the humble libertarian

out of many one

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Nobody Noticed That What Just Happened to Alex Jones– Was A Modern Day Book Burning!

The throngs of cheering liberals (and self-styled moderates who imagine themselves voices of reason) who so evidently lack the capacity or willingness to reckon with nuance...

Who are overwhelmed by the urge, indeed the pervasive sense of their right, so characteristic of the hollowness and decadence of democratic forms of society, to boldly spout the most uninformed opinions on a variety of subjects without anything but the most cursory knowledge of the topics on which they aver, thinking their opinions, however ill-conceived and malformed, are equal in value to yours– just because their vote is...

Delighting this week as they do every week, in the frenzied, nauseous euphoria of the impassioned release of their unimaginative ejaculations, regurgitating– these mewling, ugly, wet, and feather ruffled baby vultures, crowded together in the fetid warmth of the mob, the foul smelling echo chamber which is their nest, in which they huddle so fearfully and desperately with such a profound lack of dignity– regurgitating the chewed up and still squirming mind infecting worms, the already once regurgitated opinions, digested for them by a cynical and slavish mainstream media, and vomited into the eagerly open beaks of these flightless, blighted ones in a relentless spew of filth and lies...

Such as these have gleefully chanted all weak [sic!] the shallow bromide that the social media platforms which deleted all of Alex Jones' InfoWars posts "are privately owned!" (as if the most gleeful personalities in this mob have ever given a damn about private property once in their lives), and so they are free to remove any posts from their platform they so choose. What a brilliant crowd of constitutional scholars these baby vultures are!

Even some (people who like to call themselves) libertarians (but lack the sophistication to own it) have carelessly mouthed this glib, faux-libertarian substitute for a nuanced opinion on such a conspicuously titanic precedent, as if it is some sort of final answer to end any further discussion about it, a magic charm that absolves them of any obligation to dig any deeper into this momentous portent of the future of political dialogue.

As if the mere fact that these companies legally can delete all of a major political voice's postings and completely erase a massive swath of digital history in one fell swoop, makes it impossible for them to even think to ask the next obvious question: Should they have? As if all these new overnight converts to private property libertarianism didn't just witness the digital equivalent of a book burning. But they did. And they didn't notice it. Because the magic charm worked. Because their minds are feeble and slavish.

Wikipedia's list of notable book burning incidents through history.
Someone add the mass deletion and blacklisting of Alex Jones.

The precedent of massive information companies that have become ubiquitous information carriers in the Information Age, so boldly assuming the prerogative to judge from the top down; for just a few to make such a decision for so many– for hundreds of millions of their users– as to what information is acceptable for them to have access to and what is not, and to actively delete so much information, is abhorrent to the modern, liberal spirit of an open society and unfettered critical inquiry, and to the entire ethos of the Internet and the digital era. InfoWars indeed!

They also didn't notice or find it disconcerting in the slightest how strange it was that Apple Inc., YouTube, and Facebook, ostensibly distinct corporations, all acted in concert together, in a tight choreography of censorship. The soul of any true scholar or even any truly liberal soul would have recoiled at the spectacle.

How few true scholars, and how few true liberals there are among the chattering classes! Instead we have the wretched throngs of modern democracy, cleaving ever more desperately to their impotent, gray, fascistic dream of rigid global uniformity, marching in ever tighter lockstep together, and cheering as only a frenzied mob can at the exile of any dissenting view of the world, or even any unusual personality, these fearful, boring, mindless drones.

So happy are they to give the outcast the boot (relieved that they are not outcast, that they belong somewhere, to the comforting warmth of the nest under the shadow of the global hegemony's wing, that they are one of the acceptable ones!) that they will too eagerly and uncritically regurgitate this line about private companies, and not wonder at all about the suspiciously synchronized action of these Silicon Valley tech giants to research and see if there isn't the shiny black boot of Washington D.C. afoot, actually stamping out political speech by force of intimidation, and trampling its Constitution underfoot.

This just so happens to be the case in the mass burning of all of Alex Jones' posts on every major social media platform (Twitter to its credit is the only hold out... for now). Apple, Facebook, and Alphabet, the parent company of YouTube, are all so deeply intertwined at this point with the U.S. federal government, that their actions cannot seriously be considered private.

As Caitlin Johnstone points out at The Rogue Journalist:

In a corporatist system of government, wherein there is no meaningful separation between corporate power and state power, corporate censorship is state censorship. Because legalized bribery in the form of corporate lobbying and campaign donations has given wealthy Americans the ability to control the US government’s policy and behavior while ordinary Americans have no effective influence whatsoever, the US unquestionably has a corporatist system of government. Large, influential corporations are inseparable from the state, so their use of censorship is inseparable from state censorship.

This is especially true of the vast megacorporations of Silicon Valley, whose extensive ties to US intelligence agencies are well-documented. Once you’re assisting with the construction of the US military’s drone program, receiving grants from the CIA and NSA for mass surveillance, or having your site’s content regulated by NATO’s propaganda arm, you don’t get to pretend you’re a private, independent corporation that is separate from government power. It is possible in the current system to have a normal business worth a few million dollars, but if you want to get to billions of dollars in wealth control in a system where money translates directly to political power, you need to work with existing power structures like the CIA and the Pentagon, or else they’ll work with your competitors instead of you.

The timing of the mass social media censorship of Alex Jones, a partisan Trump supporter, could not be more suspicious, a few months before the 2018 midterm election, and a few months after representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google were called to testify to the U.S. Senate for a hearing on "Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online" and instructed that it is their responsibility to "quell information rebellions" online and adopt a "mission statement" that expresses their commitment to "prevent the fomenting of discord." The censorious tone of defense industry "experts" and U.S. Senators was unmistakable.

"Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words," the tech company representatives were told by a former U.S. Army officer currently employed by a defense industry funded think tank called the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI).

"America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America. Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced: silence the guns and the barrage will end."

This was in a publicly viewed Senate committee hearing. Just imagine what's said behind closed doors.

That the censorship of Alex Jones is a critically important free speech matter involving forceful attacks on the freedom of the press by the United States government, could not be made more obvious than by the fact that when these Deep State-entangled, Silicon Valley tech titans chose to burn up everything Alex Jones had ever published on their platforms, InfoWars just happened to be circulating a petition garnering tens of thousands of signatures calling on President Trump to pardon Julian Assange, who has remained a political prisoner under house arrest in London for more than six years for engaging in the most relevant acts of journalism in the 21st century, and revealing to the American people just how untrustworthy their government really is.

But keep on laughing and cheering you oh-so-smart constitutional scholars, and courageous stalwarts of acceptable thought, you who crowd together for comfort, and lack even the energy to know what it is you're laughing about, or to understand what kind of future it is that you're gleefully cheering on.