Greatness Agenda • Online Censorship

Attack of the Groypers

The young men of the Right want real change. They want their country back. They want to fight a real culture war, not a facsimile of one.

Over the past month, the far-Right’s troll culture turned against Conservatism, Inc., by haranguing the establishment’s “youth outreach” guy, Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA (TPUSA). TPUSA is a large and well-funded youth movement, but it is starting to lose its audience because many are asking what exactly TPUSA aims to conserve?

The answers they are getting are unclear.

Although Kirk makes some modest concessions to the nationalist Right in his essay, for the most part, he has been pushing the old and failed conservative strategy of sticking to “free-market principles,” while being “liberal on social issues.” This is why he confuses conservatism, which is really a disposition and set of instincts, with a laundry list of positions that he labels “dogma.”  

While decrying identity politics, he and his guests have often pursued a type of conservative identity politics, which aims to reach out to minorities in explicitly racial terms. At the same time, Kirk and TPUSA deny the legitimacy of any form of white American identity. 

While TPUSA’s signature event this year is called Culture War, it aims not so much to fight one as to have those on the Right surrender to the dominant leftist culture. Kirk suggests his critics from the nationalist Right are engaging in purity tests, but has little bad to say about the losing conservatism that prevailed before Trump came on the scene—the “conservatism” of the proposed Bush amnesty and National Review’s defenses of transgenderism and same-sex marriage. His article projects weak energy and carries with it a tone of resignation to the forces to his Right, rather than suggesting that he is its vanguard. 

TPUSA’s Fake Culture War

Unlike Pat Buchanan, whose invocation of a culture war in 1992 was powerful, genuine, and ahead of its time, Charlie Kirk appears AWOL on the culture war. Young conservatives can be forgiven if they believe that for him, it’s just a marketing gimmick. Fighting a culture war means addressing the culture, and this means rejecting leftist notions of the family, of sexuality, of nationhood, of gender, and all the rest. Doing so no doubt will cross the Chamber of Commerce and may invite fresh smears from the SPLC, but why should they get to set the terms of respectability? 

Instead of rejecting the Left and striking a blow for a right-wing counterculture, Kirk has used much of his time on stage to attack critics to his right using the patois of the Left. He has spent much time and in many venues going after those he considers bigoted, racist, and anti-semitic. He has mocked them as loser basement dwellers, as if such ill fortunes are not due, at least in part, from obstacles like the H1B visa program, affirmative action, or declining social capital in a land of increasing diversity. It is telling that he reaches for words popular on the Left like “xenophobia” and “racism,” seemingly unaware of how they have lost their punch, as they’re invoked so promiscuously to silence anyone to the right of Paul Ryan.  

For many years, the Republican Party and the official organs of conservatism have channeled their supporters’ energy into policies that work chiefly to increase the wealth of corporations and the donor class. This was the “established dogma of the Bush-McCain-Romney years,” including low taxes, high immigration, and indifference to off-shoring. Not only are these policies destructive of family life and stable communities, but corporations have not returned the favor, instead becoming eager enforcers of leftism through draconian HR departments and widespread censorship in social media. Fighting a culture war means distinguishing between friends and enemies. In the realm of politics, it means exposing the areas of bipartisan consensus—on trade, on immigration, on social issues, and even sometimes on Israel, for that matter—as often inimical to the interests of the American people. 

The Right’s Netroots

Things have not been going according to plan. Instead of facing blue-haired Antifa weirdos, Kirk is finding that increasingly he is being harassed by an army of “Groypers.” A variation of Pepe the Frog and the Clown, the Groyper avatars are ubiquitous among young right-wing activists on Twitter. Belying the myth they’re losers stuck in mom’s basement, these mostly well-spoken young men have shown up at TPUSA events “irl,” asking tough questions of Kirk about changing demographics, the nature of America’s relationship with Israel, and whether surrendering to the LGBTQ+ agenda  actually advances the Right in the culture war.

Kirk and TPUSA’s frustration is clearly rising. America First activist Nicholas Fuentes has now been banned from Culture War events—ostensibly for being disruptive, but mostly because he is the self-proclaimed leader of the far-right troll army. [Editor’s note: TPUSA disputes this, saying it did not ban Fuentes from its events, but rather he’s been banned by the host venues.] I doubt this conflation of this movement with one man reflects reality. The dissident Right is dispersed, and their rejection of Conservatism, Inc. is spontaneous. Focusing on one very young man with an outsized internet presence and who is, thereby, bound to make some rhetorical missteps as the symbol or “leader” of right-wing nationalism is just a means of discrediting it, by allowing critics to focus on unfortunate things a single person might have said years ago. The ideas animating the movement, not the individual personalities, are what really matter.  

Kirk and his guests have often responded to questioners the way the Left usually does: with sputtering and ad hominem insults. This is just weak. Groypers have not been rioting or even heckling at TPUSA’s events; rather, a slew of pointed questions have exposed TPUSA as purveyors of the same thin gruel cooked up by Conservatism, Inc. 

Trump’s election did not dissipate the meme army of 2016, which even now Kirk does not really understand. He, and many others in the Republican establishment, just wanted a good establishment conservative, like Cruz or Rubio. The civil war within the Republican Party was a rejection of that form of “good conservative,” not least because of their penchant for foreign wars and their hand-in-glove relationship with big business and woke capital. 

Since Trump’s victory, Kirk and others in Conservatism, Inc. have made formal peace with Trump and his nationalist core supporters, but their words and actions show a long-term goal of redirecting their energy into approved directions, just as the Tea Party was  co-opted and defanged

These young right-wingers are still angry, energetic, irreverent, and alienated. Admittedly, they’re also disorganized, diverse, and a little dangerous in their views. This comes not least from their youth but also because they’re autodidacts, seeking answers to forbidden questions where answers can only be found in old books and various anonymous corners of the internet. They’re as likely to take their cue from Russell Kirk as from Alex Jones. 

They would benefit from a genuine liberal education and an introduction to the grand tradition of conservative thought, of course, but so would Kirk himself. Conservatism is not a checklist of particular positions, an “established dogma” or set of “doctrines.” It is a disposition, a love of what already is, and is in danger of being lost. 

The Left depends on indoctrination and is threatened by genuine critical thinking. It requires a great deal of propaganda because it goes against our nature, including the love of our own people and the familiar. Conservatism, Inc. masquerades as an intellectual movement to give voice to conservative sentiments. But it has turned out to be just as unthinking, beholden to its donors, and comfortable with censorship and the destruction of traditional life as the Left which, supposedly, it is opposing. 

To be clear, I don’t endorse everything Kirk’s critics say, nor do I always approve of how they say it. Nor do I doubt he is a Trump supporter (when it’s safe and useful to be one). But support for Trump the man should be secondary, far secondary, to supporting what Trump represented: a break with the “doctrines” of Conservatism, Inc. 

Trump’s earlier supporters recognized that the Left and Conservatism, Inc. functioned together to narrow the range of acceptable discourse, to secure the Left’s victories of yesteryear, and to habituate conservative voters into accepting that their job is to lose. 

A Taste of Victory

Nothing impresses the mind like success. The 2016 election was a time of unbridled energy. Instead of “losing with honor,” the Right finally won. The victory came not from embracing watered-down “compassionate conservatism” or better explanations of conservative “doctrine”; instead, Trump won by explicitly embracing right-wing nationalism. He willingly dropped certain false mandates from Conservatism Inc., such as “pure free trade.” And he won in spite of the gatekeepers and the resistance of official conservatism. 

Back then, Trump got help from Frogtwitter, various underground podcasters, and local activists, who together made mincemeat of Trump’s opponents in the primary and general elections. Among other tactics, they did it with memes and with trolling. This asymmetrical, uncoordinated, and unpaid activism hurt Hillary so badly that she gave an entire speech condemning the right’s online youth culture. Fittingly, someone shouted out “Pepe” during the event. 

Young right-wingers’ energy is mostly a positive thing—and, at the very least, it is certainly a powerful thing. It won’t be channeled into healthier directions through invoking the shopworn talking points of Conservatism Inc.—points made no more persuasive when they are adorned with glitzy marketing and guilt trips. 

Coastal elites have projected their own preferences onto the young—social liberalism and free-market orthodoxy—but it turned out that young people want something more vital and meaningful. They grew up not particularly concerned about socialism—something that, however dangerous, is a boomer cultural touchstone and holdover from the Cold War. 

Instead, what moves and alarms them is the very real and oppressive political correctness they experience directly at work and in school. They have seen tolerance for gays morph into “bake the cake, bigot” and “drag queen story hour.” In school, they experienced the dangers of diversity worship. They face joblessness for stepping out of line. They have had enough. 

These young people will not settle for legacy “sit-down-and-shut-up”-style conservatism. They are wary of Kirk’s formulae praising “legal immigration” or “American exceptionalism” or that Israel is always and in all cases “our greatest ally.” To their well-tuned ears, this sounds like propaganda in support of demographic replacement, a nation loosened from any historical identity, and endless wars in the Middle East.   

The source of their passion is not only their life experience, but also young people’s natural hostility to authority. Trump’s love of trolling only amplified their identification with him. The young right’s facility with memes is reminiscent of the joking resistance among Soviet dissidents. Then, as now, a brittle and humorless establishment found its rhetoric diverging more and more from reality. Such a system is always vulnerable to a good joke.

The young men of the Right want real change. They want their country back. They want to fight a real culture war, not a facsimile of one. And they’re having a lot of fun trolling the repackaged messages of Conservatism, Inc. 

Online Censorship • Weekend Long Read

The YouTube Channel That Never Happened

The Southern Poverty Law Center and Media Matters called it a “hate site.” YouTube agreed and wiped out hundreds of videos with more than 300,000 subscribers and millions of views. Now Red Ice TV co-founder and co-host Lana Lokteff answers the charges, makes the case for freedom of unpopular speech, and reveals what it’s like to be “canceled” by Big Tech.

“Six hundred years ago, when elsewhere they were footing the blame for the Black Death, Casimir the Great—so-called—told the Jews they could come to Krakow. They came. They trundled their belongings into the city. They settled. They took hold. They prospered in business, science, education, the arts. With nothing they came and with nothing they flourished. For six centuries there has been a Jewish Krakow. By this evening those six centuries will be a rumor. They never happened.”

Amon Goeth, “Schindler’s List” (1994)

Invoking the Holocaust as analogous to cancel culture is a tasteless stretch. Or is it? We hear the analogy applied almost every day to climate skeptics, who are stigmatized as “deniers.” And when it comes to online censorship, Amon Goeth’s quote from Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece is too evocative to ignore. Because when someone is “canceled” online, they don’t just lose their ability to publish new material. Their entire body of work, their history, their audience, their past, present and future, is wiped out. Almost as if they never happened.

On October 18, 2019, the YouTube channel Red Ice TV was erased. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Red Ice TV is a white nationalist hate site, promoting racist views. At the time of “cancelation,” Red Ice TV had 334,000 subscribers and its videos had been viewed nearly 50 million times.

Today, Red Ice TV is just the latest YouTube channel that never happened. The online megaphone that can reach the world instantly and for pennies, can also in an instant delete you without a trace. If you click on the link to Red Ice TV’s YouTube channel, you get a generic screen with the message “This channel does not exist.”

But why doesn’t this channel exist? Why is it as though it never happened? Why has Lana Lokteff, Red Ice TV’s co-host and co-founder, been wiped out by YouTube, and every other major online platform?

YouTube Channels That Flourished, And Then Never Happened

YouTube has been playing a game of cat and mouse with channels they deem to produce “white nationalist” content. Earlier this fall, they deplatformed three similarly labeled channels, then admitted two back. “Replatformed” were The Iconoclast and Way of the World. Gone forever, along with 450,000 subscribers and nearly 75 million video views, was James Allsup.

Red Ice TV and James Allsup can now be found on BitChute. But who watches BitChute? Conservatives and nationalists—and, shall we say it, globalism skeptics—are dangerous when they spread their ideas on a video platform that everybody watches. That platform is, and only is, YouTube.

Standing up for the right of these vloggers to operate without being deplatformed by YouTube, which by any reasonable standard now constitutes a monopoly, is not an endorsement of the content these vloggers produce. But so what? Whether you are defending what they say, or just defending their right to say it, there’s no recourse.

The trouble is, government intervention would probably create more problems than it would solve. Conservative politicians want to regulate YouTube, possibly taking away its exemption from publisher’s liability, because it censors too much. Liberal politicians are also threatening to take away YouTube’s platform exemption, because it doesn’t censor enough. It’s hard to imagine government intervention ending well.

But the status quo isn’t turning out very well for free speech, either.

Vincent James, whose Red Elephants channel has nearly 300,000 subscribers despite being demonetized and algorithmically suppressed by YouTube, explained how leftist activists use “mass flagging campaigns” to take down conservative online platforms.

“What online activists do is post something on Reddit or a ‘discord server’ which is an encrypted online messaging app,” he said, “these mass flagging campaigns will originate from activists using these forums to say ‘all of you go and flag this channel.’” When the platform administrators receive a high volume of complaints, they suppress or erase the channel.

There is no similar sort of online attack mob operating on the Right to silence left-wing voices, and these grassroots online flash mobs have become highly effective at shutting down conservatives online. In the case of sites without large fan bases that can raise objections, the power of the mob to erase is near absolute, and nobody knows how many of these smaller sites are gone as a result. In Red Ice’s case, it didn’t matter that thousands of their fans objected.

Ultimately, if new federal regulations are problematic and online flagging warriors successfully attack channels even if they haven’t violated the First Amendment, YouTube’s managers would be responsible for doing the right thing. In this case, that would mean reinstating Red Ice TV, no matter how repugnant the channel may seem to them. As YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki very recently asserted, “it’s more important than ever that YouTube remains open to anyone.”

While nothing in this report, or the interview that follows, is intended in any way to endorse the views expressed by Red Ice TV, judgment of any kind is not the point. The question we should be asking is simply this: Does Red Ice TV have a First Amendment right to say what its proprietors are saying, and if so, does YouTube have an obligation to offer them a platform?

As Adam Candeub and Mark Epstein, writing for City Journal, put it, “Exemption from standard libel law is extremely valuable to the companies that enjoy its protection, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but they only got it because it was assumed that they would operate as impartial, open channels of communication – not curators of acceptable opinion.”

Maybe there is a general consensus that some of the content produced by Red Ice TV does not constitute “acceptable opinion.” But it should be obvious that supporting someone’s right to speak their mind does not mean you agree with everything he has to say. It should also be obvious that some of the things they have to say need to be said.

How Big Tech Smacks Down the “Right-Wing”

The online platform war began in earnest after the 2016 presidential election, when the liberal management of the social media giants—often egged on by their even more liberal workforces—realized that conservatives, inexplicably, had mastered the art of online political campaigning and did a better job of it than the liberals. Notwithstanding the incessant finger-pointing at the Russians, the smarter heads in Silicon Valley knew they were legitimately outplayed, and vowed never to let that happen again.

The stepped-up attacks on right-wing online content include subtle measures that are hard to detect, harder still to prove, but have huge impact.

Alex Jones and his website InfoWars offers an important example. In November 2016 InfoWars attracted 125 million views. This was the high-water mark for Jones. By July 2018, Jones was still attracting an impressive 25 million views a month, but that represented an 80 percent drop in just 20 months. According to Advertising Age, the decline was because the platforms that drove viewers to InfoWars, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube search, “clearly were trying to reduce his impact.”

Up until summer 2018, most of the steps taken against right-wing content creators took this relatively soft approach, using manipulated results in Google searches, throttling down appearances in news feeds and YouTube recommended videos, shadowbanning on Twitter, and deboosting on Facebook.

But with the 2018 midterm elections looming, the tech giants decided to take off the gloves.

For the first time, the major online platforms coordinated their efforts. Within a few days in early August 2018, InfoWars was expelled from Apple podcasts, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube. On September 6, Twitter followed suit. On September 8, Apple banned the InfoWars app from its App Store. Jones was virtually erased. He had 2.4 million YouTube subscribers, all gone; 830,000 Twitter followers, purged; his Apple podcast archives were deleted; his Facebook page, with 2.5 million followers, wiped out.

According to the Los Angeles Times, by mid-October 2018, Facebook purged more than 800 accounts and pages pushing “political messages.” Matt Lamb, director of communications for Students for Life of America, provided dozens of examples of biased deplatforming in a guest editorial for USA Today titled, “Google, Twitter and Facebook should just be honest if they don’t like conservatives.”

Other noteworthy casualties in late 2018 included Sargon of Akkad, whose YouTube channel has over 1 million subscribers, and Milo Yiannopoulos. Sargon, whose real name is Carl Benjamin, a 40-year-old British political commentator, eventually got his channel back. Yiannopoulos did not, although he has fitfully attempted to pick up the pieces with new online ventures.

The Strange Case of Milo Yiannopoulos

The Yiannopoulos case is telling, because nobody with a sense of humor would consider him to have ever engaged in “hate speech,” much less exceeding First Amendment free-speech protections and advocating violence. Yiannopoulous, denounced by his critics as a right-wing extremist, proudly describes himself as a gay man with Jewish heritage who is specifically attracted to black men. He was offensive, he was outrageous, but it would be hard to claim he was a hardcore homophobe, or anti-Semite, or racist.

For a few brief months in 2016 and early 2017, Milo was arguably the most famous troll in the world. To those who agreed with his politics, he was hilarious. For everyone who wanted Yiannopoulos to disappear, however, his cavalier comments on the subject of pedophilia, which came to light in February 2017, were the last straw. Even Yiannopoulos knew he’d gone too far, and issued a rare apology to no avail.

Whether Yiannopoulos was defending pedophilia, or, only slightly less revolting, was just making light of it, is not really the point. Because to those who found him disagreeable, his articulate, widely shared denunciations of political correctness were a threat, and that is the point. The other takeaway from the Yiannopoulos story is the preposterous double standard that his erasure exemplifies.

In a culture dominated by the Left, we now have “tolerant” parents across America taking their children to “Drag Queen Story Hour,” and flamboyant prepubescent transvestites are celebrated by the mainstream U.S. media. Are these practices, highly sexualized and arguably inappropriate (to put it mildly), which directly involve very young children, any less objectionable than Milo’s fatal transgressions which were made on forums that cater exclusively to adults? Apparently, it depends on who you ask.

Milo Yiannopoulos was making it cool to mock the Left, and his message was influencing tens of millions of people. But by the end of 2018, when Facebook and Patreon kicked him off their platforms, he had already been reduced to a rumor. And then he never happened.

The Intellectual Dark Web

About this time a new term was entering common usage: the “Intellectual Dark Web.” On the website “KnowYourMeme.com,” the Intellectual Dark Web, or IDW, is described as “a phrase coined by mathematician Eric Weinstein referring to a loosely defined group of intellectuals, academics, and political commentators who espouse controversial ideas and beliefs surrounding subjects related to free speech, identity politics and biology.”

This happened in mid-2017, shortly after Eric Weinstein’s brother, Bret, had been harassed for refusing to participate in the “Day of Absence” at Evergreen College in Washington state, where he was a professor. Organized by campus leftists, the “Day of Absence” sought to exclude white people from the campus for a day—apparently to further their efforts at achieving social justice. Stung that his brother’s unwillingness to be banned from the campus where he taught was considered “controversial,” Eric Weinstein identified the Intellectual Dark Web as an antidote.

In May 2018, the New York Times published an opinionated but detailed exposé of the Intellectual Dark Web. It remains one of the definitive mainstream descriptions of the IDW. Here are some of the topics and premises the article lists as typical fare for the IDW: “There are fundamental biological differences between men and women. Free speech is under siege. Identity politics is a toxic ideology that is tearing American society apart.”

A more detailed description of how the tech giants have partnered with financial intermediaries and internet service providers, all the while taking direction from a powerful coalition of activist left-wing nonprofit pressure groups, can be found in an April 2019 American Greatness article “The Establishment War on the Intellectual Dark Web.”

Paul Marotta/Getty Images

The Establishment Reactionaries

The 20th century produced two writers of uncommon vision who wrote books about the future that have become cautionary classics. In his novel, 1984, George Orwell imagined a hellish future of endless war, where the people are oppressed by a tyrannical regime that erases history, engages in constant surveillance, and punishes “thought crimes.”

Aldous Huxley imagined an equally dystopian future in his novel Brave New World, but where Orwell’s regime used brutality, Huxley’s tyrants used seduction. Huxley’s government of the future employed psychological manipulation, along with abundant drugs and sex, to pacify a population where people led lives devoid of true love or purpose. What both of these authors shared, however, was the belief that future regimes would rely on Pavlovian conditioning.

It would be fascinating to observe either of these literary giants taking a trip into our time (what would have been the actual future for them), to see just how right they were on that fundamental premise.

For a while, the internet was an unambiguously revolutionary phenomenon. Everyone could broadcast truth to the world. What social media has done more recently, however, threatens the internet revolution in two ways: The interactive, personal, instantaneous, and perpetual access to an infinite audience has disrupted the human psyche in ways we are only beginning to understand. And the Pavlovian control of this interaction by a small handful of social media platforms in Silicon Valley has given those companies almost indescribable power.

Virtually all Americans between the ages of 18 and 65 use social media. YouTube is used by 73 percent of U.S. adults, Facebook 69 percent, Instagram 37 percent, Pinterest 28 percent, LinkedIn 27 percent, Snapchat 24 percent, Twitter 22 percent, WhatsApp 20 percent, and Reddit 11 percent. It isn’t uncommon for Americans to use all of these platforms. Among smartphone users in the United States, the average time spent with their device is an astonishing three hours and 10 minutes per day. This is an addiction that has swept through the American population in barely a decade, and it has changed everything.

The ironic surprise in all this is how Silicon Valley’s tech companies have dealt with their incredible power. They have embraced a reactionary politics which is reflected in the choices they’ve made. Who they promote. Who they erase. What online behaviors they reward, and where they direct the herd. To understand why they have a reactionary political agenda, one must understand how the American Left, over the past 10-20 years, moved from opposing globalization to fully endorsing it. This shift, gradual but steady, came into the open with the election of Donald Trump in 2016.

Trump Catalyzed the Revolution Against Globalism

Donald Trump’s heresy was to focus on the negative impact globalism was having on Americans. He catalyzed a revolution by challenging what had become truisms for the establishment—trade deficits don’t matter or can actually be beneficial, free trade is always good, mass immigration helps more than it harms.

What the establishment had ignored was that the benefits of trade deficits are financial bubbles (as American asset prices are bid up by foreign investors) that only enrich wealthy speculators. Free trade isn’t free when other nations cheat. Mass immigration only benefits businesses who want cheaper labor. Meanwhile, homes become unaffordable debt traps, good manufacturing jobs migrate overseas, and immigrants take away jobs from America’s most vulnerable workers.

Trump clarified the debate over globalization by forcing the progressive Left to reveal its true colors. It became clear that the Left’s only concern was how globalization affected the developing world, and exposed their indifference, even hostility, toward the workers in their own nations.

You can make a moral case that globalization should harm the workers of the developed nations more than it harms the workers of developing nations. You can turn that unavoidable truth into an altruistic virtue, although one that is rather hard to defend in the nations that are being harmed. You can also embrace globalization on those terms because it does the bidding—and attracts the generosity—of the wealthy elites and multinational corporations who are most enriched by “free” trade and open borders.

America’s progressive Left did both. They’ve disguised the agenda that disenfranchises American citizens within their own nation by attacking “white privilege” and by accusing those who object of being “white nationalists.” They’ve come to accept the premises of the free-trade economists they’d once despised, with the caveat that climate activism and all that it entails—namely, the mass redistribution of wealth—will mitigate the impacts of globalism on developing nations which had once bothered them so much.

The Silicon Valley, which by 2019 had a tech workforce reaching an incredible 75 percent foreign-born, epitomizes a culture where leftist globalism is perceived not just as inevitable, but already here. Close behind, fully embracing globalism in all its ramifications, and scrambling to become as woke and worldly as the tech monopolies, are every other major corporation in America, every elite academic institution, every influential entertainer, every so-called mainstream media property.

These are the new empire. These are Big Brother. This is the Brave New World the online censors are protecting. Their path to power was smooth and relentless. And in the face of an alt-right, nationalist insurgency, they are the reactionaries, and Trump along with his supporters are the revolutionaries. Everyone in the world who questions globalism, whether they are right-of-center or left-of-center, are revolutionaries, with all the moral frissons and enticing glamour that being a revolutionary implies.

No wonder Milo Yiannopoulos was so dangerous. He demolished political correctness and revealed its tyrannical hidden agenda, all the while making people laugh. No wonder Alex Jones was a threat when, in between his riffs on human-pig hybrids, he was methodically exposing the supranational networks that are supplanting national governments. No wonder their flourishing electronic footprints were deleted. No wonder they never happened.

The Inconvenient Truths That Must Be Silenced

When considering what truths are inconvenient enough to silence, globalism versus nationalism is the context in nearly every case. An excellent example of this is the experience of Carey Wedler, who has, so far, hung onto her YouTube channel, but was recently banned from Facebook and Twitter.

Wedler is a left-leaning critic of the mainstream media and an outspoken opponent of America’s so-called endless wars. She infers that Facebook and Twitter are both working closely with the shadowy Atlantic Council and that the media and social media giants are engaging in “soft censorship” to remove content that isn’t illegal but the government doesn’t like. Facebook and Twitter never told Wedler why she was banned from their platforms.

Could it be that the active deplatforming and soft censorship being practiced by the social media monopolies, while correlated with their leftist bias, is more accurately described as focused on suppressing anti-globalist content?

If you examine the list of channels, compiled by the Red Elephants’ Vincent James, that are either banned, demonetized, or algorithmically suppressed by YouTube, there is a common thread, and it isn’t stereotypical right-wing content, or “hate speech.” The common thread, stretching from the acerbic James Allsup to the erudite Stefan Molyneux are ideas that question the globalist agenda (as opposed to globalization, which is an economic phenomenon). The narratives of globalism skeptics are dangerous to the reactionary empire. That is the threat.

But what if the majority of ordinary people don’t want open borders? What if they would like the facts, not a bunch of skewed BS, regarding how immigration policies affect the economy and social cohesion? What if they want balanced opinions, or just want to hear the other side for a change, on the issues of multiculturalism, race, feminism, gender “equity,” and “social justice”? What if they sometimes find an unrepentant critic of identity politics to be a breath of fresh air? What if they believe there should be a robust and honest debate over globalism, or over climate change?

What if the phony gravitas and one-sided outrage that pours forth from the overpaid thespians who masquerade as top-tier news journalists—think David Muir, Lester Holt, Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and the like—is transparently false to anyone who views alternative media?

What if the uncanny unanimity of all these mainstream media sources, at the least, exposes a disturbing degree of consensus, if not actual conspiracy? What if fake news is indeed fake news? So fake, in fact, that it insults the intelligence of anyone paying close attention?

If the mainstream offline media spins the same controlled, agenda-driven stories year after year, and they do, it’s not hard to conclude that social media companies are trying to influence public opinion in much the same manner, in favor of a globalist progressive agenda. No national borders. Anti-racist racism. Anti-sexist sexism. Anything to combat “climate change.” Gender “fluidity.” Corporate socialism. And of course, that tasteless, ubiquitous stretch, “Trump is Hitler.”

iStock/Getty Images

The Difficult Conversations That Must Be Had

Which brings us back to Lana Lokteff and her cohorts at Red Ice TV. Are they racist? Are they anti-Semitic? Are they “white nationalists?”

Lokteff claims she is neither racist nor anti-Semitic, although she acknowledges that she is white, and that she is a nationalist. But she asks why those labels are allowed to be used to stigmatize anyone critical of groups claiming to represent a particular race or religion, or to stigmatize anyone critical of an individual who belongs to a particular race or religion. This is a fair question, but it doesn’t necessarily get to the heart of the matter.

To silence her critics, or at least to silence a few of the honest ones, Lokteff and others who are white and who are nationalist may want to strive to visualize an America where they win. What would the nation look like then?

It is reasonable—or it should be reasonable—to expect a nation to defend its culture, its language, and its borders, to care for its citizens, to respect its traditions. So how would people fit in who aren’t white, or who aren’t Christian? To accept someone as an American citizen, what constitutes an acceptable range of behaviors and beliefs? What are reasonable terms for inclusion in the American family?

This is one of the most important questions of our era: If globalism, pushed primarily by the Left, is poised to erase national and ethnic identities, then what sort of push back can preserve nations and ethnic groups in a way where the solution isn’t worse than the problem? What does it mean to be a citizen of a nation? Can nationalism be inclusive without becoming meaningless? Can nationalism be compassionate, offering a better model for the evolution of “global civilization,” and still be authentic nationalism? Is there a version of economic nationalism that nonetheless nurtures global prosperity?

One thing ought to be certain: Denying people like Lana Lokteff the ability to voice her observations and opinions on YouTube is a dangerous mistake. Because the concerns voiced by the globalism skeptics are based on hard facts and sound logic, no matter whether they are expressed with grace or with fury. To silence them defers a much-needed debate about globalism and its consequences, at a time when current globalist policies are becoming increasingly unsustainable.

You can’t have mass immigration while at the same time expanding a welfare state. You can’t have mass immigration at the same time as environmentalist laws make it nearly impossible to build the enabling housing and infrastructure to accommodate them, and instead mandate rationing and a higher cost of living.

You can’t have mass immigration at the same time as the unionized public education system, dominated by leftist globalists, teaches immigrant children that they have arrived in a hostile, racist nation. You can’t fundamentally change the ethnic proportions in the nation within two generations, yet demand perfectly proportional representation of all ethnic groups in every facet of American life, from wealth and income to geographic distribution to hiring, promoting, college admissions and contract awards.

All of these things are socially and economically unsustainable; all of them weaken America. To enforce them requires the soft tyranny of Pavlovian conditioning, backed up by a ruthless and pervasive police state. Small wonder that dissident glitches in the online matrix become merely rumors, caricatures, channels that don’t exist; channels that never happened.

In the lengthy interview to follow, Red Ice TV’s co-host and co-founder, Lana Lokteff, expresses opinions that in everyday public discourse are repressed. For most people, the opinions Lokteff expresses generate a conditioned response and are dismissed without further consideration. In reality, the issues she’s confronting are extraordinarily complex and carry epic consequences. By suppressing discussion about them, and by demonizing people who bring them up, these issues, and the policies that have created them, remain unresolved.

After speaking with Lokteff, two things relating to internet censorship seem especially noteworthy:

First, whenever monopoly platforms like YouTube decide to wipe out one of their channels, they ought to be required to publicly disclose specific examples of what that channel did to get itself wiped out. Is YouTube afraid that such disclosures would reveal and expose its bias?

Second, if online censorship moves beyond just enforcing explicit violations of the First Amendment, and it has, then, as Lokteff pointed out, we risk “creating desperate people doing radical things to be heard.”

Here, then, is the story of Red Ice TV, in Lana Lokteff’s own words. Readers are invited to identify, if they can—and since YouTube would not—exactly where she engages in “hate speech” that is too dangerous to be permitted in public discourse. And if all her opinions are not opinions we would share, do we really want to drive these opinions underground? Was the First Amendment only designed to protect the speech with which we agree?

***

American Greatness: Red Ice TV has been banned from YouTube. What happened? What outside groups may have pressured YouTube and what are their tactics?

Lana Lokteff: We had no “strikes,” we were in good standing with YouTube. Then one morning we woke up and our channel was gone. The outside groups that pushed YouTube to ban us include the corrupt and Communist Southern Poverty Law Center, Media Matters, the Anti-Defamation League, along with Antifa outlets such as The Daily Beast and the Huffington Post. Their tactics are to lie, defame, and snip together partial quotes out of context to justify why you should be banned and then get you banned on the platforms you’d use to defend yourself. Their friends at Google also rig the search results so when you search for us, you only find the lying defamatory sources. That’s one of the reasons it’s aggravating when conservatives, who know that the media lies, nonetheless rely on the media to look for information on us. None of this ever applies to the other side.

AG: Did you anticipate this, and were there any warnings or last-minute indications that this was going to happen?

Lokteff: We were expecting it. Many of our top videos (we had several videos with a million views or more) were deleted. We even had a video featuring the Dali Lama’s comments about refugees ultimately having to go back home to rebuild, which YouTube deleted. Anyone on our side of politics is going to eventually be banned and have to go elsewhere. They have deleted a few channels, then brought them back after there was an outcry from their supporters, sometimes even months later. People made a ruckus for us too, but we haven’t received any response from YouTube. In general, YouTube appears to have more leniency for people who are extra careful to censor themselves and who knowingly tone it down, or are vague in their vocabulary. Well, I thought we were doing that lately too. Some of their reinstatements may be so they can create the illusion of tolerance and it’s also possible that their programmed AI systems are flagging channels and holding them for review.

We frequently hear from other nationalists around the world who aren’t white. They write and ask why are you doing this to yourselves?

AG: How many subscribers did you have? What recourse is there?

Lokteff: We had 334,000 subscribers despite having the algorithms rigged against us. There’s not a lot you can do if you’re up against YouTube and their parent company Google. They are a beast of a company with way too much power and they receive government subsidies too. It would take a class-action lawsuit or government stepping in to change their treatment of us.

AG: Leading up to this, what other steps had YouTube taken? When and how were you demonetized? When did algorithmic suppression begin and how much did your views fall?

Lokteff: We started producing video content in 2016, so all of this happened in a matter of a few years. Prior to that, we were doing mostly podcasts. We never monetized the channel as we didn’t want our viewers to see commercials, nor did we want to become dependent. The trouble really started after Trump’s election. YouTube realized that the most popular political channels were on the right (because you can get the leftist narrative everywhere else). So they started fiddling with our ratings, search results, notifications and we stopped coming up in recommended videos. They have stated that they are trying to “disrupt people from going down the rabbit hole.” To some extent, this has backfired on them, because when they try to “deradicalize” viewers by recommending videos such as one by a transgendered liberal with pink hair pushing an SJW message, people only feel more extreme against the Left. They are helping to create their own worst enemy.

AG: What other platforms have you been banned from?

Lokteff: It’s an unbelievable list and this includes not only Red Ice but my small online clothing store and in some cases us personally. YouTube, PayPal, Braintree, Venmo, Zelle, iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Wells Fargo, Coinbase (yes, the supposed anti-establishment crypto wallet), Skrill, even Pinterest and iHeartRadio. There are others, too.

When Wells Fargo banned all of our accounts, they sent letters saying we will not do business with you anymore. People in their service department said they had never seen this before, that the directive came from high up and the reason was “sealed,” meaning only higher levels of management could find out what happened. The SPLC, ADL, and other leftist activist groups are tied in with bankers, have connections and put pressure on all of them to ban us.

AG: Did YouTube state what specifically led to your deplatforming? What exact content crossed their line?

Lokteff: Despite days of fans hammering them with messages demanding a response as to why were banned, they did not respond. Meanwhile, they respond on Twitter to other tiny accounts asking petty questions. If you go to the channel now a banner might still show that says something about this channel is gone for multiple and excess hate speech. But of course, they never prove that nor were there any strikes that we could appeal. It’s not hate speech but speech they don’t like.

AG: Do you believe you have ever engaged in hate speech or advocated violence?

Lokteff: No. We have never advocated violence or specifically targeted anyone with violence. If anyone says we engage in hate speech they cannot prove it. For example, there are never any examples of so-called hate speech in the negative articles about us.

However, there are countless channels openly saying they hate white people or hate Trump and that is never hate speech. Hate speech is a lie used by leftists to silence their opposition.

AG: Are you a white supremacist?

Lokteff: I did a funny video about this titled “Am I A White Supremacist?” to respond to this which you can find on BitChute and RedIce.tv. The definition of a white supremacist keeps changing. Now it seems to mean a white person who doesn’t hate themselves for being white. It also seems to mean that if you say something like “I want European nations to remain European” that is also somehow a supremacist view. If you’re asking if I want to lord over nonwhites with a stick, of course not.

No other race gets attacked for loving their people and not wanting them to become a minority in their own nation. No other people would accept this. In fact, non-Europeans write and support our cause often and think white people have lost their minds advocating for suicidal immigration policies. It was called genocide in Tibet, Palestine, and now Kashmir.

We frequently hear from other nationalists around the world who aren’t white. They write and ask why are you doing this to yourselves? When it happened in Tibet it was called genocide. The Dalai Lama knows exactly what it feels like and that is why he defends Europeans and their right to not become a minority.

I have yet to meet an actual white supremacist, that is, someone who thinks they are better than all the other races and wants to oppress them. I don’t know where those people are.

AG: Are you a white nationalist?

Lokteff: I am a European, white, and a nationalist. I want European people to remain a majority in the countries their ancestors built and an immigration policy to protect the nation’s founding demographics. Demographics are destiny. I don’t care what people want to call me.

But no one ever charges blacks, Jews, Asians, Latinos, or any other people for being a black nationalist, Jewish nationalist, Asian nationalist, and so on.

In Europe they call themselves Swedish Nationalists, German Nationalists and so on because they aren’t a generic white, they are a specific ethnicity with their own culture and language and history. They do not like the term “white nationalist.” A European nationalist is one who wants their country to remain the country of their people, an ethnically homogeneous nation, the way it always has been. To carry on their tradition, heritage, and culture.

Most European nationalists are fine with a small percentage of nonwhite immigration but not to where it upsets the core demographics of the nation. America’s founders would not have accepted this. All of this demographic transformation is new. We rapidly began changing with the Hart-Celler Act of 1965, which was pushed on Americans without their consent. And by the way, the founders of America were also white and nationalists. They didn’t need to call themselves white nationalists because it was self-evident. Or how about the Naturalization Act of 1790 which stated “free white person[s] . . . of good character”? They founded the country with European people in mind. The thought of one day becoming a minority was unthinkable.

I think the best course of action is to talk about everything out in the open, more talking.

AG: Are you a white separatist?

Lokteff: We’ve been so programmed to hear this loaded phrase which is never applied to any other people on the face of the Earth even when they are violent racial separatists like Africans in South Africa.

People seem to think that just because one wants a homogeneous nation for white people that it means they don’t have friends of other races or can’t travel or have them come visit or trade. That’s a strawman absurd argument. This is never thrown at any other people but whites.

A homogeneous nation doesn’t mean you are cut off from the rest of the world, it just means you don’t support mass migrations of people to other countries displacing the natives.

If you don’t support mass migrations of people as a white person, you get called a separatist. Nobody is calling the Chinese or the Saudis separatists. We have always been separate nations but found ways to get along.

What needs to happen is a halt to immigration in the West. Legal immigration is an even bigger threat than illegal in terms of numbers. Countless studies like Robert Putnam’s have revealed that multiculturalism creates less trust and social cohesion. As if we need a study to tell us that. Mass immigration is dividing us as a people. We were once united. The problems we face with various groups fighting for their own is new, and a product of globalism.

AG: You once interviewed Jesse Lee Peterson. How would you describe that experience?

Lokteff: Jesse is great. We all love him. Sure we may have some points of disagreement but he, too, does not want European Americans to become a minority as he fears it would turn us into South Africa. His best interests coincide with whites being the majority. If all were like him, we wouldn’t have the problems we have today.

AG: In the Peterson interview, he said to you that “if you had an all-white nation, you would just start fighting each other.” How do you respond to that?

Lokteff: The most homogeneous white and some Asian countries always top the list of the safest and most peaceful nations in the world. I never said it would be perfect but it would be much better than what it is now. White people will always have their differences but it’s the devil we know. Now we get to fight each other and millions of foreigners in our country who also fight each other.

Now we have skyrocketing violence, a rape epidemic, and divisions like we’ve never seen before. Jesse also agreed that America was a better place before mass immigration. He also said he too didn’t want whites to become a minority as it wouldn’t serve his best interests either. He brought up Detroit and South Africa as examples of what would happen if white people were out of the picture.

AG: Do you believe it is possible for a multiethnic nation to preserve its European culture?

Lokteff: No, people are tribal, especially incoming foreigners who are ruthlessly ethnocentric pushing their interests, culture, and religion. The mass majority of them align along ethnic and racial lines. It’s just the way it is and no free markets and liberal programming is going to change that.

White people are the most tolerant and the least ethnocentric. It’s why we’re in the mess we’re in. It’s why our statues are being torn down, traditions and holidays attacked, and ancestors who built the country being constantly denounced. It’s why white kids are learning about white privilege, white guilt, and being taught to hate themselves. It is child abuse and it is the worst racism we are witnessing today.

AG: There are millions of nonwhites who embrace America’s European culture and consider themselves fully American, sharing traditional values. What about them?

Lokteff: What about them? No one’s saying they have to be deported. If they love what made this country what it is . . . European culture, then they should be louder in our defense because that which they love is being torn down and it won’t be the same country anymore.

AG: How do you define globalism?

Lokteff: The total destruction of homogeneous nations, cultures, languages, people and the implementation of a global rootless, materialistic and degenerate culture that makes people dumbed down and easy to control. It means total control by a small group of elites. It also means the death of true diversity. These elites favor a people that is one race, one culture, one language and one system. It is anti-diversity. It is the destruction of everything beautiful that nature and the Gods made.

AG: Are you anti-Semitic?

Lokteff: I wish white people had a word to shield their group from any and all criticism.

No, criticizing someone who happens to be Jewish or powerful elites and interest groups with massive power and influence does not mean you hate that entire group. We criticize anyone trying to infringe on our rights and freedoms, no matter their race or religion. We’ve also been critical of Islam and of course other white people. No groups should be off-limits from criticism but if they are, it tells you the power they truly hold.

Awhile back, Former Israeli Minister Shulamit Aloni said of the term anti-Semitic, “it’s a trick, we always use it.” Meaning Jews who don’t want to be judged for whatever they may be doing or saying, use it as a weapon to silence opposition. And it’s still being used for that purpose. Truth fears no open discussion and investigation.

There are a few individual Jews including rabbis who are critical of mass immigration into Europe but most do not speak up in our defense when Europeans are constantly defending Israel. I’ve heard Jews say they feel safer in multicultural societies because of their history of expulsion from Gentile societies in the past. They feel less likely to be singled out or noticed in a multicultural society. They are also very against nationalism in white countries because they think it is going to lead to a holocaust, meanwhile, they have the ethnostate of Israel.

AG: How do you respond to accusations that you are racist and anti-Semitic?

Lokteff: Does anyone really care about being called a racist anymore? It’s not racist to love your own people, not racist to want your culture, heritage, and language to be preserved. It’s definitely not racist to say “it’s OK to be white” and not feel guilty and not want your children to grow up and be a hated minority, thanks to cultural Marxist agitators.

And it’s not anti-Semitic, not judging or hating an entire group of people, to criticize or question elites who hold a lot of power and influence. I’m sure they see it that way, but then they call me a racist for pointing out things that are anti-white and defamatory to white people. Jews have thousands of organizations dedicated to only their interests. White people do not.

I never thought about race until everyone started blaming and hating white people for everything. If people are kind to me, I am kind to them.

AG: Can you imagine a future where America does assimilate its new arrivals and becomes a cohesive multiethnic but unicultural nation? How would that happen?

Lokteff: Not going to happen. Even in a country like Brazil that had years of migration from various places (without constant anti-white indoctrination), they have all sorts of problems including one of the highest murder rates on Earth.

Throughout history, whether Rome, Egypt, or any place today where we see multiculturalism even in places like India and Kashmir, China and Tibet . . . multiracial, multiethnic societies do not work and they do not last. People are different and we should just accept that. It’s just the way nature made us. In order to maintain true diversity, it requires some separation and division. That doesn’t mean we go to war, it means we respect each other’s differences and spaces. European nations learned to make peace with each other and we were prospering before we opened the door to globalism.

Yes, America was a melting pot but a European one and we had shared European values and cultural understanding, and even then we had some issues.

In America, white people are the glue that holds the current form of multiculturalism together, although countless studies show how multicultural societies create less trust, less social cohesion. But with us out of the picture, various groups will begin to fight each other for power. You can’t replace the people of a nation with Third World foreign peoples and think it’s going to be the same country. If it’s so great, why isn’t any other country pushing this ideology?

In order for something like what you’re suggesting to work (I still think it’s a utopian fantasy), every group must sacrifice everything; their heritage, their history, their language, anything that roots them to their people . . . and surrender to a new rootless religion of globalism but even then, there will still be divisions. Elites pushing globalism don’t want diversity, they’re just using it to destroy it (mainly in white countries). They ultimately want everyone to be the same. They want a mixed-race man of the future where all true unique differences are erased forever. A man with no connection to his ancestors, and his past, is easy to manipulate.

I think it is probably too late for America. The damage has been done and we’re in for hard times but if all leftist agitation disappeared, if immigration stopped, if forced diversification stopped, you would see freedom of association and you would see people self-segregating into their own pockets around the country. People are tribal and they will ultimately choose to live with others like them. Sure, there will be a few hipster multicultural pockets in the cities but that wouldn’t be the norm if people had a choice.

AG: What do you consider to be taboo topics online?

Lokteff: Being a nationalist, loving white people, saying that white people are being demographically replaced, that white people should have nations that are their own, anything questioning the so-called official view of historical events such as 9/11, any conspiracy theories, anything critical of Jewish elites, and also anything fun and edgy making fun of libs or “shitlibs” as the kids call them. YouTube is even going after alternative health channels and those questioning vaccines and Big Pharma.

AG: Where would you draw the line on free speech? Anywhere?

Lokteff: No, I wouldn’t. I think the best course of action is to talk about everything out in the open, more talking. If an idea is harmful or just awful, best to talk about why that is and air everything out from every angle. The best argument wins. The truth should not fear any inquisition. If we do not, that is what creates desperate people doing radical things to be heard.

I also think we just need to uphold U.S. law and the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights.

(Correction: This article originally had the wrong date for when YouTube deleted the Red Ice TV channel. It was October 18, 2019, not 2018.)

Great America • Online Censorship

Democrats Are a Clear and Present Danger to Internet Freedom

“No user, regardless of their job, wealth or stature should be exempt from abiding by Twitter’s user agreement, not even the President of the United States.”

That’s Senator Kamala Harris’s argument for banning President Donald Trump from Twitter. The junior U.S. senator from California made this strange demand a core part of her foundering presidential campaign this month. She sent a letter to Twitter and demanded other Democrats support her request at the last presidential primary debate.

The desperate presidential hopeful isn’t the first to call for a Trump-free Twitter, but she is the most powerful person so far to demand it.

Harris claims Trump violated Twitter’s terms of service with his criticism of pro-impeachment lawmakers, and noting his worry that impeachment would cause a “civil war-like fracture.” Harris claims such tweets incite violence and alerted Twitter. Her alleged concern is clearly nonsense, but this is typical of leftist rhetoric. Conservative speech, when it chafes leftists, is always painted as dangerous to public order and as something that must be stamped out by the tech giants.

Harris’s censorship demand reveals the dire threat Democrats pose to online speech. Internet freedom may be gone for good if they win back the White House.

The California senator arguably is the most aggressive Democrat on this topic. In a speech to the Detroit NAACP earlier this year, she said the government should punish Big Tech for failing to control “hate speech.”

“We will hold social media platforms responsible for the hate infiltrating their platforms, because they have a responsibility to help fight against this threat to our democracy,” she said. “And if you profit off of hate—if you act as a megaphone for misinformation or cyberwarfare, if you don’t police your platforms—we are going to hold you accountable as a community.”

Other Democratic candidates share her censorious zeal.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) laughed off Harris’s demand to shut down Trump’s Twitter account, but she still wants Big Tech to censor more. When some commentators questioned whether the half-Indian, half-Jamaican Harris was authentically African American, Warren claimed this is the kind of speech tech platforms should censor.

Warren herself has been the victim of tech censorship and criticized Facebook for taking down her ads. Yet she believes Big Tech is somehow obliged to suppress “hate speech.”

Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke’s plan for ending “gun violence” included punishments for tech companies that fail to censor “hate speech.” O’Rourke wants the special immunities given to tech platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to be revoked if they do not suppress hateful content.

“We must connect the dots between internet communities providing a platform for online radicalization and white supremacy, as propaganda outlets like Fox News fuel that fire,” he said.

In Beto’s mind, Fox News also needs to be suppressed, revealing how the liberal drive for censorship won’t stop with Twitter trolls. It will go all the way to Fox News and the president of the United States.

Some readers may be familiar with Section 230, which protects social media platforms from standard publisher liabilities on the premise that they operate as neutral forums and not as publishers. Many conservatives have wanted to target this perk as punishment for Big Tech’s flagrant bias and censorship. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) proposed a bill this summer that would revoke this protection if they are found to censor too much. In contrast, Democrats want to revoke the privilege if the tech giants don’t censor enough.

Democrats questioned Section 230 protection after Facebook allowed an altered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to go unchecked in May. The social media giant capitulated to the Democrats’ threats and removed the offending video, demonstrating the company’s greater respect for liberal demands. No Republican could have made Facebook do such a thing.

Democrats emphasize their censorious bent in the multiple hearings they’ve held on “white nationalism” this year. In April, Democrats grilled Google and Facebook representatives on why their companies don’t censor more. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) even wrongly asserted that hate speech was illegal. These lawmakers were particularly appalled that Canadian commentator Faith Goldy was allowed to share videos on Facebook.

In the Barack Obama era, Democrats were hailed as the party of social media. Obama was one of the first major politicians to harness the power of social media to his advantage. Now that conservatives have shown they can use social media effectively, Democrats want to suppress this technology. Only they can use it.

Liberals blame social media for Trump’s election and want to do what they can to ensure another Trump never happens again. That’s why they want more censorship and less freedom. Republicans, for good or ill, present the only hope to preserve online free speech. Democrats simply can’t be trusted.

Great America • Online Censorship

Data Disrupts The Deep State Narrative

For every regulatory agency whose entrenched bureaucrats release reports intended to increase their funding and power, there are individuals, non-profits, and experts who can proffer data that tells a very different story.

The deep state, and the administrative elites more broadly, are in deep digital trouble. And so are their current narratives. But it’s not clear they fully realize it yet.

We all love a good story. Stories delight us, reassure us, carry us away to another world. They are hypnotic. We narrow our focus, ignore our outer senses, and experience an imagined reality instead.

Most of us no longer spend cold winter nights sitting close to a fire as the old stories are told in the dark—as a voice hidden in the shadows embellishes the tale, frightening or entrancing us. But we’re surrounded by stories nonetheless.

Today television, movies, and videos bring a new, tech-enabled power to stories told by people we’ve never met. Sights and sounds draw us in. Background music manipulates our emotions. The camera draws us to a single face, or a carefully cropped scene. These become our reality for a time. They stick with us, echoing in the back of our minds long after the sun comes up and we go about our daily lives.

There was a time before videos when writers labored to evoke similar responses. Long novels with elaborate descriptions and carefully crafted dialogue, widely distributed thanks to printing presses, placed the burden of imagination on the reader. Carefully reasoned essays made explicit, step by step arguments. Newspaper columns tried to bring you to the scene of the crime. But what you might invoke inwardly when reading a classic novel and what I might invoke could differ greatly.

Today’s tech, on the other hand, implants sensory inputs directly into our brains, evoking visceral emotions and bodily responses. We are no longer co-creators. Instead we are recipients manipulated by agents behind the scene.

Powerful stuff. So it’s not surprising that the use of narrative for political purposes has reached fevered proportions. Orators in the city square, preachers at a pulpit reached only a limited few in times past. Today’s sensory evoking stories reach millions within seconds. They get copied and shared with viral sensation, along with interpretations that reinforce their effect.

Not Your Father’s Mass Media

We’ve come a long way since the first patent for radio transmission of voices was issued a little over a century ago. By the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fireside chats the medium had begun to have a serious political and social impact. By the 1950s many American households had a small black and white television. Families spent evenings around their set, laughing at comedies or absorbing the news as delivered by a small group of presumed authoritative voices. Dragnet’s Jack Webb assured us he sought “just the facts.” Many viewers trusted famous name anchors to be just as objective in their reporting.

Cinemas also expanded their reach and impact with the realism of high definition color images and rich, realistic sounds. Films and characters became a shared cultural experience, touchstones for a generation. People chose to go to a theater, buy a ticket, share the experience with others around them, then emerge into the fresh air and daily life again.

Now we’re in the digital age. And we’re just beginning to see how utterly revolutionary, how disruptive, it truly is. Disruptive, or the final nail in the coffin of individual liberty, or both? But first, consider the disruption.

If the 20th century media were all about story telling through analogues to real life sensory experience, the digital age is all about data. And although the rise of computing and data networks initially greatly empowered the deep state and more broadly the administrative elites, we have now reached a tipping point—or at a minimum, a crucial battle. For the digital age, built on data, increasingly is undercutting those who built their power upon it. But it threatens to cement power in a replacement elite that lacks even the pretense of direct accountability to voters.

Unlike the arc of narrative analog media, digital data are, at their core, discrete bits of information. They can be stored, consolidated, shared, analyzed, modified, and compared with ease. Most importantly, although data certainly can be tendentiously and selectively gathered or used, by their nature data are neutral. “Just the facts, ma’am.“ And today the power to collect data and promulgate competing analyses of it is in the hands of every cell phone and tablet user in the world.

Consider the scene on the nation’s Mall less than a year ago. A few Native American activists belligerently confronted several teens in MAGA hats who were waiting for their bus after the March for Life. Immediately afterwards a brief video clip was released and went viral, along with claims about racist behavior by one student. The narrative was rapidly picked up by sympathetic TV news readers, newspaper writers, and social media personalities.

It was quite a polished production, and had a serious impact. People who had never visited the National Mall, and who certainly weren’t there for the confrontation, grieved and raged aloud at those horrible, privileged, racist, condescending young white men. Death threats were phoned in to a student who, mistakenly identified, wasn’t even at the March.

And then? And then a video of the full encounter, captured by cell phone, also hit social media. Shaky and clearly unedited, it too was spellbinding—but it told a very different story than the one activist and his apologists were busy promulgating.

Soon older footage of the activist emerged, along with accounts of his unreliable past claims and attempts to create confrontations for his advantage. Eventually the MAGA hatted teen’s lawyers announced they would file defamation suits against several major media outlets for their role in smearing him personally and irresponsibly.

The activist’s narrative, which fit many preconceptions on the Left and in the media, failed. It was disrupted by competing data, data that also went viral. Surely the men who labored in Stalin’s labs to erase from photographs the images of comrades who had fallen into political disfavor would be deeply jealous of those promulgating edited videos today. After all, most cell phone users have access to apps that can do that with a few swipes.

But the narrative failed because data has a life of its own unless it is suppressed.

The New Brave New World of Data

If Stalin’s photo editors would be out of work today, what of the CIA and other experts who once labored to detect and interpret those altered photos? Who installed wiretaps and recording devices inside walls? Met shady characters in shady alleys? What of the intelligence analysts and field operatives who prided themselves on specialized knowledge about distant places? Whose reports shaped the policies of presidents and the diplomatic efforts of embassies around the world? Who were privileged to decide what narrative should guide national decisions and the use of national power?

What is their role today, when AI and machine learning increasingly give us software that can translate foreign languages with subtle accuracy? When autonomous systems can collect information in huge quantities and make it available for a wide range of analysis and interpretation?

Whatever that role is, it no longer is exclusive. One no longer needs a stint in Skull and Bones at Yale or similar Ivy League credentials to qualify, nor even to be part of a targeted minority. One might be, say, an enlisted military intel analyst looking for insights that directly inform current tactical operations in a distant place instead.

I once asked a former senior CIA analyst, a woman who’d led a high profile team whose findings stirred political controversy, how she might work with junior assistants or software agents in a way that could extend her analytic efforts. My team was exploring ways to extend her ability to effectively use massive amounts of digital data. Her response? “I wouldn’t. I only trust my own judgement.”

Contrast that with the Palantir software whose development Big Tech critic Peter Thiel funded. Palantir has been used by many military analysts to share information, identifying both their individual evaluations of it and also what they see as open questions and conflicting interpretations. Palantir is inherently digital in its DNA.

There’s a clue in that contrast to many recent doings inside the Beltway, including some around retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and high level officials in the Obama administration.

Digital data has broken open the monopoly of the administrative elites on creating and promulgating narratives for political and social effect. For every Hollywood new release and hours long award extravaganza, there are videos captured and distributed online with a variety of other messages. For every tendentious, slanted news broadcast or article in the media, there is an army of people digging up counterfacts, omitted context, and embarrassingly contradictory claims made not long ago by the same outlets.

For every regulatory agency whose entrenched bureaucrats release reports intended to increase their funding and power, there are individuals, non-profits, and experts who can proffer data that tells a very different story.

And therein lies the fatal weakness for the deep state. When computing was expensive, when access to data was limited to those in official roles, knowledge was power for them. Today digital data is easy to copy and to share, and old records are still accessible for the purpose. 

Big Tech Races to Fill the Power Void

But in their place Big Tech is rising fast to seize the forfeited power. If you can’t see alternate data or interpretations, they can’t influence you. If your online search is subtly and deeply redirected, you assume you have the full story.

And now arises the use of AI and machine learning to create “deep fakes”—artificially constructed photos and videos that even experts cannot distinguish from actual recordings. Deep fakes threaten to restore the primacy of sensory manipulative narrative, with a political vengeance. They make faked pee dossiers and third hand “whistleblower” charges look like the work of childish amateurs.

We have a fast closing window within which to act. Just as the Second Amendment provides a basis, however unequal, for citizens to retain liberty in the face of government force, so too we must demand that our right and our means to share and analyze data be preserved. Big Tech data monopolies and censorship must be directly opposed and penalized. Alternate platforms must be created. Transparency into data collected by federal and other levels of government must be ensured, at the cost of ending budget funding for programs and officials that stonewall.

The deep state, secure in its power for a long time and inherently bureaucratic, collected the text messages and emails and reports that ironically will expose what appears to be their attempted coup against the power of voters under our constitutional mechanisms to select the national chief executive and key national policies. Or at least this data will do so if the furious stonewalling by those involved is finally overcome.

That will be an important step. But the battle is deeper and will rage on more broadly unless we effectively pry ownership and distribution of a great deal more data from those who feel privileged to screen and interpret it without us. There is no place to be neutral in this fight.

Elections • Online Censorship

Beto O’Rourke’s Finest Hour is Debunked in Banned Video

Beto O’Rourke may stand 6′ 4″ tall, but his message is small, dark, depressing, and useless.

On July 30, 2019, sharing a stage in Detroit with nine other Democrat contenders for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination, Beto O’Rourke outdid himself. His finest moment came midway through the debate in response to a question about racism in America.

In a well rehearsed tirade that went well beyond his allotted time, O’Rourke—who fancies himself a cross between Jack Kerouac and Martin Luther King, Jr., with a soupçon of Che Guevara and a dash of Mother Teresa thrown in—denounced America’s entire identity, from founding to the present, as defined by violent white racists. His opening line went something like this:

“This country [dramatic pause, as if the weight of it all is too much for him emotionally], though we would like to think otherwise, was founded on racism, has persisted through racism, and is racist today.”

In another corner of America, someone was watching O’Rourke’s July 30th performance, recording what he was saying and was about to say. This man wasn’t running for president, and he doesn’t work for a major news network. His name is Vincent James, one of the most data driven video journalists in all of American alternative media. That attention to detail has earned James, and his channel, “The Red Elephants Vincent James,” over 290,000 online subscribers and his videos have been watched over 34 million times, just on YouTube.

I say “just” on YouTube because the assortment of facts that James posted in response to O’Rourke’s unfactual diatribe was banned from YouTube, and now has to be viewed on BitChute. This video, still up on BitChute, is entitled “How the Left is Pushing America Further Right,” and Exhibit A is O’Rourke’s cavalcade of lies, which James exposes and debunks, one at a time.

Beto’s Examples of White Racism #1: Disproportionate Sentencing

O’Rourke’s first point, following his opening, was “There are 2.3 million people behind bars tonight while we enjoy our freedom, disproportionately comprised of people of color…”

As James puts it, exposing this particular falsehood is picking low hanging fruit. He immediately refers his viewers to “Table 43A of the FBI 2017 Crime Statistics,” shown below.

The inimitable Vincent James doesn’t stop at pointing out the obvious, that total arrests for murder in the United States in 2017 were 9,468, of which, 5,025 were blacks. He then does something that is yet another example of the power of alternative media—on screen, using his cell phone calculator, he shows the viewer how to use that information to calculate crime rates per 100,000 people in the population, which is a common way for actuaries and other analysts to measure human behaviors. As it turns out, he demonstrates that blacks in the United States were arrested for murder in 2017 at a rate of 12.5 per 100,000, whereas the rate in that year for non-Hispanic whites was 1.4 per 100,000. That is, whites were nine times less likely to be arrested for murder.

One of the hallmarks of watching Vincent James is his painstaking attention to statistical data, and he doesn’t disappoint in this video, putting up a series of compiled bar graphs that show how, in every significant category—murder, robbery, rape, assault—black crime rates per 100,000 are approximately five times greater than the rates for Hispanics, and approximately ten times greater than the rate for non-Hispanic whites.

These are fairly straightforward facts, coming from the FBI, and these facts, according to James, are the reason why blacks are incarcerated at a higher rate than members of other ethnic groups. But James isn’t done. If you want attention to detail and lots of data, watch Vincent James.

He then corroborates the FBI statistics with CDC data, displaying a report (depicted below) showing that homicide rates—meaning all murders whether or not there was an arrest—are also about ten times higher among black victims than among non-Hispanic white victims. He corroborates that with a May 2019 study by the Violence Policy Center which looked at these rates per state and came up with similar findings to the CDC.

James demonstrates, pretty much irrefutably, that the reason blacks are disproportionately more represented in prison in America is because blacks commit disproportionately more crimes.

Beto’s Examples of White Racism #2: A ‘Rise’ in Hate Crimes

James is just getting warmed up, however, as he examines O’Rourke’s next point. As O’Rourke put it:

But it was only until this administration, and this president, [heavy pause, dramatic gesticulations from the gangly SJW], that racism was invited out into the open [another heavy pause, audience applause]. For the last three years, there’s been a rise in hate crimes in every single one of them; those counties that hosted a Trump rally in 2016 saw on average more than a 200 percent increase in hate crimes.

To lead into his response, another dizzying array of debunking statistics, James coolly explains, “the term ‘white’ and the term ‘hate crime’ have become sort of a collocation at this point, but it’s absolutely false.” He then pulls out the FBI statistics on hate crimes by race of offender and victim, and shows the overall number of hate crime convictions in 2017, 6,370, was only slightly higher than the number of hate crime convictions in 2016, at 5,770.

James then cites studies—always with onscreen images of the actual data—showing, on the other hand, a sharp rise in hate crime hoaxes in recent years. But his most noteworthy point is that it is not white people who are committing the most hate crimes, and it isn’t even close. This is something that runs utterly counter to Beto’s entire spiel, and by extension, to the entire narrative now fomented by the Democrats and the media in America.

As shown in the next image grabbed from his video, James has analyzed FBI data on hate crime convictions by perpetrator and calculates a rate of 3.5 per 100,000 black Americans, compared to a rate of 1.1 per 100,000 non-Hispanic white Americans. This is an astonishing finding. While these rates are low in both cases, a black American is more than three times as likely to commit a hate crime as a white American.

One has to ask, who is going to compile and report this data, if not Vincent James? Will this sort of information ever appear on CNN, or even on Fox? This is not pleasant data to review. But neither is Beto O’Rourke’s phony sermon, filled with lies and calculated to foment racial tension. The next slide James prepared further illustrates the absurdity of claiming that whites, overall, are those most likely to commit acts of violence against members of other races. And again, it’s not even close.

Beto’s Examples of White Racism #3: Racist Bias in School Punishments

Struggling to contain his indignation, O’Rourke offered yet another example of endemic racist behavior on the part of White Americans towards “people of color:”

In a kindergarten classroom, a four or five year old child [“of color”] is five times more likely to be disciplined, or suspended, or expelled, than a white child and by the same teacher for the same infraction in the same classroom today.

James proceeds to dig out an NPR report on the study O’Rourke referenced, highlighting on the screen the actual text of the article where it does state that there is a higher rate of discipline, but it’s three times higher, not five times higher. And that’s just for starters.

The study, “Data Snapshot: School Discipline,” produced in 2014 by Obama’s Department of Education, says nothing about the same teacher administering differing punishments based on race, or for the same infraction, or even whether the suspensions they tracked are the result of repeat infractions or first offenses. And, as James shows, the NPR report summarizing the study acknowledges that the study made no attempt to explain why there might be a disparity in suspensions.

Where the Department of Education steers clear of explanation, however, James dives in, offering reasons that might be obvious to anyone who isn’t determined merely to ascribe all statistical disparities based on race to the all encompassing bromide “white man bad.”

Most obvious, and color blind, is the parental status of K-12 students. The next two tables show an extremely high correlation between success in school and parental status. In the first table, immediately below, it can be seen that children in single mother homes are 2.5 times more likely to find themselves in juvenile detention. As the next table shows, this translates into a much higher likelihood of a child not completing high school.

The next slide, below, shows that nearly all high school dropouts come from single-mother households. The absence of two parents, typically the absence of the father, is the variable most highly correlated to failure to graduate high school. And this is also perhaps the primary factor that leads to fewer opportunities later in life (and higher rates of incarceration) for African Americans.

That assertion is backed up by hard data. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, presented by the Kids Count Data Center, 65 percent of African American children are being raised in single parent households, compared with 23 percent of non-Hispanic whites, and 16 percent of Asians.

Beto’s Examples of White Racism #4: Immigrants Are
More Law Abiding Than Natives

Maintaining his state of apoplexy, O’Rourke turned now to the topic of immigration, stating:

When Trump’s talking about this invasion of immigrants who are coming to get us, who by the way, commit crimes at a far lower rate than anyone born in this country…

James immediately unleashes an avalanche of published statistics and data that clearly contradict Beto’s assertion. One of the most memorable, and telling, was the following, taken from a study summarized in an article published in 2017 by The Hill: According to the FBI, 115,717 murders were committed in the United States from 2003 through 2009, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office documents that criminal immigrants committed 25,064 of these murders.

This is a stunning statistic. In a lengthy follow up, James cites numerous studies looking at these statistics by individual states. If one were so inclined, it is evident that it is far easier to prove that criminal immigrants are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in the United States, not the other way around.

Beto’s Examples of White Racism #5: African Slaves Built America

As part of the Democratic push for “reparations,” the conventional wisdom now holds that most of what constitutes the current assets of the American nation were built on the backs of slaves; that without their presence, the nation would not have attained great wealth; that the fruits of their labor were denied them and indeed explain the wealth disparity seen today between black and white Americans. Or, as O’Rourke put it:

White people were literally kidnapping people from West Africa to bring them here to build the greatness of this country on their backs and then denying their ancestors the meaningful opportunity to enjoy in the wealth that they had created.

James counters this argument with rather compelling logic. First, only 4 percent of southerners owned slaves and it was an undeveloped agrarian community, whereas in the north there were free men building an industrial economy. Second, North America received millions fewer slaves than did Central and South America—so if these slaves were so critical to building a prosperous nation, why aren’t the nations of Central and South America doing better than America?

Continuing, James points out that the vast majority of infrastructure built in the 19th century—railroads, bridges, highways—were built by Irish or Italian or Chinese immigrants, all of whom worked without benefits and endured great adversity. Finally, to put it in perspective, James notes that during the 19th century, the Arab slave trade was 100 times worse, with millions killed, and that slavery in that part of the world is ongoing even to the present day.

Beto O’Rourke Represents the American Left

Putting things in perspective, unfortunately, is not something to expect from “Beto” O’Rourke. And while democratic voters, as evidenced by poll after poll, are tired of his act, they aren’t tired of the script. Telling lies regarding rates of incarceration, hate crimes, school punishment, illegal immigrant crime rates, and the legacy of slavery, is the currency of the Left. It’s almost all they’ve got.

Is this why YouTube had to take down this video by Vincent James? Because he bothers to dig up data, from impeccable sources, that absolutely demolishes the false Democratic narrative?

The title of the video by Vincent James doesn’t mention Beto O’Rourke. O’Rourke is just a telling exemplar of something perpetuated by leftwing American politicians and mainstream media personalities—rampant, continuous, biased, alienating lies piled upon lies. It has got to stop. The primary point of the now banned YouTube video James produced is that these lies being told by the American Left are pushing America’s white men to the Right. And the more absurd and extreme the Left gets with their lies, the more white men will be pushed rightward, and the further in that direction they will go.

It’s interesting to wonder exactly what it was that got this video banned by YouTube. If you watch the entire 36 minute presentation, you’ll probably have an idea or two. But when the establishment tells lies about almost every issue surrounding race, over and over, for what now amounts to most of any young person’s life, they start to look for answers elsewhere. And who can really blame them? The cognitive dissonance is simply impossible to ignore.

Should anyone be surprised that a growing number of young white men might question their supposed “privilege,” when for their entire lives they’ve known that they must go to the back of the line for every job, every college admission, every promotion, and every government contract?

Beto O’Rourke, and all his ilk, from the halls of Harvard to the penthouses in Pacific Heights, are hypocrites, demagogues, corporate socialists, globalist shills, borderline traitors, and fools, preaching a false gospel that is both nihilistic and naive. It is to the credit of people seeking truth, like Vincent James, that they remain measured in their condemnation of an establishment that has targeted them for destruction.

The noble high road is to reject racism in all its forms. And it is not racist to argue, using compelling data, that the prevailing form of racism is not coming from the Right these days—it is coming from the Left, and it is not directed against “people of color,” it is primarily directed at white men.

Perhaps the biggest risk, and the biggest potential tragedy, is that these alienating lies darken the souls of everyone they touch, undermining the natural compassion towards all people which is a defining element of American character.

In the spirit of compassion, one might suggest to Vincent James, and to all of his like-minded cohorts, that they are not alone. These lies they’re being fed harm everyone, black and white. You cannot heal lingering wounds by obsessing over them. You cannot nurture upward mobility by teaching victimhood and dependence.

Beto O’Rourke may stand 6′ 4″ tall, but his message is small, dark, depressing, and useless.

Vincent James, along with every other right-of-center vlogger, is encouraged to expand his repertoire. Not only might he then continue to debunk the lies, but he might also make common cause with Americans of all colors who recognize that what the Left preaches is the death of industry and happiness; the destruction of a fine nation and a glorious culture. Here are some people he might connect with who share many, if not most of his views. It is likely they will get on very, very well:

Taleed Brown, Brandon Tatum, Will Johnson, Candace Owens, David J. Harris, Jr., Larry Elder, Pastor Mark Burns, Terrence K. Williams, Keith and Kevin Hodge, Dr. Carol Swain, Chandler Crump, Anthony Brian Logan, Lynnett Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, Mike Nificent, Patricia Dickson, Antonia Okafor, Horace Cooper, Star Parker, Allen West, Wayne Dupree, CJ Pearson, Jesse Lee Peterson, and Jon Miller—a woefully incomplete list, there are so many more, but a good start…

Most important of all, Vincent James, and every other truth seeking, data driven iconoclast whose life work online sits on the edge of the deplatforming abyss, is urged never to compromise, but always evolve. The censors who would silence him should think twice. Facts and logic have a funny way of having the last word, no matter what.

Online Censorship • Weekend Long Read

The Backward Logic of Cancel Culture Apologists

Cancel culture is not the expression of random public discontent but of institutional power. Its punishments are reserved for those who run afoul of a particular moral system that is shared and advanced by the hegemons of our culture.

The tiresome subject of “cancel culture” is now, unfortunately, one that cannot responsibly be avoided. An old tweet surfaces, and all of a sudden a comedian, an actor, or even some hapless, powerless citizen, is at the center of an online tribunal.

A series of recent events have enlivened the debate. Comedian Shane Gillis lost a job offer at “Saturday Night Live” after podcasts were unearthed in which he used slurs against Chinese people, gays, and other minorities. Famous comedians like Norm MacDonald, Jim Jeffries, and Bill Burr came to his defense, and Gillis himself said he was “pushing boundaries.” But the boundaries he pushed were those that happen to be patrolled by the gatekeepers of our social justice culture. Twitter was furious, and his hiring could not stand.

Gillis’s cancellation came at a turbulent time for the comedy world. In “Sticks and Stones,” David Chappelle proudly dons the mantle of “victim blamer” and attacks cancel culture head-on. He squeezes all the sensitive pressure points of our time. For example,  there is an extended bit on LGBTs, or “the alphabet people,” as he calls them, that culminates with Chappelle imagining a scenario in which a Chinese man were born in his body, asking transgenders to take some responsibility for his barbs. “I didn’t come up with this idea on my own, this idea that a person can be born in the wrong body—they have to admit, that’s a f—g hilarious predicament.”

The comedian attacks the #MeToo movement and bluntly states that he does not believe Michael Jackson’s rape accusers, suggesting that Jackson’s victims are actually lucky: “I mean, it’s Michael Jackson. I know more than half the people in this room have been molested in their lives, but it wasn’t no goddamn Michael Jackson, was it? This kid got his d–k sucked by the King of Pop. All we get is awkward Thanksgivings for the rest of our lives.” There are jokes about poor heroin-addicted whites in Ohio, mass shootings, and even a subtle anti-abortion joke. But Chappelle’s message is a deadly serious one. “They even got poor Kevin Hart,” he says of his friend, cancelled over anti-gay tweets. “This is the worst time ever to be a celebrity. Everyone’s doomed.”

Chappelle received predictable praise on the Right and condemnation on the Left. Much of the criticism has focused on a lack of sensitivity, but some have found more original points of attack. The New Republic recently published a substantial entry into the cancel culture conversation that is already being hailed by some on the Left as the definitive piece on the topic. What if, author Osita Nwanevu asks us to imagine, the backlash against cancel culture were all a pose? What if it’s just a big con?

What if these self-styled mavericks were really punching down, rather than up? Suppose, even, that being cancelled endows the target with a kind of strange prestige? Nawnevu points to how powerful figures have been able to stage comebacks or even work transgression against “cancel culture” to their advantage:

Despite being loudly panned by professional and social media critics alike, Chappelle remains in the good graces of both major figures in the comedy community—including defenders like Sarah Silverman, Bill Burr, and Matt Stone—as well as his fans. Sticks and Stones has a 99 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Netflix, unfazed by all the commotion, actively promoted some of the show’s controversial bits. It’s hardly surprising. Disbelief of sexual abuse and disgust for transgender people are mainstream enough that Chappelle could take on a second career as a Republican speechwriter.

Gillis, he points out, is still doing stand-up. Some of the highest-paid comedians are self-styled critics of political correctness. Meanwhile, comedians today do not have to contend with the oppressive obscenity laws that entrapped the likes of Lenny Bruce. It’s all a con.

From this glittering observation, Nwanevu leaps to a rather obtuse conclusion: that “cancel culture seems to describe the phenomenon of being criticized by multiple people—often but not exclusively on the internet.”

Is ‘Cancel Culture’ Just a Con?

It’s not hard to see why this piece resonated on the Left. It eloquently expresses the way cancel culture’s apologists feel about this scourge: that it is not really a threat to civilized society, but rather, a kind of moral fine-tuning. It’s true that rage mobs consist of individuals with opinions, but it is absurd to describe cancel culture as mundane or mere criticism.

Nwanevu rather humorously notes that some, indeed brutal, forms of “cancelling” have been going on since the pharaoh Akhenaten, who infamously was scrubbed from the public record by his successors for his heretical sun-worship, and even before. True! But that doesn’t mean cancel culture, just because it does not entail graphic, medieval punishments, isn’t real or damaging to actual culture.

Whether cancel culture is a dangerous reality or a delusion appears to depend on your politics. Doctrinaire progressives need not fear, for the most part. But what about everybody else? And what about people who lack the power to mitigate the consequences of being “cancelled?”

To return to our friend Akhenetan, it is true that “cancelling” has been going on forever. That’s because “cancelling” is a moral phenomenon. Hester Prynne was cancelled. And so on and so on. The purpose of cancel culture today is to establish a particular progressive morality. “Every culture,” Harvard professor and noted critic of liberalism, Adrian Vermeule, writes, “is a cancel culture. If you don’t like progressive cancel culture, what you don’t like is just the content of what is cancelled.”

Evolution or Revolution?

So what happens if people today don’t like which way progressive cancel culture is directing us?

The question answers itself. Cancel culture apologists, however, merely beg the question. They are quite open about the fact that they are moral and political revolutionaries, but insist that, somehow, this “evolution,” and the consequences for dissenters, are no big deal. From Nwanevu’s article:

As far as comedy is concerned, “cancel culture” seems to be the name mediocrities and legends on their way to mediocrity have given their own waning relevance. They’ve set about scolding us about scolds, whining about whiners, and complaining about complaints because they would rather cling to material that was never going to stay fresh and funny forever than adapt to changing audiences, a new set of critical concerns, and a culture that might soon leave them behind. In desperation, they’ve become the tiresome cowards they accuse their critics of being—and that comics like Bruce, who built the contemporary comedy world, never were.

David Chappelle, on his way to “mediocrity?” Take note of the veiled threats: “waning relevance”; material that is no longer “fresh.” Yes, but according to whom? And who is being left behind, by whom, exactly?

The apologists rely on a myth of neutrality and innocuousness. At one and the same time, cancel culture is imagined to be the harmless, spontaneous effect of virtuous citizens criticizing those who cross a line, and also a sweeping revolution that threatens to swallow up those destined for “irrelevance.”

There is nothing the least bit mundane about this. Cancel culture demands—not asks, demands—that people completely reform the way they feel, think, speak, and act to make way for the “new voices,” the new “ways” being prescribed by the woke scolds who work for SNL and the New Yorker.

It is cancel culture’s apologists, not its critics, who are posers. They are the ones punching down. Cancel culture is not the expression of random public discontent but of institutional power. Its punishments are reserved for those who run afoul of a particular moral system that is shared and advanced by the hegemons of our culture.

As the Left sees it, those who feel threatened by cancel culture are irrational to feel that way. But this is dishonest. They understand perfectly well why many people feel threatened and the Left is glad they feel that way. The assumption is that it is irrational for dissenters not to “evolve,” that it is a very decent and easy and logical thing for them to do. They are supposed to “get it” and shut up. In other words, they think they are doing you a favor.

Cancel culture is not just random people airing their disapproval, but rather organized, deliberate, and targeted political harassment—often by powerful people with large platforms directed often at powerless, random citizens. Anyone with a social media account, or for that matter, anyone with the misfortune to get involved in a public altercation captured in thirty seconds of viral, ambiguous video, is a potential victim.

Punching Down

Not long after the New Republic piece was published, the cancellers went after “Iowa Legend” Carson King, who became a social media sensation after his sign asking for beer money appeared on ESPN’s “GameDay.” King did a remarkable, wonderful thing and used his sudden fame to raise over $1 million for an Iowa children’s hospital.

It should have been an uplifting and happy story. But when the Des Moines Register wrote a profile on King, the journalist on the job, Aaron Calvin, took it upon himself to perform a “routine background check” and discovered that he had made offensive tweets—which were actually just jokes from the Comedy Central show ”Tosh.0”—when he was 16. For no clear reason at all, the journalist included that information in the article. Anheuser-Busch cut ties with King.

The Register since has faced a richly deserved backlash. The newspaper, in trying to defend itself, issued an agonized explanation dripping with self-righteousness:

The jokes were highly inappropriate and were public posts. Shouldn’t that be acknowledged to all the people who had donated to King’s cause or were planning to do so? The counter arguments: the tweets were posted seven years ago, when King was 16. And he was remorseful. Should we chalk up the posts to a youthful mistake and omit the information? Eventually, Register editors decided we would include the information, but at the bottom of the story […] Reasonable people can look at the same set of facts and disagree on what merits publication. But rest assured such decisions are not made lightly and are rooted in what we perceive as the public good.

What was that about public good? Who’s the good guy here—the man who raised money for children with cancer, or the pathetic tattle-tales who tried to ruin his life?

It is shocking that a newspaper would consider digging up offensive tweets to be part of a “routine background check,” but increasingly that is how today’s journalists understand their jobs. The consequences of journalism’s descent down the gutter of progressive tattle-taling were on graphic display last January, when a group of Catholic high school boys were mobbed by the entire national news media over a fabricated hate crime. The Covington Catholic high school boys were smeared, threatened, and viciously attacked. An online rage mob of adults gave vent to violent fantasies about their deserved punishment.

 How are they doing now? They have not found redress in the courts. The articles are still out there, and the damage has been done. Meanwhile, the journalists who published vicious libels against them have suffered no consequences.

These are just a few examples of journalists, drunk off power, harassing random citizens for political reasons. Remember the “Drunk Pelosi” video? Some low-life reporter for the Daily Beast doxxed its creator. Then there was the time CNN threatened to identify a man for sharing a meme of Donald Trump tackling CNN personified as Vince McMahon to the ground. Such incidents have become disturbingly common. They certainly are not the product of spontaneous “criticism” on social media.

Arbitrary (That is, Only Progressive) Enforcement

The arbitrary enforcement of cancel culture on social media and in the public square underscores its threatening, political nature. Some sins—those which cross progressive taboos—are cancellable, while others are not. But who commits the sin is important, too.

As the Left sees it, the Covington kids deserved it. They were protesting abortion. They wore MAGA hats. They were standing athwart the march of History. What they suffered is regrettable, but hopefully we’ve all learned the lesson that the future has no place for people like them.

Airing genocidal fantasies towards white people, though, is just fine. In fact, it can even come with rich rewards, as Sarah Jeong has learned. If Justin Trudeau were conservative, his strange blackface obsession would have ended his political career overnight. Instead, he will skate. Why? Because Justin Trudeau is a powerful liberal who has already proven his commitment to diversity—which is, after all, the underlying morality of cancel culture.

In brief, cancel culture is not neutral or innocuous or inevitable; it is political, rightfully seen as dangerous by many people and potentially reversible, but its apologists are desperate that this not come to pass. The justification for it is the same forwarded by the defenders of every revolution: that you need to crack a few eggs to make an omelette, the end justifies the means, and so on.

But what of those few unfortunate eggs? Writes Nwanevu:

Social media activism and commentary occasionally tips into overzealotry. But stray instances of identity political criticisms going overboard are not evidence that the culture as a whole has or that those who dissent from progressive consensus will soon find themselves sent to the gulag. By any reasonable standard, this is the greatest period for free expression in the history of mankind.  Ours is a golden age—by comparison to an era, within living memory, that saw intense legal and political battles over censorship—of the American public not being offended by things.

Is that so? That era was working to remove legal and political barriers to liberal expression. Its products are everywhere in our thoroughly desacralized, vulgarized culture. It is true that Americans today are not as uptight as they might once have been, but it’s not about what they think, is it?

That America no longer lives with oppressive obscenity laws does not suggest that we are living in some “golden age” of free speech. The equivalent today of the people whose morals entrapped Lenny Bruce are the kinds of people who staff our Big Tech corporations, our universities, the casts of painfully unfunny comedy shows, and the nation’s most prestigious newspapers. Though these elites lack the power—at least now—to throw dissenters in prison, much of their morality is already enshrined in positive law. Think of no-fault divorce, abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action, etc.—that is enforced, constantly, as the new norm that all must follow in polite society. Disobeying that social script can come with ruinous consequences.

Who Cares What the Majority Thinks?

That millions of people don’t like this state of affairs doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.The true effects of cancel culture cannot be fully known, because cancel culture works by getting people to cancel their own thoughts. How many people would lose jobs, friends, connections, if they said things that they really believed, but which are now considered taboo by the brahmins of liberalism? Of course, we can only work with what we know. But we do know that millions of people in this country find liberalism to be suffocating.

There is a reason why cancel culture is so contentious, and it’s eminently simple: it is not the product of a consensus. Cancel culture rests on a mystique that all decent people now agree that X is offensive. This mystique gives cancel culture a moral authority and sense of inevitability: the cancelled are just late-comers to moral lessons that everyone (supposedly) should have learned by now. It is a testament to the power of the elites that their targets, when identified, know exactly what script to follow. Like the victims of Soviet show trials, the targets usually offers some ritual contrition in the sense that they didn’t realize that X was a sin, but they do now, and they’re deeply sorry.

 

Chasing Ghosts of Oppression Past

To contend that Dave Chappelle is not—as Lenny Bruce once was—rustling the complacencies of our time is absolutely ludicrous. If it is familiar, it is not safe to make jokes about transgenders, or gays, or Chinese people. Neither is Chappelle’s joke about being born in a Chinese man’s body banal; it’s the kind of thing that’s always funny because it is a delightfully absurd situation.

All great comedians have the talent, the need of exposing absurdity. One must ask how Chappelle could be asked not to attack the fatuous pretenses of our liberal elites, who demand that people embrace plain absurdities that multiply from day to day. Their self-seriousness practically demands mockery.

But as the apologists see it, this state of affairs is precisely backwards; America is still in the grip of a dangerously reactionary culture. The repressive Christian society that persecuted Lenny Bruce still has power, “homophobia” is a rampant problem, and other “marginalized” groups do not receive enough representation.

But is this really the case? We live in a time when mass media, Fortune 500 companies, universities, and public education have whole-heartedly embraced feminism, racial justice, LGBT rights, and the whole spectrum of diversity politics. Is it really true that we do not hear enough about these causes? And what happens to those who do not celebrate them?

LGBTs now have an entire month dedicated to ecstatic, compulsory observance of their movement. The breathless advance of acceptance towards gay marriage and LGBT rights over the last deade is somehow dismissed, and bigotry against LGBTs is imagined still to be an epidemic problem in America. This is a common thread in all of progressive politics: the Left’s grievances are belied by their absolute cultural hegemony.

The elites who craft the norms and moral sensibilities that all people must follow invariably privilege the erstwhile “oppressed,” to the disfavor of the erstwhile hegemons. Still, they insist on chasing phantoms of bourgeois oppression, as Christopher Lasch put it in his 1979 book The Culture of Narcissism:

Many radicals still direct their indignation against the authoritarian family, repressive sexual morality, literary censorship, the work ethic, and other foundations of bourgeois order that have been weakened or destroyed by advanced capitalism itself.

What’s left of the old order? For the Left, it’s a problem of too much that has not yet been destroyed. They are anxious about that which is not presently under their control. Therefore, that there is large public resistance to political correctness somehow evinces a lack of power on the part of cancel culture. Never mind that a large swathe of the  public is enjoined, against its will, to shut up. That the Right is feebly attempting to reverse this state of affairs somehow proves that cancel culture is no threat, Nwanevu seems to think:

The critics of cancel culture are plainly threatened not by a new and uniquely powerful kind of public criticism but by a new set of critics: young progressives, including many minorities and women who, largely through social media, have obtained a seat at the table where matters of justice and etiquette are debated and are banging it loudly to make up for lost time. The fact that jabs against cancel culture are typically jabs leftward, even as conservatives work diligently to cancel academics, activists, and companies they disfavor in both tweets and legislation, underscores this.

By the same token, opposition to identity politics is popular and has the sanction of “a broad constellation of publications and outlets, and political figures—including the sitting president of the United States—who happen to hold most of the political power in this country.”

Political power, yes. What about cultural power? Morality in our time is mere fashion, and these fashions come from the secular clergy who control late-night entertainment, academia, and the mass media. Their ideas may be unpopular, but people still risk becoming pariahs when they run afoul of their rules.

The Schoolmarms of Woke Comedy 

The efforts of the Right to fight Big Tech and “PC” censorship so far, have been largely fruitless because the Right has virtually no cultural authority. If America was once dominated by Christian morals, it has since veered so far in the other direction that liberalism has become equally uptight, and just as boring. We now live in a thoroughly pornified world. Everything that used to be edgy is safe and lame: somehow, joking about Jesus, sex, bodily fluids, and patriotism is still common fare, but such topics have lost their bite.

Liberalism has lost much of its creativity, and has grown ossified, dull, authoritarian, and finally, boring. In the creative world, liberalism largely manifests in finding new rules to punish people and new ways to express historical resentments. The liberalism that railed against the old Christian morality has become a new moralism, with its own priggish, illiberal conscience.

What is this “fresh material” we are being deprived of, anyway? Certainly not the kind being provided by today’s progressive comedians? If comics like Dave Chappelle are not the heirs of Lenny Bruce, then who could those heirs possibly be—the woke moralists wagging their fingers at the audience? Liberal comedy has become a kind of progressive Sunday School where anger, not levity, is the prevailing emotion.

NBC has a new late night show, “A Little Late with Lily Singh,” that is already being hailed by critics as groundbreaking. Not, mind you, because it is funny, but because the host happens to be the first bi-sexual woman of color to host a late-night show. Notice how the audience applauds, rather than laughs, at the mean-spirited, tiresome jabs at the usual villains of progressivism.

The awful tedium of woke comedy is a feature not a bug of the design. Comedy, as the cancellers see it, is primarily about moral indoctrination. Whether it’s actually funny is secondary. There is pretty much one joke: X thing or person is racist or, for some other reason, bad. The audience is then invited to laugh and make fun of X, and everyone gets their jollies, mindful of their moral superiority to poor, ignorant X. More importantly, everyone is reminded to never, ever, under any circumstances, end up like X.

The comparisons to the Soviets are warranted. Let’s not kid ourselves: there’s nothing remotely rebellious about journalists harassing random people over racist tweets or comedians bashing white people from inside of a studio. It’s tiresome, safe, and completely supported by the status quo.

But what makes cancel culture apologists so certain that they won’t be cancelled? What’s stopping them from one day waking up and finding the mob coming for them? It must be the reassurance that their progressive values mark them as safe. Their demonstrations of loyalty to the Party will protect them. But is this not a tacit recognition that leftism is dominant, and that defending cancel culture is siding with power, rather than an act of rebellion?

So is cancel culture real, or fake? The best evidence for its existence might be that even cancel culture’s defenders are being cancelled—at least, in those rare occasions when justice (the real thing, not the witch mob bloodlust of cancel culture)—takes over. As it turns out, the Des Moines Register fired Aaron Calvin.

Calvin, it turns out, had a history of racist tweets himself. And—irony of ironies!—he retweeted Nwanevu’s article about how cancel culture isn’t real beforehand. Does he believe it now?

Online Censorship • Weekend Long Read

First published April 6, 2019

The Establishment War on the Intellectual Dark Web

Big Tech is becoming more brazen about deboosting, demonitizing, and expelling dissenters from the internet. Freedom of speech hangs in the balance.

If you’re just hearing about the “Intellectual Dark Web,” or if you’ve heard the term but never delved into its meaning, you might think there is an entire parallel internet out there, filled with subversive content that is too politically incorrect to weather the shadowbans and deboosting algorithms in our well lit, mainstream online world.

Nothing like that exists. The intellectual dark web, such as it is, is indeed a collection of politically incorrect websites, videos, podcasts, and the personalities who fill them with content. But this web exists alongside everything else online, however vapidly popular, mainstream and vanilla, safely prurient, angry in all the prescribed ways, funny in all the approved modes.

That’s too bad, because the intellectual dark web is not immune to shadowbans, deboosts, detrends, demonetizing, throttling down, or expulsion. These willfully transgressive purveyors of anti-pablum build their audiences while tiptoeing gingerly among the censors, hoping not to cross lines of conduct that are often invisible, shift unpredictably, and are drawn differently depending on who you are.

Who are these censors? Not an oppressive government, but instead the private quasi-monopolies that control all online communication—the social media and video platforms, the providers of membership services, and the payment processors. Piss them off? Disappear into actual darkness.

What Is the Intellectual Dark Web?

On the website “KnowYourMeme.com,” the intellectual dark web, or IDW, is described as “a phrase coined by mathematician Eric Weinstein referring to a loosely defined group of intellectuals, academics, and political commentators who espouse controversial ideas and beliefs surrounding subjects related to free speech, identity politics, and biology.” Weinstein, a managing director at Thiel Capital in San Francisco, just happens to be the brother of Bret Weinstein, the Evergreen College professor who in 2017 refused to participate in the “Day of Absence & Day of Presence,” which demanded that white students, faculty, and staff leave campus for one day.

In May 2018, the New York Times published an opinionated but detailed expose of the intellectual dark web. It remains the definitive mainstream description of the IDW. Here are some of the topics and premises the article lists as typical fare for the IDW: “There are fundamental biological differences between men and women. Free speech is under siege. Identity politics is a toxic ideology that is tearing American society apart.”

Times columnist Bari Weiss described how members of the IDW have little in common politically, but all share three distinct qualities:

First, they are willing to disagree ferociously, but talk civilly, about nearly every meaningful subject: religion, abortion, immigration, the nature of consciousness. Second, in an age in which popular feelings about the way things ought to be often override facts about the way things actually are, each is determined to resist parroting what’s politically convenient. And third, some have paid for this commitment by being purged from institutions that have become increasingly hostile to unorthodox thought—and have found receptive audiences elsewhere.

In short, the IDW doesn’t actually exist as a distinct something. It’s just a way to describe online content that explores politically incorrect topics, while remaining committed to an intellectual and civil tone.

While the intellectual dark web is still not well known, Bari Weiss’s New York Times article inspired a fair amount of commentary from predictably liberal-left quarters. “Conservatives Cheer the Latest Right-Wing Supergroup, the Intellectual Dark Web,” sneered the Village Voice. The young adults at Vox tried to explain “what Jordan Peterson has in common with the alt-right,” with a winking subhead: “A controversial New York Times article describes several popular white intellectuals as marginalized ‘renegades.’”

From these titles, it isn’t hard to gauge the reaction of the Left to the IDW. “Right-Wing Supergroup.” “The alt-right.” “Popular white intellectuals.” The Left perceives the IDW to be a refuge of right-wing whites who feel “marginalized.” Is this true?

Screenshot/YouTube

Are There Any “Leftists” on the Intellectual Dark Web?

A few websites have sprung up to provide an encyclopedia of IDW stars. One of them, “intellectualdarkweb.site,” lists a number of IDW “leaders” whose politics are denoted as “Left,” which appears to contradict the notion that only right-wingers populate the IDW. For example, under “Leaders of the Intellectual Dark Web,” Eric Weinstein, Sam Harris, Maajid Nawaz, Dave Rubin, Joe Rogan, Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying, Jonathan Haidt, and John McWhorter are all listed as having “Political Leaning: Left.” Whether or not all of these individuals are verifiably left wing is open to debate, but insofar as these high profile individuals dissent from the mainstream Left to support free speech, their support is extremely valuable.

Some of them are well known. Actor and comedian Joe Rogan has 4.8 million Twitter followers, and a collection of YouTube videos that have amassed an incredible 1.13 billion views. Rogan’s podcast attracts tens of millions of listeners every month. But Rogan doesn’t come across as a political ideologue so much as just politically incorrect. His interview format puts him into contact with a wide variety of individuals. He mingles comedy, debate, uninhibited profanity, with deep exploration of controversial issues. It might be more accurate to categorize his politics as libertarian; left-wing on social issues like abortion and marijuana legalization, and right-wing on issues such as gun rights.

Dave Rubin, another famous member of the IDW who self-identifies as liberal, has been rebranded by the Left as a “right-wing libertarian” commentator. His primary transgression, apparently, was to invite onto his popular “Rubin Report” podcast other IDW luminaries as Stefan Molyneux and Jordan Peterson. Both of these men deny that they are right-wing ideologues, but Molyneux, with his insights on mass immigration and its implications, and Peterson, with his outspoken findings on gender, have both aroused fury from the Left. That fury has tainted Rubin with guilt by association, as Vox, in September 2018, had this to say about him:

We’re in a period of massive demographic and social change, and all that change is creating a powerful backlash. The coalition being built by that backlash, the coalition Rubin is a part of, is best understood as a reactionary movement because, well, that’s what it is—a movement united by opposition to changes it loathes.

Some of the people characterized as left-wing members of the IDW truly are Left, or liberal. In many of those cases, the issues that drove them into the IDW were such that they would find agreement with many on the Right. Maajid Nawaz, founder of Quilliam, and Somali-Dutch expat Ayaan Hirsi Ali, founder of Aha Foundation, are both critical of fundamentalist, radical Islam. Maajid Nawaz, in particular, is an articulate, upbeat advocate for modernizing Islam; his videos should required viewing for anyone who fears that Muslims will never assimilate into Western societies. For that matter, so is Stanford neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris, who is a bestselling author and host of the popular podcast “Making Sense.” Jonathan Haidt, founder of Heterodox Academy and co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind, advocates free speech on college campuses. Bret Weinstein and his wife Heather Heying are avowed liberals, but became IDW heroes for their stand against identity politics at Evergreen College in Washington. Weinstein’s brother Eric, who coined the phrase “intellectual dark web,” also a liberal, was undoubtedly inspired by his brother’s experience at Evergreen.

“Right-Wing” Luminaries of the IDW

If you stick to the original definition and compile a list of the right-wing contingent of the IDW, you have to limit the choices for this list to right-wing intellectuals. Depending on where you draw that line, that would eliminate most of the commentators who might otherwise belong on the list. Intellectuals clearing the high bar would probably include Douglas Murray, a British political commentator and editor of The Spectator. Murray’s YouTube videos and his recent book The Strange Death of Europe, are unrelentingly critical of Islam and mass Third World immigration into Western Europe.

Another indisputably intellectual member of the IDW is Christina Hoff Sommers, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys. Sommers hosts a video blog called “The Factual Feminist.” Considered a heretic by the Left, she argues that modern feminism contains “an irrational hostility to men.”

When it comes to feminist heretics, Sommers is not alone. There are at least two other intellectual luminaries who fit that description. One of them who is garnering increasing recognition is Heather Mac Donald, a Manhattan Institute fellow who recently published The Diversity Delusion. The book is an indispensable guide to the Left’s takeover of college campuses and how they are now rolling out that same kind of takeover to the rest of America. Mac Donald doesn’t have her own online assets—no podcast, no YouTube channel. Perhaps she should. Her September 2018 lecture at Hillsdale College has attracted more than 250,000  views. Mark Levin’s 15-minute Fox News interview with Mac Donald from December 2018 has attracted nearly 200,000 views. Mac Donald doesn’t mince words. She asserts that “American colleges today are ‘hatred machines‘,” and “colleges have become nothing more than wicked overpriced daycare centers that only extends childhood well into a person’s 20s.” She backs up her assertions with statistical data to argue that most “diversity” initiatives, in college and the corporate world, are racist, sexist, counterproductive, and especially harmful to the groups they are designed to help.

Chris Williamson/Getty Images

Another feminist heretic, perhaps the original feminist heretic, is Camille Paglia, a professor at the University of the Arts in Pennsylvania and author of Sexual Personae among other books. Paglia is a libertarian who considers herself a feminist, yet for decades she has leveled withering criticism onto prominent feminists whom she deems to be dogmatic, misandrist, or simply out of touch. Like Jordan Peterson, Paglia deplores the influence of the French post-structuralists, claiming that “post-structuralism has broken the link between the word and the thing, and thus endangers the Western canon.” While Paglia doesn’t appear on typical lists of IDW luminaries, that’s mainly because she hasn’t set out to become an online star, with millions of online fans. The YouTube videos that others post of her lectures, however, routinely attract over 100,000 views.

Although videos featuring Paglia attract impressive viewership, her get-together with Jordan Peterson has garnered millions of viewers. An October 2017 video posted on Peterson’s YouTube channel, a nearly two-hour discussion titled “Modern Times: Camille Paglia and Jordan Peterson” has been watched over 1.8 million times. Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, had a distinguished but relatively low profile career until September 2016, when everything changed. Peterson released a series of online videos where he announced his objection to a new Canadian law that, among other things, criminalized any person’s refusal to address a transgender individual by that person’s preferred gender pronoun.

Peterson has weathered the ensuing backlash exceedingly well, continuing to release videos which to-date have gathered more than 91 million views. His 2018 book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, has become an international bestseller, and he now gives lectures to sold-out venues all over the world. He is quite possibly the most well-known public intellectual in the world today.

Despite his many erudite takedowns of politically correct conventional wisdom on the topics of free speech, transgenderism, feminism, white privilege, cultural appropriation, environmentalism, and related topics being music to the ears of his millions of right-of-center fans, Peterson does not consider himself right-wing. Rather, he carefully defines his politics as seeing a much greater danger coming from the Left compared to the Right. This distinction has not mollified his critics, however, and while Peterson has not faced the types of online expulsions and algorithmic marginalization that other IDW members have endured, the vehemence of those critics has driven him to make common cause with many of them.

What About the More Edgy Right-Wing Stars of the IDW?

The first thing to qualify when attempting to provide examples of more edgy members of the IDW is that when establishing criteria, you may have to take away the “I,” as in “intellectual.” Then again, this depends on how you define intellectual. While many of these more edgy IDW celebrities aren’t college professors, or don’t adopt a high-brow rhetorical tone, they offer something of equal or greater value to anyone trying to make an intellectual assessment of controversial issues: They collect and present evidence that is either ignored or dismissed in mainstream discourse. Not all of them, of course. Some of these IDW online celebrities are just wacky entertainers, more committed to being outrageous than to being factual. But even the crazies sprinkle facts and notions into their otherwise merely entertaining spew, facts and notions that you will never find anywhere else.

Like the rest of the online universe, the IDW players, edgy or not, are too numerous to catalog definitively. But here are a few, chosen for their (usually) thoughtful tone, transgressive content, and (usually) careful attention to facts and evidence. All of these, needless to say, are tiptoeing around the censors. And with that, before continuing, a disclaimer is necessary. It is impossible to view all of the content that has been produced by all of these people. Some of these commentators are critical of Zionism. Others espouse ethnic nationalism. And who knows, some of them take other positions that many consider objectionable. But at least in terms of what could be reviewed, none of them came across as hateful (at least in the traditional description of the word, according to the expansive contemporary leftist definition, they’re all hateful), and none of them appeared to have any problem with facts.

Perhaps the least edgy of the “edgy” members of the IDW is Tim Pool, a prolific video journalist whose YouTube channel has attracted nearly 63 million views and has 388,000 subscribers. He first attracted notoriety when he livestreamed the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in 2011. Another high profile report was his 2017 investigation of Islamicized suburbs in Malmo, Sweden. It appears that Pool strives to be objective in his reporting, and he is taken seriously by mainstream media sources including NBC, Reuters, Al Jazeera, Time, Fast Company, Wired, Vice Media, and Fusion TV, who have all covered or syndicated his work. His choice of topics, however—Green New Deal, non-citizen voting, Democrat anti-semitism, Jussie Smollett, the Covington lawsuits—suggests he tilts towards material that exposes foibles on the Left. But he’s not predictable, for example, he recently produced a video about conservative censorship. Pool posts nearly every day, and it is not easy to keep up with him. While he reliably adds interesting observations of his own to his reporting, he is at his best when he dives headlong into a place or a happening and livestreams.

Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An interesting source for anti-globalist reporting and economic analysis is the quasi-anonymous “Black Pigeon Speaks” YouTube channel, with nearly 53 million views and 480,000 subscribers. While there is no source that indisputably identifies the author, based on somewhat dubious sources here, here, and here, it appears to be Felix Lace, a Canadian currently living in Japan, who rescues and cares for injured pigeons. His videos have attracted the ire of the Left, with a highly critical article posted about him in June 2017 on the website of Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center. In that article, titled “Black Pigeon Speaks: The Anatomy of the Worldview of an Alt-Right YouTuber,” author Zack Exley provides his impression of “the worldview put forth by the channel’s host, wherein Jewish bankers are ensnaring the world in debt slavery fueled by Muslim migrants, and women, who by their ‘biological nature,’ are destroying civilization.” While there is some truth to these impressions, Exley overstates, mischaracterizes and simplifies the content of Lace’s videos, which is probably his goal.

Exley uses his case study of Black Pigeon to exemplify his broader characterization of the entire “alt-right,” which is also an agenda-driven oversimplification. A far more accurate description of the highly amorphous alt-right can be found in the article entitled “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right, written by Milo Yiannopoulos and Allum Bokhari, published in Breitbart in March 2016. In that article, the alt-right is distilled into four groups, “the intellectuals,” the “natural conservatives,” the “Meme Team,” and that group with which the Left attempts to make the other three guilty by association, the “1488rs,” which is a neo-nazi reference. This article is still relevant, and describes many of the perspectives and the scope of Black Pigeon’s videos far better than Exley. One defining expression of the MAGA movement, one that also alludes in fundamental ways to the spirit and intent of Black Pigeon’s less coherent work, is “The Flight 93 Election” published in September 2016 by Michael Anton, although Black Pigeon flirts with conspiratorial themes that Anton leaves well enough alone. For alternative, pro-Western, provocative and intelligent analysis on taboo topics, Black Pigeon offers plenty to choose from.

Another example of an anonymous member of the IDW that produces pro-Western material focusing on mass immigration, multiculturalism, free speech, nationalism, and the “spiritual crisis of the West,” is “Way of the World,” a YouTube channel with 90,000 subscribers and over 5 million views. The narrator, who is never shown, speaks softly and somewhat mournfully with a British accent. He reads frequently from poets and philosophers, and when he isn’t depicting text or video clips, the screen is backdropped with a slowly spinning image of planet earth. Like Black Pigeon, and many other right-of-center content creators on the IDW, he believes Western Civilization faces possible extinction. If you’re impressionable enough to believe such an apocalyptic scenario is likely, don’t immerse yourself in this sort of material. Unlike most other channels covering these topics, however, the Way of the World narrator seems genuinely to be trying to come up with ways to express the threat he perceives in ways that can be communicated to the unaware or the undecided. Kept in perspective, this channel offers many interesting insights.

Vincent James has a YouTube channel with videos that have attracted over 28 million views and 252,000 subscribers. He also posts on a website called the Red Elephants, “an organization of like-minded conservatives that have come together to spread awareness and truth.” The all-American vibe that James creates is almost too authentic. Watching James conduct his videos, wearing a MAGA hat and seated behind a very generic desk, methodically presenting his information and arguments in a taciturn, almost workmanlike fashion, with a midwestern inflection just barely detectable in his speech, it’s easy to see why he’s hooked over a quarter-million subscribers. James is an investigative reporter at least as much as a commentator, and his systematic debunkings and exposes are always well researched. If you want to find data, including the source, on why crime statistics are distorted by the mainstream media and the Democrats, or how polling results are skewed, or where voter fraud really occurred, and so on, James does useful work. His report on how the neocons took over the recent CPAC conference is worth watching in its entirety. You may not agree with everything James has to say. His rebuke of Prager U is not something everyone would agree with. But that’s the point of the IDW.

The Right needs to expose the hideous misguided visions of the Left, but it also needs to offer viable, inclusive visions of its own. The worst mistake the Right can make is to match the nihilistic, futile, downright evil identity politics of the Left with their own brand of right-wing tribalism.

How edgy do you want to get? First of all, IDW members who still have YouTube channels are not the darkest of the dark. For that, you can peruse 8chan and similar message boards, whose only virtue is their commitment to free speech, however disgusting. The frightening reality isn’t that YouTube has banned death porn or terrorist training videos, because they should. It’s that the line between what gets trended up and what gets throttled down is a moving, arbitrary, biased target. Secondly, to ignore what the commentators who walk that fine line have to say is to deny the Newtonian reality of social discourse: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What gets suppressed comes back. If it is suppressed slowly, relentlessly, ratcheted down into smaller and smaller spaces, it can come back hard. History is full of cautionary examples.

Which brings us to Red Ice TV, which is clearly a reaction to globalism, mass immigration, low “European” birth rates, feminism, devaluing of Western traditions and culture, all of which is celebrated nearly uncritically by mainstream media and political elites in America and Europe. Red Ice TV, with over 300,000 subscribers and nearly 45 million views, is produced by Henrik Palmgren, a Swede, and his American wife, Lana Lokteff. The content does not try to hide its advocacy for white ethnostates. This obviously puts them on thin ice with the censors, and it’s likely anyone viewing their videos who is not fully embracing their positions will find something objectionable pretty fast. It’s easy to condemn Palmgren and Lokteff, however, and others have already done that. NPR made Lana Lokteff, a youthful 40-year-old with movie star good looks, the poster child for their 2017 report “The Women Behind the Alt-Right.” All the predictable warnings are there, so they need not be repeated here. But what are they really saying on Red Ice TV? Where do they draw the line?

This is where it gets interesting. Palmgren openly criticizes Zionism and their influence—might that remind you of anyone else, Ilhan Omar, perhaps?—but also is careful to explain that he criticizes many other groups as well, and wonders why it’s OK to criticize white people, or Christians, but not Zionists, or Muslims. Like many right-of-center commentators on the IDW, Palmgren and Lokteff frequently display an attitude of bemused indignation, a sort of “they can talk this way and say these things so why can’t we?”

In a fascinating video from August 2018, Lokteff interviews the African American minister and conservative Jesse Lee Peterson. In the 26-minute segment titled “How Should White People Respond to Anti-White Attacks?” Peterson explains one of the less-heralded fallacies of a white ethnostate, claiming, “if you lived in an all-white nation you would start fighting each other.” What’s also interesting is that someone like Lana Lokteff would interview Jesse Lee Peterson in the first place. It is encouraging that she could recognize that Peterson shared most of her values, and wanted to talk with him. The substance of their discussion may have planted the seed in her mind that maybe the core values of Western culture can be preserved, yet transcend ethnicity. One may hope.

One example of an IDW celebrity whose perspective may have shifted over the last few years is Lauren Southern. Still only 23 years old, within four years Southern has risen from posting YouTube videos from her native Vancouver to addressing the European Parliament in February 2019. Her YouTube channel has just under 700,000 subscribers and has attracted over 56 million views. Like Tim Pool, Southern has traveled around the world, reporting on, among other things, migrant camps in Greece, the refugee smuggling in the Mediterranean, and the plight of Whites in South Africa.

Although tarred with the same brush that’s used to splatter an “alt-right” stigma onto anyone who questions the typical assortment of issues—open borders, immigration, Western culture, multiculturalism, etc.,—Southern is clearly one of the more fair-minded and empathic of the bunch. She has said “all I’ve ever wanted to do is tell the truth,” and that most of the discourse today on these issues is “toxic and repetitive.” In her address to the European Parliament she acknowledged that along with the threat posed to native Europeans by the mass immigration of possibly unassimilable Africans and Muslims, there is a parallel tragedy afflicting the migrants themselves. In a recent video, Southern said that these “huge issues are not given the depth of analysis they deserve,” and has committed herself to producing long-form documentaries in the future. Southern’s evolution has been rapid, from an indignant YouTube firebrand, to a sober champion of controversial causes who is willing to embrace their complexity. Whether or not she emerges from the IDW to the mainstream is not clear, but she is someone to watch.

When searching YouTube, Twitter, Podcasts and websites for renegade right-of-center IDW celebrities, it’s easy to find critics of globalization and all the attendant issues. What’s missing, amidst the contrarian experts on the topics of migrations and cultures, birth rates, feminism, gender, multiculturalism, and so on, are dedicated experts on the topic of climate change. One would think the IDW would host a plethora of “deniers,” but apart from sporadic—and very skeptical—treatment of the topic by IDW celebrities who are more focused on the other issues, not much is out there. This is surprising since the worldwide propaganda effort to panic the people of the world over climate change is one of the most virulent tools of the establishment. One YouTube channel that focuses on an allegedly imminent “solar minimum” (meaning it’s going to get colder, not warmer), is David DuByne’s ADAPT 2030, with 79,000 subscribers and nearly 18 million views. There are a few excellent websites that cover the entire climate debate; Watts Up With That? , run by Anthony Watts, the eponymous sites Jo Nova, and Bjorn Lomborg, and the inimitable Climate Depot, run by the tireless Marc Morano.

To be sure, there are mainstream organizations still committed to providing balance in the global climate change policy debate; They include Cato, AEI, The Heartland Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Center for Industrial Progress, the International Climate Science Coalition, and others. But in your face, IDW celebrities focused on offering contrarian observations relating to climate alarmism are few and far between. Are the searches suppressed, did the censors win, or is there room in the market?

Who on the IDW Has Been Suppressed, and How Is That Done?

It was in reaction to Trump’s victory that online censorship began to escalate. By the summer of 2018, with the midterm elections looming and control of the U.S. Congress hanging in the balance, the game got bigger. The fate of Alex Jones and InfoWars is illustrative.

Even people who have never watched him have heard of Alex Jones. Many if not most of the people who did watch Jones found him to be more of an entertainer than a serious journalist. If you wanted to find out about man/pig hybrids being genetically engineered to harvest for human transplant organs, or gay frogs, or weather weapons, Alex Jones was your man. His YouTube channel, InfoWars, reached its peak of popularity in November 2016, when his videos were watched 125 million times. And then they began to decline.

By July 2018, Jones was still attracting an impressive 25 million views a month, but that was an 80 percent drop in 20 months. According to Advertising Age, the decline was because the platforms that drove viewers to InfoWars, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube search, “clearly were trying to reduce his impact.” Sure, Jones was a liability. Not only were his right-wing conspiratorial rants completely at odds with establishment sensibilities, worse, they were influencing people. Some of the things Jones came up with were obviously false, and some of them attracted lawsuits, both of which enabled a pretext for suppressing his reach. But nobody expected what happened next. One has to wonder if buried amidst all his gobbledegook, Jones had uncovered some big secret.

Barcroft Media/Getty Images

For the first time, the major online platforms coordinated their efforts. Within a few days in early August 2018, Alex Jones “Infowars” was expelled from Apple podcasts, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube. On September 6th, Twitter followed suit. On September 8th, Apple banned Alex Jones InfoWars app from its App Store. Jones was virtually erased. He had 2.4 million YouTube subscribers, all gone; 830,000 Twitter followers, purged; his Apple podcast archives were deleted; his Facebook page, with 2.5 million followers, wiped out.

Who cares? Alex Jones was a conspiracy theorist who often knew perfectly well that some of the things he was saying were preposterous. In some cases, such as when he suggested the Sandy Hook mass shooting was a hoax, he was sued by parents of the victims. But Alex Jones is the canary in the coal mine. To claim Alex Jones is a menace to a free society, because he mingles offensive opinions and fabrications with other material that might actually be genuinely interesting, is a contradiction in terms. A free society indulges crank content, allowing it to be organically discredited. Alex Jones didn’t incite violence. To the extent Alex Jones injured anyone, civil courts were going to sort that out. And once the extremely unwelcome speech is censored, where is the next line drawn?

If Alex Jones was so extreme he got banned from virtually all social media platforms, what to do about the rest of them, those online commentators whose content was politically unwelcome but who didn’t cross any red lines? How could they be stopped? It’s easy to forget how many have been stopped, and we only hear about the celebrities. When a person with a few hundred or even a few thousand followers attracts complaints from left-wing complaint warriors, nobody knows they’ve been banned. But in aggregate, their absence means a great force has been deleted from the collective conversation.

One can’t begin to know how many IDW voices have been suppressed or eliminated. But the process by which it happens should be explained, because it underscores just how outgunned anyone is, once the big platforms make their move. As shown by what happened to Alex Jones, even very big players with very big audiences will take awful hits, if they survive at all.

The first line of attack is on the social media platforms. You can have a home website, but people have to find it. And of course, many online content creators don’t even bother with their own websites. All they have are the social media platforms. They build their entire brand on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, and Apple. These platforms host your content, they drive viewers to your content, and then they drive advertising to your viewers and pay you for it.

With their sights on 2020, the leftist assault on free speech has now moved into the realm of financial services, with payment processors and banks the new battlefield. The stakes are higher than ever.

Once the social media platforms determine your content is objectionable, they can throttle down your exposure. In some cases, you may not even know it’s happening, you just have smaller audiences. This is called shadowbanning on Twitter or deboosting on Facebook. The next level of enforcement by social media platforms is to “demonetize” someone, which means they stop sending advertising to the viewers, and the content creator stops getting that revenue. On YouTube, this can take the form of merely reducing the number of ads served, or completely eliminating them. The final step, of course, is expulsion, which happens all the time.

Being expelled from one social media platform isn’t necessarily going to kill an online media business, since there are all the rest of them. And if you are expelled from all the social media sites, there is still your website. Here is where the next level of suppression kicks in, denial of membership services. These are online services that facilitate content creators acquiring paying supporters or subscribers. These services have nearly the same level of monopoly power as the social media platforms, because a supporter has to have an account with the membership services platform before they can direct funds to any specific content creator. Some of the major membership services platforms out are Patreon, Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, GoFundMe, and, until recently, SubscribeStar. The biggest and best-suited one for people operating YouTube channels is Patreon.

If a content creator is expelled from one membership service platform, they can’t just pick up the pieces with another one. If they have, for example, a half-million supporters on Patreon, and Patreon expels them, then every one of those half-million supporters has to open an account with the new membership services platform, and only then can elect to resume supporting that content creator. For all practical purposes, when you are expelled by a membership services platform, you have to start all over from scratch.

But it doesn’t end there. A website can open up its own membership services portal. It’s not that difficult. Put a page onto your site that accepts donations, hook it up to your bank account, and you’re off to the races. Right? Not so fast. The ultimate link in the chain is the online payment processors, of which there are only two, PayPal and Stripe. And yes, when content creators cross the line, wherever that line may be, the payment processors stop processing their transactions. They are dead in the water.

These are the assorted monopolies and near-monopolies that can enforce censorship. Bypassing them is extremely difficult. For all practical purposes, they exercise absolute control over what we see online.

Big Tech Strikes Sargon of Akkad

When it comes to IDW celebrities, there aren’t too many as big as Sargon of Akkad, whose YouTube channel has over a million subscribers and has delivered 270 million views. “Sargon” (not the Mesopotamian King) is actually Carl Benjamin, a 40-year-old British political commentator and former UK Independence Party candidate who has been building his YouTube audience since 2010. In 2014, at the height of the Gamergate controversy, he attracted publicity for exposing efforts by progressive feminists to influence video game development.

Controversy has been currency for Sargon of Akkad, like it has for everyone on the IDW. But when it comes to big tech censorship, some controversies are more controversial than others. Benjamin criticized sacred leftist pieties surrounding, among others, feminism, white privilege, and fundamentalist Islam. With his provocative style, exasperating commitment to logic, and uninhibited use of his right to free speech, he’d made a lot of enemies.

Apparently, Patreon agreed, and on December 6, 2018, it banned Benjamin’s account. Overnight, the $12,000 per month he was making from subscribers supporting him through Patreon was gone. His offense was that Patreon had uncovered a video “off-platform,” meaning it wasn’t even on his own YouTube channel, where in a discussion, Benjamin used the “N-word.” It didn’t matter that he was only using the word in an abstract way to make a point—or that examples have been found of that word being used on other YouTube channels that are served by Patreon.

As reported by Tim Pool, when Benjamin went to an alternative member services provider, SubscribeStar, that competes with Patreon, leftist activists hounded PayPal to sever their relationship with it. In turn, that not only stymied Benjamin’s attempt to offer his supporters a new platform, it abruptly ended the cash flow for every preexisting client of SubscribeStar, and sent that service provider into a tailspin from which it has yet to recover.

Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images

Sargon of Akkad was hardly the only casualty. Patreon was on a roll. The day before, according to Vice News, on December 6, Milo Yiannopoulos had his Patreon account terminated “just 24 hours after he’d set it up to fund his ‘magnificent 2019 comeback tour,’” and, “the crowdfunding site said Yiannopoulos was ‘removed from Patreon as we don’t allow association with or supporting hate groups.’”

In his brief but spectacular bout with global fame and infamy, Yiannopoulos opened himself up to a lot of scathing criticism, some of it deserved, but nobody who has watched his antics would seriously consider him to represent a “hate group.” And nobody who has watched Carl Benjamin’s body of work would think it reasonable to ban him for uttering a word, off-platform, in an abstract context, that is used repetitively, on platform, by other Patreon clients who are not banned. Many people agreed.

On December 16, 2018, in reaction to Patreon dropping Benjamin’s account, IDW iconoclast Sam Harris announced he would quit Patreon. This was a big account for Patreon to lose. At the time, Business Insider reported that “Harris’ podcast has found significant support on Patreon. According to Graphtreon, a site that tracks Patreon statistics, Harris had nearly 9,000 paying patrons at the end of November, when he had the fourth-largest podcast account and the 11th-largest account overall. The site estimated that Harris made $23,000 to $65,000 from Patreon per episode.”

Also on December 16, in solidarity with Benjamin, Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson released a video announcing their decision to stop using Patreon. They said they considered SubscribeStar but had to rule that out after PayPal stopped working with them. Peterson revealed that he has been working with Rubin on a system to replace Patreon plus offer additional features. It is a daunting challenge.

On January 1, Rubin and Peterson released an update. They announced they would leave Patreon on January 15. They both acknowledged the support Patreon gave them, as Peterson put it, “at a time when I really needed it,” and the risk that moving would pose. Rubin said he would lose 70 percent of his revenue overnight by leaving Patreon. But they emphasized how important it was to make a stand for free speech, calling attention to the website “Change the Terms.”

The “Change the Terms” website is no joke. With a membership comprised of dozens of powerful left-wing pressure groups, including the notoriously biased and fabulously endowed Southern Poverty Law Center, this organization approaches corporations, especially those providing online communications platforms or financial services, to “adopt policies to not allow their services to be used for hateful activities.” On their FAQ page, Change the Terms defines hateful activity as “activities that incite or engage in violence, intimidation, harassment, threats, or defamation targeting an individual or group based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.”

This, in an age when “words are violence,” and cry bullies can find virtually anything to be intimidating or harassing or threatening, and nearly anyone can consider themselves to be a member of one of these many protected groups. According to Peterson, Patreon actually claimed that the credit card companies pressured them into banning some of their clients.

What’s Next for the Intellectual Dark Web

The crackdown on internet free speech, especially any free speech that attacks the Left, has been ongoing. In 2016, it was clear that, for example, search results were being manipulated, but overall the Right was able to creatively use online media and compete effectively against the Left despite big tech’s left-wing bias. That was the last time.

By 2018, biased search results were just one major element of online communications that were weaponized by the Left. Deboosting, demonitizing, and expulsion were now practiced by all the major platforms. With their sights on 2020, the leftist assault on free speech has now moved into the realm of financial services, with payment processors and banks the new battlefield. The stakes are higher than ever.

An excellent explanation of what’s happened, and in particular, just how difficult it is either to set up comprehensive financial services that incorporate the big banks, or, even harder, to bypass them, can be found in a report by Allum Bokhari, published by Breitbart in July 2018.

“In online fundraising as in social media, the internet provides a tremendous advantage to those who know how to use it,” Bokhari writes. “As the left prepares for the 2018 midterms and the 2020 general election, they want to ensure that only they have access to that tremendous power. With PayPal and Stripe withdrawing support from politically neutral fundraising platforms, they are well on their way to achieving that aim.”

If the battle for free speech is not joined, the consequences eventually will go well beyond the ability to, say, make fun of feminists on Twitter, or explain on YouTube why merit-based immigration is the only way to avoid becoming a socialist hellhole. China, the expansionist ethnostate that has no compunctions regarding human rights, already keeps track of their citizens’ “social credit score.” If you express concern about Tibetan civil rights, or write about the Muslims of Xinjiang that they’re putting into concentration camps, your social credit score plummets, and good luck, the next time you want to travel, or buy a car, or rent an apartment. But why can’t American companies do the same thing?

Libertarians suggest we just let the “free market decide,” oblivious to the fact that if the “free market” decides, gigantic multinationals will run the world, erasing nations and cultures . . . The world is going to change more in the next 50 years than it has in the last 50 years.

They can. If they’re willing and able to throw someone off of an internet platform where someone has invested years to acquire an audience that now financially supports them, overnight, without warning, based on standards that aren’t uniformly applied, what else can an American corporation do? It’s not as though Americans don’t have “social credit scores,” they’re just not called that. In the age of the panopticon, where every transaction, every email, every search term, and every website you visit is recorded, where AI programs can sort through it all instantaneously and come up with more useful information about you than you’d ever know yourself, when everywhere you go, and everyone you know, is recorded and analyzed and packaged, there is nothing stopping a private business from favoring the people who possess what they perceive as high social credit scores, and excluding the low scorers from even purchasing their services. This has already begun. Just ask James Damore, Greg Piatek, or Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

At some point soon, what would stop corporations, prodded by organizations such as Change the Terms, from offering discounts to customers who support allied charities and activist groups? What’s stopping corporations from offering their own private currency as an incentive, creating captive customers who are conned into thinking they’re part of an exclusive, and very virtuous club, while shutting out those who don’t want to sign up? It’s not a big leap anymore from coupons and “rewards” programs to corporate cyber coins showered on activist customers with high social credit scores.

The Intellectual Dark Web shouldn’t be dark at all. The information, the commentary, and the debates on the IDW are on the most important issues of the 21st century. These debates, presented with balance, should dominate mainstream media—every cable television network, every major newspaper. But they don’t. Only one side is ever heard anymore. Google searches and Facebook boosts should be algorithmically neutral, exposing people to multiple points of view. But the opposite is true. From the cost/benefit of mass immigration to climate change, not only are legitimate counter-arguments suppressed, the people who voice them are demonized as bigots and “deniers.”

Mainstream wisdom alleges that content on the IDW is brainwashing its viewers and inciting right-wing violence. It is more likely that the IDW channels and helps contain the fury that’s growing in the hearts of millions of people who are relentlessly disenfranchised in their own nations. In the service of bottomless compassion, millions of destitute migrants are being resettled in communities across America and Europe, where they consume a disproportionate share of tax revenues at the same time that they’re taught in the public schools to dislike their hosts. In the service of saving the planet, for which no cost is too great, people are being herded into megacities where the cost of every amenity from housing to energy and water is artificially inflated. Meanwhile, wealthy elites generate profits from these oppressive, seismic transformations of Western societies, while they exempt themselves from its consequences.

What Sort of 22nd Century Will We Give Our Children?

If there’s one thing the Intellectual Dark Web could offer more of, particularly from the Right, it’s a comprehensive alternative to the rhetoric and schemes of the globalist Left. If you are born in 2019 and live a normal lifespan, you will witness the dawn of the 22nd century. What will the world look like by then, and how do we prepare? The Right is not offering sufficient answers to that nearly impossible question.

Libertarians suggest we just let the “free market decide,” oblivious to the fact that if the “free market” decides, gigantic multinationals will run the world, erasing nations and cultures. The Christian Right, besieged by the Leftist establishment, would preserve nations and cultures, but has to confront and hopefully moderate the ineluctable rise of terrifying new technologies. The world is going to change more in the next 50 years than it has in the last 50 years.

The Right needs to expose the hideous misguided visions of the Left, but it also needs to offer viable, inclusive visions of its own. The worst mistake the Right can make is to match the nihilistic, futile, downright evil identity politics of the Left with their own brand of right-wing tribalism.

By the 22nd century, the early forays of society into transhumanism, exemplified by the currently stylish decisions by celebrities and their pubescent acolytes to elect to become politically correct “non-binaries,” will mature into the genuine reshaping of the human form. Genetic engineering will enable almost unimaginable alterations to what throughout history has been predestined and immutable. Children may well be conceived and brought to term outside the womb, with their gender, their intellect, even the color of their skin, designed in advance by the “parents.” The code that governs aging may be cracked, prolonging life indefinitely, or barring that, replacement organs and other forms of rejuvenation will offer dramatic options for life extension. Most diseases will be curable. Cybernetic enhancement will be ubiquitous. Whether all of this seems like utopia or hell depends on who you ask, and will be determined in large part by how we manage these transformations. One way or another, they will occur.

In the war for public opinion, the intellectual dark web is the last refuge of free speech and open debate on the policy issues that will define what sort of world we leave to our posterity.

On the other hand, will we even make it into the 22nd century? It isn’t “climate change” that is most likely to kill us, it’s the exponentially increasing asymmetry of affordable war technologies.

It’s easier than ever for small nations, or even terrorist organizations, to deploy weapons of mass destruction. Over the coming decades, these options will grow in scope and impact, encompassing deadly toxins, designer diseases, nuclear devices, nanobots, computer viruses, and things we can’t yet imagine. This reality almost demands a surveillance state response, and also reveals any right-wing contingencies about fighting for freedom with AR-15s as pure fantasy. Sharpshooters are no match for swarms of intelligent micro-drones. Either the democratic process will prevent the onset of tyranny, or nothing will.

Which brings us back to the establishment’s attack on the Intellectual Dark Web. It is ongoing and accelerating.

Despite announcing an alternative to Patreon back in December, and leaving the Patreon platform in January, there is still nothing available from Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin that isn’t vulnerable to activist Left efforts like those of “Change the Terms,” other organizations, and the inherent leftist bias of big tech. And there’s a reason that even powerful players such as Jordan Peterson, who could deploy millions to build an alternative platform if he wanted to, haven’t come up with anything just yet. The banking system itself is being co-opted by the Left. And even if his new platform accepts cyber currency from his fans, notwithstanding the still limited utility of those “currencies,” the ISPs themselves might at that point step into the act, denying use of the internet itself to proscribed content creators.

There are no easy answers, but one thing is certain: In the war for public opinion, the intellectual dark web is the last refuge of free speech and open debate on the policy issues that will define what sort of world we leave to our posterity. The online resources that enable anyone to earn a living producing online content are monopolies. Anyone suggesting otherwise based on the libertarian principle of private ownership is a useful idiot. Wake up. The Right needs to form its own activist groups, specifically devoted to aggressively pressuring tech companies and financial institutions to respect the first amendment. Our civilization hangs in the balance.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Elections • Online Censorship

Big Tech Censors Strike Again

Think corporate suppression of speech isn’t a problem? Think again. Silicon Valley is just getting warmed up in its efforts to shape public opinion for the 2020 elections.

YouTube on Monday banned three more independent commentators: James Allsup, “The Iconoclast,” and “Way of the World.” Their crime? Outspoken defense of Western Civilization, which apparently now is considered “hate speech.” Taken together, the videos posted by these three commentators had been watched more than 100 million times.

The most prominent of the newly banished, James Allsup, had over 450,000 subscribers. Thanks to this latest move by YouTube, America’s de facto Ministry of Truth, nearly a half-million Americans now have less reason than ever to believe their First Amendment rights will be respected, or, by extension, any of their constitutional rights.

Do the masters of YouTube fear “right-wing extremism?” Then they need to stop taking extreme measures that provoke extreme resentment. They need to stop engaging in fascist censorship.

For those of us who have never considered ourselves extremists, and who don’t necessarily agree with everything Allsup and these other banished commentators ever did or said, this is nonetheless a matter of principle. It is intolerable to let private business interests lobotomize our collective consciousness in pursuit of their corporate political agendas. That should not be happening here, in a nation that considers freedom of speech to be one of its fundamental principles.

One independent commentator who hasn’t yet had his tongue ripped out by the YouTube overlords, Vincent James, posted a scathing reaction to this latest act of corporate censorship:

The CEO of YouTube recently came out and talked about how they have an obligation to bring you the news, how they have an obligation to push down fake news and prop up authoritative news sources, and this sounds a lot like a publisher, and not like a platform.

Later in his video, James elaborates:

This is a matter of free speech in a new public town square that is the internet. There is no soapbox in the middle of the town square any longer, “town square” is social media. These social media companies have gotten by far too long with this protection and immunity by the federal government for what their users post.

There’s a whole community of people who smoke meth and film themselves on YouTube. This is illicit material, and those videos aren’t being taken down. If YouTube and Facebook and Twitter and all these different media companies were responsible for the content we post, they would be sued into absolute bankruptcy a long time ago. They have this blanket immunity from the federal government because they promote themselves as platforms, as a blank piece of paper where anyone can post anything as long as it follows the law of the land where they reside.

The law of the land in the United States does not include hate speech, as a matter of fact the supreme court has ruled on this multiple times unanimously. The “hate speech,” the “unpopular speech,” is the speech that needs to be protected the most.

Many free speech advocates may disagree with some of the commentaries Vincent James has offered, but he is absolutely right about the First Amendment, and he is absolutely right about these social media companies. They are either platforms or they are publishers. They cannot be both at the same time. This is a matter that requires executive action, or an urgent court battle, or legislative remedy. Don’t hold your breath.

Myriad Varieties of Censorship

Silencing online commentators takes many forms. They can be completely terminated, which is something occurring with increasing frequency. But they can also be deboosted, or shadowbanned, where the traffic to their sites is reduced.

Some of the ways this is done are through manipulated search results, removal from “recommended videos,” removal from trending topics, or by throttling down their bandwidth. Sites can also be demonetized, where ads are no longer served onto their pages, or, even more insidiously, partially demonetized, where ads still arrive, just fewer of them.

Unwanted commentators can also be attacked by throwing them off of subscription platforms such as Patreon, or even by expelling them from the payment processors such as PayPal.

Anyone who doesn’t think this is happening, and happening disproportionately to conservatives, is ignoring a mountain of evidence. Here, compiled by Vincent James, is a list of websites that have been censored by the social media companies. Here, published earlier this year by American Greatness, is a similar list of politically incorrect vloggers, and here is a list of politically inconvenient climate information websites.

There are alternative platforms, at least until the SJWs apply enough pressure to those to make them engage in similar censorship. BitChutenow hosts James Allsup, Way of the World, and The Iconoclast. But BitChute is buggy, slow, and has a bad search engine. Its global Alexa traffic ranking is 3,790. Think that’s good? YouTube ranks second, right after Google.

BitChute will improve. But it is a fantasy to pretend these alternative platforms will challenge the monopolistic reach of Google’s search algorithms or YouTube’s videos. They will be stigmatized as a right-wing ghetto, and they will barely show up on search results. As a result, they will not offer the viral, serendipitous discovery to open-minded virtual wanderers.

How many of us found many of these powerful alternative voices by accident? Unless the monopolies, who reach everyone, change their ways, that will never happen again.

Undermining the Spirit of the Constitution

When principles as fundamental as the First Amendment are violated, there are consequences. The immediate consequence is a rising fury and potential radicalization of every American who is watching this travesty unfold and sees the injustice, and sees either indifference or active misrepresentation coming from the establishment media and establishment politicians.

The more far-reaching consequence is the fact that if this isn’t stopped, right now, and reversed, moderate conservatives and moderate nationalists will develop increasing sympathies for their more extreme counterparts.

Why wouldn’t they? Every shred of content coming out of the mainstream media and entertainment, social media, corporate marketing, academia, K-12 public education, and nonprofit advocacy groups is globalist pablum. It’s sickening to watch, and now, we are expected to tolerate censorship of alternative voices found online?

An article published last month by the BBC comes embarrassingly close to revealing the motives behind escalating online censorship. Security correspondent Gordon Corera writes: “The more mainstream these narratives become, the greater the tension will be over whether they really are extreme or whether they represent acceptable political discourse, and the views of a substantial number of real people.”

A True Threat to Election Integrity

“These narratives.” That is the threat. What if “real people” don’t want open borders? What if they would like the facts, not a bunch of skewed BS, regarding how immigration policies affect the economy and social cohesion? What if they want balanced opinions, or just want to hear the other side for a change, on the issues of multiculturalism, race, feminism, gender “equity” and social justice? What if “real people” sometimes find an unrepentant critic of identity politics to be a breath of fresh air? What if they believe there should be a robust and honest debate over globalism, or over climate change?

Everyone knows what these social media companies are doing. They are trying to influence public opinion in favor of a globalist progressive agenda. No national borders. Anti-racist racism. Anti-sexist sexism. Gender “fluidity.” Corporate socialism. And of course, “Trump is Hitler.”

It’s working. But they must stop. Because if they do not stop, there will be a credible case to be made that the upcoming 2020 election results are not legitimate. Remember how the Democrats made that claim in 2016, because Russian “bots” allegedly swayed a few thousand votes? Determined social media manipulation of the entire online public square will affect millions of votes.

YouTube, and all the rest—back off.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Great America • Online Censorship

A Directory of Inconvenient Climate Information Websites

Bookmark them. Read them. Share them. While you still can.

Conservative free speech advocates have been rightly concerned about internet censorship, but the focus of those concerns has been relatively narrow. Conservatives are pushing back against big tech suppression of online critics of globalism, mass immigration, and identity politics. They are pushing back against Big Tech suppression of pro-Trump commentators. But there is another collection of online voices that quietly and very effectively have been suppressed: climate-change skeptics.

In the past 10 or 15 years, roughly at the same time as identity politics was assuming a dominant position in America’s corporate, academic, and media cultures, climate alarm followed a parallel trajectory. But starting in 2017, when the social media monopolies intensified their online offensive against politically incorrect content, climate skeptic content had already dwindled. It isn’t hard to understand why.

Identity politics, globalism, and mass immigration create obvious winners and losers, with Americans bitterly and almost evenly divided over what policies represent the best moral and practical choices. Policies and principles embracing “climate change,” by contrast, have conducted their own long, slow march through America’s institutions without encountering serious resistance. Proclaiming one’s belief in climate change dogma carries minimal downside and plenty of upside.

Embracing climate-change politics enriches and empowers the same cast of characters who embrace globalism—corporations, governments, the financial sector, nonprofits, academia, and the useful idiots in media and entertainment. 

Meanwhile, the downside of climate change policies is harder to articulate than the downside of globalism. As a result, financial support for scientists and analysts tagged as climate change “deniers” has nearly dried up over the past decade or so. Whoever is left confronts an overwhelming climate alarm apparatus.

The problem, however, is that globalism and climate alarm are two sides of the same coin. Globalism requires “climate refugees” to overwhelm the cultures and transform the electorate in developed nations. It requires authoritarian rationing to “save the planet.” It requires supra-national governing bodies to cope with the “climate crisis.” And the globalist project is fatally undermined by the availability of cheap and abundant fossil fuel.

Fossil fuel will remain the most inexpensive and abundant source of energy for at least the next 20 to 30 years, and cheap energy is the prerequisite for prosperity, which in turn is the prerequisite for literacy and voluntary population stabilization, political stability, economic development, and world peace.

Ignoring this fact—that cheap energy worldwide can only be delivered in the near term by continuing to develop fossil fuel—is the true crime of “denial” that is being perpetrated on humanity by globalists. And yet, only a handful of websites still seek to reopen the debate as to just how dangerous or imminent the threat CO2 emissions are to humanity and the planet. Here, sorted by viewership (most viewed on top) are some of the independent climate skeptic websites that remain active in 2019.

Climate Skeptic Websites

The viewership reaching these independent websites is almost negligible. “Watts Up With That?” authored by Heartland Institute Senior Fellow and former television meteorologist Anthony Watts, only scores a U.S. Alexa ranking of 16,178. Following in a distant second place is “Real Climate Science,” with a U.S. Alexa ranking of 77,839. Sites with extraordinary work, such as Bjorn Lomborg’s “Get the Facts Straight,” sit at a distant 780,564.

Web viewership rises and falls based a great deal on Google search results. If a website link shows up on the first screen of Google search results, it will get traffic. And this is a self-reinforcing cycle, the more a site shows up in search results, the more it will get visited, and the more it gets visited, the higher it will go in search results. This chicken-and-egg process obscures the reality of biased algorithms.

Search Google under “climate skeptic websites,” and the first two results you will get take you to “SkepticalScience.com,” a website devoted to debunking climate skeptics, followed by “RealClimate.org,” produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The fourth result is of marginal assistance—a Business Insider report from 2009 that provides a mostly geriatric assortment of the “10 most respected global warming skeptics.” The fifth result is “Watts Up With That.” Note that the fourth and fifth results are the only ones not directing readers to “consensus” material.

Nonprofits Still Willing to be Climate Skeptics

The most unambiguously skeptical think tank still compiling data and analysis that presents a skeptical perspective on climate change is The Heartland Institute. The Chicago-based group refers to its position as “climate realism” and has assembled an impressive lineup of skeptical experts on climate science and climate policy. Heartland regularly hosts international conferences on the topic of climate change and sponsors the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), which publishes regular reports that contradict much of what comes from the IPCC.

Another consistently realist think tank on climate is the American Enterprise Institute. The redoubtable PragerU has produced a 12-video series on climate change titled “Climate Change: What’s So Alarming.” Useful information on the scientific debate over climate change also comes from the libertarian Cato Institute and the venerable Heritage Foundation, although much of their focus has shifted to the policy debate.

Climate Skeptic Videos on YouTube

Searching YouTube to find climate skeptic content yields very little. If there are dedicated video channels offering ongoing new releases of credible climate skeptic content, they’re not very easy to find. Documentaries and other stand-alone videos with a climate skeptic perspective are sparse, but those few that could be found have valuable information:

Watching these videos, along with viewing climate skeptic websites, will present an open-minded inquisitor with information, data, logic, arguments, and perspectives that are utterly absent from mainstream public dialogue. 

It has become obligatory for any Democrat and the majority of Republican politicians in America—along with every establishment newscaster—to proclaim their adherence to the “consensus” on climate. The only debate left (not that it isn’t a big one) is how best to limit and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels.

The nondebate has serious consequences. It is preposterous to think worldwide use of fossil fuel will decline by any meaningful percentage within the next 30 years. What could happen, however, is it will be restricted to the point where developing nations, especially in Africa, will be pressured into developing a “renewable” energy infrastructure that will be far too expensive to rapidly deliver the broad-based prosperity that is a crucial prerequisite to population stabilization. 

Moreover, developing nations that are denied access to cheap fossil fuel will continue to rely on biomass to supplement inadequate or unaffordable renewable energy, stripping their forests for energy, or, worse, they will annihilate their ecosystems to plant “carbon neutral” corporate biofuel monocultures.

None of this is necessary. The only reason we are debating how best to eliminate the use of fossil fuels quickly is that “the debate is over” with respect to the planetary impact of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. But that debate is not over. Read the material on these websites. Watch the videos. There is ample scientific basis for the debate to be raging, and yet the corporate globalist establishment universally declares the debate to be “over.”

Why?

Virtually all powerful vested interests in the Western hemisphere recognize climate change alarm as leverage to impose self-serving policies and garner higher profits. The reasons for this are myriad: 

  •     Fossil fuel companies keep prices (and profits) high.
  •     “Renewable energy” companies acquire subsidies.
  •     Politicians enact new taxes.
  •     Public sector entities get new tax revenue.
  •     Environmentalist nonprofits have a new source of funds.
  •     Left-wing activists have a new basis to attack private ownership.
  •     Labor unions get more jobs, especially in the public sector.
  •     Lawyers have a new basis to file lawsuits.
  •     Wall Street trades emissions credits, making trillions in commissions.
  •     Climate researchers get more grant requests funded.
  •     United Nations bureaucrats get a guaranteed revenue stream.
  •     “Greentech” entrepreneurs receive generous subsidies for “green” products.
  •     Corporations can force consumers to replace all their appliances.
  •     Corporations can impose the “internet of things” to monitor household resource consumption.
  •     Millions of “climate refugees” will be transported to the developed nations who are to blame.
  •     Global governance will be necessary to coordinate climate mitigation efforts.

Taken individually, each of these reasons—and this list undoubtedly omits additional special interests that benefit from climate change alarm—represent a profound shift in public policy. Each of them represents investments skewing away from optimal returns and instead towards returns that favor a politically entitled group. The overall impact of all of them is regressive, increasing the cost-of-living for the most economically vulnerable populations.

These policies also represent a profound cultural shift with consequences that extend to every corner of society. All of a sudden:

  •     The litmus test for an environmentalist is whether they embrace climate change alarm and support climate change activism.
  •     Elementary school children are being indoctrinated to believe the planet is in imminent danger of becoming uninhabitable.
  •     Capitalism, rather than being viewed as the only practical and reasonably equitable engine for economic growth, is portrayed as the despicable cause of environmental catastrophe.
  •     A life of rationed scarcity, remotely monitored and managed by algorithms, replaces the reasonable expectation that technology and capitalism will deliver increasing abundance for every generation.
  •     Sovereign nations have become a toxic anachronism.
  •     Developed Western nations must admit millions of destitute refugees, often coming from hostile cultures, because the states where they lived failed due to “climate change” brought on by industrial civilization.

And suddenly the madman, racing through the streets screaming that the world is about to come to an end, is the sane person. Now the psychopaths are those who hold back, suggesting that perhaps the situation isn’t quite so dire.

All of this is an inversion of reality. All of this must be challenged, and challenged with the same vigor that Americans of all backgrounds are finally rising up to challenge identity politics. Climate change alarm, in its emotional fearmongering and scapegoating, in its reliance on authoritarian governance, and in its co-opting of the industrial and financial elites, is explicitly fascist.

In George Orwell’s masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, the main character, Winston, worked for the “Ministry of Truth.” His job, day after day, was the systematic rewriting of history. Today’s social media and search monopolies are the realized versions of what Orwell imagined. They define and redefine our reality. As credible, informed content offering a climate skeptic’s perspective disappear from search results, as the traffic to these websites dwindles into nothingness, a part of our collective consciousness is lobotomized. We lose our ability to make informed choices. 

Read these websites. Bookmark them. Share them. Print them. While you still can.

It is not enough to debate climate change policy. Even in the most benign forms, policies based on the premise that fossil fuel use must swiftly be eliminated represent policy choices that will magnify human suffering around the world at the same time as they disenfranchise the citizenry of entire nations.

The scientific debate must be renewed. Even if the alarmists are right, the fact that “the debate is over” is universally recited by every instrument of America’s establishment should terrify anyone concerned about free speech, if not freedom itself.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

News • Online Censorship

Google Whistleblower Goes Public: ‘Something Dark and Nefarious is Going on with the Company’

A Google insider who anonymously leaked internal documents to Project Veritas decided to go public after the San Francisco police, a SWAT team and a bomb squad paid an unannounced visit to his home.

Zachary Vorhies, who outwardly looks like your stereotypical, liberal millennial Silicon Valley tech worker, said his decision to go public about Google’s “algorithmic unfairness” was “an act of atonement.”

“To have that burden lifted off of my soul–I’ve never felt happier,” he said.

The whistle-blower provided Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe with additional internal Google documents to publish on his website.

“I gave the documents to Project Veritas, I had been collecting the documents for over a year,” Vorhies said. “And the reason why I collected these documents was because I saw something dark and nefarious going on with the company.”

He added, “I felt like our entire election system was going to be compromised forever by this company that had told the American public that it was not going to do any evil and I saw that they were making very quick moves.”

One method Google uses to suppress inconvenient information is to remove mostly conservative news sites from search results. Below is a list of news sites won’t show up underneath the Google search bar when people are searching on their Android phones.

Vorhies explained that he was able to ascertain what they were doing after seeing the documents and listening to what Google executives were saying internally to employees.

“They were intending to sculpt the information landscape so that they could create their own version of what was objectively true,” he explained. “They want to act as gatekeepers between the user and the content that they’re trying to access.”

Vorhies said that when people see the documents for themselves, “they’re going to be shocked, they’re going to be terrified, and they’re going to be like, ‘how could Google so blatantly lie to the American public and lie to Congress when there is a pile of evidence showing that what they’re saying is untrue.”

Project Veritas published some of the internal Google documents in June of 2019, revealing “algorithmic unfairness.”  According to Vorhies, those documents were widely available to full-time Google employees.

“These documents were available to every single employee within the company that was full-time. And so as a full time employee at the company, I just searched for some keywords and these documents started to pop up. And so once I started finding one document and started finding keywords for other documents and I would enter that in and continue this cycle until I had a treasure trove and archive of documents that clearly spelled out the system, what they’re attempting to do in very clear language.”

Shortly after the June report went public, Vorhies sayid he received a letter from Google that contained six “demands.”

Vorhies told Project Veritas that he complied with Google’s demands, which included a request for any internal Google documents he may have personally retained. Vorhies also said he sent those documents to the Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

The whistleblower said he then consulted with two lawyers to find out out what Google’s next move would be.

He said both attorneys told him, “this is the first step in having your life ruined. They’re going to come after you.”

After he was outed as a “leaker”on Twitter by an anonymous account (believed to a Google employee), law enforcement paid him a visit at his residence in California.

According to Vorhies, San Francisco police received a call from Google which prompted a “wellness check.”

“They got inside the gate, the police, and they started banging on my door… And so the police decided that they were going to call in additional forces. They called in the FBI, they called in the SWAT team. And they called in a bomb squad.”

Vorhies described the incident in detail to “True Pundit.”

Some of the intimidating incident was caught on camera.

“[T]his is a large way in which [Google tries to] intimidate their employees that go rogue on the company…” Vorhies explained. He said his attorneys told him that the point of the visit was “to try to establish that I’ve got some sort of mental problem in order to make their case easier.”

Vorhies literally fearing for his life, said he had decided to “put out a dead man’s switch.”

“I wanted to let them know that if something were to happen to me, then these documents are going to be released immediately,” he said.

Project Veritas said the San Francisco police confirmed to them that they did receive a “mental health call,” and responded to Vorhies’ address that day.

Apparently in California, anyone can be SWATTED for any reason if the tipster is powerful enough.

Project Veritas has released hundreds of internal Google documents leaked by Vorhies. Among those documents is a file called “news black list site for google now.” The document, according to Vorhies, is a “black list,” which restricts certain websites from appearing on news feeds for an Android Google product. The list includes conservative and progressive websites, such as newsbusters.org and mediamatters.org. The document says that some sites are listed with or because of a “high user block rate.”

Another newly published document titled “Fringe ranking/classifer: Defining channel quality” lists an example ranking of various news sites, including CNN and FOX News. A document titled “Fake news & other fringe: Trashy recap” reveals that videos are rated by multiple “human raters.”

One internal Google document labelled “coffee beans” appears to show Google employees discussing diversity hiring practices. A related internal thread of communications also shows an apparent discussion about the “coffee beans” document, where one Google employee expresses concern that the document appears to “misrepresent Google’s hiring practices in a way that could raise legal questions…”

Another thread of internal Google documents shows Google employees discussing President Donald Trump’s infamous “covfefe” tweet, and a proposed plan to change the Google translation of the term.

Vorhies encouraged more insiders at Google to go public and discuss big tech abuses.

“My message to those that are on the fence is I released the documents. They can go in, they can see everything that Google is doing and then they can see the scale of it. Because I think that there’s a lot of engineers that have a hint that things are wrong, but they don’t understand the colossal scale that it’s at. And so for those people, I say, look at the documents, take the pulse of America, see what’s happening and come and tell the world you know what you already know to be true.”

 

 

An index of internal Google documents Project Veritas received from the Google insider can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

Censorship
Politics
Fake News
Hiring Practices
Leadership Training
Machine Learning Fairness

Partisanship

Psychological Research
Everything.zip
Misc and Video

UPDATE:

A Daily Beast analysis of Vorhies’ tweets revealed that the whistleblower has a penchant for online conspiracy theories.

 On social media, Vorhies is an avid promoter of anti-Semitic slanders  that banks, the media, and the United States government are controlled by “Zionists.”

He’s also pushed conspiracy theories like QAnon, Pizzagate, and the discredited claim that vaccines cause autism.

Vorhies and Google didn’t respond to requests for comment.

On his Twitter account, @Perpetualmaniac, Vorhies repeatedly attacks Jewish people and accuses them of a wide range of crimes. (Both O’Keefe and his group, Project Veritas, promoted Vorhies’s Twitter account in tweets on Monday.)

He even alleges that “Zionists” killed conservative publisher and O’Keefe mentor Andrew Breitbart, who died of heart failure in 2012.

Vorhies responded here:

https://twitter.com/Perpetualmaniac/status/1161675263412973568?s=20

None of this of course disputes the troubling information found in the leaked Google documents.

Elections • Online Censorship • Post

Warning to Big Tech: Trump Won’t Brook Bias at Summit

When President Trump hosts leading tech executives at the White House on Friday, the specter of Silicon Valley’s power over America’s political discourse and the electoral process will loom large.

Ostensibly, the topic of the summit will be the spread of extremism and the use of online platforms by domestic terrorists. But if the president’s astute tweets earlier this week are any indication, he’ll also be on guard against any potential efforts by Big Tech to use those threats as excuses to discriminate against conservatives even more than they do already.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai assured the president in March that his company is maintaining political fairness. Anyone who has seen their favorite conservative voices deplatformed and the transformation of Google search results since President Trump’s victory in 2016, however, knows that was a lot of double talk.

Since then, there’s been a cascade of evidence showing that Google’s employees are determined to stop President Trump from winning a second term and repeat the humiliation that literally brought them to tears in 2016. Just days ahead of the White House summit, we learned that Google employees celebrated the company’s decision to pull funding from CPAC, the largest conservative conference in the country, calling it a “circus platform for hate.”

But one story in particular captured the president’s attention and called Pichai’s claim of political neutrality into serious question: whistleblower and ex-Google engineer Kevin Cernekee’s revelation that “there is bias at every level of the organization.”

Based on his experience with his former employer, Cernekee warned that Google intends to “ramp up the censorship” as the 2020 election approaches. 

“Google has a lot of mechanisms for manipulating public opinion,” Cernekee asserted in a subsequent interview. “They’re constantly looking for ways to manipulate the electoral process.”

Cernekee’s decision to come forward this week immediately set the tone for Friday’s summit at the White House. As President Trump tweeted, Pichai’s professions of neutrality “sounded good until I watched Kevin Cernekee, a Google engineer, say terrible things about what they did in 2016 and that they want to ‘Make sure that Trump [loses] in 2020.’” 

There are signs that the other tech giants are equally committed to tipping the 2020 elections toward the Democrats. Just one day after the president posted that tweet, Twitter locked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s official campaign account for posting a video of a Black Lives Matter protest outside McConnell’s home that shows activists calling for physical violence against the GOP leader. Twitter’s purported justification for censoring McConnell’s account—that the video contained “violent threats”—is patently ridiculous, considering that McConnell was the subject, not the author, of those threats. It’s a classic case of blaming the victim to accommodate a political agenda.

Cernekee’s bravery may wind up making a huge difference at a pivotal time. After the horrific terrorist attack in El Paso, Texas, the tech giants are champing at the bit to eradicate “white nationalists” from the internet, and the entire left-wing media establishment is adamantly insisting that President Trump, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Candace Owens, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), and even rank-and-file Trump-supporting Republicans are “white nationalists” or worse. 

Tech executives were probably hoping to use the summit to argue that it’s their duty to purge the internet of such voices, which would have given a false veneer of legitimacy to their ongoing efforts to prevent conservatives from using social media platforms to counter the rampant liberal bias of the mainstream media. Instead, Big Tech will come to the White House with the threat of an executive order to combat online censorship hanging over their heads.

Unfortunately, Cernekee’s decision to speak up also comes at a price. Not only was he previously fired for refusing to cave to the leftist orthodoxy of his Google co-workers, but he’s been slandered, as well.

The Daily Caller recently published leaked listserv posts from January 2017 in which Cernekee decries political violence and directs his Google co-workers to a crowd-funding effort to find the Antifa thug who sucker-punched actual white nationalist Richard Spencer.

It was a prescient message at the very beginning of the current wave of unrest that culminated last weekend in twin mass murders—one by a racist extremist in El Paso, Texas; the other by a dedicated Antifa-supporter who vowed to “kill all fascists” in Dayton, Ohio. It was a plea to pull back from the brink and condemn political violence, whatever side it comes from.

With the help of equally biased reporters eager to help them nullify Cernekee’s whistleblowing, however, Google’s liberals have sought to twist that message of peace into evidence that Cernekee himself is a neo-Nazi. 

Luckily, President Trump hasn’t been distracted by the noise or the spin. When Big Tech’s representatives arrive at the White House on Friday, they won’t be able to launch their anticipated offensive against conservative speech, because they’ll be too busy trying to defend Silicon Valley’s rampant liberal bias and ongoing efforts to interfere in our elections.

Photo credit: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Big Media • Books & Culture • Online Censorship • The Left

A Directory of Politically Incorrect, Algorithmically Stifled Vloggers

Anyone who doesn’t believe the Right is being suppressed systematically by the communications monopolies of Big Tech either is not paying attention, is hopelessly biased, or is thoroughly brainwashed.

The process of suppression takes many forms. It isn’t merely suppression of conservative viewpoints on the major social media platforms (Google, Facebook, Twitter), but suppression of the related apps (Apple, Amazon), exclusion from the principal funding sites (Patreon, Kickstarter, GoFundMe), exclusion from the major online payment processors (PayPal, Stripe), and in some cases even access denial by the internet service providers (AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon).

In most cases, suppression has not been total. One of the first to be banished, Alex Jones, still has his “Infowars” website; one of the more recent casualties also survives online as a stand-alone, the relaunched Milo Yiannopoulos’s “Dangerous” website. But in the monopolistic communications infrastructure of social media platforms, apps and funding sites, they don’t exist. If you don’t know where to look for these orphaned websites, you won’t find them.

Suppression of conservative content began in earnest after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, intensified further in the months immediately preceding the 2018 midterms, and further still with the wave of purges that took place this spring. This story has been told again and again, a very recent example would be testimony by Dennis Prager before the U.S. Senate on July 16.

Finding the Vloggers Who Have Been Suppressed
It is impossible to track every conservative who has been suppressed online. For every major figure who is attacked, there are hundreds of minor figures who also have been attacked by the leftist complaint warriors and quietly deboosted, demonetized, shadowbanned, or just plain eliminated.

Here then, is a list of conservative YouTube vloggers who are still active on that platform. If you regularly view one of these channels, you will probably still see them recommended. But otherwise, even if you view similar content, it is unlikely they will appear as “recommended videos,” or if they do appear, fewer of them will appear, and those few will appear less often. Instead you will be referred to mainstream conservative channels, starting with Fox News. This shift began in April 2019, and is specifically aimed at limiting exposure to these independent platforms.

It is important to note that some of the vloggers listed here actually do produce content most conservatives would consider objectionable. It is not possible to vet the entire body of work of every one of the individuals on this list. What is remarkable, however, is how in a fair online universe, some of these vloggers should never have come under attack. The diligent Tim Pool and the impeccable Dennis Prager come to mind.

There are many others for whom there is absolutely no case to be made for their suppression. But so what? What if some of this content is truly offensive and objectionable? Should it be suppressed?

One fledgling attempt to circumvent the biased online monopolies is the video platform BitChute. While the site has risen to an impressive worldwide Alexa ranking of 4,065 (the YouTube monopoly is ranked No. 2), it still has bugs and glitches. But BitChute’s community guidelines explicitly endorse freedom of expression, and at least so far, a commitment to unbiased policing of content. On the question of suppression, BitChute’s website says “The mere fact that an idea is disliked or thought to be incorrect does not justify its censorship.”

Standing on that principle, the ideal online media platform would treat all websites equally, allowing them to rise and fall based on viewer preference, or as the cliché aptly puts it, “in the marketplace of ideas.”

With all this in mind, and based on the admittedly nebulous principle that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, here is a list of the “reactionary right” vloggers as catalogued in a report published in Fall 2018 by the left-of-center organization Data and Society:

The Reactionary Right on YouTube according to Data and Society

James Allsup– 452,936 subscribers, 72 million views

Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad) – 964,511 subscribers, 297 million views

Owen Benjamin– 262,712 subscribers, 51 million views

Taleed Brown (That Guy T) – 96,997 subscribers, 6 million views

John Canales (Mouthy Buddha) – 142,512 subscribers, 10 million views

Mike Cernovich– 77,704 subscribers, 2.6 million views

Lauren Chen (Pseudo Intellectual) – 364,058 subscribers, 34 million views

Mark Collett– 93,694 subscribers, 9 million views

Steven Crowder– 4 million subscribers, 817 million views

Dave Cullen (Computing Forever) – 410,286 subscribers, 97 million views

Marcus Follin (The Golden One) – 95,822 subscribers, 12 million views

Nicholas Fuentes (America First) – 37,731 subscribers, 700,000 million views

Jean-François Gariépy– 47,262 subscribers, 4 million views

Faith J. Goldy– 105,799 subscribers, 6 million views

Timothy Gionet (Baked Alaska) – now totally banned from YouTube

Rebecca Hargraves (Blonde in the Belly of the Beast) – 130,787 subscribers, 7 million views

Sam Harris– 339,111 subscribers, 5 million views

Brooks Heatherly (No Bullshit) – 651,990 subscribers, 136 million views

Jeff Holiday– 105,671 subscribers, 9 million views

Matt Jarbo (Mundane Matt) –  134,698 subscribers, 89 million views

Felix Lace (Black Pigeon Speaks) – 532,341 subscribers, 59 million views

Ezra Levant (Rebel Media) – 1.3 million subscribers, 452 million views

Chris Maldonado (Chris Ray Gun) – 605,475 subscribers, 92 million views

Gavin McInnes– 349,149 subscribers, 41 million views

Mister Metokur– 305,538 subscribers, 53 million views

Stefan Molyneux– 919,197 subscribers, 276 million views

Antonia Okafor– 5,841 subscribers, 0.2 million views

James O’Keefe (Project Veritas) – 311,027 subscribers, 42 million views

Henrik Palmgren and Lana Lokteff (Red Ice TV) – 327,959 subscribers, 46 million views

Jordan Peterson– 2.2 million subscribers, 110 million views

Brittany Pettibone– 125,716 subscribers, 8 million views

Tim Pool– 574,254 subscribers, 98 million views

Colin Robertson (Millennial Woes) – 54,299 subscribers, 5 million views

Joe Rogan– 5.8 million subscribers, 1.4 billion views

Dave Rubin– 1.0 million subscribers, 219 million views

Martin Sellner– 26,040 subscribers, 1.4 million views

Ben Shapiro– 792,908 subscribers, 47 million views

Lauren Southern– 716,792 subscribers, 59 million views

Richard Spencer– 2,454 subscribers, 111,345 views

Ayla Stewart (Wife with a Purpose) – 11,776 subscribers, 652,907 views

Jared Taylor (American Renaissance) – 113,447 subscribers, 12 million views

Annand Virk (Bunty King) – 66,984 subscribers, 0.5 million views

Andy Warski– 245,152 subscribers, 45 million views

Tarl Warwick (Styxhexenhammer666) – 380,464 subscribers, 182 million views

Paul Joseph Watson– 1.7 million subscribers, 400 million views

Blaire White– 520,103 subscribers, 65 million views

Milo Yiannopolous – banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Patreon

Other Members of the Reactionary Right According to Data and Society

James Damore – former Google employee, author of “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber

Larry Elder – Larry Elder Show

Andrew Klavan – The Andrew Klavan Show

Michael Knowles – The Michael Knowles Show

Candace Owens – Candace Owens Show

Dennis Prager – founder of Prager University

Can the Online Conservative Presence Be Effectively Suppressed?
Since the latest assault on internet free speech, many of these YouTube channels have seen their referral visits drop by 50 percent or more. But there remains a fluidity to the conservative presence online that may be impossible to suppress. First because many of these channels are so big that shutting them down would provoke an uproar, as happened this past May when YouTube used out of context remarks made by Carl Benjamin to temporarily delete his account. Benjamin, whose channel is called “Sargon of Akkad,” has nearly 1 million subscribers and has delivered nearly 300 million views.

Other channels are even bigger. The inimitable Paul Joseph Watson has delivered 400 million views on his YouTube channel; Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media has delivered over 450 million views; Joe Rogan’s channel has delivered well over 1 billion views.

Moreover, the traffic trends are dramatic.  Jordan Peterson, whose informed but politically unwelcome candor on gender issues catapulted him to worldwide fame, had just over 90 million views when last reported in April, he’s now delivered over 110 million views.

If the conservative presence online is protected by dozens of too-big-to-squelch pundits with burgeoning audiences, it is also protected by thousands, if not tens of thousands of much smaller content producers who are perpetually researching and posting, producing a torrent of content that can’t possibly be contained. For every Joe Rogan or Paul Joseph Watson, there are a thousand lesser-known but worthy conservative pundits such as Fleccas Talks, Conservative Resurgence, or Blue Collar Logic, diligently posting and building their audiences.

In some ways, the biggest advantage favoring online conservatives is the fact of their suppression. While some “conservative” or alt-Right content may indeed be objectionable, all of it is granted cachet by virtue of it being forbidden. And when so much of what conservatives post online is not only true, but in direct contradiction to what is being routinely spewed forth from the approved mainstream sources of news, it triggers feelings of betrayal in the hearts of fair-minded, truth-seeking liberals. They have their so-called red pill moment. They walk away.

The issue of internet censorship is only one significant fraction of the transformations heralded by digital technology and artificial intelligence. A troubling article in the Summer 2019 issue of American Affairs, “Algorithmic Governance and Political Legitimacy,” explores the ways in which algorithms could become even more faceless arbiters of misguided policies than the faceless bureaucrats of the last century.

The challenges facing society wrought by technology, and the leftist dominated monopolies that currently control technology, reach well beyond free speech. But despite the ongoing AI-enabled crackdown on free speech, the nature of the internet itself may yet defy containment. It may yet fulfill its original promise to deliver irrepressible truth and freedom to the people in America, and everywhere else in the world.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

KBO • Online Censorship

Tech Overlords Head to Capitol Hill for Antitrust, Censorship Hearings

Tech honchos from Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google will appear on Capitol Hill today for some testimony before the House and the Senate. First up, we have the House Judiciary Committee on antitrust issues.

The committee is likely to discuss antitrust probes of the four companies under way at the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission, as well as allegations that the companies seek to thwart nascent competitors.

Witnesses include Google’s Adam Cohen, director of economic policy; Nate Sutton, an associate general counsel at Amazon; Matt Perault, head of global policy development at Facebook and Apple’s Kyle Andeer, a vice president and chief compliance officer.

This whole week has the tech companies appearing before Congress on several issues.

On Tuesday, July 16, alone, lawmakers will hold the first hearing on Libra (Facebook’s cryptocurrency offering), four big tech companies will go before a House antitrust panel, and a Senate Judiciary subcommittee will hold a hearing looking at Google.

This comes as tech giants are under increasing scrutiny from lawmakers in both parties — over data privacy, antitrust issues, and accusations of partisan censorship.

Over in the Senate, Google will appear before a a Judiciary subcommittee led by Senator Ted Cruz.

Cruz, the chairman of the subcommittee on the Constitution, held a censorship hearing with Facebook and Twitter (TWTR) in February — but at the time, the committee declined a witness from Google, because the company was not offering a senior enough official.

Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of public policy, is scheduled to testify on Tuesday. Andy Parker, gun control advocate and father of Allison Parker — a local TV reporter who was killed during a live broadcast —is also set to testify.

Dennis Prager, of conservative media organization PragerU, is on the witness list as well. PragerU attended a White House event last week, billed as a “social media summit” (featuring far-right internet personalities, conservative think tanks and social media critics — but no major social media companies).

Why is a gun control advocate on a panel about Google? The Senate hearing will take place at 2:30pmET. You can watch it online.

2016 Election • Donald Trump • Online Censorship • Post • Technology

Facebook Co-Founder: Punish Facebook for Not Stopping Trump

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is upset that the social media platform didn’t do more to stop the rise of Donald Trump, and he’s calling for the company to be broken up and regulated in hopes of preventing a repeat of the 2016 election.

Hughes’s main regret is not that his former company censors the Right—it’s that Facebook didn’t start aggressively targeting conservatives long ago.

Big Tech’s increasing willingness to silence voices from the Right, makes Hughes’s recent New York Times op-ed interesting. His article is a complex mass of ideas, personal reminiscences, and proposed solutions, but his core argument can be reduced to two main points.

The first point is out in the open; it’s basically the thesis of the article: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, other social media giants—and, by extension, the Silicon Valley monopolies in general—have an unbelievable amount of power over our lives and our public discourse.

Hughes is absolutely correct on that point. Big Tech companies—Facebook, Google, and Twitter being the most prominent—have more control over the information that reaches the public than any entity since the advent of mass media.

Social media is the modern public square. The power to censor social media is the power to shape ideas. The power to “deplatform” dissidents from social media is the power to silence their voices.

Hughes didn’t much care about any of that until he realized that free speech online helped Donald Trump become president of the United States.

It’s no secret that social media was a driving force behind the Trump movement. American nationalists, populists, and conservatives were able to circumvent a mainstream media—not to mention a political establishment—that hated them.

With minimal censorship, we won the war of ideas on social media, then we won the primaries, and then we put Donald Trump in the White House. President Trump equally leveraged the freedom of direct mass communications to direct the movement as our new leader.

That is what so concerns the people who have spent the past three years offering outlandish excuses for Trump’s victory, such as Russian Facebook ads and bogus Twitter accounts.

Hughes differs from his former colleagues, however, in the way he interprets the Trump phenomenon. Whereas Facebook has sought to consolidate its power and use it to squelch conservative voices, Hughes is proposing that the company should be broken up into smaller pieces because conservatives have succeeded in using the platform to amplify their voices.

“I’m disappointed in myself and the early Facebook team for not thinking more about how the News Feed algorithm could change our culture, influence elections, and empower nationalist leaders,” Hughes writes, adding later in the article that “It took the 2016 election fallout and Cambridge Analytica to awaken me to the dangers of Facebook’s monopoly.”

Hughes’s choice of words, especially given President Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of the “nationalist” moniker, makes it perfectly clear who and what he’s talking about. Hughes seems to have concluded that something must be done to prevent a repeat of the 2016 election, even if it means breaking up the company he helped found.

Photo Credit: Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

KBO • Online Censorship

Stripe Deplatforms Independent Candidate Tommy Robinson Days Before EU Election

Tommy Robinson, a right-wing activist and independent candidate for the EU elections, was bounced off of Stripe this week, severely limiting his ability to fundraise in the crucial final weeks of the campaign. Robinson is an official candidate on the ballot for the EU Parliament election in the North West of England on May 23rd.

Stripe, an online payment processing company based in San Francisco, justified the move by saying that Robinson had violated their service agreement, according to his lawyer Ron Coleman.

Stripe informed Robinson earlier this week that two accounts in connection with him, VoteTommy (his campaign organization’s account) and TROnline had been terminated.

In a letter to the company, Coleman noted that Robinson’s campaign activities did not seem to be in violation of Stripe’s service agreement and  demanded that the company explain the specific basis for the suspension.

“The loss of the VoteTommy Stripe account for campaign-related fundraising mere days before the vote is severely hindering Tommy’s ability to participate in the Democratic process by which EU voters choose who will represent them in the EU Parliament,” he wrote.

“We presume that Stripe has no intention of interfering with the EU electoral process by using its online service to “vote” against a lawful candidate or to hamper EU voters’ rights to hear every candidate,” Coleman added.

Robinson was arrested last May after publishing a Facebook Live video of Pakistani rape gangs defendants entering a law court in defiance of restrictions on reporting ongoing trials.

He served what was originally a 13-month prison sentence for contempt of court after publishing a Facebook Live video of Pakistani rape gangs defendants entering a law court in defiance of restrictions on reporting ongoing trials.[1] He was illegally arrested on May 26, 2018 for this, and the judge presiding over his case, Geoffrey Marson, illegally ordered all details related to his arrest and trial, including his identity, to be banned from being published by the country’s media.

His imprisonment prompted thousands of British citizens to protest outside of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s residence at 10 Downing Street in London and outside the British Parliament and demand Robinson’s release.

Robinson was kicked off off Paypal for allegedly violating their terms of service last November. The right-wing rabble-rouser was also deplatformed from Facebook, Twitter, snapchat and Instagram.  YouTube removed adverts from Robinson’s account in January of 2019, saying that he had breached the site’s guidelines. Last month YouTube restricted his account due to what they called its “borderline content.”

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

First Amendment • Free Speech • Online Censorship • Post • Technology • The Constitution

Our Tech Slave Power

There can be no doubt any longer that Facebook, Google, Twitter, and their subsidiaries—YouTube, Instagram, Periscope, among others—are trying to suffocate political speech. These American companies have chosen political sides with the Democratic Party, donating what amounts to an in-kind political contribution by silencing those who disagree with them.

Consider that techno censors have never harassed fake news organizations like CNN, and wannabe doxxers like Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims spew hateful attacks on minors without consequence.

There can be no doubt any longer that tech companies have no desire to preserve liberties or the common good. They endeavor to become a new slave power by taking that which we earn by the sweat of our brow. We work; they eat.

As long as we play by their often hidden and opaque rules, and utter only the approved opinions, we might be able to partake in the scraps they throw at us from their table.

Their actions condemn any pretense that they are disinterested, objective gatekeepers of speech. Google tried to silence the Claremont Institute from purchasing an innocuous ad announcing its 40th anniversary dinner gala. Twitter banned David Horowitz. Many others face lifetime bans for expressing their political opinions.

When the Silicon Valley oligarchs feel political pressure for their deplatforming decisions, they blame the “algorithm” or say the “mistake” was a technical “glitch.” This is, of course, a lie; but it allows them to avoid responsibility.

It is, moreover, a lie that is a material misstatement or omission in connection with the sale of a security; if it were known that these public companies were risking regulation by tampering with American politics their stock values would plunge.

And the lie is transparent. Limitations on free speech are imposed only on the Right, not the Left. Algorithms are coded by human beings and those codes target certain forms of speech the human programmers don’t like. Just ask James Damore, who wrote about Google’s “echo chamber.” It might be more appropriately called a Star Chamber.

This has had a chilling effect on speech. When people have to watch what they say or else lose their livelihoods, political speech comes with a high price. Libertarians believe all of this is fine, just the price we pay for a free market and that time will solve the problem. But, these are the same interests who believed that trade with China was free, when it truly wasn’t. What can be done to secure the freedoms and equal liberty of speech for the common good of the republic?

A co-founder of Facebook believes the company should be broken up, in part because, “Facebook’s board works more like an advisory committee than an overseer, because Mark [Zuckerberg] controls around 60 percent of voting shares. Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it.”

In fact, at Google, community standards are difficult to find to the point that it is obvious they are being concealed from the consumer. Facebook standards are posted, but unequally enforced. The Southern Poverty Law Center violates several tenets of Facebook’s standards, and has never been banned. Same with Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Those groups suffer no harassment for their hateful speech.

The remedy we should seek is the protection of all political speech—in its broadest definition—in order to preserve liberty and equality, which would also preserve the free press.

Government intervention to the extreme of taking over tech monopolies would not solve the problem: this is something Zuckerberg wants because it will guarantee Facebook will always be a monopoly. There is a better option to this chilling situation in the form of a two-pronged approach that would empower users (the consumer) and preserve the right to property in our opinions.

The first is to break up the tech monopolies. The second is to open up libel laws. Both are necessary and need to be moved in tandem.

The Sherman Antitrust Act provided that any person who “shall monopolize” or “conspire” to do so, is guilty of a felony. Arguably, most of our tech giants are engaged in monopolistic practices, therefore the legal pretext for breaking them up is present.

In addition to the Sherman Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act provides that no company may change the price of a good between purchasers or discriminate in providing goods and services. It is often supposed that the only “customers” on social media are advertisers and paid-content promoters. But all users who agree to allow their data to be used and sold are customers; they simply pay with property rather than cash.

Where a consumer purchases a service in exchange for his or her personal data, only to find at a later date that the company denies the service in a discriminatory manner, that might be a violation of the Clayton Act. Companies like Facebook and Google collect, and sell, a user’s data. But for those banned, it is a bait and switch, a species of fraud. Banning a person from a platform while also keeping their data presents a legal problem for the company with which a user has the right to compensatory damages. Looking to the specific terms of the user agreement may not matter. These are contracts of adhesion in the setting of a natural monopoly.

Breaking up the tech companies could look something like the breakup of AT&T in the early 1980s. The platform would remain the same, but the services offered could be styled to suit the consumer.

Facebook could still be the same Facebook overlay, but the product delivery could be different, depending on user choice. One might accept the free version wherein ads are displayed, while the payment would be the user’s data, much like now. Another might opt to pay for the service without ads, and so on. Either way, the community would not change, and public speech and interaction would continue as it does presently. Unregulated competition could survive in this construction, and several companies could use the platform’s homepage overlay to offer unique services as a result.

The problem with Facebook in particular is that they are offering their services for free in return for the purchase of our data—likes, dislikes, browsing history, etc. Platforms that ban users arbitrarily or discriminatorily and then retain user data are either breaching a contract or possibly liable under an equitable theory such as estoppel or quantum meruit (unjust enrichment). They do not return the data of the user, nor do they pay the user for the data they have used to profit their enterprise. When a ban is imposed, the user-data is retained (as well as the data derived from the user data) for their own profit while wiping out the user’s work product in toto.

But the damages and enrichment are real—and calculable. This potential legal liability is ripe for class action. Discovery in such a suit would expose the political model posing as a business concern.

Connected to this potentiality for class action, is the harm and damage for libel. Just because a user might hold controversial opinions does not give anyone the right to damage that person’s reputation. The consumer ought to have access to the courts to seek redress. When Facebook banned Milo Yiannopoulos, for example, it did so publicly for his alleged “hate speech.” This is a potential libel that should be actionable. No media outlet has the right to harm a person’s reputation. It violates the First Amendment, and contravenes every human being’s right to his own reputation. If Yiannopoulos is a “racist,” then it should be provable in court. If the company cannot prove such, then it should have to cough up damages.

While we have not considered the literal addictive properties that entice us in the form of a dopamine fix, as Sean Parker admitted, the freeing of speech might go a long way to preserving a space for liberty to flourish without the tyrannizing control those companies seek to impose over us. It is also the reason mainstream media cheers when those they disagree with are ousted. They are afraid of those who challenge their oligarchical position. They are afraid of the stronger deliberative argument.

They should be afraid. By breaking up these companies and opening up libel laws, citizens would have the tools they need to seek recompense for injustices done to them, and they would be free to speak their minds. The republic would be better for it.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

America • Big Media • First Amendment • Free Speech • Online Censorship • Post • Technology

It’s Time To Make Big Tech Practice What It Preaches

Facebook banned Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, and other “controversial” personalities from its platforms on Thursday.

This move and similar actions by big tech contradicts its deep love for net neutrality.

“Net neutrality is the idea that the internet should be free and open for everyone,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in 2017.

“The Internet has been a level playing field and I don’t think we would be here today and have a strong, free and open Internet without net neutrality,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in 2015.

“The @FCC’s vote to gut #NetNeutrality rules is a body blow to innovation and free expression. We will continue our fight to defend the open Internet and reverse this misguided decision,” the Twitter Public Policy account tweeted in 2017.

The hypocrisy is glaring when reviewing the many cases where Facebook, Google, and Twitter blocked or banned users based solely on their political views. These platforms promise a free and open internet, yet fail to deliver one with their own services.

A panel hosted by the Hoover Institution in Washington, D.C., last week highlighted big tech’s net neutrality conundrum. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a strong critic of tech malfeasance, delivered the keynote address.

The panel offered salient perspectives on big tech’s neutrality problem. One important theme was how tech giants effectively act as monopolies and can’t be trusted to regulate themselves.

“If you allow the market to sort itself out—when the market is a functional monopoly—you empower the monopolists,” panel host and Hoover Institution fellow Jeremy Carl said.

Hoover Institution scholar Adam White argued big tech’s arguments for net neutrality could easily justify regulations against themselves.

White said tech giants claim if there was no net neutrality, it “would hurt the market, stifle innovation, and allow the monopolists to extract rents.” He countered that big tech’s business practices do those very same things. Yet, we have no regulatory policies in place to correct those issues.

Former Senate Judiciary Committee counsel Dan Huff contended that the problems net neutrality tries to prevent are far more minor than the platform discrimination practiced by Facebook and others. Net neutrality is said to be needed to prevent tiered services that may allow some people to access faster internet. Huff said it’s worse for a restaurant to suffer from artificially distorted search results than it is for them to have competing restaurants with faster internet.

“You need to be most worried about not getting noticed—not the question ‘I’ve gotten noticed but how quickly is [the internet] being delivered?’” Huff said.

He emphasized how internet nondiscrimination advocates should hold net neutrality’s supporters “feet to the fire” on this topic: “Listen, however much you care about this, the greater issue is the one of the platforms.”

Carl gave another example of why big tech’s discrimination is a major concern. He recalled a gay friend explaining why platform blocking is worse than a Christian bakery refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. “If Masterpiece Cakeshop won’t bake me a cake for my wedding, I have lots of other places I can go. But if Amazon bans my book or if Twitter deplatforms me, my ability to earn a livelihood is impacted fundamentally. Yet the first is protected and the second isn’t,” Carl recalled his friend saying.

The event showed that there is a growing bipartisan consensus that the status quo is unsustainable. U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) was also supposed to speak, but couldn’t make it due to scheduling conflicts. Hawley and Sinema’s shared interest in the subject shows that internet non-discrimination is an idea Republicans and Democrats can support.

Facebook, Google, and other tech giants operate more like monopolies than the internet providers regulated by net neutrality. More than two-thirds of Americans receive their news from social media. Ninety-three percent of the search engine market is dominated by Google. These corporate giants used their power to throttle the competition. Mozilla has accused Google of intentionally making YouTube videos crash and run slow on Firefox, a competitor to Google’s Chrome browser. Facebook’s Instagram has blocked links to competitors like Snapchat.

Internet nondiscrimination is not just about protecting free speech. It’s also about upholding free-market principles where competition is encouraged and monopolies are broken up. Perhaps it’s time for Congress to make big tech live up to its own principles.

Photo Credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

America • Big Media • Online Censorship • Post • Technology • The Left • The Media

Twitter Conservatives: Don’t Cede Ground!

Well, conservatives, we can rest assured now. A recent Pew Research Survey confirms what we’ve long suspected: Twitter is not remotely representative of American public opinion.

According to the survey, the median Twitter user is younger, better-educated, more affluent, and more inclined to lean leftward politically than the average American.

When it comes to the most prolific of Twitter users—the top 10 percent in terms of content and activity who account for 80 percent of the activity we see from U.S. Twitter users, the statistics skew even further from the norm.

In other words, Twitter overwhelmingly is populated by far Left activists, woke academics, political commentators, and pundits who have nothing better to do than fire off angry blurb after angry blurb, composed in no more than 280 characters. It is an echo chamber where leftist malcontents in the press, entertainment, other media, and the hallowed halls of higher education vent their spleens at all things “right” and “good,” in defiance of the views of mainstream America.

So what’s the fuss? We’ve nothing to worry about. There are more of “us” than there are of “them.” Let them have the benighted place! Who needs it? It’s not as if Twitter matters in the real world. Right?

Right?

Many mature conservatives argue Twitter is an acrimonious cesspool that offers little of value to society as a whole. They’re not wrong.

But filthy as it is, what happens on Twitter deserves deeper scrutiny from those on the Right because what happens on Twitter impacts real people, in their real lives, in the real world. And it isn’t pretty.

People—real people, conservative people—are targeted, harassed, doxxed, and deplatformed on Twitter by far leftist activists who are “not representative” of the American view. Every. Single. Day.

Those silenced are mothers. They are fathers. They are wives and husbands. Sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, co-workers and friends. These are not “political pundits.” They’re not “provocateurs.” Nor “conspiracy theorists.” Nor “trolls.”

They’re people.

They’re people who lose their jobs. They’re thrown out of school. They are censured by their own families and social circles. They are denied housing. They have their bank accounts closed, and their credit cards cancelled. Businesses they’ve sacrificed for and built from the ground up are destroyed.

They’re spat upon, assaulted, and chased by shouting mobs from public spaces as though they had no right to be there. Here. In America. Of all places.

And this type of activity is not limited to people from whom you’d expect such reprehensible and dangerous behavior. People such as members of Antifa and groups like It’s Going Down, which are notorious for doxxing and harassing their political opponents. It’s also encouraged by so-called journalists who work for outlets like Huffington Post, which doxxed a New York woman and her entire family because a writer found her Twitter account, which is highly critical of Islam, to be “prolific and prejudiced.”

And from publications such as the Daily Beast, which allowed one of its writers to doxx the adult daughters of Pamela Geller, a woman who has a literal fatwa on her head, endangering innocent young women for no reason other than that the folks at the Beast don’t agree with Geller’s politics.

Lindsey Shepard is fortunate that she was blasted by her employers at Wilfrid Laurier University for sharing a video by Jordan Peterson—a man with a substantial global profile which brought the bright light of public scrutiny to her situation. Otherwise the regressive Left would have taken her scalp, too.

I’m sure it must be comforting to the Proud Boys who have been fired from their jobs and evicted from their apartments to hear that the Twitter mobs which doxxed them and destroyed their lives, leaving them with no way to feed and house their children, are not “representative” of the way most Americans think.

I’m sure Laura Loomer, 26 years old and just starting out in life, is reassured by the fact that most Americans share her political ideology, rather than that of the Twitter mob that encouraged Chase bank to shut down her bank account and bullied Paypal and Patreon into throwing her off their platforms, so she has no way now to earn an income nor anywhere to keep it if she did!

And I’m absolutely positive that Milo Yiannopoulos must sleep like a baby knowing that despite all the money he has lost watching venture after venture and event after event shut down by leftist mobs, it’s all actually fine because more people agree with him than the mob.

Well, great. Where are they when it matters?

If more Americans agree with Milo than they do with the Twitter mob, then financial ruin is just an unfortunate byproduct of engaging with the cesspool, isn’t it? What really matters is being “right.” The bills will pay themselves. Somehow.

Mainstream conservatives at places like the now (happily) defunct Weekly Standard and National Review will continue to celebrate as “fringe” conservatives and their followers are deplatformed and starved. They’ll bloviate that Twitter and other social media platforms “don’t matter” because muh electoral map.

They’ll do so until the mob comes for them. And it will. It’s just a matter of time.

When that time comes, don’t be surprised to see them cave to the mob in order to save their own hides. The “conservative” Daily Caller did just that in smearing Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay immigrant of Jewish descent who happens to be married to an African American man, as a “white supremacist”—a craven concession meant to avoid offending some left-leaning journalist at The Guardian.

Such “conservatives” are cowards. They will leave us all to burn.

But, in the meantime, they are quite happy to remind us that “most” Americans hold “conservative” views. So when you vote, “make sure you vote Republican! Because we are on your side!”

Yeah. Right.

An esteemed professor of English once asked me what I know about social media that most “mature,” mainstream Republicans “don’t get.”

Well, I know that most “mature” mainstream Republicans hold that social media platforms like Twitter “don’t matter” because they’re not “real life” and that, in “real life,” there are more of “us” than there are of “them” and that’s what wins elections. As a result, the majority of “mature” mainstream Republicans don’t bother with Twitter.

So do social media platforms like Twitter “matter”?

Perhaps. If only insofar as conservatives have ceded these platforms to the Left almost without a fight. With disdain, even. Like we did with Hollywood. Like we did with academia. Like we’ve done with every single forum in American culture. Bar none.

Remember when the “dope-smoking, communist hippie professor” was a joke? Laughed at and ridiculed by middle America because he/she was an outlier sequestered in the halls of Academia, rather than out here in the “real world” where it mattered.

I’d guess that the percentage of lefty professors in Western universities and colleges across the globe largely reflects the percentage of lefty “activists” who are most active on Twitter and other social media. And none of their views reflect the views of most Americans either.

So does academia matter in that sense?

Gee, I dunno. But when you consider that it’s the left-wing professors who dominate the academy and who are the ones churning out the left-wing activists who dominate social media and who are now gleefully doxxing and deplatforming conservatives on a daily basis . . .

You have to at least begin to wonder. Don’t you?

So we, as “mature” conservatives, can sit back and turn our noses up at social media platforms like Twitter because they “don’t matter.”

Until, of course, they do. But, by then, it’s too late. Isn’t it?

Here’s what else I know: The “elites” at legacy conservative publications such as National Review look down their noses on the few brash, loud, dissident Americans on the Right who are shouting into the wind on Twitter and other such places.

How rude! How undignified! How gauche and “unhelpful to the conversation.” After all, we don’t have to be loud. We are the majority. The “silent majority.” The peaceful majority.

Well, as Brigitte Gabriel might say: “The peaceful majority is irrelevant.”

Our numbers don’t matter, because the Left has the stage. And they have the bullhorn. And they have the passion. And the fact of the matter is that they have these things because we never even bothered to put up a fight.

And do you know what else they have?

They have the audacity to use all three while conservatives shrink back in distaste, too dignified and too “principled” to lower themselves to engage in such vulgar displays.

Conservatives are fools. The Left is mobilizing. They are networking while we sit around smugly, secure in the knowledge that yet another election year is right around the corner. And then we’ll make our voices heard in the same place historically we have always done: the ballot box.

But is that enough?

Because, let’s face it, former bastions of conservatism are being infiltrated by progressive voters. And it’s not because they have better ideas or any real solutions. They don’t. They never have.

What they do have is boots on the ground and skin in the game. Two things that conservatives refuse to offer up for the cause.

And until the Right can be bothered to match the Left in its passion, we will continue to lose ground in the culture war and on the electoral map. And as they pick off our best and brightest—those few who will stand on the front lines and take all the fire without fear of being viewed as “undignified” or “offensive”—we will grow weaker and weaker. And when we have no champions left?

They will come for us, the lowly soldiers and townspeople.

The random laypersons.

All of us.

And we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.

Photo Credit: David Becker/Getty Images

Center for American Greatness • China • Congress • Free Speech • Online Censorship • Post • Technology • The Left

The Eagle and the Dragonfly: How Google Threatens Freedom

Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s recent congressional testimony capped a deservedly rough year for the embattled search giant. While Pichai largely avoided any major missteps in his testimony—thanks mostly to the technological illiteracy of the questioners—even Google-friendly sources couldn’t help noticing his evasiveness on one key point: the infamous proposed partnership between Google and the Chinese government to build a censored search engine in line with Chinese government ideology—a project ominously code-named “Project Dragonfly.”

Most notably, Pichai absolutely refused to rule out making such a product, instead devolving to corporate doublespeak about being “committed to engagement,” whatever that means. He also tried to downplay Project Dragonfly, characterizing it merely as an “internal product,” rather than something under serious development.

This was wise of him, considering that the reports on what Dragonfly allegedly is being designed to do. According to a suppressed Google internal memo, Dragonfly is being built not only to limit search results, but also to enable the Chinese government to track what every single citizen searches for on the app. In other words, it’s a surveillance tool disguised as a search engine.

In a country on the verge of implementing a totalitarian “social credit” score for every citizen—a score that will infect every element of their lives, up to and including their online gaming habits—this is a hideously irresponsible thing for an American company to provide. Small wonder, then, that Congress grilled Pichai on the subject.

Death of Privacy, Rise of Censorship
What is more worrisome than this for Americans, however, is that along with dodging questions on Dragonfly, Pichai also evaded questions on another topic. Specifically, when Rep. Karen Handel (R-Ga.) asked Pichai about Google’s ability to collect data on American citizens, and whether that data collection should be something Americans have the right to opt into, rather than having it done by default unless they opt out, Pichai again demurred on giving a straight answer.

“I think a framework for privacy where users have a sense of transparency, control, and choice, and a clear understanding of the choices they need to make is very good for consumers,” Pichai stammered.

Even on its own, to call this an unsatisfactory answer is putting it mildly. But, considering its conjunction with Pichai’s less-than-forthcoming answers on Dragonfly, it is positively alarming. Based on these two areas of evasion, Americans would be highly justified in wondering: If Pichai is prepared to hand over Google’s massive data collection efforts to the Chinese government to track its citizens for political purposes, then what would he be willing to do to Americans? Given Google’s power-grabbing stated plans to become “the good censor” of the entire internet, this is far from an abstract question. Indeed, it’s hard to think of any level of power that Google’s snowflake-infested headquarters doesn’t feel entitled to have over everyone, Americans included.

This also makes the development of Project Dragonfly not merely a question of trying to assure the privacy of oppressed Chinese citizens. It makes it an urgent threat to Americans. Even if Pichai were telling the truth that the development of Dragonfly is purely internal, and has not been pitched to the Chinese government, the fact remains that tools developed to censor the internet in China can be used to censor it here in America.

Insidious Technology
Worse, if Google decided to implement such a censorious regime on its own search engine, there would be no real way for Americans even to know about it, given Google’s notoriously private attitude toward its search algorithms. Nor would there be a way for Americans to know the scope of potential surveillance that Google might be conducting on them. For journalists or politicians critical of Google, this is an extremely live concern, considering that Google can use its cell phones to track even details as minute as what vehicles people are using to travel, and to where. That kind of surveillance capacity for political opponents could easily be weaponized as material for blackmail or public shaming.

That we even have to think about these kind of scenarios is a sign of just how anti-American Google’s entire current philosophical attitude is. The small-l liberal ideas that people should be permitted to make their own decisions, that the public square and the private sphere should be separate, or that people’s thoughts are no business of the state, or of massive corporations that arrogate government power to themselves, are all cornerstones of American political philosophy. They are also all ideas for which the development of Project Dragonfly, and the data collection without consent model of Google’s business, display an open and active contempt.

In the past, I have wondered what the data tech companies extract from Americans must be worth, and how Americans might reclaim that value in monetary terms. But Pichai’s testimony shows that there may be a more fundamental reckoning than this coming: namely, how much does the collection of data impose a cost on individual human freedom, and is that cost irreversible? For the sake of the values that animate America, we can only hope the answer to the last question is “no.”

Otherwise, we could not only see the American way entombed by the Googley way, but based on how Sundar Pichai treats questions that threaten his company’s power, we might never even know that the Dragonfly killed the Eagle.

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Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Conservatives • First Amendment • Free Speech • Libertarians • Online Censorship • Post • Technology • The Left

How to Think about Property Rights and Social Networks

Is it true that Twitter, Facebook, and Google are private companies, which can cancel, delete, or ban anyone they want at any time? Short answer: No. Here are some suggestions for how to think about the social media wars, and whether online censorship is simply a matter of private property rights.

A lot has happened over the past few days, as Twitter continues to anoint itself the Censor Librorum of the woke faithful. The latest victim was conservative pundit Jesse Kelly, whose summary excommunication stirred even Ben Sasse to indignation. (The Weekly Standard meanwhile continues its descent into intellectual bankruptcy, with Deputy Online Editor Jim Swift commenting, “If lots of your favorite accounts keep getting suspended maybe consider that your favorite accounts probably suck.”).

Kelly’s account has since been reinstated amidst the uproar. But even in reinstating him, Twitter seems to be dancing around the truth of what happened. “The account was temporarily suspended for violating the Twitter Rules and has been reinstated. We have communicated directly with the account owner,” a spokesperson for Twitter said. But as Sean Davis of The Federalist pointed out:

In response to the week’s events, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame, has opted to leave voluntarily, closing his Twitter account rather than await eventual banishment for heresy.

But as Julie Kelly has noted, conservatives should not give up on Twitter. This is a fight worth having. Think about it this way: Jack is stealing your stuff.

A dry-cleaner can refuse your business, but if he doesn’t want you as a customer any more, he doesn’t get to keep the clothes you dropped off last time. That’s an extreme example, but a similar principle is at stake here. Social networks are not utilities in the sense of using a non-duplicatable physical infrastructure. There’s no actual physical barrier to creating an alternate Twitter.

There may be a practical one, however. The big social media companies gained a huge market share, and have thereby tied people up in a lot of sunk costs, by deceptively advertising themselves as neutral platforms. Very few people would have shared their information and helped these companies build up their networks if they had been told up front there would political censorship once they were big enough to push out any competitors.

A restaurant may have the right to refuse anyone service, but when I make a reservation for a large party to celebrate a special occasion, it’s a breach of an unwritten contract if the restaurant’s management decides it doesn’t like my opinions and cancels my reservation after I’ve already invested a lot of time and trouble. My efforts were based on a reasonable expectation that the restaurant would not act arbitrarily in suddenly deciding to turn me away. The same principle applies to Google, Twitter, and Facebook.

Plenty of journalists, authors, celebrities and just ordinary people with something to say have invested untold hours in writing tweets, sharing links to those thoughts and observations, and building a network of followers. Where does Twitter get the right to kick you off its network and steal or destroy all your content? As a strictly legal matter, there may be something in the fine print of your user agreement that allows them to do so. But none of the libertarians and “conservatives” invoking a strained definition of property rights are referring to this fine print. They are making a principled argument about what private companies more or may not do. Since when does any company get to steal or destroy its customers’ property—intellectual or otherwise?

Consider one final example that relates directly to digital content. Before Zuck and Jack there was Bill . . . Gates, that is. He was extremely aggressive in grabbing market share for Microsoft. But he never tried to tell his customers what they could think or say or write. Many people still use Microsoft for their word processing needs. When you use that program, you don’t actually own the software; you rent it through a license agreement.

Now imagine if one fine day you received a notice from Microsoft saying, “Hey, we’ve been spying on what you write, and your documents contain a lot of ideas we think are deplorable, so your license agreement is cancelled. There is no appeal.” You find that Word is now deleted from your computer, along with all the files that were stored in that format. Boom! Unless you had the foresight to copy all your content into some other format, your inability to open or access Word would mean everything you ever saved as a Word document would be inaccessible. Would any libertarian defender of “private companies” claim that’s legitimate? How does it differ from Twitter kicking you off their platform and locking you out of everything you created there?

What the social networks are doing is wrong. It’s not a legitimate exercise of property rights. It’s deception and theft. We should fight them.