Silicon Valley is shutting down speech loopholes. The latest target: live content
I'm reminded of Thomas Paine's quote, "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
This was more or less the moral linchpin that drove the evolution of American civil rights from the founding of the nation with the Declaration of Independence. One could write American history as a long slog from a group of elitist merchants and planters to all common white men, then extended to immigrants, then Catholics, then African Americans and the freed slaves (even mostly in theory initially), to women's enfranchisement of the 1920s, to the 1960s Civil Rights movement, then the gays and lesbians movement, and so forth. There's clear honesty to the dedication of this principle in American liberalism and how it justifies the course of our history and approach to the future, and by sticking to it no matter the disagreements, it did deliver tremendous rewards and greater freedoms for more people.
But what we have been seeing recently is a clear retreat from this principle, ironically on groups of "justice" and "fairness" and "equity." And we're seeing this manifest itself very strongly in the recent attacks of free speech, which was traditionally the most sacred of American beliefs. I like to think that for most of American history there was an acknowledgement that if you restricted people's access to free speech, you only opened up yourself to a whole new set of abuses of civil rights and individual free-will. Our history certainly shows this - the severe prejudices against American blacks in the past, the McCarthyism anti-communism paranoia of the 1950s, the periodic attempts of religious evangelicals to impose their morality on the American public.
However, this new marriage between Silicon Valley and progressive Democrats has resulted in a hegemony that finds it acceptable to severely restrict access to "undesirable" speech. While there is a certain sympathy to this idea, after all, we don't like neo-Nazis running amok, but a) who determines what is undesirable and not? and b) in real life it's only resulted in double standards, which is what always happens when you violate Paine's principle. Upon what principle can you ban Parler but not other communication forums? Maybe you argue that Parler was responsible (somehow) for the Capitol riot. But what about twitter and Facebook during the BLM riots of 2020? Many people used those sources to organize the protests and even coordinate riots, along with expressing violent thoughts as well as support for the riots and antifa protests.
True, the Silicon Valley platforms are privately owned. But there is no public sphere equivalent of these platforms. I don't pretend to have a clear cut answer to how to reconcile the sphere of privately owned platforms with that they are predominately treated and accepted by the public as an extension of public space and an extension of our free will and free speech. There was a period in the late 1980s/1990s when free speech advocates (all lefties, of course), were arguing that shopping malls had become de facto public spaces because so many Americans now lived in suburban areas with no real public space. It's more or less the same argument but on a much bigger and problematic scale.
Nonetheless, we now easily see how by establishing a clear precedence for only one accepted standard by a handful of companies that control, what, 95+% of the online access, we have a hegemony that treats one set of violence as acceptable and even part of civic democracy, the 2020 protests, while another set of violence, the Capitol attack, is treated as a wave of fascism that must be defeated at all costs (even of the latter was primarily a bunch of crazy boys running amok for a few hours, while the former caused billions in damage to public and private property and multiple deaths in cities across America - but let's leave that aside for now).
Whenever a double standard emerges from treating beliefs and ideas and principles differently, hypocrisy always emerges. And one of the tragedies of that hypocrisy is when the hypocritical class tries to hide from their hypocrisy through being "fair" in utterly arbitrary actions affecting innocent bystanders, like these film producers.
It is imperative to create free speech alternatives to all social media.
This needs to include every single piece of critical infrastructure, supporting these means of communication, as has become obvious. Any critical infrastructure: hosting, payment services (PayPal, Visa, GoFundMe), YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc - Free speech versions of all of these services need to be available, in a way which is completely immune to arbitrary interruption by parties not committed to free speech.
This is important, but is also an opportunity for profit.
The examples of conservatives being denied equal access, are becoming ever more bold and egregious.
This should concern all of us, not just conservatives.
Another important article. I don't really like the insinuation that Trump supporters are insurrectionists and libertarians are not--or many of the gun people were not (I'm both, sort of, though I did not vote for Trump in the primary, and there are some libertarian tenets I would modify) or why there needed to be a distinction. I suppose it makes the point a little more. What's worrisome is that if independent and small people can't make movies or do live streaming, it's all part of their control and they can manipulate the "truth." Easier. Nobody can show what is really happening. Which is what they are up to. I wonder how Michael Moore would have liked such a thing. I still think at some point you are going to have to see that it's the left who are fascists and take them on. But keep at it.
This is VERY important to document, but not something people would be surprised by...
Example: the Virginia rally is something that has occurred on the SAME DAY for the last 18 plus years. It is called “Lobby Day” and held by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a strictly pro-2A group. This annually-held “rally” has ZIP - yes, ZIP - to do with the 2020 election or Donald Trump or Joe Biden.....
It was a rally attended by Commonwealth of Virginia citizens exercising their right to petition their elected officials...
Infuriating on so many levels, where to start. With the obvious: This sounds like something (we’d hear from our corporate mainstream media) about Russia, or one of those scary Arab countries that don’t have “democracy.” Hat’s off to Chariton, Farina, and every other indy journo running around out there often putting themselves in harm’s way to “get the story.” Yes, even Andy Ngo! The story is all that matters. And love the way Matt putt “insurrection” in quotes. “Loaded on propaganda,” as Don Henley said – that’s what we’re fed on a regular basis, along with dirty laundry, of course. Another nit: Almost every “important” video shown in the past year by the MSM has been edited/censored. Exhibit A was the Ahmaud Arbery incident, which ABC showed – and freeze-framed before it concluded – multiple times. This week, the Today Show blurred the people being run over by the cop in Tacoma. Why are these programs, which reach millions of people & presumably help shape their opinions, doing this? I report, you decide. One more point: I don’t subscribe to Jimmy Dore, but like his free weekly podcast & happened to stumble on his recent (YouTube) interview with a Boogaloo Boy off a Twitter link. That blew my mind, and I wouldn’t have seen it but for Twitter & YouTube. The truth, dear reader, is not what we’re being told.
This will continue until Vimeo or another competitor starts to dig into Google's ad revenue or Sec. 230 is repealed and YT, Twitter and others become liable for what people say on their platforms.
The other option is for Uncle Sam to say what we already know - Google/YT, Twitter and Facebook are an oligopoly and need to be reigned in or broken apart using anti-trust laws.
The problem is that Nancy and Chuck and Mitch and Kevin are receiving donations to not do anything. So we all pay the price.
Maybe voters will wake up. LOL, I crack myself up.
It is pretty clear that there is a somewhat coordinated effort to silence anyone that covers or attempts to discuss ideas that are not well thought of by the MSM, academia, the arts, politicians and Big Tech. This is going to occur and there is no way to stop it right now. We will see how this affects things in the short term and what kind of backlash it will produce in the medium to long term. You would think that the Supreme court would eventually determine that this is being pushed by the threats of politicians and that those doing the silencing will be determined to be quasi-governmental agencies and will be forced to support free speech. If not, expect some kind of serious physical and potentially violent backlash OR the complete silencing of half of America and the start of a soft totalitarian state that doesn't jail its opponents, but effectively prevents them from participating in the economic and political process of America.
There is a not well articulated theory afoot in the corporate media of all stripes which holds that the underlying cause of social disorder is Free Speech. Therefore Free Speech must be curtailed in order to achieve an improved state of social order. Thank you Matt for this essay and all the others which helped clarify our understanding of what's happening. The ocean of propaganda in which we swim makes it difficult to see clearly.
There is a more general point here about terminology: people use "canceling", "banning", "censoring", "deplatforming", but those terms are either euphemisms or inappropriate, the more meaningful and appropriate term is "blacklisting", especially when applied to individuals.
In most cases "blacklisting" is a constitutionally protected right, but that does not make it less odiously discriminatory.
The tenor and tone of the silicon oligarchs' preposterously condescending free political speech censorship, to me, is similar to pre-revolutionary war England. They tried a number of collections actions such as stamp and tea taxes and the intolerable act. Follow the money. Power corrupts and absolute (monopoly) power corrupts absolutely (c. Lord Acton). The DNA of the Democrat Party was antebellum slave ownership, postbellum Jim Crow, and Great Society welfare dependency. So it continues, with CCP-style social credit scoring being the next enslavement tactic.
The Revolutionary War was fought and one by a fraction of the colonials. One in five were Loyalists. The British-despising Scot/Irish constituted most of Washington's combat forces.
This struggle will be similar. Taibbi and Glenn may be our Thomases -- Paine and Jefferson.
Also, why is there valid grounds for censoring Alex Jones or Trump? Someone explain this to me please. It's said in the article like I should believe this.
OK so its repression.
Nothing the repressors say can be taken as truthful, their word is nothing.
This is where the fine print in “by any means necessary” comes into focus.
"If someone like Alex Jones is saying, “Go get your guns, get out there,” that’s really dangerous."
If someone like George Washington is saying, "Go get your guns, get out there..."
Who the fuck gets to decide who George Washington is?
Zuck? God help liberty.
It all seems a simple math...
~ Live stream footage that aligns with whatever establishment narrative is being pushed in that moment = content stays up and is promoted.
~ Live stream footage that contradicts/challenges whatever establishment narrative is being pushed in that moment = content gets pulled down and is disappeared. Do that too many times and begin to get popular, you get deplatformed.
Isn't it a beautiful day in the U.S.A.! Democracy and Freedom are our shared values. After all, the public forum holds a sacred place in The Free World. In our marketplace of ideas, competing points of view freely vie against each other and the superior rise to the top. The scientific method above all else ensures 'facts' will always be open to reasoned challenge, further ensuring the most accurate understandings prevail over time.
It's all so beautiful, I weep. Who would not agree, what a glorious society we've become.
YouTube shut down the gun rally video because what was happening did not fit their hysterical narrative.
“For the foreseeable future anyway, however, it would be nearly impossible to build a successful alternative video-based channel without the assent of the small handful of major tech platforms that dominate media.”
Like everything else in the USA, freedom of speech is pay-per-play. What's new? There is the old saying “The freedom of the press applies only to those who can afford to own a press”.
If you want free speech, pay for it, fund groups and organizations that do free speech. Else speech will be paid for by those who can afford to "sponsor" the speech they like.