Milo Yiannopoulos, who twits under the name @Nero, trades in outrageousness to make his gay conservative point as tech editor at Breitbart. Hate him all you want (and for SJWs, that was plenty), but it failed to serve as compelling justification to remove his blue check mark. Robert Stacy McCain wasn’t so lucky, being stricken from the twitters for being too harshly conservative.
Now, it’s Josh Smith.
Josh Smith, a Cornell graduate who runs a private legal practice in Pennsylvania, had his account “@ThisIsJoshSmith” suspended and then restored five times over the course of six months, without any explanation from Twitter. This led Smith to believe that his suspensions were “false positives” – a flaw in the platform’s algorithms.
Josh Smith comes across as polite, mild-mannered, and intellectual. He publishes long, thoughtful posts on politics, the law and society on his personal website, which only rarely descend to personal attacks. If he wasn’t a conservative, he’d be the last person you’d expect to have had his Twitter account suspended multiple times.
Unlike Milo or McCain, Josh Smith and I interacted on occasion, first under his @ThisIsJoshSmith account and later under his new account, @Ebolamerican. He was a follower, and sometimes retwitted something I wrote, sometimes offered a comment and sometimes disagreed with me. While his views were decidedly conservative, I can attest to his coming across as “polite, mild-mannered and intellectual.” And indeed, when we disagreed, he didn’t do what so many others (read, “SJWs”) do, start sputtering curses, attacking while simultaneously blocking so that his twits couldn’t be retwitted in the ordinary course.
Just the opposite. Sometimes he would concede a point. Sometimes not. But never did he behave poorly, cowardly or childishly. And sometimes he would persuade me that his point was better than mine.
A few days ago, while I was the target of an adorable girl* expressing her deepest thoughts on the twitters, Josh chimed in to point out that allegiance to the SJW gods wasn’t a substitute for rational thought. He was, as usual, “polite, mild-mannered, and intellectual.” And he was, despite this, attacked for white knighting me, being dismissed as a fanboy.
Josh’s response was that, while he followed me, we engaged only occasionally. He was not my defender, but twitted on his own account. And this was true. It’s not that we were unfriendly, but that we were hardly besties, with one rushing to the aid of the other.
And now twitter has disappeared him? And twitter offers no explanation for disappearing him?
It goes without saying that twitter, as a private
not for profit enterprise, can serve anyone it wants. It can deny service to Josh, if that’s its choice. It can do so without explanation, if that’s its choice. That’s what it means to live in a nation where private parties get to do whatever they want to, provided they don’t violate a law in the process, The twitters isn’t subject to the First Amendment, even if you feel it should be.
But if they can disappear Josh, then they can disappear me. I certainly write things that upset people, that make them sad, that fail to comport with their mindnumbingly irrational belief systems to which they hold dear despite all reason. And some of the girls (yes, I did it again) on the twitter Trust and Safety Counsel (“Making the internet Safe and Pink so You Don’t Have To”) think I’m a terrible person, a stupid misogynistic rape apologist, etc.
Perhaps I will awake one morning to find that the twitters no longer want me. And there will be nothing to do about it, other than write a post to say bye to the twitterers who don’t hate me enough. But if the twitters hate Josh Smith enough to disappear him, then there is little hope that anyone who doesn’t call those people the twitters hates “fucking idiots” who will be allowed to remain.
Are my days on the twitters numbered? Maybe. And if I’m not there one day, you will know why. Because if Josh Smith is the sort of person the twitters disappears, so am I. Plus, his suspension leaves me with one less twitter follower, and it’s not because he decided that my twits weren’t worth his time.