TBT: First They Came for Crowder

It’s been a week for discussing tech censorship.  Yesterday, I wrote about Stefan Molyneux’s suspension from Mailchimp.  That was the result of deliberate misinformation and a handful of Twitter trolls.  It’s scary to consider that that’s all it takes to be deplatformed.

Such incidences are eerily, distressingly common.  Milo, Gavin McInnes, Laura Loomer, Alex Jones—all victims of Big Tech’s insatiable lust for virtue-signalling and social control.

This week’s TBT, then, looks back to Summer 2019, when conservative comedian Steven Crowder saw himself at the center of an on-again, off-again controversy regarding a mincing radical.

The great English physician said (I’m paraphrasing here) that we don’t need to be taught so much as we need to be reminded.  Crowder has endured with an excellent legal team, but it’s worth our time to consider the past (and present) battles in the ever-raging culture war.

Here is 2019’s “First They Came for Crowder“:

The big news in the conservative world this week was YouTube’s unceremonious demonetizing of Steven Crowder, yet another example of techno-elites censoring conservative and dissident voices.  Apparently, YouTube has somewhat reversed that decision if Crowder removes the hilarious “Socialism is for Figs” t-shirt from his website’s store (which, if that link is any indication, they have done).

The occasion for this deplatforming was a bout of limp-wristed hysterics from gay Hispanic (that’s a two-fer) Carlos Maza, a whinging, soyboy-ish fop with a penchant for calls of violence against conservatives.  Once again, loafer-lightened totalitarianism rears its fabulous head.

Maza argued that Crowder had “bullied” him in a series of sketches lampooning the sassy Latina’s emphatic videos for Vox.  As such, Maza demanded YouTube demonetize Crowder’s videos on its site.  When YouTube refused, Captain Canines led progressive journalists on a crusade against YouTube, claiming it didn’t do enough to protect LGBTQ2+etc. creators.

Please.  As Will Chamberlain writes in a piece on Human Events, Maza is one of the most privileged people on the planet:  he’s a flamingly gay Hispanic journalist.  Few people enjoy greater access to the full might and rancor of the progressive press (but I repeat myself) than this guy.

Crowder, on the other hand, has to hawk humorous t-shirts and hand-etched mugs to create a source of non-YouTube funding in order to keep his show going.  He’s been urging fans to subscribe to Mug Club for years for precisely this reason:  YouTube could pull the rug out at any moment (use promo code “Free Speech” for $30 off an annual subscription—that’s an incredible bargain).

YouTube brought in users with the promise of using their platform to make a living.  Now that they have a monopolistic market share of viewer eyeballs, they murkily shift their guidelines like a witch’s cauldron, booting conservatives for the slightest perceived offense.

Conservative content creators need reliable sources of funding to fight against the progressive media machine.  Steven Crowder needs your support.

And trust me—the mug alone is worth $70.

Paul Joseph Watson’s Case for Social Conservatism

The Portly Politico is striving towards self-sufficiency.  If you would like to support my work, consider subscribing to my SubscribeStar page.  Your subscription of $1/month or more gains you access to exclusive content every Saturday, including annual #MAGAWeek posts.  If you’ve received any value from my scribblings, I would very much appreciate your support.

I’ve written before that social conservatism is the red-headed stepchild of modern conservatism.  Buckleyite fusionism threw a sop to the social conservatives, but largely in the context of the Cold War:  being a devout Christian was a middle-finger to those godless Commies in the Soviet Union, and so social conservatism represented another front in that conflict.

Since the end of the Cold War, when the battle against Marxism became more subtly a cultural one, social conservatives have been ejected in favor of economic conservatives and national security conservatives.  It’s square to insist that Americans should strive to live lives of chaste self-sufficiency and virtue, and self-restraint is bad for the bottom line.  Instead, let’s encourage all manner of degeneracy, so long as it helps GDP.

Read More »

TBT: Banned! Techno-Elites Deplatform Alex Jones

It now seems like an eternity ago, but Alex Jones’s Infowars was banned from multiple social media platforms last August.  Given Facebook’s freedom-killing decision to deplatform “controversial” right-wing figures like Milo Yiannopoulos, it seemed germane to look back at the Infowars deplatforming, as it was an instructive moment.

Conservatives have been complacent on this issue.  Yes, many conservative bloggers and YouTube personalities have denounced the Facebook deplatforming, but there’s still this sense that, “Well, it’s just Milo and Gavin McInnes, they are pretty outrageous, and so dreadfully lacking in decorum.”  We can’t have that kind of cuckiness in the conversation.  Milo might be outlandish, and McInnes makes some over-the-top, overly general statements, but that’s the whole point of free speech.  Why are we giving these tech companies a pass?

It’s not going to stop at Milo.  Indeed, it’s unclear if it even started with him.  As I detail in the post below, even more mainstream figures like Stephen Crowder have struggled against YouTube demonetization and other “soft” forms of deplatforming.  I know Milo is crass and a bit of a troll—but he’s also right and factually accurate on almost every topic.

Note, too, how Facebook threw in anti-Semitic radical Louis Farrakhan as a clear smokescreen.  “Oh, we’re not just targeting conservatives—here’s a Leftist race-baiter, too!”  Nice try.  Notice that whenever there’s been a controversial conservative figure banned, the Right always points out that Farrakhan is still on [insert social medial platform here].  Facebook couldn’t have missed that, and went for the low-hanging fruit of Farrakhanean craziness.  But even Farrakhan should be able to say his wacky, hateful stuff—“sunlight is the best disinfectant,” as I wrote in August.

As for the cuckier types on the Right, I’m getting so sick of this excessive focus on presentation-as-message.  Milo and McInnes present their ideas in funny ways, but that doesn’t mean the ideas themselves are worthy of condemnation.  Further, we’re almost too good at policing our own on the Right.  Can’t we give Milo some leeway?  The stakes are too high to get caught up on semantics.  “Oh, he texted something mean.”  Who cares?  I’m not Milo’s mom, and Ben Shapiro shouldn’t be either.

This tweet from Dissident Right babe Lauren Southern sums it up nicely:

Free speech isn’t free, and just because Facebook is a “private company” doesn’t mean it should be able to trample our freedoms.  We’re in uncharted territory, but we have to do something to protect speech for all Americans.

So, here is August’s “Banned! Techno-Elites Deplatform Alex Jones,” sadly relevant once again:

The explosive news Monday was that tech giants Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, and Apple banned Alex Jones and Infowars from their respective platforms.  While Jones is a controversial figure who peddles in rumor, conspiracy, and innuendo, the concerted actionfrom separately-owned and -managed Silicon Valley entities is unsettling.

Historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote a piece for National Review arguing that Silicon Valley giants should be regulated—or even busted up—to prevent monopolistic and anti-competitive practices, drawing parallels to the muckraking reformers of the early twentieth century who brought down Standard Oil.   I’m wary of such solutions-by-government, but Hanson was anticipating a problem that has become all-too familiar:  the massive social and cultural clout the unmoored tech giants wield.

Steven Crowder of online late-night show Louder with Crowder often pokes fun at—and complains loudly about—the various murky “terms and services” and “community guidelines” rules that are ever-shifting in continuously updated apps and platforms.  A slight change in a Facebook algorithm—or a Twitter employee having a bad day—can lead to massive reductions in traffic for a YouTuber or blogger.  Reduced—or eliminated—traffic means less revenue.  YouTubers like Crowder who helped build the platform now find their videos demonetized for the most mysterious of reasons.

Candace Owens was kicked from Twitter because she rewrote recent New York Times hire and anti-white racist Sarah Jeong’s tweets by replacing disparaging uses of “white” with “black” or “Jew.”  Razorfirst posted a video some months ago of him literally just talking about nonsense for five minutes… and it was immediately demonetized.

Now Alex Jones is banned across multiple platforms from multiple platforms—which is absolutely chilling.  Jones is certainly not without controversy, and I wouldn’t take his ramblings to heart without a heaping helping of salt, but just because he’s a kinda nutty conspiracy kook who enjoys ripping his shirt off doesn’t make his situation any less terrible.  If we write off Jones because he was “asking for it” by being kooky, then we’re missing the whole point of free speech.

And, yes, the usual objections are inevitable:  “but, TPP, the First Amendment speech protections only apply to the government!  Companies can set whatever guidelines they want!  You can use some other platform!  He still has his website.”  Yes, yes, yes, and yes—all true.  Nevertheless, the arbitrary power we’ve voluntarily—if unwittingly—yielded to these tech elites is staggering.  And this preponderance of power may be where Hanson has a point.

Is not the function of the government to protect the rights of its citizens from threats and violations, both foreign and domestic?  In this case, arbitrary bans—particularly these coordinated attacks on controversial figures—seem to be a powerful means of preventing an individual and/or entity from delivering his message in the public square.  Like the street corner doomsayer, Alex Jones has a right to be heard, even if he’s sometimes insane (for me, the jury is out on Jones; I enjoy the entertainment value of his commentary, and I think he’s probably right about 80% of the time, but then he veers off into crisis actors, etc.—the danger of a man who is charismatic and convincing).

Today, it’s a relatively buffoonish character like Jones.  Tomorrow—who knows?  Do we really want to find out?  “Hate speech” is a code word for silencing conservatives.  It’s better to publish one racist screed from a lonely nut (not referencing Jones here, to be clear) than to muzzle millions because their innocuous, mainstream conservative viewpoint might been interpreted as a “dog-whistle.”

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and it’s often better to give madmen the rope with which to hang themselves.  When we try to silence them, they only gain in credibility (indeed, when I read the news, I immediately went… to Infowars!).

Progressivism and Political Violence II: Candace Owens Attack and the Deficiency of Decorum

A small part of me really believed that the insanity of post-election 2016 and pre-and-post-Inaugural 2017, while still simmering at a low boil, had largely shifted back to the fringes, with the real threats to liberty returning to online flame wars and techno-corporate elites deplatforming anyone to the right of Joseph Stalin.  Sure, Antifa—the ironically-named organization of hooded, masked Millennial fascists—is still around, and entitled behemoths still kneel during the National Anthem, but the street-level thuggery seemed to have quieted down.

As with many things in life, I was, unfortunately, wrong.  Candace Owens—the intelligent black conservative who inspired Kanye West’s Twitter lovefest for President Trump earlier this summer—was attacked in Philadelphia by a group of noodle-wristed soy boys and their pansexual, transgender lesbian besties while trying to enjoy a breakfast with Charlie Kirk. the founder of Turning Point USA.

I should have listened to my own analysis—and remembered very recent incidences, like White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s expulsion from a restaurant because her mere presence made gay employees uncomfortable (I know they’re drama queens, but, c’mon—can we stop indulging gay men like they’re fragile children?)—rather than engage in unfounded optimism.

The attack on Owens—who was forced to leave the restaurant because of the disturbance, and who endured cries of “F*ck White Supremacy” (remember, she’s black)—is merely the latest in a long stream of Leftists attacks on the Right.  Some, like yesterday’s deplatforming of Alex Jones and InfoWars—are non-violent, but hurt economically and socially by reducing or eliminating traffic to websites.

What the Left cannot achieve through social or economic coercion—through its dominance of institutions like academia, media, the arts, corporations, etc.—it will gladly do through physical violence (thus the “by any means necessary” mantra so beloved of Communist revolutionaries).  I suspect that a number of seemingly respectable cultural and academic figures on the Left, while publicly tut-tutting their street fighters, secretly thrill at the violent upheaval their radicals-in-arms create.

Indeed, this is no mere speculation.  Remember the television executive who scoffed, after the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooting, that most of the victims were probably Republican Trump supporters, anyway?

Aging counterculture revolutionaries—now firmly entrenched in their tenured ivory towers and emeritus seats, forever addicted to the false god of youth—live dreamily, vicariously through the antics of young street “toughs” who emulate the very professoriate that idealizes their destruction.

Now more than ever, the Right must come together.  Remember the meteoric rise and swift fall of Milo Yiannopoulos?  For years, conservatives dreamed of a funny, popular figure who would help break us out of National Review and Weekly Standard stuffiness and show that we don’t hate gay people or minorities (we just hate annoying people in general).  When he finally came, Conservatism Inc. rejected him out-of-hand because he made mean jokes on stage (the same objection, I’m sure you’ve realized, they’ve made about Trump).  Milo can be a little much sometimes, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard him state a fact that was incorrect.  Hyperbolic in delivery, yes; factually inaccurate, no.

My point is this:  we’ve got to give the decorum thing a rest.  I’m not saying we should go out and diss every non-conservative we ever meet, or to engage in street fights with Antifa (except in self-defense)—we should try to be cordial and peaceful whenever possible—but if the other side is going to punch you while you’re trying to have a rational discussion, then, well, your fists have gotsta do the talking for you.

Again, I am not condoning or attempting to incite anyone to violence.  I’m just saying that we need to back off figures like Trump, Milo, Candace Owens, Gavin McInness, etc., who are making the tough, real sacrifices in this culture war, and who are exposing themselves to real physical danger.  So what if they get a little rhetorically saucy or say something mean but funny?  Decorum has its place, but it seems to be a luxury we can ill-afford at present.

Razorfist on InfoWars Deplatforming

As I posted this morning, Alex Jones and InfoWars were unceremoniously deplatformed in a coordinated, cross-corporate attack that saw almost every major Silicon Valley player ban the right-wing conspiracy theorist from their respective services.  Already, YouTubers of all stripes are coming out to defend Jones—if not the substance of his content, then his right to be heard.

YouTuber Razorfist released a video last night (below; warning:  foul language) in which he argued that this attack makes Jones a martyr; all too true.  Here is the video (again, video contains foul language and may not be safe/appropriate for work):

Razor also points out that you can continue to follow InfoWars at Bitchute, and predicts that the site is going to grow rapidly with its new user on board:  https://www.bitchute.com/channel/infowars/

Follow your conscious.  You don’t have to support Alex Jones’s content just because he was deplatformed, but all conservatives should be defending his ability to put his message out there.  After all, if it’s just nutty kookery, then submitting it to the light of day will expose its cracks.

Banned! Techno-Elites Deplatform Alex Jones

The explosive news Monday was that tech giants Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, and Apple banned Alex Jones and Infowars from their respective platforms.  While Jones is a controversial figure who peddles in rumor, conspiracy, and innuendo, the concerted action from separately-owned and -managed Silicon Valley entities is unsettling.

Historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote a piece for National Review arguing that Silicon Valley giants should be regulated—or even busted up—to prevent monopolistic and anti-competitive practices, drawing parallels to the muckraking reformers of the early twentieth century who brought down Standard Oil.   I’m wary of such solutions-by-government, but Hanson was anticipating a problem that has become all-too familiar:  the massive social and cultural clout the unmoored tech giants wield.

Steven Crowder of online late-night show Louder with Crowder often pokes fun at—and complains loudly about—the various murky “terms and services” and “community guidelines” rules that are ever-shifting in continuously updated apps and platforms.  A slight change in a Facebook algorithm—or a Twitter employee having a bad day—can lead to massive reductions in traffic for a YouTuber or blogger.  Reduced—or eliminated—traffic means less revenue.  YouTubers like Crowder who helped build the platform now find their videos demonetized for the most mysterious of reasons.

Candace Owens was kicked from Twitter because she rewrote recent New York Times hire and anti-white racist Sarah Jeong’s tweets by replacing disparaging uses of “white” with “black” or “Jew.”  Razorfirst posted a video some months ago of him literally just talking about nonsense for five minutes… and it was immediately demonetized.

Now Alex Jones is banned across multiple platforms from multiple platforms—which is absolutely chilling.  Jones is certainly not without controversy, and I wouldn’t take his ramblings to heart without a heaping helping of salt, but just because he’s a kinda nutty conspiracy kook who enjoys ripping his shirt off doesn’t make his situation any less terrible.  If we write off Jones because he was “asking for it” by being kooky, then we’re missing the whole point of free speech.

And, yes, the usual objections are inevitable:  “but, TPP, the First Amendment speech protections only apply to the government!  Companies can set whatever guidelines they want!  You can use some other platform!  He still has his website.”  Yes, yes, yes, and yes—all true.  Nevertheless, the arbitrary power we’ve voluntarily—if unwittingly—yielded to these tech elites is staggering.  And this preponderance of power may be where Hanson has a point.

Is not the function of the government to protect the rights of its citizens from threats and violations, both foreign and domestic?  In this case, arbitrary bans—particularly these coordinated attacks on controversial figures—seem to be a powerful means of preventing an individual and/or entity from delivering his message in the public square.  Like the street corner doomsayer, Alex Jones has a right to be heard, even if he’s sometimes insane (for me, the jury is out on Jones; I enjoy the entertainment value of his commentary, and I think he’s probably right about 80% of the time, but then he veers off into crisis actors, etc.—the danger of a man who is charismatic and convincing).

Today, it’s a relatively buffoonish character like Jones.  Tomorrow—who knows?  Do we really want to find out?  “Hate speech” is a code word for silencing conservatives.  It’s better to publish one racist screed from a lonely nut (not referencing Jones here, to be clear) than to muzzle millions because their innocuous, mainstream conservative viewpoint might been interpreted as a “dog-whistle.”

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and it’s often better to give madmen the rope with which to hang themselves.  When we try to silence them, they only gain in credibility (indeed, when I read the news, I immediately went… to Infowars!).