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Hey Nikki Haley, Publius and a Son of Liberty Would Like a Word With You...

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Nikki Haley, Publius would like to pull you aside to explain why it is you're wrong about your new idea for curbing free speech online. 

Haley outlined a new political promise on Tuesday that we're sure got her some nods of approval from the morning show mavens and the stunted "Morning Joe" crowd. In reality, the plan just plain sucks if you're a lover of free speech. It didn't help matters that she appeared to be trying to keep pace with New York's accidental Governor Kathy Hochul, who just announced she's the Chief of the Thought Police. 

The doctrinaire Republican presidential candidate very naturally wants to get rid of anti-Semitic speech online. Getting rid of insulting speech is a praiseworthy goal, but it turns out her idea won't work in a free society.

Haley said as president "the first thing" she would do is require social media companies to share their algorithms so people can see how those companies censor users. Understandable. This is something Elon Musk has called for. It reminds me of a scene out of "The Big Short" when Vinnie asks a Deutsche Bank baller, "How are you going to f**k me?" When he finds out how he's making his money he says OK, I'll buy credit default swaps. He wanted transparency. 

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But it is Haley's second point of her three-point plan that won't work in America. 

"Every person on social media should be verified—by their name." Because to not know a name is a "national security threat" due to bots and all. 

Watch her say it and see if you buy it.

It's entirely believable to think doxxing everyone might help civility. It probably would for a minute. It's true that I send different messages on my audiobook company social media accounts than I do on my podcast and radio show pages, but I make the choice to do that. Nikki Haley doesn't need to sit on my shoulder and tut tut my every message. 

I would argue that sometimes we'd get more truthful speech by allowing people to be anonymous. They might say something people need to hear instead of being afraid the woke scolds will tell our employers and get us fired. I know, that's a farcical thought. It would never happen. 

The Constitution of the United States of America was argued and detailed by three anonymous founding fathers. Nikki Haley forgot about them, apparently. 

John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton wrote the Federalist Papers under the pseudonym Publius, harkening back to the Roman Publius Valerius Publicola, who was key in founding the Roman Republic. Their 85 essays explained the ideas behind a strong federal government in the proposed Constitution and urged its ratification.   

Many of the founders used pen names. Sam Adams used two dozen different ones, likely because he might could have been hanged for his risky ideas. The Museum of the American Revolution writes that among Sam Adams's noms de plumes were Candidus, Populus, and A Son of Liberty. Besides Publius, Alexander Hamilton used Americanus. Madison also used Helvidius. and Benjamin Franklin famously wrote under his fake name of Silence Dogood. Robert Livingston wrote under the name Cato. 

While no one would ever confuse Mitt Romney's prose with anything James Madison wrote, his Twitter/X nom de plume was Pierre Delecto, which he used to say things and "browse what was being discussed and read news articles" that a  Romney wouldn't be caught dead looking at. The same is true of Anthony Weiner, the former Democrat attack dog who trolled for underaged girls on Twitter using his Carlos Danger fake name. 

Fake names used by Joe Biden, Loretta Lynch, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Eliot Spitzer were adopted to escape scrutiny by the public and to get around the Public Records Act--or, in Spitzer's case, to bag hookers. Just ask Robert L. Peters or The Big Guy if you don't believe me. 

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The ideas that breathed life into the country's founding were written by men who wanted to be anonymous. 

Anonymous speech is protected by the First Amendment. 

Furthermore, the government, in the person of President Nikki Haley, has no right to ask social media companies to be its proxy by requiring that in order to express themselves on social media Americans must give up their names. 



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