The youth are our future

At least that’s what GOP congresswoman Mary Miller says:

“Hitler was right on one thing, that whoever has the youth has the future. Our children are being propagandized,” Miller said.

I’d use the phrase “influences the youth”, not “has”. Anyone who has had children knows that grownups never “have the youth”.

But Miller is certainly 100% right that “Our children are being propagandized”.

(BTW, Imagine being educated in such a way that Hitler was the only philosopher you could think of when looking for a “the youth are our future” type quote.)

Speaking of our youth, younger members of the GOP death cult seem to have adopted Trump nihilism:

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) was captured on video refusing to wear a mask when offered one as lawmakers sheltered in a crowded conference room during the dramatic Wednesday attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

In the video released by Punchbowl News, Mullin is seen standing, maskless, with newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a follower of the conspiracy theory QAnon who was condemned by House leadership for racist remarks during her campaign, also unmasked. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), masked herself, offers the two surgical masks. . . .

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) announced Monday that, “Following the events of Wednesday, including sheltering with several colleagues who refused to wear masks, I decided to take a Covid test. I have tested positive.” It’s not clear whether Watson Coleman sheltered in the same location as Mullin.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) announced early Tuesday that she, too, had tested positive.

“I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one,” Jayapal said in a statement.

Representative Coleman is a 75-year old cancer surviror.

And people ask me why I’m not a Republican.

PS. Tyler Cowen discusses the question of whether Twitter should have banned Trump. FWIW, here are my views:

1. I think they had the right to do so, and I oppose government regulation of Twitter.

2. I think it was unwise to do so, although it may be in their financial interest to do so (mostly because it would boost employee morale.) Overall, however, I think it’s better that Twitter also presents the President’s views, no matter how reprehensible. He does represent nearly 40% of the US public. Let’s debate Trumpism right out in the open.

3. More broadly, woke “cancel culture” has played a significant part in the rise of Trumpism. And last Wednesday will make the left even more self-righteous. Leftists might be surprised to learn how often conservatives cite cancel culture as a factor pushing them to the right. Thus Twitter is actually strengthening the right by this decision.

4. Although Twitter’s decision has nothing to do with the 1st Amendment per se, among average people it increases the perception that those in positions of responsibility are supposed to ban hate speech. Over time, that view will bleed over into cases that threaten the 1st Amendment. I predict that we will eventually end up losing the right to engage in “hate speech”, something that has already happened in Europe.

Of course losing the legal right to engage in hate speech is no great loss, but losing the right to engage in “hate speech” is a very great loss. I hope I’m wrong, but I suspect that the 1st Amendment will be rendered meaningless within a few decades. Freedom of speech will only apply to government approved speech.



62 Responses to “The youth are our future”

  1. Gravatar of Jerry Brown Jerry Brown
    12. January 2021 at 11:42

    One of the things I’ve always admired about you is your tolerance for critical opinions in comments here on your own blog. I had thought the twitter ban on Trump was a good thing but in light of the points you make am reconsidering that. I am not sure I agree with you but I am certainly thinking about it. Thanks Scott.

  2. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    12. January 2021 at 13:22

    Great post, I mostly agree. I think these companies (Twitter, Facebook) are going too far with this. I was fine with them flagging Trump’s lies, that should be enough.

  3. Gravatar of Kenneth Duda Kenneth Duda
    12. January 2021 at 13:41

    Great post, Scott.

    I agree with Jerry in admiration for your tolerance of critical comments on this blog. However, let me take a moment to voice support for banning the henry / xu / sarah / nick / bob trolls. They offer insults with zero analytical/intellectual depth, and make the comment section less enjoyable to read.


  4. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    12. January 2021 at 14:32

    @Ken Duda:

    In the past Sumner has posted that these nutjobs come and go, they show up for a while then go away again, and that is usually the case, but it can take a really long time sometimes LOL

  5. Gravatar of Mike Sax Mike Sax
    12. January 2021 at 14:41

    It took a lot but Mitch McConnell now supports impeachment-he sees it as his chance to purge Trump’s noxious influence on the GOP.

    You can certainly argue that the Dems are doing the GOP a favor in impeaching him-as it would prevent him running for Office again.

    If Trump is impeached-and convicted-he also loses his pension which would also give Andy McCabe a measure of revenge who Trump fired 26 hours before he would have gotten his pension.

  6. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    12. January 2021 at 14:45

    Sumner: “And people ask me why I’m not a Republican.” – what? I seriously thought Sumner was a Republican. Now that he’s come out as a Democrat, it explains his love of giving away public money (not to mention his NGDPLT). His love of China is explained by his choice of an Asian partner. So it’s like AI pioneer Marvin Minsky once said: humans are ‘meat computers’ and entirely predictable. Sumner bores me… but like a broken clock he does have his predictable charm.

  7. Gravatar of foosion foosion
    12. January 2021 at 15:30

    Twitter said it was banning Trump to stop him from inciting violence. That seems a good reason.

    Did you see Liz Cheney’s statement in support of impeachment?

    Note that Wyoming voted 70% for Trump (she’s Wyoming’s representative).

  8. Gravatar of Bob OBrien Bob OBrien
    12. January 2021 at 15:32

    From Scott:
    “I hope I’m wrong, but I suspect that the 1st Amendment will be rendered meaningless within a few decades. Freedom of speech will only apply to government approved speech.”

    This is one of the few things Scott has said recently with which I totally agree. Fighting for free speech should be everyone’s top priority. Unfortunately, big tech and the dems seem happy to move in the wrong direction. I have many dem friends and relatives who have not not seen the risk of losing free speech because they have been so focused on beating Trump. With the election over, I am hopeful they will wake up soon.

  9. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. January 2021 at 15:32

    Ken, Thanks.

    I’ll see how things go after Trump is gone.

    Ray, You said:

    “Now that he’s come out as a Democrat”

    LOL, I’m not a Democrat. Where’d you get that idea?

  10. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. January 2021 at 15:34

    foosion, Good for her.

    Bob, For once we agree.

  11. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    12. January 2021 at 15:48

    ‘This’ is ‘our future’?

    ‘We’ have ten years?

    “ . . . our best estimate is that the net energy
    33:33 per barrel available for the global
    33:36 economy was about eight percent
    33:38 and that in over the next few years it
    33:42 will go down to zero percent
    33:44 uh best estimate at the moment is that
    33:46 actually the
    33:47 per average barrel of sweet crude
    33:51 uh we had the zero percent around 2022
    33:56 but there are ways and means of
    33:58 extending that so to be on the safe side
    34:00 here on our diagram
    34:02 we say that zero percent is definitely
    34:05 around 2030 . . .
    34:43 need net energy from oil and [if] it goes
    34:46 down to zero
    34:48 uh well we have collapsed not just
    34:50 collapse of the oil industry
    34:52 we have collapsed globally of the global
    34:54 industrial civilization this is what we
    34:56 are looking at at the moment . . . “

  12. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    12. January 2021 at 15:56

    I think Scott makes some good points here, but I’m not sure he’s entirely correct. I think we need to consider the possibility that speech should have more limits than we currently recognize, understanding that there are slippery slope dangers when it comes to censorship. Perhaps certain bigoted speech should be banned. Perhaps human nature isn’t rational enough to allow as much free speech as we do today.

    There is the benefit of being able to better monitor racists and those who might incite violence by not restricting their speech, so this is not an easy issue. I don’t really buy that banning such speech will actually feed the sentiments behind it, on net, however. I acknowledge the possibility, but see no evidence it’s true.

    Cancel culture is a very, very good thing, but it’s certainly taken too far, too often. I think there should be consequences for those who discriminate against people on irrelevant bases, incite violence, or want to replace our system of government with fascist or communist dictatorships, for example.

    Cancel culture is not a left-wing phenomenon. It exists on both sides of the spectrum, with extremists pushing it much too far, of course. I think people like Trump should be cancelled, but I also think we should cancel people like Reverend Jeremiah Wright. While I think the latter is genuine in his beliefs and means no harm, his perspective is profoundly harmful for American foreign policy and confidence in our government.

  13. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    12. January 2021 at 16:21

    Freedom of speech will only apply to government approved speech.—Scott Sumner

    Perhaps, or perhaps speech as tolerated by government, media corporations and political parties.

    People sometimes say that the mainstream media is left-wing. But like in a Banana Republic, the media has decided to affiliate with a powerful political party, in this case the Democrats. (Fox goes GOP.)

    The Democratic Party today represents the foreign policy-military archipelago, “free trade” as managed by multinationals and the CCP, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Wall Street, and the woke-ists.

    The new left-wing loves “free trade” but not free speech.

    People say it is okay for Twitter to limit communication. How would you like the phone company to cut off your service as you were collaborating with others on unapproved or unpopular political agendas?

  14. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    12. January 2021 at 16:53

    Honestly a bit tough to understand why your not a trumpista if you think free speech will be gone in 20-40 years.

    Tough to condemn people for storming the Capitol with that view. Of being a death cult refusing masks – stubbornly defending civil liberties becomes quite rational under a belief of state controlled speech.

    There are some decent legal arguments that will likely surface that twitter and perhaps more strongly Amazon don’t have the right to deplatform.

    Public spaces in malls in California lack the right to remove protestors or beggars. The courts have been clear that the state can’t accomplish things thru private actors they couldn’t do themselves. Deplatforming political opponents of the current government would fall under those rulings.

  15. Gravatar of D.O. D.O.
    12. January 2021 at 17:01

    We will always have themoneyillusion for our free speech needs.

    I think Twitter would be wise to reconsider the “lifetime” ban in a month or so.

    One thing that I didn’t see widely discussed is that Trump spent last few months not only trying to overturn the election, but also to put a fuse under social media (his fight against section 230). It was said in old days “do not pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel”. The adage should be updated for our time. I, for one, find the motive of self-defence on the part of media companies a completely legitimate one.

    I was very skeptical about the impeachment #2, still am, but now I see a bit of logic. House may impeach tomorrow and Senate can sit on the indictment for some time looking at what Trump is going to do. So to say, prospective impeachment. In case he pardons whomever he shouldn’t pardon and stuff like that. They probably cannot extend it much further than the end of January, by that time the dust will somewhat settle and it would be clear whether conviction is in order. But the main thing is a deterrant. (Unbelievable that preemtive impeachment can be evan a thing).

  16. Gravatar of D.O. D.O.
    12. January 2021 at 17:04

    Sorry for typos.

  17. Gravatar of D.O. D.O.
    12. January 2021 at 17:09

    One more thing, let’s not forget that a certain philosopher mentioned in the OP ended up sending teenagers, who were presumably his future, to be slaughtered in a pointless defense of Berlin in 1945. We are better off without such philosophy and its followers.

  18. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    12. January 2021 at 17:13

    Good post. People who have supported, condoned or failed to condemn censorship and the cancel culture have no idea of the incendiary destruction which their actions will wreak. They are fascists and evil to the heart, and I fear for my children and grandchildren.

  19. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    12. January 2021 at 17:15

    By the way, why is it that people like to claim that censorship might feed demand for more extreme negative behavior, but rarely claim that the extreme negative behavior feeds demand for censorship?

  20. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    12. January 2021 at 17:16

    A spooky thought:

    “Pelosi insisted Sunday it’s imperative Trump be impeached so he cannot run for president again”—Daily Mail

    In other words, in 2024 if the American people decide they want to vote Trump back in office, they will be prevented from exercising that choice. The Donks want to prevent the ‘Phants from running their most powerful vote-getter.

    You may think that is a good idea. Reason it through.

    Like banning speech or taking dope, it feels good in the short run.

  21. Gravatar of agrippa postumus agrippa postumus
    12. January 2021 at 17:34

    the key error of thinking of this post is that actions by big tech regarding free speach are “private acts” not prohibited by the 14th amendment, the amendment that rewrote the constitution primarily to address the horror of human bondage enforcable under law. That rewrite guarantees to all persons in the the US that equal protection of the laws, due process of law and the privileges and immunities of persons within the US shall not be denied by the federal or state governments. The Supreme Court ignored these powerful protections in the “Civil Rights” cases during the reactions against reconstruction elaborating “state action” paradigm that is incoherent and indefensible as state action is always in the background through the order of society afforded by a government created by the sovereign people. This canard is repeated here by sumner, probably out of ignorance, and this paradigm of analysis has been steadily eroded incrementaly but quite incompletely the Supreme Court cases starting in the 1940s. Big tech exists by the grant of licenses, legal protections (sec 230) and many other benefits afforded to it to allow it to exist by the civil society created by the sovereign people. the 14th amendment is law, supreme law in the united states. big tech trampling on the 1st amendment, the core bill of rights protection for non criminals, IS state action by virtue of not affording the victims a remedy, thus denying the victim the equal protection of the laws and the priveleges and immunites of citizenship, that is no supression of free speach. congress need do nothing, only the court need act to make this clear, but certainly congress could remove all doubt, doubtful until the party in power has its ox gored.

  22. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. January 2021 at 17:39

    Michael, You said:

    “Perhaps certain bigoted speech should be banned.”

    Let me guess—you want the government to determine what is bigoted. And how will that judgment change over time, as we go from a president like Obama to one like Trump? I don’t even know how to define bigoted speech.

    I see the benefits of banning unpopular speech as being tiny relative to the costs of banning unpopular speech.

    Sean, You said:

    “Honestly a bit tough to understand why your not a trumpista if you think free speech will be gone in 20-40 years.”

    So you didn’t notice that Trump is a big fan of the cancel culture? Remember when he said the NFL should fire players who protest? How about when he said the libel laws should be changed so that he could sue newspapers that criticized him?

    D.O. You said:

    “We will always have themoneyillusion for our free speech needs.”

    Not if Trump and Biden get their way, and section 230 is repealed.

  23. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. January 2021 at 17:41

    agrippa, I don’t think you understand constitutional law. The First Amendment does not apply to non-government censorship.

  24. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    12. January 2021 at 17:55


    You replied:

    “Let me guess—you want the government to determine what is bigoted. And how will that judgment change over time, as we go from a president like Obama to one like Trump? I don’t even know how to define bigoted speech.”

    The government already determines what speech is allowed. It’s all a matter of category and degree. Inciting violence, slander/libel, and shouting fire in a crowded theater when there’s no fire already lack protection as speech. Certain fraudulent speech is also restricted, by the FTC for example. True, it’s difficult to meet the legal standards of incitement of violence or slander/libel, but the limits do exist.

    The questions are, do we ban more categories of speech, to what degree, and what are the standards for legally meeting the definitions of banned speech? These are Constitutional questions and the Constitution would have to be amended to ban bigoted speech. Hence, it’s unlikely to occur anytime soon in the US anyway.

    You also replied:

    “I see the benefits of banning unpopular speech as being tiny relative to the costs of banning unpopular speech.”

    Do you have empirical evidence, and how would you quantify that? I think it’s rational to be open-minded about this, unless and until there’s clear empirical evidence.

    Supposedly, at least 36 countries ban hate speech in some fashion:

    While no country is free of hatred or bigotry, how many of those countries have anything like the problems the US has in these areas? OF course, that doesn’t mean much, since maybe these are just less bigoted places in the first place, hence the laws, but still.

    While there are unbiased people, such as yourself, who have genuine concerns about such censorship, the overwhelming majority of the resistance comes from hateful bigots.

  25. Gravatar of Dan B Dan B
    12. January 2021 at 17:59


    I did not support a Trump Twitter ban…right up to the point he incited an actual insurrection at the Capitol. Given that he has used the platform to encourage mass violence, and has plenty of leverage to do so again…it seems perfectly reasonable for Twitter to want no part of it. I do not blame them…bad for the brand to provide a bullhorn for behavior that is so beyond the pale.

  26. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    12. January 2021 at 18:11

    There is a troubling issue of the Twitters, Facebooks and Youtubes becoming the de facto town squares.

    If the town square is privately owned, can it ban newspapers from distribution in the town square? You and your soap box?

    So far, the answer is “yes” you and your soap box or newspapers can be banned from the town square. Indeed, with the takedown of Parler, evens the roads are blocked to unpopular speech.

    During the summer protests or riots in many cities, CNN’er Chris Cuomo said this on air:

    “Please, show me where it says that protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful,” he said. “Because I can show you that outraged citizens are what made the country what she is and led to any major milestone. To be honest, this is not a tranquil time.”


    Well to be honest, what is banned and not banned on air or the internet is…well, to be honest, determined by who those can push the button and do the banning.

    PS–I abhor all violence, by any political party or faction.

  27. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    12. January 2021 at 18:23

    Impeachment of a president by the US Congress, once thought of as an august proceeding defined by Jupiter-like gravity, has become routine Catskills comedy act.

    Can Pelosi remember her cues? Can McConnell retort in proper sequence?

  28. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    12. January 2021 at 18:25

    Scott has a lot of well-considered positions, but sometimes I think he ignores the reality of actually running things in the real world.

    For example, he decried the backlash against the editor of a bio/medical journal for jokingly tweeting about C. elegans being overrated. Here’s the tweet:

    Sure, it’s harmless enough, unless you’re the editor of a journal that features a lot of research using that species. Naturally, it at least makes some researchers think twice before publishing papers featuring C. elegans in that journal, to the obvious potential detriment of the journal.

    Or take the issue of court packing. Yes, Democrats packing the Supreme Court might be a mistake, though I don’t think those claiming it will be make a strong case. There doesn’t seem to be empirical data to tell us either way.

    So, try being a Democratic Senate Majority Leader and explain to your party why you won’t pack the Court. What do you say? Republicans violate norms to “steal” seats, but we won’t? We’ll just let them roll over us when they’re in power? How do you sell that, without any empirical case to be made? How do you sell it, even with an empirical case, in such a hyperpartisan environment?

    Scott sometimes presents points of view as if they’re obviously correct, when they’re merely the product of, at most, well-considered a priori thought.

  29. Gravatar of Jerry Brown Jerry Brown
    12. January 2021 at 18:42

    At some level it seems if you question the right of Twitter or Facebook to ban a user I think you also get into the idea that maybe Twitter and Facebook are a type of private monopoly and are concerned about allowing these private monopolies to filter speech because they have taken advantage of that monopoly power. So maybe trying to figure out how to make alternative venues available is one way to address the situation.

    I mean it is no big deal if Scott Sumner banned me from posting comments on Money Illusion (not that I would appreciate that). Because there are other blogs I could express a view on. Or even start my own blog even if I was the only one that read it. But if Comcast or the other internet provider refused me access to the internet, then that might be more problematic. Maybe this is a problem of private monopoly exercising power we are not comfortable with.

  30. Gravatar of agrippa postumus agrippa postumus
    12. January 2021 at 19:08

    sumner: its you who does not understand c law. it only doesn’t seem to apply because incoherent ussc cases misconstrue the 14th amendment. perhaps you should do some research before you further embarrass yourself about con law. start with the civil rights cases of 1875 and read forward, particularly the scholarly articles on the state action canard.

  31. Gravatar of sean sean
    12. January 2021 at 19:19

    Fair on Trump critism of elements of cancel culture in his own cult of personality. There’s a third-way of intellectuals. They get like 30 likes on twitter. Then I’ll see someone link to a crazy comment of hang all trump supporters or pick you comment and see 500k likes.

  32. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    12. January 2021 at 21:15

    woke “cancel culture” has played a significant part in the rise of Trumpism

    Well said.
    We’ve worked ourselves into a vicious cycle of ignorance. It’s not just wokism. All the cheerleading for mob violence this summer by Kamala Harris and the other Democrat Jacobins gave energy to Trump, his Congressional enablers and his goons. Because of this bipartisan idiocy millions of alienated Americans will not be learning the lesson that mob violence is always unacceptable in a free country. They’ll be learning instead that mob violence is not acceptable when its directed against politicians but its fine when it’s unleashed on shopkeepers and chefs.
    I love that there’s a paper trail in Twitter, YouTube and all the other places these folks expressed their beliefs. Easier to hold them to account. Let them bury themselves in a thousand ignorant tweets.

  33. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    12. January 2021 at 21:24


    Where’s the evidence for Harris cheerleading violence?

  34. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    12. January 2021 at 22:34

    Fundraising for the Minnesota Freedom Fund after the Minneapolis riots. Imagine a Republican calling for bailing out Congressional rioters today.

  35. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    13. January 2021 at 00:46


    Okay, so not surprisingly, you seem to be misrepresenting what the Minnesota Freedom find stands for and what you’re calling “cheerleading mob violence” by Harris.

    Here’s on the organization:

    Quote from the Executive Director in the article:

    ““The last time we were down there, the clerk said, ‘we hate it when you bail out these sex offenders, that is what they said,’” said Greg Lewin, the Freedom Fund’s interim executive director.

    “I often don’t even look at a charge when I bail someone out,” Lewin said. “I will see it after I pay the bill because it is not the point. The point is the system we are fighting.”

    Here’s the group’s website:

    And, is this the “cheerleading” you’re referring to?

    The Minnesota Freedom Fund opposes the system of bail, period, because it allows the well-to-do to be free while awaiting trial while the poor sit in jail. They bail out anyone and everyone in their community, without considering guilt or innocence or the nature of the crime.

    You can agree or disagree with this cause, by why did you mischaracterize it?

    By the way, fellow donors include Steve Carrell, so does that mean you’ll never watch The Office now?

  36. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    13. January 2021 at 01:25

    Scott Sumner ponders if he will be able to write this blog in years ahead. I do too.

    Perhaps Sumner should engage in some prophylactic blogging. Perhaps once a month he should write a blog against systemic racism or white supremacy or for trans-rights.

    Being “against Trump” is another good idea, and Trump can recycle those columns. Maybe this is Sumner’s plan his TDS rants.

    Here is a template of the language that is presently prescribed:

    “We support the queer, transgender, and non-binary members of the NYU commüñity. We support those in our community who are Black and Indigenous people of color, and immigrants, and who come from marginalized and historically underrepresented communities, particularly those who have been targets of ongoing and systemic racism and violence. We unequivocally condemn white supremacy, anti-trans/nonbinary bias, and any hate speech.”

    I do not know if the use of the umlaut and tilda is required, as seen in the word community. But using the tilda signified Latin-sensitive, so maybe use it. I am mystified by the umlaut.

    So far, the woke community is mildly anti-capitalist or anti-free markets, but curiously blah on the topic. That may reflect a Faustian bargain among the Apples, BlackRocks, McKinseys, et al and the woke-ists.

    Corporate money is buying acquiescence?

  37. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    13. January 2021 at 01:47

    We also have to consider, when judging whether to further censor speech, that speech on social media platforms, for example, don’t only facilitate the conveying of lies, conspiracy theories, incitement of violence, etc., but also help violent mobs organize. This is bigger than free speech, and potentially legally complicated.

  38. Gravatar of ChrisA ChrisA
    13. January 2021 at 02:20

    I think part of what is going on is that many people are simply unused to having their views challenged, but in today’s world when they post something on social media they immediately get challenged, and they often are unable to coherently articulate why they believe something or find they have some basic facts wrong or misunderstood. This creates a fear of loss of status, which is a big thing for many people and creates rage. One of the reactions to this is to look for authority to shut down these dissenting voices. The cancel culture is part of this, as is the Trump phenomenon. There is a reoccurring theme in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books about improved communication being the cause of strife (meant to be ironic since at the time of writing poor communication was thought to be the cause of a lot ills). But I think there is something in this, evolution of ideas is good for ideas, but evolution is cruel on the individual whose ideas don’t survive. So ironically the move to separate social media for both might be a good idea to calm things down.

    On Scott’s tolerance for idiot commentators, I think his approach is good. I remember a project I managed early in my career. It was a large facility and it was provided with telephones where workers could call the plant loudspeaker system to alert their colleagues of a problem or ask for help. With thousands of workers at first the system was being abused by prank calls. I (as the manager) was ready to start seeking out these people to punish them, but was dissuaded by my older more wise second in command. He said that this punishment would just make the problem worse as a reaction was what they sought. If we ignored the problem, sooner or later they prankers would get bored and move on. He was right.

  39. Gravatar of Rajat Rajat
    13. January 2021 at 02:41

    “Freedom of speech will only apply to government approved speech.”

    I’m not an American or live there but no one in the English-speaking world who works in a sizeable corporation or for government has free speech in any practical sense. Sure, people may say various non-violent things without being jailed, but not if they want to keep their jobs.

  40. Gravatar of Mike Sax Mike Sax
    13. January 2021 at 03:17

    Regarding the Twitter ban I had mixed feelings when I first heard about it too-interestingly Kamala Harris had advocated this back in the Dem primary and while I supported her I wasn’t sure about it-for the reason you suggest that banning hate speech will also led to a ban of “hate speech.”

    However there is at least one major upside to the ban. Had Trump been banned in 2015-while fomenting the Birther lie he wouldn’t have ever become President at all. This is not only my view-many people believe it-but Trump’s himself.

    Similarly had Twitter even banned Trump two months ago we wouldn’t have had the violent coup at the Capitol last week.

    So the concern that legitimate free speech is curtailed is a real one IMO but OTOH there is also real upside to banning him. Without Twitter his 2024 chances are little more than nil.

  41. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    13. January 2021 at 03:36

    after watching a Schumer speech calling people that were taking selfies in the Capitol building “insurrectionists” and actively identifying and putting them on “no fly lists”…i no longer have any hope for this country. it started as a republic and ended as a farce. as rodney king once said “why can’t we all just get along” and as thomas merton once said “the realm of politics is the realm of waste.” watch your six out there….

  42. Gravatar of Carl Carl
    13. January 2021 at 05:40

    @Michael Sandifer
    Thanks. Sounds like I didn’t do my reading up on that fund and I lumped her in with others who were cheerleading mobs. Or rather I did some reading from an unreliable source. As much as I personally dislike Harris’ politics, I’m glad to be proven wrong on this point.

  43. Gravatar of Acebojangles Acebojangles
    13. January 2021 at 06:22

    Re: Trump’s Twitter ban – Trump’s incitement tweets provided a place for would-be terrorists to identify each other and plan. It’s not just that they were incitement or some other kind of malicious speech; they provided a practical aid to terrorists.

    As a fairly liberal person, I’m not shocked at all about how much of conservative fervor is driven by culture war grievance. Republicans have basically abandoned any plans for governance beyond tax cuts, so they need something to sell to their voters.

  44. Gravatar of Student Student
    13. January 2021 at 06:31

    It’s more likely social media continues to fracture into separate worlds where you can only say certain things in those worlds. Something like Facebook will remain the common meeting place so grandma can see pictures of the kids.

  45. Gravatar of xu xu
    13. January 2021 at 06:33

    That’s correct.
    And the little red books are being used to propagate communism, and the far left agenda as we speak.

    The only economics textbook you ever have to read is Human Action: A Treatise on Economics by Ludwig Von Misis.

    Sumner and his band of Princeton FedTards think they can centrally plan our economy, and force people to send their hard earned labor in the form of financial aid to prop up corrupt regimes across the globe.

    Reject Sumner’s propaganda, and his Communist agenda.

  46. Gravatar of xu xu
    13. January 2021 at 06:43

    “It’s more likely social media continues to fracture into separate worlds where you can only say certain things in those worlds. Something like Facebook will remain the common meeting place so grandma can see pictures of the kids.”

    — This incoherent babble, from a self-identified “student”, must be written by one of those Bentley kids where Sumner taught. Maybe one of those “quota” kids who receives admittance from sympathetic “social justice warriors” who place quota’s over merit. We know he isn’t Asian, because my race needs a 4.0, and 4.0’s don’t write like retards.

  47. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    13. January 2021 at 09:09


    I appreciate your honesty. I often make similar mistakes.

  48. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    13. January 2021 at 09:18

    Here’s more evidence that Trump is finally finished as a mainstream popular political figure:

    He now has, what for him, are record low approval ratings, with most of the shift coming from Republicans and right-leaning independents. I think he’ll lose more support after he leaves office, as more supporters begin to feel betrayed.

    This doesn’t mean there won’t be rebounds for Trump or that he’ll lose most of his support, though I don’t think the latter is impossible. This is only the beginning of the end, but the end.

    However, even the prospects for a rebound of support could be greatly diminished by Trump’s social media bans, and he’ll presumably get somewhat less attention in old media once out of the White House. Additionally, it seems he’ll get much more negative press going forward, as impeachment and criminal investigations occur.

    Fascism is not dead, but I think it’s taken a big blow. It’s like the first hard jab landed in a boxing match that stuns the recipient a bit. Fight is far from over, but momentum has shifted, for the moment.

  49. Gravatar of sarah sarah
    13. January 2021 at 10:08

    And yet you support the corrupt Biden!

    Thank you for having the courage to finally stand up for inalienable rights. And had you had voted for Trump, we would still have them!

    Now we can watch them disappear over the next four years as a self proclaimed communist (Harris), and a senile pedophile (Biden) capitulate to the radicals – the former willingly, the latter in a desperate attempt to appease his special interests.

  50. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    13. January 2021 at 10:35

    How far is the hard anti-censorship crowd here willing to take things? Should incitement of violence, by the very strict, and narrow legal definition be allowed on social media? How about a victim on the run from a mob trying to kill him or her, with members of social media helping to track the victim for the violent mob?

  51. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    13. January 2021 at 14:52

    Dan, If he did what you suggest then he should be put into prison. Morally he is culpable (and should be impeached), but I’m not sure he actually advocated violence in this specific case. I’d say he gave lots of violent people the (false) impression that their country was being stolen from them.

    Michael, I plead guilty to believing that people should not overreact to jokes about worms.

    Jerry, I’m not sure if utilities like Comcast can discriminate. Can someone clarify that issue?

    ChrisA, Great comment.

    Rajat, At least the government doesn’t decide who gets fired.

    Mike, You said:

    “Similarly had Twitter even banned Trump two months ago we wouldn’t have had the violent coup at the Capitol last week.”

    And if no violent coup then does Trump get the 2024 nomination? There are an infinite number of possible counterfactuals. I think encouraging speech is the best approach in the long run, although private companies should be free to draw a line at some point. I’d just like to see it drawn in a way that errs on the side of openness.

    Acebogangles, You said:

    “Republicans have basically abandoned any plans for governance beyond tax cuts, so they need something to sell to their voters.”

    I agree.

    Xu, You said:

    “The only economics textbook you ever have to read is Human Action: A Treatise on Economics by Ludwig Von Misis.”

    I have that book on my shelf, and I even know how to spell his name.

    Michael, You said:

    “He now has, what for him, are record low approval ratings, with most of the shift coming from Republicans”

    Unfortunately, the Trump glass is still 75% full.

  52. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    13. January 2021 at 16:24


    I agree that complaints about the worm joke are overreactions. Some of the overreactions were much funnier than the joke, though unintentionally so.

    The point is, anyone in the professional world should know that using the word “fuck” and making comments that can be construed as trivialing research in public communication with untold numbers of researchers who may publish such research is dumb. This is particularly true of an editor of a journal in the field.

    I wish it wasn’t so, as you do, but we may as well wish humans didn’t excrete raw sewage.

    I’ve had the misfortune(stupidity) of having worked for a corporations in the recent past, and I can tell you that even in absence of potential lawsuits, the social environment is stultifyingly sterile.

    I was a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch, for example, and we had nothing like the Jordan Belfort parties in the Wolf of Wall Street. The most we had were two drinks at lunch, and that’s extraordinarily liberal by today’s office culture standards. Just using the word “fuck” in the workplace, privately, could have led to a final written warning. There were people fired over such things, as there were a handful of sensitive religious people in the office. Generally, even in absence of the threat of lawsuits, no company ever wants employees offended, much less clients and others outside the company. Our desire for relaxed talk doesn’t do anything for productivity as far as management is concerned.

  53. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    14. January 2021 at 10:28

    Michael, I think you underestimate the role of lawsuits. Our insane legal system has completely transformed this country. The effects are often hidden from view.

  54. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    14. January 2021 at 11:39


    I don’t think I underestimate the effects of lawsuits. I’ve received more than a few checks from class action settlements against former employers, for a variety of reasons. I’ve sat through the seminars and workshops after employers have been sued.

    I’ve also been warned against referring to employees in their early 20s as “less experienced”, because I was told I was engaging in age discrmination, for example. Under the law, there is only protection against age discrmination for employees aged 40 and up. That’s just one example, but there are others that illustrate how far the cleansing of relaxed speech has gone in corporate culture.

    I think it’s important to understand that many corporations have stayed ahead of the government in terms of taking rather extraordinary means to make sure employees feel welcome and don’t get offended. Remember, that many large corporations protected the rights of gay, lesbian, and transgendered employees well before most governments offered such protections, including the federal government.

    If you were to work for a corporation today, I suspect it would be an eye opening experience in some ways.

  55. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    15. January 2021 at 12:15

    Michael, Protecting gay rights makes perfect sense. I was referring to the stupid things that are being done due to fear of lawsuits.

  56. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    15. January 2021 at 18:36

    Yes, I know what you were referring to. I’m telling you that things have moved well beyond avoiding lawsuits. That’s why I gave the example above, being admonished not to refer to young people as “less experienced” lest I be guilty of age discrimination. Only people 40 and older can sue for age discrimination. There are many other examples.

    Also, many corporations are reckless regarding behavior leading to lawsuits. Look at how many times Merrill Lynch and Bank of America have been sued, and I can tell you, in every case in which I’m aware, they deserved to be sued. At least half of companies of which I’m aware regularly violate the Fair Labor Standards Act, for example, leading to 7 and 8 figure class action suits.

    My point, again, is that relaxed speech does not work in the interests of corporate managers. They want to avoid lawsuits, of course, but they have much broader agendas to serve by choking off speech. They do not want employees offended, regardless of the risk of being sued.

  57. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    16. January 2021 at 10:50

    Michael, If no one could sue for age discrimination, I doubt firms would be doing this. Firms may fear a “slippery slope”.

    As for most labor market regulation, I’m opposed.

    You said:

    “They do not want employees offended, ”

    Again, that makes sense.

  58. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    17. January 2021 at 09:18


    When it comes to the behavior of firms, we can only speculate as to motives. I can only give you anecdotes in this case, based on relatively recent experience. I can tell you though that, in many ways, firms stay ahead of the government on social justice issues. I think Hollywood movies present some evidence for my claim. They certainly aren’t trying to meet government mandates and, in fact, generate endless complaints on the right about woke cinema.

    On labor regulation, I take it you oppose enforcement of the 40 hour work week, sans overtime pay? We’ll, I do respect the supply side benefits of labor market flexibility, but I think hourly workers should have the leisure time that the 40 hour limit provides. I would couple a negative income tax with it, with the UBI component, to help make this leisure more affordable. It would also, of course, subsidize the hours actually worked, on the employer and employee side.

    Of course, with a UBI, the 40 hour work limits are less important to workers anyway.

    If we look to the future, labor market regulations will become less important as the demand for labor begins to fall due to automation. I’m in my mid-40s and don’t expect it to happen within my lifetime, but won’t be terribly surprised either way. I know many are skeptical of this view of the future, but to me it’s only a matter of when.

  59. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    17. January 2021 at 12:15

    Michael, You said:

    “If we look to the future, labor market regulations will become less important as the demand for labor begins to fall due to automation.”

    Certain types of regulations will become less important, but they’ll be replaced by other regulations.

  60. Gravatar of Mike Sax Mike Sax
    18. January 2021 at 17:55

    If your impression is that Trump is the most unpopular President in the modern era-since they started polling-you’d be right.

  61. Gravatar of Mike Sax Mike Sax
    18. January 2021 at 17:57

  62. Gravatar of Mike Sax Mike Sax
    22. January 2021 at 09:40

    An Iranian journalist argues that Twitter should also ban the Ayatollah

    Six days after Trump’s Twitter ban I tend to agree with Yglesias

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