In China the Communist Party is worried. Its control over the Internet is tight but in the view of the Party not tight enough. Operation QingLang (Cleansing) has been underway in China since 2021. It is designed to implement a whole series of rules and regulations to control what can and cannot be said on Chinese social media. Despite this, President Xi Jinping himself has repeatedly expressed his dissatisfaction with the level of control the Party is exercising over cyberspace. He is demanding more draconian measures.
Apparently, Twitter got this same memo.
Earlier this week the online satirical publication The Babylon Bee awarded its “Man of the Year” award to Biden’s Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine. Levine is a biological man who was married to a biological woman, raised a family with her, and then decided he was a woman, changed his name, and now wears women’s clothes. The Babylon Bee’s award was clearly intended as a parody of USA Today’s recent decision to name Levine “woman of the year.”
The thought police at Twitter were not amused. Levine it seems must be referred to only as a woman – biology notwithstanding – and any deviation from that prescription will be punished. The Babylon Bee’s account on Twitter was suspended. Calling Levine, a man was classified as “hateful conduct.” Twitter then advised, having apparently read the manual on Chinese Communist struggle sessions, that the Babylon Bee’s account would be reinstated only if the offending Tweet was deleted, and The Babylon Bee acknowledged the error of its ways.
The Editor-in-Chief of the Babylon Bee, Kyle Mann, responded by refusing to delete the offending Tweet and making fun of Twitter. Predictably enough these actions were then characterized as “hateful conduct” and Mann’s personal account was also suspended.
But it doesn’t end there. Just as Xi Jinping is not yet satisfied with the level of control he exercises over what can be said in China, Twitter remains unconvinced we have all absorbed the message. Further discipline is required.
Tucker Carlson had the audacity to discuss Twitter’s attack on The Babylon Bee on-air and to point out the inconvenient truth that Levine is a biological male. Carlson was censored by Twitter and his Tweet in defense of the Bee was removed because “it violates the Twitter rules.”
Charlie Kirk also did the unthinkable. He suggested that Levine was in fact, a guy. His exact words were, “Richard Levine spent 54 years of his life as a man. He had a wife and family. He “transitioned” to being a woman in 2011, Joe Biden appointed Levine to be a 4-star Admiral, and now USA Today has named “Rachel” Levine as a ‘Woman of the Year.” Where are the feminists?”
Kirk is now no longer on Twitter. Commentary online from individuals supporting Twitter indicates that one of Kirk’s greatest offenses was “deadnaming” Levine. This is an apparent reference to Kirk’s use of the name Richard. That too is seemingly now forbidden.
In China Operation QingLang is aimed at controlling what the Chinese Communist Party calls “chaos.” What this means in practice is that the Party has the right to “cleanse” the Internet of anything not managed and sanctioned by Chinese Communist leadership. There is no right to free speech. The only thoughts which may be expressed are those that are approved.
In an effort to tighten control over the Internet, the Chinese Communist Party recently rolled out the new improved 2022 QingLang regulations, which include four major points:
- All internet companies must be prepared to “fight a tough, protracted and overall battle” to make sure that all posts express loyalty to the CCP and the country and Party doctrine.
- If anything disloyal is posted the individual responsible must be identified.
- Unacceptable posts must be “cleaned up” immediately. Action must be taken promptly against the responsible individual.
- Internet companies must strengthen “security” and continuously work to prevent “chaos” on the Internet. In other words, a maximum effort must be made to prevent any dissenting views from being voiced.
We would have once read such Communist dribble and laughed with disdain. Now it wouldn’t be surprising to find similar language in the internal procedures used at Twitter, Facebook, or many other social media companies. It is the express policy in fact at these companies to prevent anyone from voicing viewpoints with which they disagree.
You can speak, but you will be told what it is you can and cannot say.
This is the antithesis of free speech. In fact, the entire concept of free speech is built upon the absolute bedrock of the idea that within some very, very broad boundaries you can say whatever you want. It is, in fact, only via the operation of the “free market of ideas” that we will find the truth, expose lies and formulate sound policy.
The good ideas will rise to the top. The bad ideas will fall by the wayside. The truth will prevail.
Twitter’s actions are a threat to the rights of all of us and the foundations of the republic. They are straight out of the playbook of the Chinese Communist Party, a totalitarian entity that oppresses its people and enslaves millions.
Twitter may well believe it too is “cleansing” the Internet, but its actions should terrify us all.