Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

The internet is turning into the great lost hope. Designed as a tool for instant communication of data, thoughts and ideas it has morphed into a 9 headed hydra of suppression, purges and censorship. I fully agree with David’s views on this.

BTW: As a conspiracy nut, does anyone have any new ones, all my old ones are facts. /s

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Great interview! I really like how David articulates the above pressure on big tech CEOs: (U.S. senators saying "nice little social network you have there") and below pressure of employees and journalists whipping up online mobs. Regrettably, this is a very potent two-pronged strategy to limit free speech.

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Social media is the worst thing to happen to this country since slavery.

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I used to use PayPal for one purpose - to give charity on line. And then PayPal booted me off. For no reason anyone can explain to me. I've begun to wonder if I got booted because some of the charities are Israel based. And notwithstanding all my efforts, I can't get back on. Here I am, a lawyer in private practice in LA and I can't use PayPal to give charity. So yesterday, I had to write a check and mail it to JNF. So it doesn't just happen to bad actors.

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Here is what I consider one of the biggest threats to Free Speech: the insistence of "progressive" Democrats that the filmed rape of children is "free speech" that deserves protection, while Right Wing conspiracy theories are a threat to society.

Because "progressives" have blurred the lines between violence and speech, actual violence gets a pass, while fake violence like misgendering someone is treated as if it were actual genocide.

If Backpage insists on profiting from the sale of rape kids on its platform, they deserve to be shut down.

But the "squad" is horrified by this: "think of the poor adult escorts and cam girls! How ever will these poor "marginalized" adults screen the creeps who pay them the big bucks? Surely it's worth sacrificing the humanity of trafficked kids to protect adult "sex workers". Right?"


Silicon Valley loves sexual exploitation and abuse, but it hates any form of populism that it can't control (or, more importantly, that might hurt their bottom line).

Political opinions are not "violence"; but the filmed rape of children and trafficking victims absolutely is, and "progressives" among the Dems are determined to defend these atrocities in the name of "speech".


If you give a platform to child molesters, rapists, and traffickers, you not only deserve to be shut down, you deserve to be in prison.

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Concentrated power corrupts. So the final comments about Teddy Roosevelt are key. Section 230 of the Communications Act must be restricted severely, or eliminated. It was initiated to encourage the growth of the internet, and we are well past that need. Social media has metastasized and is now threatening our Bill of Rights and consequently our very country. Only the New Right of the Republican party will stand up to this. The Democrats and RINO's both benefit too much from central control.

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Great post. Great interview. I do not think that social media is inherently evil as normally portrayed. I believe the people controlling it are evil, and it is increasing. Not dissimilar to what Germany saw in the late 20s and early 30s. And the left is cheering it on. They obviously do not read history, because this system will eventually turn on them. And when it occurs, no one will say a word.

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More than two decades ago, Caleb Carr, the Alienist author, wrote a very prescient book called "Killing Time" that described in chilling terms the very sort of misinformation and deceit that is being carried out by the tech billionaires today. Don't want people to hear about Biden's corruption and Hunter's depravity right before the election? Simply censor and bury it. Make it disappear. Don't want criticism of your Chinese masters and their lies and mismanagement (or worse)? Just empanel a bunch of corrupt experts to claim that "science" proves the virus couldn't have come from a lab and label those who make such claims as "conspiracy nuts" and ban their "misinformation." These people are not benign. Sacks's prescriptions are a good start. But we can also hurt them by finding alternatives. Do not use PayPal. And boycott any seller that requires you to do so. Your most precious right is your freedom of speech and expression. Anyone that tries to steal it from you is your enemy. Treat them accordingly.

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Apr 7, 2022

Tulsi Gabbard, the former Congresswoman (can I say “woman”?), has her own digital presence now. For all the talk about Big Tech’s being under threat of stiffer regulation, Gabbard said the reason Congress hasn’t done more to rein in Big Tech’s censorship of political and social speech is all the lobbyists’ money poured into the pockets of members and their staffs. Congress has been bought, on both sides of the aisle. This aspect of The Swamp is no secret. It’s no longer our “tax dollars at work”; we taxpayers who pay their salaries have been outbid.

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In 2019, Friend A posted a story to FB about, in short, a mayor of a city where there was a high rate of opioid ODs happening in public made a statement about how it was unfair because EMT crews who were preoccupied with the ODs weren’t readily available to those who were suffering heart attacks, accidents, etc. Friend B went on and on about how the mayor had no compassion and how disgusting it was to judge them and take away their medical care. Fast forward to pandemic. Now Friend B states repeatedly on FB that if you’re going out of your home and you get Covid, you’re taking a bed from people who didn’t act so irresponsibly. How does a person change so drastically in one year? I know and love Friend B personally, and this is a shocking shift in perspective. The mind control coming out of these organizations is frightening.

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God I love David Sacks. And Bari Weiss too. Reading this gave me some air to breath.

"They all start making these libertarian arguments when these big tech companies are restricting speech in a way that they like."

My liberal friends are the biggest damn political hypocrites on the planet. They seem to have zero foundation principles rather than to gain and retain political power. Because of this I believe the health of western civilization requires that we don't allow them to have controlling power. And I agree with what David says is needed. Republicans must regulate big tech and the other giant corporations... break them up if needed. And stentgthen out civil liberties.

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Bravo! Well said. We DO need another Teddy Roosevelt. How awful that his statue was removed from the Natural History Museum (which his father worked tirelessly to found).

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Pretty much everything Mr. Sacks is writing about is true, of course. But should we be so surprised? We've seen this before. And it may have been worse in years past. Unfortunately for all capitalists on this forum (and that's everybody) all social media platforms ARE privately owned and can do pretty much what they want. Publish or not. Televise or not. Cancel or not. What's the difference between today's four or five mega social media platforms and yesteryear's three TV networks and ten national newspapers? Nothing. All privately owned and catering to millions of people who gave them the power to do so by buying the products advertised on their platforms.

Everything we saw or read then was carefully selected, severely edited, self censored, cleansed, and cleared to project a biased (or seemingly) unbiased lens to the news and stories of the day - all for the massive penetration of the audience they most wanted to reach. And such captive audiences we were! Not unlike the algorithms of today, more analogue then - but the results surprisingly the same. We read and watched, and kept on reading and watching. But tellingly, not contributing. And that's the difference.

David Sacks opines on the growing nature of cancellation and free speech suppression today and he is not wrong. But to try as a writer and get an article published in the media environment in the twentieth century was close to impossible unless your name was well known. It's much better today. As a reader trying to get a letter to the editor or comment even seen was pie in the sky. It's better today. Back then, try reading about an event you thought was important but was nowhere to be found in depth. Far superior today. Alternative print media emerged in the sixties and seventies as a response, but then became an ossified edifice in its own bias, where no one who didn't adhere to the slant of that particular publication need not apply - similar sometimes to this substack and others (but that's another story).

My point, however inarticulately drawn, is that even though First Amendment infringements sparked by mob fury we are living through in real time IS important and must be addressed, is our access to speaking our minds publicly any worse than before? I think not. I personally think it's better. More voices are being heard now than ever before - for better, and of course, for worse.

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As someone who doesn’t use social media (a couple very civilized comments sections, this one included, being the closest I get), I get to be on the outside looking in. What’s it look like from the outside? A burning train full of mouth-breathing sycophants that’s going to over-run the track, cause the conductor can’t stop huffing glue long enough to pull the brake.

Social media does not facilitate, foster, or encourage anything resembling discourse. What it does is put the user’s face in front of an advertiser. There’s never going to be free speech in such an arrangement, because the user and his or her rights to expression, conscience, and association are simply not important to the company. Frankly, the very users themselves aren’t even important, except as something to sell.

People don’t see it this way, because people don’t like self-examination. How many times have you been sitting at a table, engaged in an actual conversation with other people, and one or more of them simply cannot ignore the stupid meme-slinging that passes for discourse online? You could, if you wanted, sit at the table and exercise your free speech rights amongst other members of your community. But instead, lots of otherwise well-adjusted people would rather take another spin through Dorsey’s Crackhouse.

Imagine a crack dealer who doesn’t accept cash for rock, but instead has the crackhead watch a couple commercials? That’s what Twitter would be, if Twitter was as useful as crack. It’s not. Furthermore, the guy’s not really even selling crack anymore, he’s selling commercial advertising time. Come for the crack, stay for the new Tesla ad.

Content is always going to be secondary in this arrangement. Your right to say what you want is always going to be infringed by Jack Dorsey’s desire to sell Coca Cola, or whatever. You are an afterthought, at best, and a thrall, at worst.

My advice? Quit smoking crack. Be in the moment. Listen to your friends across the table. While they might try to sell you Avon, at least they’re not trying to sell you.

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I’m a First Amendment absolutist -- there has to be government censorship to raise a concern. I don’t care if private companies are doing it. I don’t use Facebook, or Twitter or other social media because I don’t want to be controlled or co-opted by their algorithms. I don’t have any trouble expressing my ideas to the audience I want to reach -- people that I actually know, which are the only people that I’m likely to convince of my beliefs. So whenever I read a piece like this I always want to know 2 things, which David and Bari utterly fail to address: (1) why we need to give First Amendment protection to speech on private networks and (2) how you would go about accomplishing this under our existing Constitution. David’s argument that people who object to protecting the “digital public square” are being disingenuous because they are the same ones pushing for legislation to control social media is a non sequitur. The important question is how do these private companies rise to the level of acting as the government, which is a question that Bari never poses and David never answers. The second point is that neither Bari in her questions nor David in his comments states just how you would ban “censorship” of social media under our current Constitution. He says we need a new Teddy Roosevelt to break up the concerted action by social media companies, but he never explains what laws would be legitimate under the Constitution to force companies to permit speech on their platforms. If Bari and David really want to move the ball forward on this issue, they need to address the issue, as many European countries are trying to do, of how to balance unfettered speech with the harm caused by the dissemination of misinformation and false claims. Until they do, I’ll remain a First Amendment absolutist.

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A much needed discussion. The print media, cable news & the internet have degenerated into propaganda machines. Their mainstay is censorship. It’s all a part & parcel of the absence of civil discourse.

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