Sunday, December 18, 2022

the psychological effect of banning and unbanning

Elon Musk has been banning and then unbanning journalists who violate Twitter's terms of service—and here, we're talking about the TOS in place since before the Musk takeover. Twitter already has regulations about doxxing (allowed on Twitter before Musk despite regulations because the left was doing it, so it must've been OK), showing child-exploitative material (also allowed on Twitter before Musk to help lefties), inciting violence (including things like the destruction of Israel—a sentiment held by Ayatollah Khamenei, who tweeted that Israel is "a cancerous tumor"), etc. The bans have produced cheers from the right and generated rage on the left (which has suddenly and hypocritically become concerned about freedom of speech); the unbans generate groans on the right and nothing from the left (because those folks are too angry and petty ever to acknowledge a kind gesture).

But why is Musk doing this? What might he be thinking?

If we look, for reference, at the psychology employed by people like Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, then we could be seeing the classic "crazy old man" strategy, which involves (1) deliberately saying things that might seem verbally incautious or cavalier while also (2) performing actions that appear wild and/or unpredictable. Musk is barely in his 50s, so by the standard of the current president, he's not an old man at all, but he may have discovered that the "crazy old man" strategy has a certain appeal.

When the above theory is applied to the question of banning and unbanning, it could be that Musk is trying to show people that they've crossed a limit (e.g., when leftie "journalists" doxx people), but that Musk is a forgiving God as long as people take the hint from the first banning, then go and sin no more. This is torture for people on the left who tiresomely rely on the same tactics over and over (doxxing, defamation, cancel culture, etc.). Musk is telling these people to curb their impulses, to break from their addiction to these tactics, to act for once like civilized people who use facts and logic to make their case instead of relying on greater powers to silence information and arguments that they don't like.

Will Musk's strategy pay off? Musk could be assuming too much—that people who prefer to act in subhuman ways might suddenly want to act human. Can a Morlock be changed into an Eloi? Personally, I doubt it, and I think the best medicine is a simple permaban. But maybe Musk is like the cat that torments the caught mouse before killing it: he's just toying with these people until such time as he does, finally, permaban them. We'll see.

UPDATE: this article largely agrees that Musk's actions are a deliberate power play ("merciful God"), but I think the article gives Musk too much credit in thinking that this sort of action will, in the end, deter subhuman leftists.

1 comment:

  1. Well, the battle is being fought in the trenches, as the video in the previous post demonstrates. Musk is preparing the battleground to come by giving voice to the people fighting the current woke insanity.

    These are the early days of the fight, and it is very likely to get much more intense.



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