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Today’s blacklisted American: Liberal fired for posting stupid tweet

They’re coming for you next: While the bulk of blacklisting going on right now in America is coming from the left with the goal of silencing their opposition, the control freak nature of our society is doing harm to many others for sometimes the stupidest of reasons.

Today’s blacklisted American falls into this latter category. On January 21, 2021, Will Wilkinson, a writer at the very liberal Niskanen Center think tank in Washington, was fired because an apparently conservative twitter mob had complained about a very stupid tweet he had sent out. The wording of the tweet, sent the night after Biden’s inauguration, was ugly, without doubt: “If Biden really wanted unity, he’d lynch Mike Pence.”

Wilkinson claimed in his apology that the tweet was a very bad attempt at satire, making fun of both the left and the right, both of which had expressed at some time or another real anger or hate for Mike Pence. It didn’t work, which is not surprising considering the mindless emotional nature of Twitter. Instead, at first glance it looked like he was sincerely calling for Pence’s lynching.

As noted by Glenn Greenwald at the link,

During the Bush and Obama years, Wilkinson worked at the libertarian CATO Institute but, even then, he was not much of a libertarian. As he himself explained, he is far more of a standard-issue neoliberal that one finds everywhere throughout DC think tanks, the op-ed pages of large newspapers, and the green rooms of CNN, just with a bit wonkier style of expression and a few vague libertarian gestures on some isolated issues. That self-description was in 2012, and he since then has become even more of a standard liberal during the Trump era, which is why the Paper of Record made him a contributor opinion writer where he published articles under such bold and groundbreaking headlines as “Trump Has Disqualified Himself From Running in 2020.”

In other words, Wilkinson is a moderate liberal whose track record does not justify him being fired for one dumb tweet.

No matter. He wrote it, it bombed as satire, it caused a mob with pitchforks to gather against him, and his think tank employer fired him. So much for freedom of speech in America. It now looks like the New York Times might blacklist him as well.

What this story teaches more than anything is the wisdom of staying off Twitter. Its format encourages short, brainless, and snarky rudeness with little thought or content. You post commentary there and you are almost certain to downgrade your thinking to that of a three-year-old. Which in turn will spark a mob of other three-year-olds to attack you in kind.

In the end, no one benefits, and the intellectual standards of our culture simply decline.

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Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
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  • Gary

    “What this story teaches more than anything is the wisdom of staying off Twitter. Its format encourages short, brainless, and snarky rudeness with little thought or content. ”

    And I thought it was was Twitter all along.

    Push back deserved, but w/o emotion it should turn into a conversation.

  • Craken

    Twitter is a self-revelation threat to most people. Only intelligent, disciplined people avoid self-harm-through-self-revelation on that platform. Intelligence is not enough. I remember a law prof back in March who was explaining that <500 people would die of Covid in America. Obviously, when he hears numbers, it's Greek to him. Self-revelation-through-no-self-awareness?
    Examples who avoid this fate and offer value within their domains: Michael Pettis, Emil Kirkegaard, Robin Hanson, and the creative Zero HP Lovecraft

  • Chemist

    Honestly, I’m having trouble dredging up any sympathy for poor Wilkinson.
    What he wrote was a call to violence.
    Every time a liberal gets caught showing their true, violent, colors – they claim “It was satire” or “Taken out of context”. And most of the time it works – they get a pass.
    This time it didn’t and poor Wilkinson will have to find another company to pay him to write bad things about conservatives and republicans. I doubt he’ll be unemployed for long.

    FWIW, I agree with Mr. Zimmerman – Twitter is a cesspool. It is best to be avoided.

  • BSinSC

    The left had been getting away with “it was a joke” for a long time and then twit began to censor “jokes” or even TRUTHS by others so when a leftist made his “joke” (that wasn’t really a joke!) and was called out by a significant number of others they had to make a move! This would NOT establish a precedent since twit has already shown it doesn’t matter who you are as long as you twit the left’s spew! The “Thing” tank had to fire him but I bet he resurfaces in another one just as liberal and anti-American!

  • Archibald Tuttle

    @chemist I must disagree. It was fine satire if poor taste. I have great sympathy for those who felt undermined in this election, but that is how stuff happens in a rough and tumble close call. As Wilkinson fairly implies, the worst amongst them to lived down to Hilary Clinton’s label.

    No, that doesn’t impeach(sorry) the other 70 million, but realistically it will subject them to various ribald memes. And pretending that such cynicism is serious is the kind of exaggerated absurdity where dissent from critical race theory brings out these kind of remarks e.g., “they’re going to put y’all back in chains”.

    This is perhaps in better taste and actually the same humorous spirit that Wilkinson reduced to an edgier 52 characters :

    “The Packers actually won the game against Tampa Bay!

    But their victory was stolen from them. I demand a recount of the points scored — several times. There were too many errors that can’t be ignored.

    The game was “rigged” and “fixed.” I’m going to ask the courts to change the final score. If they won’t, I’m asking the NFL commissioner to “find” more points for the Packers. Clearly the refs, announcers, fans and even cheerleaders are guilty of “collusion.”—-roger-johnson/article_21b91a30-c6f8-544b-9227-2407a88b02ef.html

    although this sendup of claims of election irregularity tells more than it means to. A game turning on a close call leaves a bad taste. That doesn’t authorize a breakdown in civil norms except maybe after a soccer game across the pond.

  • Edward

    Chemist wrote: “What he wrote was a call to violence.

    That conditional “If” clinches it. There is no possibility that Wilkinson was pointing out that a lack of violence proves that BiteMe* is not a unifier after all, but is most definitely telling BiteMe* supporters to run out and wreak havoc across the nation, maybe even setting fire to court houses in Oregon, or something.

    How does that song go? Something like “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

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