The social media world is abuzz this week after the coordinated take-down of Alex Jones from Facebook, Youtube (Google), Spotify, even LinkedIn of all places. Jones' channel on Youtube had something like 2.5 million subscribers so that isn't a minor thing. Now, how many of them were "real" subscribers and how many people watched with any regularity, I don't know. I was a subscriber on Youtube and rarely watched his channel except when they were talking about the Bilderberg Group. I liked Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars a lot more.
This won't end with Alex Jones and it didn't start there. The Left has been picking off low hanging fruit for a while, softening people up for more serious deplatforming later. The alt-right has been a frequent target, especially after the media spun last year's Charlottesville fiasco into something very different from what really happened. Shortly after that happened the Daily Stormer was deplatformed on their main webpage, again and again. They seem to have found a stable home for now. Then there was a mass deplatforming on Twitter of people like Jared Taylor of American Renaissance along with many, many others although oddly alt-right poster-child Richard Spencer was not booted from Twitter. Others had their funding sources cut off by Patreon and Paypal. Even little stuff makes a big difference. The alternate social media platform Gab cannot get their app into the main app stores, making it very difficult for users to utilize the service. Even someone as harmless as goofy Youtuber PewDiePie regularly has his material "copy striked" and demonetized. Already voices are clamoring for the tech giants to keep going. This is from a sitting U.S. Senator:
The tip of the iceberg. Read that again and think about the implications. Our democracy depends on social media giants colluding together to censor and suppress speech that the Left doesn't like. What sort of "democracy" does Senator Murphy envision when he calls for the suppression of free speech and the squashing of dissenting views? Youtube deleting Alex Jones isn't a First Amendment issue but a U.S. Senator calling for more censoring of political speech comes awfully close.
There is more. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, in an interview with a foreign newspaper, seems to think that we would be more "unified" if dissenting political speech was suppressed.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is slamming conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, saying that “we would be a more unified country" without their influence.
“If you could remove News Corp from the last 25 years of American history, we would be in an entirely different place," de Blasio told The Guardian last week before he spoke at an event in New Orleans, adding that he believes Murdoch is responsible for President Trump's election in 2016.
I am sure it would be. There have been plenty of experiments with restricting political speech and only allowing a single viewpoint. The Soviet Union for example. Sure they had Pravda to provide the "news" but it was only the news the Communist party allowed. I guess Hizzoner the Mayor thinks that the only path to "unity" is forced uniformity backed up with secret police and gulags for dissenters. His irony knows no bounds...
He also voiced strong disapproval for Trump's rhetoric regarding the media, saying "there is no comparison between a progressive critique of the media — and overwhelmingly corporate media, by the way — and a president who does not believe in free speech and is trying to undermine the norms of democracy."
Ah, see when "progressives" critique the "corporate media", which is almost exclusively far-left, that is noble and proper but when Trump does it, he doesn't believe in "free speech". So says the guy that wants to get rid of any conservative voices, no matter how mainstream and feeble.
Heck, why stop there? Instead of restricting what news and opinion voters use to make their voting decisions, why not just restrict the ballot to only have Democrats? That would make things so much simpler and unified. They had elections like that in the Soviet Union and they were incredibly unified, and if you weren't....well you just disappeared. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey posted a lengthy thread explaining why Twitter did not ban Alex Jones. The thread was fairly reasonable from Jack, the response was over the top, frothing at the mouth anger from "liberals" demanding he censor Alex Jones and anyone else to the right of Nancy Pelosi. Unhinged former governor, Presidential candidate and renowned incoherent screamer Howard Dean took to Twitter to fulfill Godwin's Law and denounce Jack Dorsey for not censoring everyone Dean dislikes. Cuz Nazis and stuff.
Again, this is just the beginning. I can think off dozens of Youtube channels and Twitter accounts that are to the right of mainstream "conservatism" that are undoubtedly on the wishlist of voices to be suppressed next. Already some libertarian voices on Twitter have been suspended and the list is only going to grow. The social media giants know that people will get outraged for a few days and then slip back into their soporific state and each time they ban someone a little less radical, the response gets a little more lackluster. Then Breitbart and Daily Caller get banned, and maybe even more centrist outfits like Fox News and National Review. They will just keep wearing us down and lulling us back to sleep and they will never, ever stop.
This is not happening in a vacuum. All it takes is a little legwork and an open mind to start drawing the lines of connection between different events. Groups like the ADL and SPLC have been tasked by these big tech firms to police content and they both have moved far, far beyond their alleged original mandates to become professional pseudo-"hate speech" detectors. In other words the same small groups of wildly radical leftist partisans are making the decisions on who gets to post to Youtube or Twitter or Facebook.
I read something the other day that made an interesting connection between what is going on now and a major cultural upheavel from the past. The analogy is not perfect on course, they never are, but on the other hand there is that old saying about those who fail to learn the lessons of history being doomed to repeat them. In the 1960s and 70s, Mao Zedong decided that "capitalism" was creeping back into Communist China and threatening to undo the work of the Communist project in China. So he launched what came to be known as the Cultural Revolution. Mao mobilized students and young people to root out counter-revolutionary thought in China, a group known as the Red Guard.
One of their primary targets were the so-called "Four Olds". These four were: Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas.
A movement led by students and young people, long on fervency and radicalism and short on reason and critical thinking destroying the "old culture". Getting rid of "old customs" and "old ideas". Ridding themselves of "old habits". Any of this sound familiar? What is the removal of Confederate monuments that have been around for a century and never bothered anyone or the recasting of the Founding Fathers with a multi-racial cast in the musical 'Hamilton' but getting rid of the old culture? Old ideas like monogamy, traditional marriage and the cultural rejection of cross-dressing and homosexuality are being thrown out and labeled "hate speech". Screeching pink haired fruitcakes demand an end to the "patriarchy" and the destruction of "whiteness". Even the renaming of streets and schools has precedent in the Cultural Revolution. Outright anti-white racists get hired for the editorial board for the self-proclaimed "paper of record". The names and the locations have changed but the methods and the goals have not.
The far left cultural war didn't end when the communist Soviet Union fell, it just morphed into something new. Now we have the cultural Marxists, the social justice warriors and "democratic socialists". Instead of a class war, we have a war between competing identity groups. It is not the proletariat being oppressed by the bourgeoisie, it is the "disenfranchised" and various oppressed victim groups being oppressed by white people. Race, gender and sexual identity are the new class and the "white cis-male" that doesn't want to have sex with a cross-dressing dude is the new class enemy.
What the cultural revolutionaries realized pretty quickly was that it was not enough to simply suppress teaching and speech that was counter-revolutionary. You had to crush any dissent utterly and ruthlessly, otherwise concepts like freedom and liberty kept popping up in spite of the educational and media indoctrination. So that left you with terror to keep people in line. Untold millions of people were murdered during the Cultural Revolution, part of the tens of millions who died as a direct result of Communist rule, both in China and other communist states. Millions more were uprooted, imprisoned and tortured, all in the name of "unity" of the sort that the mayor of New York City seems to envision and dream of.
This is not a mere political struggle we are engaged in. That has been one of the blind spots of the political Right for decades. We think we are engaged in a struggle over ideas and policies. We think that if we make a better argument for tax cuts, we will win. But we are not in a struggle of policies. We are in a multi-front cultural war. The Right pats itself on the back when it gets tax cuts passed, while the Left is cementing their hold on the media, the government bureaucracy and the educational establishment. The Right crows about ambushing a patrol while the Left is occupying our capitol. Like the British troops at the Battle of New Orleans, many of us are fighting a meaningless battle while our "leaders" have already surrendered.
The insane rage against Trump has little to do with Trump himself or his politices. The rage is over what he represents. Trump is a counter-revolutionary, a reactionary force that threatens the cultural revolution. If Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio had been the GOP nominee and defeated Hillary, the Left would have been upset because after all she was pre-ordained as the Chosen One to be the first woman President but it wouldn’t have been anything like this. A President Bush 3.0 or Rubio would have been like a President McCain or Romney, just a caretaker making soothing sounds while the nation was culturally gutted. People like Rubio are tame "conservatives" that don't really conserve anything. They are perennial punching bags that show up on Sunday shows or write their little columns and dutifully squeak with indignation after they surrender the latest fight. Of course they don't squeak too loudly lest they stop getting invited to the right sort of cocktail parties.
This also explains the rage against Trump from "conservative" NeverTrumpers. People like Bill Kristol are obsessed with Trump. Little Ben Shapiro who fancies himself the next great conservative intellectual seems to think that he has a sacred obligation to reply to every tweet from Trump. Trump threatens their social standing in D.C. and Washington, upsetting the comfy existence they love.
I am a firm believer that we are headed toward a major break-up of the United States. We simply can't keep living together. Many people think we are going to have a new Civil War, dress up in blue or gray and start shooting at each other in set-piece battles. I don't think that is the case. Something akin to the Chinese Cultural Revolution seems far more likely and I also think we are already deep into this conflict but most of us on "our side" don't realize the full extent of the struggle. A bunch of people better wake up and soon or tax cuts and tariffs will be the least of our worries.