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Samizdata quote of the day – Doublethink

The July 4 ruling that the federal government must not demand censorship by social media companies is a major setback in the war on disinformation, reports the New York Times yesterday. The reason, says The Times, is that the Trump-appointed judge and other Republicans have fallen prey to a conspiracy theory that a Censorship Industrial Complex exists.

Most dangerously, reports the Times, “The judge’s preliminary injunction is already having an impact. A previously scheduled meeting on threat identification on Thursday between State Department officials and social media executives was abruptly canceled…”

In other words, there’s no Censorship Industrial Complex — no conspiracy by the US government and social media companies to censor disfavored speech. At the same time, it’s a tragedy that the US government isn’t able to meet secretly with Facebook to censor disfavored speech. Got that?

Michael Shellenberger

11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – Doublethink

  • bobby b

    As one small point of optimism, there’s been a growth, in the past two or three years, of a whole new set of reliable, honest, disciplined writers and analysts who don’t seem to be afraid of the vast powers of cancellation that now exist in society.

    Shellenberger, Tiabi, the Triggernometry guys . . .

    I could make a longer list, but my point is, we’re seeing some smart writing and commentary in the non-wonk community for a change.

  • “The judge’s preliminary injunction is already having an impact. A previously scheduled meeting on threat identification on Thursday between State Department officials and social media executives was abruptly canceled…”

    Good. Sounds like this Louisiana Judge is getting plenty of flak over this. Must be on target then.

    P.S. It ain’t a conspiracy theory if it’s true.

  • Paul Marks.

    What the “New York Times” and the media that follows it, call “disinformation” is the truth.

    Millions of people were starved to death in the former Soviet Union – which the New York Times denied.

    The policies of demanding an end to Manchurian offensive against the Marxists in 1946 and later, in spite of the government of the Republic of China agreeing to call off the Manchurian offensive (which was succeeding), cutting off military support, led to the Mao regime – this Marxist regime murdered more people than any other regime in history, the New York Times has the blood of these innocent people upon it.

    The Castro Brothers were Marxists – the New York Times denied that they were, and demanded an arms embargo and other policies that undermined the government of Cuba, this led to the Castro regime and all its tyranny.

    In 1979 the establishment (Carter Administration that supported it – such as the New York Times) promised that if the pro American rulers of Nicaragua and Iran were undermined “democracy” would emerge.

    It has been 44 years since these pro American rulers, these allies, were betrayed – where is the the “democracy” in Nicaragua and Iran?

    As for Covid.

    The line of the New York Times and the government bureaucracy was a series of LIES.

    They claimed that the virus did not come from the lab in Wuhan – they LIED.

    They claimed that there were no helpful Early Treatments for Covid 19 – they LIED.

    They claimed that lockdowns were an effective policy – they LIED.

    They claimed that the Covid injections were “safe and effective” – they LIED.

    What the pro censorship New York Times and the government bureaucracy claimed was “disinformation” was the truth – and what they themselves said was a series of LIES.

  • Paul Marks.

    Short version…

    The line the government bureaucracy, and the pro Censorship New York Times (and the rest of the “mainstream media”), pushed – was a series of lies. And what they denounced as “misinformation” and demanded censored – was, and is, the truth.

    On Covid – and on many other matters.

    The line of the government bureaucracy and the New York Times and “mainstream” pro censorship media (which is joined as the hip with the government) is a series of lies – and what they call “disinformation” is often the truth.

    They are a part of an international agenda to push lies and censor the truth – on many matters.

  • Steven R

    And when the suits in DC ignore this judge? Sure, go ahead and hold the officials in contempt, like that means anything these days. The US Marshals answer to the DoJ and won’t be sent to arrest any of the officials, and if by some miracle they do end up in cuffs, they’ll be pardoned before the ink on the booking sheet is dry.

  • GregWA

    Another angle to keep an eye on: “insider threats”. This is a big topic of R&D by cyber folks, govt types, etc. There are real insider threats–obviously. And then there’s us–we are a threat of course, but not in the way “insider threat” is meant. At least I don’t think that’s how the gov’t types mean the term.

    My worry is I’m wrong and we are exactly the people they are worried about, that they are trying to detect and then take action against. The evidence of the Censorship Industrial Complex seems to suggest we are the ONLY targets! They show much less concern about Muslim extremists, Green extremists, or Marxists!

    Why keep an eye on this? Because I think (?) the R&D is mostly open, so we should be reading what we can and learning how they are doing the detection and targeting. When I say “we”, I mean mostly others…I don’t have the time right now…maybe when I’m more retired?

  • Kirk

    Censorship works. Until it doesn’t, and then the failure usually takes your entire state down with it.

    You can try to mask what people think all you like, but it’s a mug’s game, in the end. Ask the Ceaucescu family about that. Oh, right… You can’t. They’re dead, killed by their own secret police.

    The root problem for these people is that they start out with the best of intentions, to “fix” things in society. Then, they find out that their various and sundry “fixes” only make things worse, and they double-down on it all by trying to stop people from pointing out the failures. Which then compound, ‘cos ain’t nobody talking about them and fixing them, and things spiral.

    Censorship is basically painting over the pressure gauge on the boiler and tying down the relief valve. You do it long enough, the boiler inevitably explodes. This is something that all the petty tyrants of history have failed to observe, and only learn when they feel the kiss of the guillotine’s blade on their neck. It may take a few short years, it may take generations, but censorship inevitably kills the regime trying it. It’s usually the death-knell of whatever organization tries it; it’s a symptom of deeper failure. They have to resort to it? You know things are going wrong. Very wrong.

  • @Kirk – Reality always gets you in the end.

  • Kirk

    @John Galt,

    That’s what I’ve been saying for years. Nobody listens, though, ‘cos they’d rather live in the fantasy-world they have inside their heads.

    Me? I’m a pragmatist; try something, observe, and if it works? Keep on with it. If it doesn’t, try something else.

    People who have to have a “theory of everything” in order to function are putting the cart before the horse. Figure out what works; why it works is for later on. And, you have to be comfortable with “I’ll never know why this works, but it does…”, because sometimes that’s the actual answer the universe throws back at you.

  • Kirk:

    They don’t start out with good intentions. They’re nasty little bullies who arrogate the language of “tolerance” to bully other people into getting their way.

  • Kirk


    The originators of all these ideas always had the best of intentions. They told us so. Their heirs tell us so, today, as they fit us up for shackles.

    You don’t believe them? Naughty, naughty wrongthinker, you…