Today’s Observer column:
Underpinning Musk’s views about free speech and the public sphere (AKA town square) is the fatuous metaphor of “the marketplace of ideas” that emerged from the deliberations of the US supreme court in 1953 (though something like it was mooted by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes way back in 1919). It suggests that ideas compete with each other in a conceptual marketplace where they can be critically evaluated by every individual. As law professor David Pozen and others have pointed out, there’s no empirical evidence that a larger volume of speech, or a more open “marketplace” of ideas, tends to lead people away from falsity and towards truth. Subscribing to the metaphor is thus either a matter of faith or of evidence-free credulity. And if Musk believes that it is the secret sauce for managing Twitter then he’s a bigger crackpot than even I thought.
Do read the whole thing.