Sorry, But No Matter How Offensive The Joke, It Shouldn’t Be Censored

On Monday, in light of the recent Manchester bombing at an Ariana Grande concert that left 19 people dead and 55 injured, writer David Leavitt wrote a few offensive tweets in the name of comedy:

It should go without saying that what David wrote should cause social shunning and outrage. But, is it evidence that censorship through the form of the policing of language and jokes is compulsory? The answer is, of course, no. That didn’t stop users on Twitter from claiming he should be deplatformed and barred from using Twitter:

The reason that David Leavitt should not lose the ability to exercise his right to free speech via Twitter is because you’re a fascist if you want him censored. Period. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and judging by the ratio of “replies” to “likes,” the amount of exposure garnered by David has been predominantly negative, thus resulting in a public apology:

Good. David Leavitt’s comments were egregiously insulting.

His joke was horrendously disrespectful to not only those affected, but those who care about the devastating Manchester event. However, drawing from the ideals of the Constitution, he should have a right to make a fool of himself online without fear of being shot down. The only speech that should be shut down is that which overtly generates violence, or “fighting words.” If you believe otherwise, you are not an espouser of free speech, but rather an apostle of fascism. The right of free speech for those many disagree with not just on a political level, but even on something like a comedic level, such as David, has repeatedly been attacked over the years by folks on the Left; something that is detrimental to a Democratic society as a whole. Loose subjective definitions of hate speech and the subsequent censorship of said language is a breeding ground for even more fascistic tendencies. That’s not a path we want to go down.

This being said, Twitter and its leadership do have its own rights, obviously. They have the legal right to shut down whoever they wish because no one has a right to use their platform to espouse his or her ideas. But, if Twitter actually wants to be perceived as the purveyors of freedom of speech, suppression of those whom you disagree with is not the way to go about it; no matter how disgusting you may find them.

In fact, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams claims “the internet is broken,” and that he is “sorry” for giving Trump a Twitter platform because, according to Trump, Twitter is the why he’s in the White House. Twitter is not the reason Trump is in the White House, and it’s silly for Evan Williams to think that the internet is “broken” simply because Trump uses a direct medium and people like it. In fact, Twitter has been a total PR disaster for Trump, not a blessing.

Greg Matusow

Author: Greg Matusow

Greg Matusow is a conservative writer and founder of Matusow.net