Do you think there is truth to the critique that liberals have become too censorious and too willing to use their cultural and corporate and political power to censor or suppress ideas and products that offend them?
Look, you have a former president in Trump, who was a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe, a pathological liar, an authoritarian, somebody who doesn’t believe in the rule of law. This is a bad-news guy. But if you’re asking me, do I feel particularly comfortable that the then-president of the United States could not express his views on Twitter? I don’t feel comfortable about that.
Now, I don’t know what the answer is. Do you want hate speech and conspiracy theories traveling all over this country? No. Do you want the internet to be used for authoritarian purposes and an insurrection, if you like? No, you don’t. So how do you balance that? I don’t know, but it is an issue that we have got to be thinking about. Because yesterday it was Donald Trump who was banned, and tomorrow, it could be somebody else who has a very different point of view.
I don’t like giving that much power to a handful of high-tech people. But the devil is obviously in the details, and it’s something we’re going to have to think long and hard on.
For the whole interview, see:
Klein, Ezra, interviewer. “An Unusually Optimistic Conversation With Bernie Sanders; The Vermont senator discusses the Rescue Act, cancel culture, the filibuster and more.” The Ezra Klein Show, on the New York Times web site. (Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021).
(Note: the first sentence question is by interviewer Ezra Klein. The following answer is by Senator Bernie Sanders.)