At the root of most political crimes are bad ideas. And at the root of the #TwitterGate was the notion, widely spread by the political class and the media, that “disinformation”, essentially propaganda, posed a critical threat to our society and had to be urgently restricted.
The ‘inciting incident’ for this argument was Trump’s victory in 2016. The more the media blew him into a threat to mankind, the stronger the argument became for urgently regulating speech. With the combination of Russiagate and garden variety demonization, the goal of making speech into a threat was achieved.
Everything that followed was corruptly inevitable.
The idea that unregulated speech was “disinformation” or “misinformation” and that no society could survive free speech was widely dispersed among the educated classes. It was eventually taken on faith.
I have frequently said in the past that the ability to define the problem is also the ability to define the solution. It’s one of those things that the Left does really well. It invents a crisis, homelessness, global warming, racism, speech, gives it a political name and then hammers home the idea that this is a problem that only they can urgently solve. And it pulls off the same trick over and over again.
The invention of disinformation was a particularly daring trick because it reclassified a universally agreed on right and virtue, speech, as a threat by changing its name.
TwitterGate just shows how this particular meme played out within the confines of one organization in its interactions with government officials and activists. But that’s a microcosm of what was taking place across the tech industry and much of the corporate world, governments and institutions.
The invention of disinformation meant that everyone was now expected to grapple with a new crisis. They did so by imposing restrictions on speech where they were able to, conducting political propaganda in offices and funding leftist groups.
TwitterGate exposes some of these abuses, but much of the audience that needs to hear it is guilty of the same thing.