The summer I was 16 I went on a backpacking trip to the Tetons with a YMCA camp. One of the rules of the trip was “no drugs, no alcohol.” The consequence for breaking this rule was to be sent home, immediately, at the parent’s expense. After two days doing day hikes to acclimate to the altitude, we did a 3 day hike into the mountains. Then we had a night back in town, followed by a 4 day hike.
During our between hike break in town, three dipshits borrowed money from one of the counselors and proceeded to buy some beer. The three were charismatic “bad boys” who were popular with a lot of the other kids on the trip. The news that they were to be sent home immediately caused tremendous turmoil within the group. Eventually there was a secret vote to determine if they would be allowed to stay or be sent home.
The vote was to allow them to stay. Mid-way though the following hike in the high country, they managed to cause a large rock slide. They had tested the rules and discovered that the consequence wasn’t going to be enforced. The lead counselor was furious, and wanted to hike them out of the mountains that night.
I was old enough to understand the dynamic of what had happened. They were told, behave or else. When they misbehaved and the “or else” wasn’t imposed, they escalated their inappropriate behavior.
Two years ago Twitter removed the former president from their service, as he had incited a violent insurrection, and was unrepentant. Apparently the new owner of Twitter has seen fit to reinstate the former president’s account. The “or else” is being rescinded.
This isn’t about free speech. Twitter is a private company, not the government. They get to moderate the content they allow on their service. Claiming free speech and allowing an insurrectionist back on the platform is really a vote of support for the neo-fascist stance he represents.
The former president will now be emboldened and even less controllable than before. Whether or not Twitter survives the turmoil caused by the new owner’s ham-fisted approach to running the company, they have lost their stature by reversing the decision to de-platform a menace to society.