Archive for August 19, 2018

Conflict Between Right Wingers and Tech Monopolies Won’t End Well: 2

August 19, 2018 5 comments

In the previous post of this series, I put forth the idea that internet monopolies are increasingly behaving like despots who are widely hated and despised, as opposed to being simply feared. In a more ideal world such monopolies would never have been allowed to form in first place or have been broken up many years ago. Oddly enough, strict regulation of some monopolies as public utilities or breaking them up via anti-trust laws was normal practice in USA from the early 1900s to almost the end of the 20th century. But that is another, and very long, story. So let us focus on why the recent attempts by establishment politicians (especially democrats) to get internet monopolies to censor online content will lead to many problems with unforeseen consequences.

As Michael Tracey has noted- the ‘unexpected’ rise and victory of Donald Trump in 2016 over that crooked woman can be seen as the event which made the kleptocratic american establishment start worrying that their long-running scam was coming to an end because of alternative sources of news on the internet. To be clear, Michael used much more restrained language in his piece, but you get the point. All of the hullabaloo by establishment types over “fake news” and “Russian interference in our sacred elections” comes down to having to eat humble pie after losing the election to a reality show clown aka Donald Trump. Some of you might remember that I wrote something similar a few months ago (link 1, link 2 and link 3).

The problem with this approach, as Michael noted in his piece, are two-fold. Firstly, establishment types begging internet monopolies to censor content makes the later create powers which did not previously exist. Secondly, giving internet monopolies tacit approval for such behavior further concentrates power into the hand of a very small number of un-elected people with zero public accountability. Matt Taibbi has also expressed similar views on the deleterious effect of content censorship as decided by tech monopolies in two recent articles (link 4, link 5).

Of course, many idiots on the LIEBral side are short-sighted and delusional enough to believe that anything is OK to #resist Trump because “he is so extreme”- in spite of the fact that his actions so far have been, with a few exceptions, in line with standard republican dogma. These idiots can’t (or don’t) want to imagine the long-term consequences of giving tech monopolies such power, nor do they want to consider what would happen if that power was turned against them- and we have not even started talking about the inevitable blowback to such policies. Then again, excess consumption of soy milk and wearing of pussy hats while marching to protest Trump’s election are not conducive to objective thinking. Trump Derangement Syndrome is real.

Some of you might have noticed that the deplatforming of Alex Jones by internet monopolies has done something which even I once thought was close to impossible. Their concerted actions have made Alex Jones into a respectable martyr for free speech! We truly live in a bizarre world when an alcoholic loudmouth like Alex Jones can become an icon for those who oppose censorship and support free speech. I cannot resist pointing out that the character played by Alex Jones (in a cameo of sorts) in the 2006 movie, A Scanner Darkly, has now become reality. In case you are wondering, he plays a street corner preacher who rants about how the government is actually behind the drug epidemic caused by Substance D, and is then disappeared off the street corner by police in front of a small crowd for exercising his right to free speech.

But coming back to the topic at hand, establishment democrats and SJWs are delusional if they believe that their attempts to shut down gun manufacturers and shops by pressuring financial institutions or getting popular nutcases like Alex Jones kicked off internet monopoly platforms won’t have very serious and long-term consequences. Firstly, such actions do not make the people they were directed against less popular or influential. We no longer live in the era of three national TV channels, two national newspapers and a population that reflexively went along with whatever bullshit the government told them.. you know, the era between mid-1940 and late 1970s. Indeed, the very fact that somebody like Trump could win the presidency in spite of universal disapproval by establishment-types as well as over 1 billion of advertising against him should make them realize that it is no longer a viable strategy.

To compound that, there has been a systemic and very obvious loss of trust in professions and institutions in USA since the start of this century, but especially since 2008. There is a very good reason that fake anti-establishmentarians such as Trump and Alex Jones have flourished within the last decade, and will in all likelihood continue to do so in near future. I mean.. who can blame the masses. They have seen their low-paying jobs become even lower-paid and more precarious, their healthcare costs shoot through the roof with no obvious improvement in outcomes, higher education become a debt trap, housing in areas that are not dying out keeps on getting more expensive and a general sense of there being no better future has set in.

And all this is occurring at the same times when ivy-league parasites are telling them that everything is just great, financialization of every sector of economy is wonderful, globalization and outsourcing is glorious and if things are not working for them- its is all their fault. To make a long story short, the establishment has managed to get a lot of diverse and often irreconcilable constituencies pissed off against them at the same time. We are witnessing some serious political realignment right now. Some of you might have noticed that more than a few positions of the ‘alt-right’ such as support for universal healthcare, basic income etc are distinctly socialist in nature. The point I am trying to make that the anti-establishment constituencies are far more numerous, diverse and hard to fit within the traditional ‘right-left’ model.

One common thread which runs through many of these anti-establishment constituencies concerns their views on corporations and monopolies. To put it bluntly, both the ‘right’ and ‘left’ among these groups do not view corporations in a positive light. Perhaps this might have something to do with them witnessing those entities screw over normal people for all of their adult lives. The point I am trying to make is that establishment democrats and LIEbral SJWs face a far more numerous and diverse collection of groups who hate their guts. In such a situation, deplatforming a nut like Alex Jones makes him a martyr and rallying point for groups who otherwise don’t care about each other.

And this brings us to why Machiavelli wrote about rulers should avoid being hated and despised. See.. the thing with being hated by despised by the general population is that it unites otherwise disparate factions who want to see your head on the end of a pike. Also, treating your populace like crap and screwing them over with arbitrary decision-making makes even the more unsavory elements who oppose you look reasonable by comparison. Perhaps most problematically, it puts those working for you in a peculiar situation, where they are screwed if they don’t follow your orders but place themselves in certain future peril if they follow through.

In the next post of this series, I will write about my thoughts on how the blowback might play out in the current socio-economic-political situation. And yes, such blowback will most likely take diverse and multiple forms.

What do you think? Comments?