There’s nothing easy about living through a political coup. The Big Tech firms long in cahoots with our government have been pushing a false narrative of evil MAGA-Nazis trying to undermine polite society for more than four years now.
Suppression started with Milo Yiannopoulos, accelerated to include Alex Jones and InfoWars and reach a temporary peak in 2018 with the persecution of alternative social media platform Gab in the wake of the Pittsburgh shooting.
I said this then in a piece entitled: Attack on Gab Proves Speech Was Never Free:
Friday’s attack by an unhinged, vile piece of human excrement on a Synagogue in Pittsburgh wasn’t hours old before real world agendas pushed to the top of the news.
Twitter alternative Gab was immediately dropped by PayPal without specific reasons.
Then immediately, Gab’s latest hosting service unilaterally gave the company a 48-hour termination notice of its contract.
Gab was hounded to the point of extermination and only a herculean effort by CEO and total warrior Andrew Torba and his staff kept the company afloat. Today Gab can only take Bitcoin and checks for payment. Torba himself has no banking privileges or access to credit, payment processors etc.
All for what? Running a social network where someone posted something terrible hours before doing something terrible?
Or was this a political hit job? The coordination of the event with the response is a little too convenient for any person of room temperature or higher intelligence to stomach.
The Rhyme Without Reason
Sound familiar to what happened to Parler? The attack then on Gab was a dry run for this weekend. If no one would stand up for Gab who didn’t have the resources to fight this in court, then when it came time to do it for real to a more high profile firm they knew it would stand up.
No one listened. We all kept retweeting Trump and I even finally broke down and bought an iPhone. Parler just got the Gab treatment literally over nothing.
I’m not going to say both events were scripted false flags (though there’s certainly enough evidence that there was something really hinckey going on at the Capitol) but they certainly had their action plans ready for when the right trigger occured.
In fact, I’d argue that it’s more likely the people posting vile garbage on these networks is a plant than a real violent dissident. We know that the FBI, for example, infiltrates militia groups all the time and in some cases there are more agents working undercover than there are actual militia guys.
When you’re in the narrative creation business and we know that a minimum of 30% of users on Twitter aren’t real but bots, is it really a stretch to think a Deep State actor isn’t posting inflammatory shit on Parler to give the tech giants the excuse they need to do the thing they desperately want to do anyway, namely destroy their up and coming competition?
These companies have normalized suppression of speech in the public commons that their networks operate on top of. I remind people all the time that they are bandwidth pigs, feeding at the subsidized trough of publicly-built and maintained infrastructure.
Trump’s biggest sin in his time as president wasn’t, to these people, saying inflammatory things, it was getting rid of their cashcow, Net Neutrality.
Net Neutrality took pricing of bandwidth out of the hands of consumers. It handed the profits from it to Google, Facebook and all the crappy advertisers spamming video ads, malware, scams, and the like everywhere.
By mandating ‘equal access’ and equal fee structures the advertisers behind Google and Facebook would spend their budgets without much thought or care. Google and Facebook ad revenue soared under Net Neutrality because advertisers’ needs are not aligned with Google’s bottom line, but with consumers’.
And, because of that, the price paid to deliver the ad, i.e. Google’s cost of goods sold (COGS), thanks to Net Neutrality, was held artificially low. And Google, Facebook and the Porn Industry pocketed the difference.
They grew uncontrollably. In the case of Google and Facebook, uncontrollably powerful.
Look, I’m more than okay with saying that Apple, Google or Facebook have the right to restrict content on their services, but only if they are also doing that over their own privately-built public networks, their own private wires.
But, we all know that isn’t the case. They utilize the public airwaves, fiber trunks, satellites etc. that we paid to build. As libertarians we’ve always argued that freedom of association also meant freedom from association.
That freedom, through the application of private property, also comes with responsibility to the counter-party in any and all interactions. No one would have allowed these companies to build these networks in a true private property regime.
No way would they have become this big, this powerful or this cowardly if they had had to bear the true costs of their business roll out. These aren’t the bastions of the free market conservatives (and even classical liberals to an extent) think they are.
They are, ultimately, as we’ve seen from their actions this week, the biggest welfare queens in the world simply stepping on the competition to ensure conformity of information flow.
Continued Section 230 immunity has elevated their ever-changing Terms of Service above the proscriptions against limiting speech in the Bill of Rights.
Moreover, these firms use these Terms of Service to provide no guarantee of service. These ToS’s are contracts of adhesion, entered into where one party has unequal standing versus the counter-party.
But, since the whole idea of living under a coercive government is one big contract of adhesion, since you really aren’t an equal partner to the government in the social contract nor did you have any choice but to sign on the moment you were born, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when that reality is shoved into our faces when their power is threatened.
This is the fundamental problem with accepting any of these ideas as valid. The whole society is structured around these enshrined power imbalances and we think we’re going to upend them by voting for Orange Man Bad?
The way they operate is far beyond the strictures placed on governments themselves, who have to at least create Byzantine rules to obfuscate the tyranny and force us into a corrupt and expensive court system stacked against us to get the barest minimum of injunctive relief, assuming the judge isn’t a partisan hack or a congenital moron.
I think it’s rich that a person like Angela Merkel, the first political leader to send police into a person’s home for posting hate speech on Facebook, is now clutching her pearls over the censorship by Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google.
Spare me the crocodile tears Frau Stasi.
Because now, anyone to the right of your rank and file BLM member is looking over their shoulder waiting for the hammer to fall on them. It has become commonplace on Twitter for the star-bellied bluechecks to call out for blood against any and all Trump supporters or worse, *shudder* Republicans.
They should be driven to the brink of extinction. Denied jobs or a living for using the wrong pronoun because they are simply, too stupid to matter. We’ve got people honestly thinking it’s okay to take children out of your home for voting for the wrong party.
What comes next is even worse, vaguely-worded legislation from D.C. supporting these companies’ hyper-aggressive market defense, we’re already being treated to it by none other than AOC.
This is all the bad news I can come up with (today). What I do know, however, is that what comes next is that Facebook, Twitter and Google have whistled far beyond their graveyards here.
The backlash will against them will be epic. Shareholder lawsuits as stock prices plummet will gut them leaving them in the position to be bailed out or nationalized by the government.
Because, at the very least, there is still some semblance of sanity in that corner of the legal system. These companies have attacked and alienated their customers. In the process they have tainted their brand and if their stock prices do not recover will have real problems in the future.
They may look invincible now, but wait until the government under control of totalitarians like Pelosi, AOC, Schumer and the rest, turn on them and gobble them up to regain their credibility with a rightfully outraged and horrified public.
The best thing all of us can do is complete that transition to other services, deploy our time, expertise and investible capital into building censorship-proof communications platforms without an owner to lean on.
All things built on a nodal structure have critical points of failure. Amazon nuked Parler, not Apple or Google. Gab is proof that a social network doesn’t need an app to survive or even thrive.
Finding Our Way Home
Dave Rubin, major partner in Locals, is convinced the days of monolithic, massive social networks are numbered and we’ll all be congregating into smaller, more intimate communities. And I don’t disagree with him.
In fact, I hope he’s right.