don’t seem to grasp is that people voted for him and for Brexit because they are p*ssed off with the way things have been done for 30 years. Ed can sniff his smelling salts and clutch his pearls all he wants, but he is part of the problem.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

That’s really it. The pearl clutching has never allowed for the simple question of, how did someone like Trump become possible? Some of it that these people live in a bubble that is populated by professional politicians who have been responsible for everything that has gone wrong with govt. But in their world view, somehow the outsider is the issue. No, the outsider is a symptom of the larger problem.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I had this conversation with a ‘liberal’ American friend in a square in Athens in October. The pearls were clutched and the venom spat, but when he said ‘who created Trump’ and I replied ‘YOU DID’ I thought he was about to have a stroke. Globalisation has made him a fortune, but he couldn’t understand that an unemployed coal miner in West Virginia might not have made a bean and might be p*ssed at what had become a life of grinding poverty. Voting for Trump was small beer, but if they now see that their votes count as naught and, following the example of Antifa and BLM, that violence pays, the pearls might be clutched even tighter. There will be no self reflection of that you can be sure.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago

It’s quite odd that in a society that purports tolerance and liberty desperately wants to remove any public disagreement with their faction. Of course many in the public are clueless about the political debate avoiding much of the story. But those who use social media for opinion among their group are worried that their public square is controlled by private companies who have no public responsibility for fairness. The private companies product, eyeballs for adverts, is dependent on people using their platform. Perhaps they have become so large that they fear no competition and better yet, can actively eliminate competition. Eventually rules will be needed to regulate the marketplace but the public must demand those rules.

zsretic1701
zsretic1701
3 years ago

It is a well written article with which I disagree, almost thoroughly. Namely, the argument hinges on a premise that you can compare a sociology of a city crime and a solution to it to the area free speech, and get away with it. That is to say, that Trump is a epitome of a drug pusher, only in the area of bad thoughts, so if he was to be purged from the beginning all the current conflicts in society would somewhat vanish. One can easily forget weaponizing of the post-truth as a newfound concept just 5 years ago, somewhat, applicable only in case a statement conflicting with facts comes from an “ideology-compromised” person (famous our facts can be different from yours). Now compare the famous fuss about a post-truth made in the passing by Gingrich about the number of people attending the Trump’s inauguration speech compared to Obama’s with the “fiery but mostly peaceful protest” with burning property in the background. If you believe that these two post-truths belong to the same category think again. Condoning to the violence as it happens may not be easily offset with a false statement made in the passing on the number of attendees to the inauguration speech. That said, the biggest post-truth of our times is that Trump was a problem. Having that in mind I do not think that free speech should have been sacrificed to such a post-truth in any times and on any media. Why? Because Trump is not a drug-pusher.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
3 years ago
Reply to  zsretic1701

I think you’re confusing argument with whether analogies or metaphors work in the article. It’s an opinion piece in that respect not an objective study.

zsretic1701
zsretic1701
3 years ago
Reply to  Terence Fitch

Analogies were made by author to support the argument. Hence, I argue with what appears the strongest point supporting the author’s reasoning.

William MacDougall
William MacDougall
3 years ago

Ban twitter. I’ve never seen any merit to the site.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

Just don’t use it-it has metastasized into a leftist echo chamber, hence the migration to other platforms.

Walter Brigham
Walter Brigham
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Hence Parler – and thus it must be banned. Can’t have debate, too risky.

Scott Powell
Scott Powell
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Parler is gone. Gab is probably next. It’s so predatorial, but with a ‘tolerant’ SJW face.

vince porter
vince porter
3 years ago

Thought provoking. If, however, twitter is public enemy #1, other media are thoroughly complicit. Most of us would never hear of Trump’s tweets if TV, radio, facebook, newspapers, etc. were not so eager to capitalize by piling on the garbage. “Trump tweeted…” has created more headlines than World War II.

Mike Perkin
Mike Perkin
3 years ago

The one factor you omit that drives Twitter not to rein in abusive or dangerous comments is advertising dollars, directly proportional to clicks and follower count. Their stock has soared in 2020 and they’ve taken the view now that revenue from Trump directly will be more than covered by his supporters worldwide continuing the discussion. Always follow the money.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Perkin

Yes, and Parler is now competition-cutting into their profits. These monopolies are attempting to crush competing business models-now that they are becoming a threat-through moral posturing and outrage signaling.

Martin Woodford
Martin Woodford
3 years ago

Maybe the question is wrong? Should it be more like ‘can democracy exist in a world of Twitter’? Where social media sites can censor the posts of people or ideas it does not like, then what of free speach and democracy? There has to be a right to offend and to challenge. Free speach is a lot more than the ability to parrot required narratives. Of course the obligation of free speach is responsibility, not to abuse that freedom in order to incite, but if the social media providers are to police speach, then it must be balanced, fair and consistent.

As an aside – I wonder why when the left wishes to illustrate totalitarianism, it chooses Hitler – but never Stalin or Mao?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

The social sites are doing the censoring with the full knowledge and approval of one of the major political parties. You’ve not heard a single Dem suggest that this is an assault on basic freedom. Not one. And you likely won’t.

Martin Woodford
Martin Woodford
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I would say all the mainstream parties in all democracies at least tacitly permit the censoring or at least fail to address the bias and imbalance, probably for much the same reason they don’t address the clear and acknowledged bias of mainstream TV media. What puzzles me is if the media sites can censor political views they don’t like how do they legitimately claim to be unable to censor material that supports terrorism and various forms of sex abuse?

David Waring
David Waring
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Ah, the Democratic Party returning to its Slave Master roots?

Scott Powell
Scott Powell
3 years ago

Twitter is a digital sewer. Facebook is just a different flavour of sewer. They all deserve to implode.

David Waring
David Waring
3 years ago
Reply to  Scott Powell

Nah get a JCB Back Hoe and spill the contents.

Kevin Thomas
Kevin Thomas
3 years ago

Sorry Ed, I’ve liked stuff you’ve written in the past but if you start by agreeing Donald Trump should not be allowed a voice and accepting the far left concept of “inciting hate”, a completely nebulous term intended to censor anything they don’t like, you’ve come down firmly on the side of “free speech is bad, we must protect people from it”.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Thomas

There was nothing “nebulous” about the violent siege of the Capitol, in which five people died.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Including one shot by police.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

Not casually, idly, on a whim, but in the midst of a terrifying onslaught with the nation’s elected representatives vulnerable inside.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Hmmm, I guess it’s okay then. Seems like shooting unarmed people might have been a bad thing prior to this. Was she the wrong race?

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

No it’s not, but that’s what happens when a foolish president incites an angry mob.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Sort of like that’s what happens when you resist arrest then?

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

Irrelevant tangent …

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Dug that hole yourself.

Brian Bieron
Brian Bieron
3 years ago

On many points, truly spot on.

If The Media want to contribute to creating a responsible democracies, stop reinforcing the importance of Twitter reactions.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
3 years ago

Reading the points being made here emphasises the problem. This is an ersatz community-we don’t know each other in any nuanced way and we’re not having a ‘conversation’ face to face where we are likely to be more polite and use body language and facial expression to pick up more subtle interaction. We primates still need to communicate in real groups and haven’t adapted to social media communication which is all of 20ish years’ old. One point: Twitter and Facebook are de facto admitting they are publishers. The pretence that they’re not is Emperor’s clothes.

Terry Maxwell
Terry Maxwell
3 years ago

You do a good job laying out the problem of social media and democratic discourse, but I don’t see any clarity regarding what you consider to be a solution. The fundamental problem, as you note, is the question of who gets to decide, and while you take a couple of sideways swipes at liberals, we can’t trust conservatives to take on this role, since if anything they are even more imbedded in the systems of privilege that have failed to provide equal opportunity and justice. So what do you suggest?

No one has yet come up with a better solution than Madison, who argued that the only possible solution was to allow the opposing sides to balance out each other in the marketplace of ideas. But without a capacity to develop rational, fact-based arguments and debate in a moderated forum, all we are left with is a very noisy marketplace where noise and novelty overwhelm discourse.

Michael North
Michael North
3 years ago

The only good thing about Twitter is that the walls of public toilets are cleaner than they used to be.

Mark Gilbert
Mark Gilbert
3 years ago

Censorship almost always leads to reaction, if not violent reaction, in a democracy, especially if there are large numbers of those voices who feel alienated and marginalised.

It is nothing less than astounding that any member of the intelligentsia would countenance the banning from Twitter, or any other social media platform, whole groups of people and organisations, let alone a President…. unless they want to be party to the likely ultimate incendiary unintended consequences.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Gilbert

Sure, liars and conspiracy theorists might be peeved, but look at what just happened. Trump, spewing lies, incited a mob to storm the Capitol and five people died.

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago

Citation missing. Trump gave some excuses for people to be mad. It was clear from long before his speech that the Proud Boys and other a-holes would be creating trouble. Read his speech. Nothing incites to violence.

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
3 years ago

Can you post the exact words he used to incite violence please ?

john dann
john dann
3 years ago

Reading all these comment it is clear that the battle lines are as clearly drawn here as they are in any other milieu, showing a troubling divide in the USA which will not soon dissipate. If one looks objectively at the septua/octogenarians like Pelosi, Shummer, macConnell, etc. who rule the land and are ruled by corporate interests, it seems clear to me that what ails America is the intransigence of a fossilised political structure. No one is happy in the USA, not the people on the left or on the right. But people the world over want the same things: peace, shelter, nutrition of body and mind as basic fundaments to growth. You as a nation do not have these things and you seem to have a deep phycological inability to grant them to each other. The calcified minds and bodies of your leaders are your true representatives. Trump, the bomb that landed on this bedrock of fetid malignancy disturbed it but did not penetrate or dislodge it.

Neil Bradley
Neil Bradley
3 years ago
Reply to  john dann

Too early to say if he did not penetrate or dislodge. The washout from the election has to happen first. Most know something happened, but what. Already the Data Miners are demonstrating fertile areas for research. A friend of mine from the US recently wrote to me saying that Trump had acheived more than most Presidents do in their first term. He then added but that will never be acknowledged by US based historians or commentators as the environment for doing so is too toxic. It will come from researchers beyond the borders. Will that toxicity last. If so, we have to see if the pent up anger shown on 6 Jan at the Capitol, can be sustained. What is obvious from this article and the illustrations with it, is its anti Trump Bias. That is despite the good points that it makes in places.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

Trump gave as good as he got. His behaviour was no worse than what he had to put up with on a daily basis from every mainstream news outlets, even before he was elected. He drove leftists mad nbecause he was effective, and could use rhetoric even better than they could.

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago

Nowhere is free speech an absolute value. Every country sets limits on what can be said in public. Legally, it is peculiar that social media are not treated in law as publishers. Instead they are treated as neutral platfroms. It means that people can get away with using untruth to incite criminality and defame others with impunity. Facebook, Twitter and whatnot should be treated as publishers, which would make them liable for content that incites criminality or defames someone.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

Should a newspaper that publishes the opinion of a nutjob be legally liable?

Jaunty Alooetta
Jaunty Alooetta
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Newspapers already are liable for content that incites criminality and defames people.

Ray Thomson
Ray Thomson
3 years ago

The now unfashionable Marxist theoretician, Nicos Poulantzas, foresaw a time when capitalism would fall out of love with its cod version of democracy. Trump’s GOP, like Johnson’s constitution-overriding, internatioal law-breaking Tory Party, are the most symptoms of the fact that, for a small number of extremely wealthy, extremely powerful, extremely well-connected people in the US and UK, oldfangled ‘bourgeios’ democracy has become an impediment to the further enrichment and empowerment of the 1% at the expense of the 99% also-rans. Of course, Twitter too is symptom but can hardly be held accountable for late capitalism continuing to write cheques it is no longer fit to honour.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Thomson

I rather suspect that the majority of British voters support the threat to ‘break international law’. They understand that’s what sovereignty means. They’re prepared to face the consequences. Which are ‘I see your point’ in the normal course of international affairs. That’s what happened this time.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Thomson

Another Remain idiot..It is EU breaking International law un 2625 on Sovereign States and threaten to blockade independent states…..Go and eat your ‘Percy pigs’ imported from Germany & rexported with higher EU tax…

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
3 years ago

Blaming Donald Trump is facile and lazy. And boring. For God’s sake, don’t be boring.

And what are going to blame him for? For not being a honey-tongued serpent?

Meanwhile, if folks think Twitter and other such fora are corrosive, then get off Twitter and leave these other such fora. Easy.

Take responsibility and stop preaching lazy nonsense to the rest of us. Go read a book.

Meanwhile, do we really think American cities in, say, 1912 were more accommodating than they are now? Sacco, Vanzetti or, say, William Jennings Bryan might disagree, but they’re not available for comment.

tiaanjfourie
tiaanjfourie
3 years ago

The article required delving into free speech. I kind of understood what Ed West was saying about Donald Trump, but the 2 tweets quoted for his removal off of Twitter seems like a stretch.
The gem of this article was the privilege of progressives on social media. Although, I would have called it the woke. Many conservatives have progressive viewpoints.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago

“And following a year in which China has successfully dealt with an external threat “

This is a very worrying rewriting of history, culminating in a fashionable admiration for the CCP’s form of control.

And what a strange idea the author has of aristocracy.

Tim Stewart
Tim Stewart
3 years ago

I agree with the concern that social media feeds and feeds upon negative emotions towards the perceived other tribe. But I do wonder whether the comments section of Unherd gets a free pass from the same criticism?