From Billy Beck over at Facebook. My comments, after him.

Cathaleen —

I had written: “I’ve often said that Americans would bring their native ingenuity to tyranny and write new pages in its annals.”

“To my mind, this Twitter thing is the most menacing development along these lines that I’ve ever seen.”

You asked: “which Twitter thing? There are so many parts… By which I mean please explain it like I’m 5.”


I have only read through one of the drops: Taibbi’s first one. I’ve glanced them after that, along with ancillary commentary here & there. The first thing that I want to say is that this was badly mis-handled by Musk, and I’m sure that I know why: he was playing it for traffic at Twitter.

This was not “Twitter Files”. Hotep Jesus called it “Twitter Screenshots,” and that was right. This should have been a comprehensive, Wikileaks-style *file dump*, for anyone to look through at the raw email and Slack (internal messaging) files.

It’s been argued that “there’s so much that there wasn’t time for that” and I’m not buying it. If that’s true, then the only reason is that Musk was in a hurry to get this out in order to stimulate traffic. The consequence, in any case, is that the data is mediated: we’re only seeing what they’re showing us.


What they’re showing us should be horrifying to every single American.

Federal “law enforcement” and “intelligence” agencies were meeting with high-level executives at Twitter, more than weekly — as if it were a regular, formal liaison — for the purpose of pointing out tweets and whole accounts that they wanted suppressed, and they were almost all conservatives or “right wing”.

That’s the kernel of it. The United States government had found a willing partner in an ostensibly private company, ready to do the dirty-work, leaving these agencies with the plausible denial that it was a “private company” doing it.

I’m just going to point out that to this day, seventy-seven years after The Jewish Holocaust in Nazi Germany, International Business Machines — the world-famous “IBM” — is righteously condemned for its complicity: they supplied mechanical tabulators and punch-cards to the Nazis for purposes of census, ethnic identification, and concentration camp management.

This is not a comparison between Twitter’s political suppression of unwelcome traffic and mass ethnic murder. The principle here that unifies these two cases is: the voluntary complicity of private companies with governments for explicitly political motives. The *implication* is necessarily logical: if they would do that, then there is no real answer to any question of what they *would not* do:

Where were their moral limits? No one knows, and no one would have ever known if Elon Musk had not turned this rock over for everyone to see the worms.

This is the *essence* of fascism: exactly what those degenerates were saying that they were afraid of in Trump, and “right wing” politics in general, all while they were *doing it*, themselves. They were doing it with a new technology that had gripped the whole world with its promises, and on a scale and with precision and ability never before seen in human history.

Can you understand this?

Billy’s got this exactly right. Read the whole thing.

To his points I will add two things. First, the reason it’s not as shocking as it might be to some is because we’ve always known this was precisely what was happening deep in our heart of hearts. None of us are surprised at just how deep this thing goes.

The other point I’m going to make is I can’t help but make a connection between these events and the bank bailouts and bailouts of automakers and so on. The word fascism applies very directly here because with that action under Obama those Banks and those companies were bought and paid for by the federal government. It didn’t begin during that., But it certainly took a large step in that direction.