Nothing would be better than for Elon Musk to buy Twitter and then kill it. Take it offline. Delete it. Make it go away.

What's the point anymore? Like some aged European monarchy, the service has become too inbred to say anything useful. It exists now as a giant push survey, claiming the appearance of action equals action. Even the cancellation of people, for which Twitter has become uniquely known, is like a magic spell that you have to believe in for it to work. Live outside the Twitter demographic and it does not matter.

Listening to...

Nothing would be better than for Elon Musk to buy Twitter and then kill it. Take it offline. Delete it. Make it go away.

What’s the point anymore? Like some aged European monarchy, the service has become too inbred to say anything useful. It exists now as a giant push survey, claiming the appearance of action equals action. Even the cancellation of people, for which Twitter has become uniquely known, is like a magic spell that you have to believe in for it to work. Live outside the Twitter demographic and it does not matter.

Listening to people talk, you’d think Twitter had the power to raise the dead, or, more often, the opposite. Twitter is the physical embodiment of what Glenn Greenwald describes as Democrats criminalizing opposition to their party and ideology. Dissenting ideas are “disinformation” that must be censored. Trump voters are inherently criminal (“insurrectionists”) and should be imprisoned or at least banished for thoughtcrimes.

Rewatching Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9, it is obviously a screed about all the bad things Trump was going to do as president. Time is a cold witch of a mistress: basically nothing Moore predicted actually happened. Moore was wrong about Trump’s ties to Russia, Moore was wrong about Trump being the last elected president because he would seize total power, and Moore was wrong about the lasting impact of progressive Twitter and the heroes of the year, the Parkland High School survivors.

You do remember the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school, right? A handful of progressive survivors were insta-made into social media sensations by presenting their views on gun control unopposed and uncommented on Twitter. In his film, Moore portrayed the kids as examples of an anti-Trump force sent by the universe to tweet as a balancing mechanism. The power of their online activism was America’s only chance to remain a democracy free of daily massacres.

You can’t do justice to the hyperbole of Moore’s narration in print; you would think these kids had the power to change something simply by amassing RTs. A good chunk of the movie is just Moore staring at the kids defeating everything fascistic in the world just by being online, his expression somewhere between pedophile on the playground fence and proud dad.

One can imagine Moore’s reaction — if he were still relevant enough to quote — to Musk’s impending takeover of Twitter: Musk will have the power to make Twitter into anything he wants, even a full-on bastion of unfettered speech. Instead of relying on the Terms of Service to ensure people like the Parkland Kids face no opposition online, Moore might worry just the opposite, that the opposition, left to its own point making, might overwhelm the dumbass ideas that tend to come from 16-year-olds handed a very big microphone. For those new here, that is the point: to allow better ideas to overwhelm poor ideas.

Have a look at what Twitter had done in the name of “free speech” and ending “misinformation,” the rallying cries of so-called progressives. Twitter took an entire subject of critical interest, Hunter Biden, off the media menu and thus out of public viewing just prior to the last presidential election. Twitter silenced the loudest voices of opposition to the Democrats, people like Donald Trump himself and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Call them what you want to, the idea in a free country is that you have the opportunity to hear what they have to say if you wish, or maybe just encounter speech that makes you rethink your own views. (Protip: that’s a cornerstone of Jeffersonian democracy — oh wait, Jefferson is on the outs now, too. Sorry.)

Twitter also found cause to black out the satire site Babylon Bee and Libs of TikTok. The Bee’s violation? Naming transperson Rachel Levine its “Man of the Year.” Libs of TikTok only reposted clips from left-wing users on social media, including from drag queens and gay and transgender activists, but that too was too much. Things got so stupid that Trump Derangement poster child Robert Reich — in his role as the Rob Reiner of faux-intellectuals — tweeted, “When multi-billionaires take control of our most vital platforms for communication, it’s not a win for free speech. It’s a win for oligarchy.”

“We are calling for careful content moderation that balances the important ideals of democracy, free expression, and public health and safety,” said Jessica González, co-CEO of Free Press, a media advocacy organization. Imagine that, a group which says its supports a free press demanding censorship to enable free speech. But why pull punches? Politico wonders, “If Musk sticks with his word and removes most of the content moderation rules in place, which could include those that ban hate speech, extremism and vaccine and election misinformation — it may turn into a platform that poses a threat to democracy.”

Irony aside, look at what they are afraid of: unfettered free speech brought to you by one of the few men rich enough to pay for it.

That’s why Musk should kill off Twitter, and any other social media he can acquire. His legacy would not be the oligarch who gave us a smattering of free speech but the oligarch who helped break the grip that oligarchs, whether progressive or otherwise, now have on our speech. Burn Twitter to the ground to save it, er, us, from any attempts to adjudicate further what we can read and listen to. If a social media outlet can’t present a democratic platform in a democratic way (i.e., without a rich guy paying our way to freedom like an abolitionist buying slaves only to set them loose), then we should not want it. We’ve gone too far in turning “content moderation” into crude censorship and viewpoint discrimination.

Public forums need to be just that, public. You do not achieve free speech via censorship no matter who wields the red pencil. Musk can’t change that we’ve reached a point in democracy’s evolution where some half of us fear free speech, but there it is. His contribution should be to kill the beast that Twitter has become, and hope something more democratic rises in its place.