Matt Bracken: Social Media, Free Speech, and Censorship

Matt Bracken published an essay yesterday at the American Partisan about free speech, Gab.ai, and FreeZoxee. Some excerpts are below:

Bracken: Social Media, Free Speech, and Censorship

Facebook, Twitter and many other social media platforms cost nothing to use, so how do these corporations turn a profit? It’s no secret that they automatically data-mine and analyze all the information posted by their users, then package and sell this information to other corporations to help target their advertising.

But the same automated processes that are exploited by advertisers are also used by these platforms to tilt the ideological playing field in favor of their own leftist so-called social justice agenda. As an example, I have been suspended from Facebook for six out of the past twelve months for posting memes that others report posting with no consequences, indicating that more stringent rules apply to designated certain “bad comrades” than to average users. Hidden algorithms are used to throttle, shadow-ban, and remove followers from targeted users in order to decrease their impact on leftist-controlled social media platforms.

In Britain and Germany, users of social media who complain too vocally about the ill effects of uncontrolled immigration and other counter-PC topics are even arrested and charged with hate crimes, but the primary purpose of these draconian policies is to cause the rest of the population to self-censor their true opinions in order to avoid similar consequences.

Conservatives dissatisfied with this state of affairs have been searching for social media alternatives where their social and political views would not be punished, and many small niche websites have sprung up in an attempt to fill the void. Gab’s founder, Andrew Torba, preaches the gospel of untrammeled free speech, and it’s a seductive message to be sure—but not one without serious hazards. For example, Gab quickly became a haven for perverts who like to share sexualized photos of children that are just a hair below the legal definition of child pornography. And far more notoriously, Gab became a safe haven for radical neo-Nazi fanatics.

Any visitor to Gab would immediately notice the prevalence of these Nazi trolls, who turn every discussion into a screed about the evils of all Jews throughout history. I was a member of Gab for most of the two years of its existence to date, and I personally muted dozens of these Jew-obsessed Nazis. However, the mute function did not remove these sick genocidal freaks from Gab; they only hid them from general view. Unseen, nearly a thousand Gab members joined the recognized sub-group known as the #GABstapo, where their genocidal fantasies and aspirations were freely shared in comments, memes, and videos.

Gab’s founder says that “The solution to bad speech is good speech,” but this cliché carried little weight when these genocidal Nazi freaks were hiding and communicating only among themselves in their private dank cellar, after being muted by normal Gab users. The #GABstapo became a neo-Nazi clubhouse where the members poured gasoline on their genocidal fantasies, and openly wondered when they would move from words to actions. Finally, #GABstapo member Robert Bowers commented to his pals, “screw your optics, I’m going in.” (This online incitement dynamic harkens back to Dylan Roof’s radicalization on the neo-Nazi website Stormfront, where Roof was goaded into carrying out the Charleston church massacre.)

In recent days Torba has made several public videos where he decries the Pittsburgh massacre, while ducking any responsibility for personally building the neo-Nazi playhouse where Robert Bowers was incited and inflamed to commit his horrible crimes. On these videos, Torba actually seems more upset at the damage done to his website than by the Pittsburgh massacre. Torba has also stated optimistically that the post-massacre notoriety will cause Gab to grow to one hundred times its former size, which he has claimed was 800,000 users before its week-long shutdown following the synagogue massacre.

I cannot determine if Torba is a sincere or mistaken believer in absolute free speech on his private website even for crazed neo-Nazis like Robert Bowers, or if he is merely a cynical “Elmer Gantry” preaching the easily-sold gospel of absolute free speech, even after the catastrophic social consequences seen in Pittsburgh

For the past two years I was a member of Gab, increasing my participation in 2018 as the throttling and shadow-banning of conservatives became worse on Facebook and Twitter. When on Gab I muted the army of Jew-hating neo-Nazis until they disappeared from my view, but I knew that their continued presence would prevent Gab from ever reaching its full potential. For example, nobody with the stature and popularity on Twitter of James Woods would ever join Gab, where he would immediately be set upon by platoons of rabid neo-Nazis as a Jew-loving Zionist agent. But despite its manifest shortcomings, lacking any viable alternative, I continued to occasionally post on Gab, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.

Then in September I was contacted by one of my online friends who shared my frustration with liberal social media, and held similar reservations about Gab, given its prevalence of frankly insane genocidal Nazi freaks. On his own, he had been designing the architecture for a new group of interconnected social media and content platforms, waiting for it to be ready to take online. This happened around mid-October. Zoxee’s political philosophy matched my own, and since he opened Freezoxee.com, I have been helping him to promote it to a wider audience.

We both see the need for new social media platforms without the liberal bias and shadow-banning of Facebook and Twitter, but also without the sick and evil totalitarian trolls who had infested Gab from its inception and up until today. Freezoxee has a policy of not permitting the proponents of deadly ideologies such as Communism, Islamism, or Nazism to participate. Any legitimate opinion on any topic may be presented, but we do not permit jack-booted neo-Nazis to goose-step aboard the website beneath the swastika flag with screen names like Hitler’s Ghost, while calling for the total annihilation of all Jews.

Freezoxee.com went online a few weeks before the Pittsburgh Massacre, and the week-long closing of Gab. Since then, we have been literally attacked (trolled, smeared, DDOSed and more) by those who claim that free speech is meaningless unless every possible opinion is given free participation, even those ideologies which preach slaughter and genocide. The gospel of untrammeled free speech is indeed seductive in its simplicity, at least to child-like first-level thinkers, but this topic demands greater exploration.

[…]

Absolute freedom of speech is a loophole exploited throughout history by the enemies of freedom to achieve power. Now, Gab has returned to the public arena, and little seems to have changed, as most of the protagonists of the #GABstapo hate-sphere are still happily spewing their genocidal fantasies in slightly more guarded fashion, probably because of tightened FBI scrutiny. As an example among many others, some are now posting “gas the bikes” and “race car now” instead of their formerly undisguised messages.

Indeed, could it be that Gab, which was launched in August of 2016, has been a subtle discrediting operation run by the deep state (or other actors) to associate traditional conservatives with anti-American neo-Nazis, making them an easy target for the Left? In addition, it is publicly known that Gab’s recently departed co-founder and CTO is a left-leaning Turkish Muslim never-Trumper, according to his own words.

We have been clear on this matter from the start. Totalitarians of any kind are not welcome to spread the seeds of their poison, nor disrupt civil discourse with their cold-blooded insults and threats on our site. Communists, Islamists and Nazis have proven to be the enemies of freedom, and Freezoxee will never become a safe haven for them.

Read the rest at the American Partisan.

For more on FreeZoxee, see “Punching Left and Punching Right”.

Matthew Bracken was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1957, and attended the University of Virginia, where he received a BA in Russian Studies and was commissioned as a naval officer in 1979. Later in that year he graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, and in 1983 he led a Naval Special Warfare detachment to Beirut, Lebanon. Since then he’s been a welder, boat builder, charter captain, ocean sailor, essayist and novelist. He lives in Florida. Links to his short stories and essays may be found at EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com. For his previous essays, see the Matthew Bracken Archives.

55 thoughts on “Matt Bracken: Social Media, Free Speech, and Censorship

  1. Matt, I sincerely hope this works out and can become a haven from the left wing control freaks at the major sites. I see these Jew hating misanthropes all over the place. As you state, every place that tries to have “free speech” is suddenly swarmed with Nazis. I am a couple of years older than you and never in my life have I seen more hard core anti-Semitism. These guys are absolutely insane with their hatred. Everyone is a “Zionist agent” and apparently none of them have ever met a Jewish appliance repair guy or factory worker or soldier or anything else. They are all international bankers and every single one is a billionaire bent on “browning” white countries. You are absolutely right to have “enough censorship.” The loons simply refuse to let it be any other way and the rest of us all have a lot to discuss that does not involve Uncle Adolph or abusing Jews.

    • The Founders were never for absolute free speech. It always specified that speech that incites to violence is not free speech, as long as it poses a real threat (and does not issue from, say, Madonna collecting her lefty brownie points).

      And I would agree with Matt that totalitarians, whose insane and strident ideologies have led to endless millions killed in the past (and some places are still killing) can be classed as people inciting VERY credible violence and banned.

      • So Vera what you are writing is that the Founders, as in the founders of the Constitutional Republic, weren’t absolutely for free speech? So Vera didn’t you know their speeches incited others to violence? They absolutely freely spoke in favor of violence against what they perceived to be an oppressive system of tyranny over them. The result was something they called the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783 with the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783. And so now who gets to classify who as being totalitarian to be banished from the public venue? Who? Because wouldn’t they then fit the definition of being totalitarian?

        • Not my thread but i’ll make a few comments.

          The founding fathers couldn’t have even imagined such concepts as shadow banning, “free speech zones”, a world that has given corporations eternal existence and the rights of citizens, which has de facto abandoned jury nullification, etc etc. Everything was a total package meant to work together against the threats of the time. The Constitution didn’t exist to restrain citizens but to restrain governments, we had the right to add amendments in case additional chains needed to be added.

          However modern corporations are acting like governments and are acting unrestrained, while the laws are being used to silence and shut down individuals. Shills are allowed to speak, bought and paid for mouthpieces have completely taken over the mainstream news, but if you have a megaphone speaking truth to power you get arrested for disturbing the peace. Any and all laws can be misused and turned on their heads, and currently are being used by those in power who want to stay in power.

          Matt is showing his military background by recognizing an enemy that is using every dirty trick in the book to carry out operations under the cover of “its not illegal”. He correctly sees the threat but perhaps poorly prescribes the solution not understanding some of the dangers.

          • Matt should understand that we live under a Constitutional Republic that operates under the rules of law. Every “dirty trick” that isn’t illegal under the Supreme Law of the Land that is the US Constitution is permissible in this society. So then whatever vaguely termed “enemy” are you suggesting? Political? Economic? Religious? If you can’t stomach or deal with people having opposing opinions or even worldviews then you neither understand the concept of an open and free society that was envisioned by my 18th Century Founding Fathers who wrote the Founding Documents, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States of America.

            And about this hit piece against GAB that Matt Bracken wrote would be one such fine example of using every dirty trick that isn’t illegal. This is fine and legal since he’s advertising Freezoxee which he refers to as ‘our site’ and describes how someone else has helped set it up and fund it. He’s acting as a salesman for Freezoxee as a competitor against GAB. A salesman is expected to shill for any product he’s trying to sell. It’s his job we expect him to do. But how is it none of your seem to have the slightest clue as to what he’s doing here?

    • I’ve never come across anyone making such idiotic self-defeating criticism of Jews. It’s a parody of itself, and why would anyone who hopes to influence others use such speech? It’s not as if it has the slightest chance of of doing anything but turning others away – the direct opposite of its (alleged) intention.

      I think much of this talk is fake – no other explanation makes anywhere near as much sense. And its intention is obviously to create a bogyman that anyone who objects to the prevailing liberal-left narrative will eventually turn into if they don’t correct their ways.

      • I’ve seen plenty of such posts. The website I was going to use as an example seems to have cleaned up its act. As Bracken points out, the objection is not to criticism of Jews, or even generalizations about them, but the blind, unthinking, knee-jerk hatred of them indicating an extremely isolated, Aspergers-type individual. These people cannot be engaged with. When I told one I had a Jewish background and attempted to discuss with him, all he did was call me names. These people contribute nothing, intellectually or any other way.

        I read an article at American Renaissance, bringing up the possibility that the feminization of society, and schools in particular, actually shut off any possibility for these social outcasts to have any opportunity to actually engage with people who taunt them. So, they literally know no avenue of expression but stupid generalizations and occasionally, explosive, pointless violence.

        Which is not to excuse the use of violence, or even explosive hatred, but to say that it’s there and must be engaged with. Banning the rantings of such an individual is an entirely appropriate means of dealing with it, certainly on a private website.

      • Yes there’s always instances of some type of ‘Controlled Opposition’ on every social media platform. We know this is the type of trap used by intelligence agencies and their law enforcement agents to entrap and setup potential real world candidates. This is one of the purposes of the world wide internet and some of the major social media websites were in fact funded and started up by such entities. All of it well documented too if you care to investigate and educate on it.

        There’s even some Artificial Intelligence programs that are posting commentary while posing as real Human Beings. Everyone should investigate, educate on that too. Is any or all of it fake talk? No. If you lack the basic skill of common sense to discern relevent from the irrelevent information then you will be chasing and you will be led around by every kind of bogeyman. I can offer no sympathy or help to such an entity on the internet. Because it’s the internet. It’s the World Wide Web (WWW) that’s maintained, operated and utilized by conglomerated, and largely unnamed collectivist forces.

        Those of you who are imaging that banning (deplatforming) such individuals under the guise of what they’re communicating is ‘hatred’ as in ‘hate speech’ as in them committing ‘hate crimes’ are the true totalitarians here. You really are. This has been the historic pattern of every totalitarian party and regime throughout history. Something you should’ve investigated and educated yourself on before posting opinions about it. Such examples of which were the National Socialists in Germany from 1933 to 1945 and the Soviet Socialists of Russia from 1917 to 1991.

        And the existence of private social media networks are everywhere to join for any like minded individual to go to converse in dialogue with their peers. This is the model Matt Bracken wants to see on his Freezoxee website. All fine and dandy too.

        The problem is the social media websites that claim to open free speech platforms for everyone who then go about banning and then further attempting to totally deplatform a group they had allowed for years. The problem is when a so-called free speech platform starts banning individuals over their political and religious worldviews while using the non-excuse of they somehow violated some vaguely defined community ‘standard’. Or banning thousands of individuals and groups that all share the same political ideology for the express purpose of influencing national elections. That’s now a big problem that nobody seems to have much concern about because they’re too busy still chasing their bogeymen.

  2. ‘Absolute freedom of speech is a loophole exploited throughout history by the enemies of freedom to achieve power. ‘

    I absolutely cannot bring myself to agree with this statement, for I see the opposite is true: Enemies of freedom always silence absolute free speech!

    Moreover, it is quite possible that the ‘neo-nazi’ movement has been dismantled by secret services by running it into the ridiculous extreme, and that the whole operation is still active and that the GABstapo are just paid trolls.

    Even the synagogue shooting is well within secret services scope of operations aimed at curtailing the free speech of citizens.

    • No. There have always been exceptions. Yelling fire in a crowded theater is one of them. Absolutist anything goes well with totalitarian anything

      • Have you forgotten GLADIO?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gladio

        Or – if you live in Germany – the Celler Loch, where the Protectors of the Constitution used a bomb top blow a hole into the wall of a prison?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celle_Hole

        And there were / are many jokes that the various german rightwing partys are infiltrated.
        I remember that one informant got money for producing a nazi-Music-cd and the Police than said that they knew about it from their sources inside the nazis.

      • Screaming ‘fire’ in a theater is, I suppose, a false alarm, and as such it is a false testimony, which is illegal.

        What we are talking about is free speach, as free expression of ideas and beliefs.

        Call me what you will, but I believe that even the Nazis and the communists and racists and all ‘bad’ people should have the right to express themselves. At least in the end you will know who you are dealing with, because they will not hide their politically incorrect views.

        • They have the right to have their own website. They do not have the right to post on privately-created and maintained websites such as GoV.

          This is exactly the reason I oppose government regulations requiring the publishing of all posts on the free social media such as Facebook and Twitter. You’ll see shoestring sites such as GoV having to engage lawyers to deal with the regulatory requirements. And for sure, the trolls and possibly Deep State agents purposely inserting extremist postings to discredit informative websites or to shut them down entirely.

          • Yes well I don’t want the government to require anyone to publish anything: Everyone should have the right to remain silent…

            And I oppose the idea that the government should abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press.

            I find ideas that are against free speech very dangerous.

  3. Maybe not a “subtle discrediting operation” but a honey trap fishing for the identity of such undesirables, for profiling them and reading their connection metadata (forget connecting through TOR or VPN just once and you’re done).

  4. If we silence even the Neo Nazis and their crazed hatred, it will only drive them underground. As for the “Joos” these people “hate”, it is ironic that the Nazi Party itself contained actual Jews in its leadership. Reinhard Heydrich comes to mind and even Hitler and Goebbels. The latter was known as “Little Rabbi” at school. There are many ironies in history.

    The Jews are perhaps the most intelligent people in the world with an average IQ of 115. They have won more Nobel prizes than anybody else and their contribution to the arts is legendary. My own family probably has Jewish blood from centuries ago. Does that make me an “Untermensch”? My family have married across Europe and all are Christian.

    George Soros is a Jew and one of the bad apples. However one bad “Swallow does not make a Summer” as the saying goes. One relative in Germany actually converted to Judaism- a Von Manstein in fact and chose to die in the gas chambers with his new friends in his chosen faith, rather than accept life as a natural Aryan. I am proud of him actually. Another Von Manstein was another adopted Von Lewinski that rose to Panzer Field Marshal and became NATO chief strategist after the war.

    With examples like this, one should realise that Jews are like anybody else-different from one another as the stars in the night sky. Such hatred of any People en masse is rather dumb and bigoted. It should be social stigma that outs the Neo-Nazis not Thought Police, that only causes more anguish and resentment that will eventually erupt after time and innocents die. We are heading there today.

    The Rothschild family supported and funded Hitler- well documented by the way and pushed the Fuhrer to resettle the Jews in Palestine or an African country. All the Neo Nazis are doing is displaying their ignorance.

    • Why not drive them underground back to their mom’s basements? Perhaps one day they might just get bored and evolve into doing something more useful, and maybe even get a job.

    • The Nazis even falsified the ancestry records of the waltzing Strauss family of composers, who were partly Jewish, as was Wagner’s second wife Cosima- a more rabid antisemite than her husband (!); there are other examples.

      More broadly, I first heard about the reinstatment of Gab.com from Pat Condell’s Twitter feed; he uses them (and BitShute) as insurance against YouTube’s censorship, yet he’s a staunch supporter of Israel.

    • Stefan Molyneux, in one of his videos, points out that the leading anti-Socialist, anti-Communist, anti-Collectivist thinkers have been Jewish.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtrFvqXamzw&t=126s

      Of course, Marx was Jewish, and lots of the Bolsheviks were Jewish. So, the Jews seem to provide a pool of intellect from which many waters spring. The Jews I know have a great talent for supporting policies lethal to them, but then again, so does the United Methodist Church, the Mennonites, the Baptist Convention and so forth.

      I think there’s fruitful grounds for discussing why reform Jews will vote Democratic 70% of the time, but Orthodox Jews will vote strongly for Trump. But, the rantings of self-identified Nazis just sprouting generalizations off the tops of their heads, probably in compensation for their social isolation, does not contribute much to any real discussion.

  5. I have been banned constantly from Facebook for daring to cricticise the left wing Labour party and their crazy immigration policies.Not just the left policies but Conservative and Liberal democrats as well !There is no free speech anymore it is a myth!

  6. It is quite probable that Gab was created by the deep state. In Europe, we have had similar suspicions about insane neo-nazi extremists being part of a left-wing subversive tactic. F.ex. it is no secret that many European neo-nazi cells secretly co-operate with moslem extremists, united in their irrational hatred of Jews, democracy, the USA and Christianity. If you analyze the Breivik case in Norway from the beginning to the end, you may come across a school example of this.

    • Fanatically anti-Semitic white nationalists display a deep sympathy for the Palestinians, considering them a displaced and oppressed people. It’s totally ironic that Israel represents an instance of exactly the relatively homogeneous ethnic state protecting itself that the white nationalists claim to want in the US, but they hate a despise Israel.

  7. I have been several months saying ‘Don’t say free speech’. Instead, say ‘partial free speech’. Qualify freedom. Promote ‘partial freedom’. That’s one way to combat Islam.

    • Really? Partial free speech? Just another tact of Cultural Marxism that pedals ‘Political Correctness’ to silence what it wants to destroy and is why it uses the ruse of ‘Hate Crimes’ to attack, imprison and destroy everyone it hates. That’s what ‘partial’ free speech means. You can only ‘freely speak’ what’s allowed to speak via the ever changing definitions of political correctness. Now thanks to ‘free speech’ we can all see the glaring hole in logic about what you’ve been saying for several months now. See how that works?

    • I think this discussion muddies the difference between public criminalization and private filtering.

      In my opinion, the government has no business censoring any speech not advocating direct violence or illegal behavior.

      But, I firmly believe in the right, and duty, of private website sponsors to filter their content. The Baron has occasionally pointed out that people might disagree with his decision to delete or edit a particular post, but it’s his website and his decision to make. Any regulation to require Twitter not to filter some posting is going to eventually blow back to GoV.

      I don’t understand why the giant social media and service organizations have not been hit for anti-trust and monopolistic behavior. When PayPal suddenly deplatforms a customer, causing them to lose customer lists and established channels of payment, it is more than freedom of speech; it is an action to use their monopolistic position to affect the market. This is rightly illegal and the perpetrator can be heavily fined without touching the content of the material.

      I’ll give a preview of my ultimate argument. I think expecting to get the services of YouTube, Facebook, Google, and the like for free is like expecting a perpetual free lunch and not having to pay for it. I’m looking forward to websites like GoV, Gab.com and the like to charge a fee for usage, which will go, among other things, to compensate for the time involved in filtering content and thus maintaining the quality of the discussion.

  8. I’ve been a member of GAB for several months now and I haven’t noticed it being a “safe haven” for radical neo-Nazi fanatics. Nor those “moderate” neo-Nazis either. Nor have I seen, or looked for like Matt Bracken has any sexualized photos of children. But if I were to search for such idiots and predators I’d go to either Twitter or Facebook first since there’s a plethora of radical fanatics of all kinds. GAB just hasn’t been around long enough to have harvested such evil groups.

    So I’m disappointed that Matt Bracken is now pushing this false narrative that is the exact same one being peddled by associates and operatives of the Deep State. But you have to understand that this is how Matt Bracken earns money and therefore sometimes he jumps onto boats that go nowhere. Like with him peddling the mainstream media libels typical of everyone on the payroll of George Soros and his ilk. Oops. Maybe I’ve said too much already. I guess I didn’t “self-censor” myself like Matt is doing. Then again I don’t get paid for being someone’s shill either.

      • Thanks Dymphna but your abstract and vague statement that “there can be no absolutes in speech” isn’t pertinent to the kind of “free speech” that Matt Bracken or I exercises. It isn’t just speech but the freedom to express your beliefs and speak about those beliefs to those you freely choose to associate with. And you also made an error in qualifying whether there was an actual fire in a crowded theater or not didn’t you? Either example isn’t an example of Freedom of Speech as it pertains to the 1st Amendment. That’s the context of the SCOTUS ruling. Everyone has the responsibility to warn other people of imminent danger that threaten their lives. Bret’s assertion that Matt Bracken advocates banning some ideologies through what Bret calls ‘partial free speech’ is ludicrous and insulting to both Matt Bracken and myself as US Citizens. And I’m gonna guess that Bret doesn’t understand the import of the Military Oath that both Matt and myself took to defend that Constitution of the United States of America. Obviously not.

        I live and was born in one of the fifty States of the United States of America which is a Constitutional Republic and not a ‘democracy’. Never was and never will be. We aren’t under the rule of a mob. We are under the rule of law as prescribed under the Constitution of the United States of America. What we are all defending is what we know as the 1st Unalienable Right that nobody can interfere with, prohibit or abridge…

        Amendment 1 [Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition]: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

        …because this is an unalienable right to US Citizens and something anyone not living here in the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America like Matt and I do. Canadian Citizens don’t have this right codified as the Supreme Law of the Land to which they belong. And as far as I’ve seen no other country on the planet has such a right codified as their supreme law either. What Matt Bracken wants is a social media platform of like minded individuals like his Freezoxee which is the freedom of association also covered under the 1st Amendment.

        To me this is so blatantly obvious that people don’t know what this 1st Unalienable Right means to an American Citizen and especially one who has given their oath of allegiance to defend such rights. So I’m shaking my head at both Bret and Dympha here. Both of your statements are false and vague assertions against the freedom of speech. Thing is I recognise why both of your thought terminating cliches can be so naturally given out by those who don’t live in this Constitutional Republic of the United States of America that both Matt and I live under. Because such concepts are too alien and dangerous to those living under the authority of the European Union or as subjects of any monarchy. And it is in that context that you seem to be both mistaken and confused Bret. And Dymphna. Wow. What you wrote. That there can be no absolutes in speech is absolutely incorrect. There is either the freedom to speak, believe, and associate however one wants or there is no freedom. Absolutely an unalienable right as described and protected by the US Constitutions 1st Amendment.

        • In an ideal world, where the right to express oneself is a natural right, not bestowed by the state but inherent in every human, decent people form the majority. They deal with murderous hatred (that falls just short of “incitement” as defined in the criminal code) by applying the ancient practice of shunning.

          In this world, Andrew Torba — if he were a decent person — would not go out of his way to welcome rabid Jew-haters and cultivate them as his principal source of income (or “underserved market”, to use his terminology). Sane, decent people would stop supporting Gab with their money and withdraw moral support, nor would they continue to provide cover by posting cute “cat pictures” or generic pro-Trump memes. Responsible infrastructure companies would independently decide not to have Gab as their customer. Gab could, of course, continue to operate using a .onion address on the Dark Web and would not face prosecution as long as it stayed within the confines of the law.

          Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world. Shunning by decent people exists, but is dwarfed by so-called deplatforming practiced by “social justice warriors” whipping up digital lynch mobs on Twitter and Facebook, aided by enablers in the media. Too often, the targets of their deplatforming are garden-variety conservatives or just ordinary people who have fallen afoul of one or the other of their insane speech codes.

          However, let us make one thing very clear. Andrew Torba is not about free speech, never has been. He bans people from Gab whenever doing so is in his perceived business interest or just to assuage his weak ego. The latest example is journalist Michael Edison Hayden, kicked off Gab because he shone a bright light on the roaches scuttling around there. The official reason given by Torba — “making violent threats” — is so ludicrous as not to merit discussion. Quite simply, he is a liar, a man without honor or integrity. I would not buy a used car from him, let alone his dishonest claims of being a freedom fighter.

          • Okay Hopping Mad then how would you know he isn’t on the Dark Web? Oh and wait there’s more. So you’re saying GAB is exactly like Twitter and Facebook then? Everyone’s lying then and I agree. I’m also seeing a nice little cat picture on Michael Edison Hayden’s Twitter page. Liars lie and GAB is still here. Period. Thanks for the game.

          • The Journalist Michael Edison Hayden? I’ll look into who he is. Thank’s for the hat tip Hopping Mad. Maybe he’s a cat person too.

          • In my opinion, the practice of de-platforming comes under monopolistic behavior, rather than free speech. I firmly support the right of media such as Twitter to specify what they will allow and what they won’t. But, they do not have the right to suddenly pull the rug out from customers who have built a business using YouTube, PayPal, Twitter, or any other, with the permission of the site.

            I don’t understand why anti-Trust laws have not been used against these giants.

        • For Arthur,

          Unfortunately, there is no right to freedom of association in the First Amendment, or any other part of the Constitution. In fact, the freedom of association, with the assent of the Supreme Court, has been almost entirely demolished.

          True freedom of association implies the right to discriminate against individuals on the basis or race, religion, gender, or philosophy. I support freedom of association.

          I also think that you, like most other contributors here, do not make a great enough distinction between government censorship and the right of private individuals or companies to filter whatever content they wish to publish. The freedom from government censorship is, and should be, absolute. The right to censor writing on private publications should also be absolute.

        • Going to step into a conversation that’s not mine hoping I might contribute something.

          Mr Bracken might be voicing his frustrations in a slightly clumsy way but that doesn’t make his feelings wrong, just the expression.

          An individual needs free speech as do groups of people but I don’t believe that a shill or bought person is free speech nor do I believe the absurdities of “corporations are individuals” with any “right” to free speech. Nor is a person who is merely a mouthpiece of a hostile foreign government, organized crime group, or other group dedicated to the violent and total overthrow of the United States.

          There was a time when the US couldn’t fight organized crime so they came up with laws called RICO because they realized that individual acts were adding up to a much more damaging whole, and they needed a way to criminalize the small act realizing the people were acting FOR that criminal whole as the only way of getting to them.

          Right or wrong, potential for abuse or not that’s what they did and they managed to shut down the italian mobsters who had infiltrated and were hiding behind their ‘rights’ using every dirty trick in the book to twist and subvert things to entrench power.

          Communism has used similar racketeering practices, Islam has used similar racketeering practices, you currently see entire armies of bought and paid for journalists all repeating a singular narrative – I think this should be criminal. They are not engaging in free speech. They are engaging in PAID speech, in being a shill, in acting as agents of hostile foreign powers. When CNN or other toilets lie to cover up crimes of certain people while grossly misrepresenting and smearing others they should be criminally liable so that there is at least some fear, some trepidation about going along hook line and sinker with those hostile foreign forces trying to destroy this nation.

          The Constitution is simultaneously the only document enshrining our rights, and “just a damn piece of paper” used by certain criminals to misuse every freedom and cover up their attempted overthrow of the same nation. It was the best they could come up with 200+ years ago yet still failed to forsee certain risks and dangers which would later spin out of control, the corruption of corporations being an excellent example. (they also estimated it might last about 200 years before falling and were thus overdue) There has always been interpretation necessary in the courts but again that was before the courts were as corrupted as every other entrenched group.

          No matter how high the original ideals of America and the Constitution the simple fact is that the US has by and large already fallen to hostile foreign powers, like an elephant on it’s knees already tied down as others sharpen their knives it’s not dead yet and it wont be eaten in one sitting but it’s compromised to the point that it’s almost unthinkable what will turn back the tides at this point. We have no borders, were being overrun with third world hordes, half the population doesn’t work and has been bought off with bribes of freebies at the expense of the other half, were selectively engaged in nonsensical wars while simultaneously arming Saudi Arabia to hundreds of billions of dollars (and they just started their nuclear reactors a day or two back), nothing like this could have even happened had the Constitution by itself been enough to stop this country’s downfall. Things are already broken and simply following the original prescription wont get them back on track.

    • Then subscribe to Freezoxee dot com. Anyone with an internet connection can do so if they’ll accept and keep you that is. And they like cat lovers too I’ve heard. I like to keep up with what Matt Bracken has to say along with Michael Snyder at the Economic Collapse as well. I believe he’s a cat person too. Meow. Ciao.

  9. Whatever concession we make to the government, they will inevitably widen the size and scope of censorship once the censors and totalitarians have a foot in the door to gutting the constitution.

    Free speech isn’t always pretty but then again it’s not supposed to be. We already HAVE laws against incitement to violence and do not need any further restrictions. Free speech is pretty much the only principle that has to stay absolute and un-infringed.

    The reasoned expression of truth is the only possible answer to moronic extremists’ verbal diarrhea.

    • We don’t need to ban ideas about flat earthers, we dont need to ban people saying Elvis is still alive, there is never a reason to ban free speech. The left is trying to ban all right wing hate and simultaneously wanting to shut down anyone criticizing Islam. This is what supporting the banning of speech gets you, people who want to decide what you can and cannot criticize next.

      The challenge is to define free speech. People say “you cant yell fire in a crowded theater” but that’s not free speech. You also cant lie about people with libel and slander. People complain about capitalism saying everyone rips each other off with lying and exaggerating but those things are not capitalism, those are fraud and misrepresentation. It used to be legal to buy votes by getting voters drunk the night before an election but that was later stopped yet it’s still legal for the democrats to promise freebies to people for voting, maybe that needs to be stopped and made illegal.

      In every case for things to work correctly you have people who agree there needs to be laws defining what is okay and what is not, and a government that hopefully applies and enforces the law equally. However when people are ill informed and misinformed they can’t decide well and when governments are corrupt and full of racketeering they wont listen to the people anyways.

      • So, basically, you want to ban speech that you consider dangerous.

        What will you do when you establish the precedence of banning speech, and someone comes around who considers what you say to be dangerous?

  10. Gab’s co-founder is a Muslim never-Trumper? Well I never… it’s not exactly something new for far-leftists to try to make rightists look like Nazis – or even say racist stuff themselves, or do a Hitler salute incidentally in front of a camera. So maybe the whole thing was aimed at making Trumpists look like a bunch of Nazi freaks? In any case, with 800k users, Gab was still a long way off making any impact.

    Btw, not sure that groups such as #Gabstapo full of genocidal fantasies, or even “gas the bikes” can be just labelled “speech”… I believe the legal term, at least in UK law, is “incitement to violence” . Something far more clear-cut than often-misused terms like “hatred” or “extremism” … And one might argue that those cheering on such ideas are also party to any resulting crime.

  11. Related to this, I will tell a joke from communist times in Romania:
    at school, the teacher ask children to tell a flying bird they know…
    one kid said …. sparrow…
    teacher….very good….what is your father ?
    kid: my father is engineer
    teacher…see ? good parents…good kid

    other kid said…crow
    teacher…very good …what is your father ?
    kid: profesor
    teacher: see ? good parents, good children

    an other kid: crocodile
    teacher: you are idiot…what is you father ?
    kid: regional communist party secretary
    teacher: you know kids…some times, crocodiles can fly…but not so high

  12. In my opinion, free speech is something you have to accept and argue, without killing people. When you start killing people because of words you don’t like, then is gun speech.
    Killing is very easy…explaining and arguing is much harder.
    This must not be mistaken with war declaration. War declaration is something else.

    • If you believe someone cannot be reached by words the only alternative to deal with them is then violence or putting them in cages.

      I’m not against violence for dealing with certain groups that are agitating for the forceful and violent overthrow of this country. That is not free speech, that is treason or sedition or incitement to mutiny or any number of other things.

      I’m not against cages for dealing with certain groups that for instance tell bald faced lies about you but that is about slander and libel. That is not free speech either.

      The excesses and abuses of any thing have to be defined and worked out in the courts and agreed to by the people of the nation. That is how you define what is criminal or not, what is legal or not. It used to be legal to buy votes with bribery by getting people drunk the night before an election, even George Washington used such things once upon a time if I remember correctly. (for minor political positions before being President)

      The bigger questions are 1 are we having public debates about what needs to be banned or not without being misled by sinister outside forces? 2 are we actually being represented in what we decide by the government put into power to uphold those laws? Simply calling to ban free speech with the government deciding for itself what should or should not be banned is very dangerous, no matter how worrysome the threat, especially when it’s usually the government’s incompetence (in any country) creating or enabling the problems in the first place and using the rage or suffering of the people to demand changes the government wants Machiavellian style to begin with.

  13. Communist joke from Romania…
    Communist party need new members….
    a guy is going to the commission for new communist members….
    Guy: hi…I want to to be a new member…
    Commission: this is a very good thing …but we must test you…
    Guy (not Guy Verhofstadt): perfect…I’m ready
    the is going to the medical tests…
    doctor: you have good muscles…you are strong
    Guy: yes…I know…
    doctor: with this muscles you do have big chances to become a communist leader
    Guy: thank you
    next day, X-rays
    doctor: you still have good muscles…perfect for a communist
    Guy: oh…thank you…so…I am qualified for the communist party membership ?
    doctor: after X-rays…no…you can’t be a communist member
    Guy: why ? I have so nice muscles…
    doctor: yes…true….but we can clearly see you have a brain…

    • And here’s another Bulgarian one:

      Why do Bulgarian secret policemen go round in threes?

      One to read, one to write, and one to keep an eye on the two dangerous intellectuals.

  14. Romanian communist joke:
    annual meeting of communist party leadership
    they must report to the supreme leader, Ceausescu, how the agriculture works…
    and they start…
    the communist leader of Mures county:
    we are ready with plowing and sowing on …so many (lets say 200.000) hectares of land…
    Ceausescu…yes…very good comrade
    the communist leader of Buzau county:
    we are ready with plowing and sowing on …so many (lets say 150.000) hectares of land…
    Ceausescu…yes…very good comrade
    the communist leader of Arad county:
    we are ready with plowing and sowing on …so many (lets say 250.000) hectares of land…
    Ceausescu…yes…very good comrade
    …and so on…until almost all of the communist leaders finish their report…
    but, at a moment, the responsible from agriculture ministry….making calculations:
    Guys….hold on….hold on….
    are you plowing and sowing also in Bulgaria, Hungary and Jugoslavia ?

  15. You are loosing yourself when start arguing with cannibals if is OK to eat your neighbor…
    And then explaining to the cannibals why is not OK…
    According to me and my people (let’s say 30.000.000 – 40.000.000) something is wrong…do we have to explain about this to some other people with a different culture why ?
    Politicians that do not understand own people when comes to own basic cultural rules…should be put to sleep.

    • Sometimes it’s not like that, there’s a difference between trying to argue with a wolf, and trying to argue with your neighbor who started howling at the moon. The latter you can bring back from their descent, the former never.

      Just like not that long ago Islam was an untouchable concept before and through and shortly after 9/11 until it’s forbiddenness apparently made it sexy for dumb youth to show how counterculture they are where it’s the cool thing for girls now to go join ISIS and murder people before finding out you don’t get to go back home and now just get raped by the new Muslim friends that brought you there.

      There is a danger in swinging the banhammer in wider and wider swaths whenever someone feels criticized. That’s the crap that the modern left is already doing under the guise of fighting ‘right wing hate’, they’ll ban the neonazis but along with it they ban everyone criticizing Islam or globalism at the same time.

  16. Let me make several points here I may have made in some responses.

    I appreciate the efforts of Mathew Bracken and others to create a site where rational discussion and expression can take place, without the knee-jerk ranting that quashes any real discussion or debate. I also appreciate the contributors here, like Bishop Guy Leven-Torres, who report on their activities supporting freedom, sometimes at risk to themselves.

    I absolutely do not believe government should involve itself in either requiring legal content, or censoring legal content, for any website, however large and pervasive. This is a direct link to the elimination of the smaller, private websites that provide most of the information worth knowing in today’s environment of entertainment masquerading as news.

    I believe vigorous anti-trust prosecutions should be employed when a monopolistic position of service providers is used for the purpose of damaging customers.

    I think the future of free, quality communication and discussion is through paid memberships, rather than free services. Bracken points out how Google, Twitter, Amazon etc get their money from selling marketing information. I myself do not give a whit if my browsing history is sold, but I don’t fool myself that the use of free services will always be so benign.

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