When YouTube and the other two above banned Alex Jones, I wrote a rant about the censorship involved. I got mail from readers who protested that it was not censorship because it wasn’t the government de-listing and de-monetizing Alex but rather private companies, who therefore have the right to decline service to anyone they wish.
I raised my eyebrows at this – because “private companies” is an abuse of language given we live in a corporatist society in which there is no longer much if any meaningful distinction between corporations and the government.
Consider for example the way the car and health insurance industry has become what might as well be the government, since the government acts as its collections and enforcement division.
These social media behemoths operate on the same general principle. They effectively own the public square – which is the Internet – which is something the government controls. It’s a difference without a distinction.
To make it a little easier to understand, imagine if the New York Times and Washington Post and LA Times controlled everything that was printed because no one else owned printing presses and could not launch an independent publication. You could not publish because the means of publishing were beyond your grasp.
We have no control over the Internet – and cannot create an alternative Internet. It is the only means of publishing electronically and making available what you publish to others. If a site (or a particular writer) is blackballed, it is no different in practical effect than a gag order issued by the government.
So what’s happening is censorship. And – as predicted – it is not just Alex Jones who’s being censored.
FaceplantBook just shut down 559 pages and 251 accounts – including The Free Thought Project, Press For Truth, Anti-Media, Cop Block, Filming Cops, Right Wing News, Noisy Room, Gun Laws Don’t Work, Voluntaryist Veterans and several others.
It will probably include this site. Any site which dares to contradict official orthodoxies, especially those questioning “climate change” (which is already being framed as morally despicable denial, on par with gassing Jews) and various other collectivist shibboleths.
This site’s ripping away of the cloak of bullshit surrounding the VW emissions “cheating” scandal and telling the fulsome scurvy truth about the real reasons for the force-feeding of electric cars is bound to result in the eye of Sauron turning this way.
One of my heroes is H.L. Mencken, whom I consider to be the American Voltaire (except Mencken was aa much better writer) once wrote to the effect that every normal man sometimes feels the urge to spit on his hands and raise the Jolly Roger.
Stop using FacePlantBook and other authoritarian collectivist “social media” that is in fact just another facet of the government-corporate nexus which is now openly attempting to control not just just speech but thought in this country.
That time is at hand.
It’s now – or maybe never.
. . .
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ust look at how the Big Tech companies started. They got their seed money from the venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel. BTW, IQT is a CIA/DARPA front! The Deep State, i.e. the REAL power, wants to squelch free speech, so they can once again control the flow of information like they did in the Glory Days of three TV networks. Ah, but there are these pesky little things called the Constitution and Bill of Rights standing in the way, both of which prohibit gov’t censorship. What to do? Get a privately owned concern of yours to do your bidding. FB, Twitter, et al are simply arms of the Deep State, and they’ll do the Deep State’s bidding.
Oh, and notice how NO ONE in gov’t has raised questions about anti-trust concerns? Notice how no one voices concern over their monopoly power? Notice how NO ONE in gov’t went after the Big Tech companies as they did with Microsoft or Ma Bell back in the day? If Microsoft was predatory, monopolistic company, why aren’t the Big Tech companies? Don’t the Big Tech companies enjoy a monopoly comparable to what MS had and still has? Why do you think that is? Because the Big Tech companies are doing the bidding of the Deep State, that’s why! The Big Tech giants are simply camouflaged arms of the gov’t.
I find it hard to have sympathy. How did no one see this coming? Personally, I was always very suspicious of any site or individual which was attempting to enlighten others about the evils of our current world, when I’d see them displaying that Facebook logo, or pleading for people to follow them on Facebook or Twitter.
Even ignoring the censorship (Which has long been going on- only previously just not to the level it is now), why would any benevolent entity use and encourage the use of services which destroy their users privacy; use their patrons as guinea pigs in behavioral and psychological experiments; encourage people to bare all of their personal information; are run by(and thus help support) evil globalist corporations; and which alter the very nature of social interaction and behavior of vast numbers of human beings?
It’s akin to an Anarchist site telling it’s readers to report their neighbors to “the authorities”- a complete non sequitur.
People need to THINK before rushing headlong to adopt all of these new behaviors and technologies! Think of who is behind them, and the potential for control and invasion of privacy; censorship; behavior modification; and how by aligning oneself with such services/technologies, it can allow them to infiltrate and destroy one’s audience; etc.
I mean, did anyone really somehow think that something good would come of such a service, considering who and what runs it?
Whether it be Facebook- or it’s next iteration; or Kindle [Which allows them to censor/change that which you already “own”] or portable tracking devices[Smartphones], etc. people need to THINK before just jumping on the bandwagon and taking the path of least resistance!
It’s funny actually- people like Alex Jones -even if legit (I have always maintained that he is a government operaticve) who are ostensibly warning people about every little thing, somehow missed the glaring evils (and potential for such) of something like Facebook? Uh, yeah…. Something is not right there….
Kind of pointless to worry about all of the tyrannies which proceed from Uncle, when most will just voluntarily give up their privacy and autonomy and independence for a little convenience. And I guarantee you, these same people who were burnt by Facebook, will be onboard with the very next thing that comes along.
Google was outed as a CIA construct by a CIA whistle blower plus Google doesn’t deny receiving government funds.
I wouldn’t be surprised if FB also received government funding.
Amazon is doing AI work for the government despite their motto and had nearly 4,000 employees sign a letter protesting same. The CEO responded to them something akin to “tough shit”.
At least Kindle isn’t the only ebook seller. Anything they sell I can get elsewhere and have done so since. I realize I’m not solving the problem but I’ll continue to not help them
” I realize I’m not solving the problem but I’ll continue to not help them”
Actually, you are solving the problem for you!
With Kindle (and the other eBook readers too, I assume) they can actually change the content/censor the literature AT ANY TIME- even years after you’ve purchased it.
I’m old fashioned: I cook with fire, and still read real paper books. They can’t do a “Mandela effect” on a paper book. I still have all of my old reference books too- no telling when they will change any web content or eBook versions- but my hard copies will always be there and be the same as the day I bought ’em!
With everything being electronic and remotely accessible, they’re really setting us up for a fall- whether by design, or just as a result of a catastrophe. We’ll wake up one day, and all of the high tech which is so dependent upon a rather delicate balance of specialists, will be gone- and so will the old technology, which is already largely lost.
Before FB, there was Project Lifelog; it was a DARPA predecessor to FB. After FB came on the scene, Project Lifelog ended. Things that make you go HMMMM…
Americans say that they are not responsible for anything and they are victims. Americans feel that they are not to blame and every problem is not their fault. Americans insist that they are saints and everyone else is evil.
Racists believe the police state only affects blacks and scream that the Jewish media is lying whenever a white person is arrested.
How can Americans sleep at night now or look in a mirror without feeling utterly disgusted and ashamed?
People [some who even used to post here] used to label me a tin-foil hatter for abstaining from social[ist] media [Which I did, mainly because I like my privacy; prefer to communicate with people one-on-one; and don’t wish to support creepy corporate media]- and to those I say: TOLD YA!!! PFFfffttttt!!!!!
And you KNOW the next step will be that they will start infiltrating your smartphones- and not just by harvesting your data, which they already do.
This whole system of internet and communications is turning into nothing but a giant surveillance net and personal data harvesting scheme- which it what it was designed for- why else would the MILITARY and the intelligence community have had it invented, built and propagated? Just because they’re nice guys who wanted to give us a gift?
Yes, agreed. The net is now visible – and closing. FacePlantBook and all the rest will in time use the “social credit” scheme being deployed in China to police thought and enforce orthodoxy. This social (and economic) pressure will be far more effective than mere police pressure.
People are generally social animals and want to be “liked” and not cast out of the “community.” And everyone has to eat. If eating becomes dependent on earning a living that can only be earned with “social approval,” god help us all.
So true, Eric!
Makes me glad that I’m a hermit!
The social credit thing and ability to eat and earn a living: Ever hear hear of The Mark Of The Beast?
This is really the most sickening thing I’ve ever heard of (social credit scheme)- as it really lays bare all human thought, interaction and communication- and by doing so, not only controls all human interaction, but perverts all human actions, and thus society itself.
This is truly beyond anything George Orwell ever imagined.
This is why, in my quest to find a good place to hunker down, I am not only avoiding the first world- but virtually any place which is intent on “developing”- because all such places will be on the fast track to adopting this model- and can do so very quickly, having little or no old infrastructure to transition from.
Even right now- I could only imagine if I were in a position where I would need a [shudder] job. I’d likely be unhireable for all but the position of elephant poop sweeper, because I don’t have any social media accounts which they could peruse (Not to mention that they even want a sample of your blood or pee-pee for the lowliest factory jobs these days).
We are truly living in historic times. Humanity is rushing headlong towards the precipice. Sad thing is, it’s already just about to the point where when it all goes splat, no one will really care- but rather just breathe a sigh of relief.
The internet was not created to monitor us all. The public was never intended to use it in mass and when it comes to these issues I wish they hadn’t found it. Keep in mind I’ve been in the ‘online’ world for a long time. I first used the internet in 1989. Back then there were still BBSes and other networks like BITNET were still around. USENET was where discussions like this happened. But the spammers have taken it over. I remember when it was fully functional and all discussion groups were real.
You’re 100% RIGHT! David Knight, who’s on in the morning, has talked about JC Licklider, the psychologist who influenced (or outright created, depending on who you talk to) the Internet’s design. Dr. Licklider designed the Internet to be a monitoring/feedback mechanism by which TPTB could see if we were buying in to their BS, i.e. The Narrative of the Day.
Some scary shit coming down the pike. Sooner then you think too.
“I got mail from readers who protested that it was not censorship because it wasn’t the government de-listing and de-monetizing…”
I’ve never understood the belief, peculiar to some libertarians, that the “private” nature of a company somehow renders it immune from libertarian criticism/analysis. Also, they’re wrong about censorship. Private entities routinely practice censorship, some good, some bad which, of course, is their right. But, it is also “our” right to criticize any policies we find objectionable. I read your Alex Jones rant and I don’t remember you calling for the government to step in and force farcebook, twatter and the rest to re-platform Mr. Jones. So, what avenues are open to us, from a libertarian perspective, when “private” companies behave badly? Criticize, boycott, substitute, replace, etc…, anything short of force.
They’re also wrong about the “private” nature of these companies. Whether government provided start up money is relevant, but not necessary to question their “private” status; all of these companies help the government violate our “legal” rights. This alone renders them not private, in a libertarian sense. They’re also wrong in asserting that what is going on is not government censorship. As Caitlin Johnstone notes, “In A Corporatist System Of Government, Corporate Censorship Is State Censorship.” Members of Congress routinely “encourage” private companies to “self”-censor, lest government be “forced” to intervene. This has been going on for a long tome, but in the age of the internet the consequences are more dire.
Decent lefties like Caitlin Johnstone and Jimmy Dore correctly diagnose the non-private nature of corporate censorship but naively believe, as only an earnest lefty can, that the same government that is “encouraging” these companies to censor those views it does not like, will somehow prevent these companies from censoring those same views. The government uses corporate censorship intentionally, to circumvent the law. The idea that defining social media companies as public utilities (and regulating them as such) will prevent this is laughable, and no credible libertarian supports such a foolish idea.
“I raised my eyebrows at this – because “private companies” is an abuse of language given we live in a corporatist society in which there is no longer much if any meaningful distinction between corporations and the government”.
Eric, defining what is meaningfully “private” in the soft-fascist West is perhaps the most important libertarian dilemma we face. Yet most libertarians seem willing to cede the field entirely to the lefties. The good lefties recognize that the State and the corporations are partners, not enemies. The bad lefties believe in the fairy tale of crusading good government vs the evil corporations. Both believe that further empowering government is the solution. Bad lefties are unreachable and, unfortunately, overwhelmingly outnumber good lefties. Good lefties are reachable because their beliefs are internally inconsistent, though unrecognized as such, and they are often outraged by the same stuff that outrages us. Mainstream libertarians who reflexively defend “private” companies without any thought to what “private” really means just perpetuate the false left/right dichotomies of gov good/private bad and private good/gov bad that pits most people against each other and distracts them from their common enemy.
Every organization, such as a company, is a form of government. What these ostensibly private entities are engaging in constitutes initiation of force, which legitimizes forceful responses.
They don’t own the air, or the ether, and their putting conditions on its use is akin to me putting restrictions on how my neighbor uses his property. When they put in an open air nuclear fuel rod reprocessing facility in the backyard next to mine, or a rendering plant, the consequences affect me and I then have the right to deal with it in a proportionate way. And that is not just protesting and boycotting (“I’ll show them, I will move and put up a sign that they are mean people!”).
It means I can sue and take corrective action, or contract force to deal with the aggression.
This is the analogy. These people staked out a bogus claim on the internet and are using it to interfere with free usage. That they used quasi market methods to do so is irrelevant. The communists said that the capitalists would sell them the rope used to hang them. That is what they are up to.
I should have said, anything short of aggression. Force, used to counter aggression is legitimate and necessary in any conceivable free society.
You refer to these companies as “ostensibly private” and I agree. How would you define a genuinely private company? I’ve given a lot of thought to this lately and offer that a truly private company must meet these conditions:
– as much as possible, it’s income is generated solely from direct, voluntary transactions.
– even if not directly compensated, it may not perform any services for the government that entail intrinsic rights violations.
I’m genuinely curious what other libertarians think of this issue.
BTW, what I’m trying to get across with the “as much as possible” caveat is that the private status of a business cannot be denied due to an aggressive intervention of the State, which precludes other options. For example, a trucking company that uses public roads cannot be deemed non-private on that basis alone.
About all I can think to add to your concise list is that it cannot be funded or supported in any way by government which are matters of degree rather than distinction vs your 2 points.
As always, I really enjoy – and appreciate – your thoughtful posts!
Here’s my “50 cents” in reply to the points you brought up:
“Censorship” (like any other thing) should be exactly defined before an opinion is rendered regarding it.
I think there is a distinction to be made between a given publication declining to publish something it dislikes or disagrees with and suppressing publication of views.
I do not believe it is accurate to state (as an example) that I am censoring Elon Musk or his fanbois by not allowing them to post/publish their material on EPautos, or restricting what they wish to publish on EPautos. They can publish elsewhere.
But what if I controlled elsewhere? Could prevent them from publishing there, too?
By way of analogy: It is one thing for a given restaurant or bar to allow (or not allow) smoking and a general law imposing such a thing (one way or the other) on all restaurants and bars.
What we’re dealing with, then, is suppression – which (to me) is the thing which defines censorship.
And suppression can only be achieved using force.
And is only effective when it is generally applied.
Thus, we get to the meat of this ugly business with regard to FacePlantBook, Twatter and the other “platforms.” They are a collective, a cartel – and have the ability to suppress by dint of that.
Now, we get to the question: How to counter or deal with this?
I agree that government regulation is not the answer for the same reason that restricting guns to armed government workers is not the answer to “gun violence.”
I think that the answer may lie in questioning the moral legitimacy of corporations per se. I certainly question it – because the main reason for the formation of a corporation is to limit liability, a noxious concept. I – and every other actual human being – am personally responsible for harms I cause and (morally) should be held fully accountable for any harms I cause. This business of shielding humans who cause harm under the umbrella of an LLC is outrageous and evil.
There is also the notion – which I agree with – that the Internet as such is a public square that no one owns but which everyone has a right to use as a Forum to express their views, even loathsome ones. No suppression of speech in a public forum is tolerable to me.
Thanks, and likewise. You make an interesting distinction that I had not considered. Namely that suppression, not merely personal discrimination, defines censorship. You discriminate by choosing what you will allow on your site, but you do not, and cannot, suppress views you do not endorse.
Both unions and corporations, as they exist, are creatures of the State. I suspect that both would exist, absent legally protected privilege, in a truly free society.
The internet belongs to everyone and no one, in that sense it is public. Unfortunately, publicly owned is just a euphemism for government owned. As you point out in a different article, he who controls the property is the actual owner.
Now, we get to the question: How to counter or deal with this?
Unfortunately we’re not going to deal with this. Oh there are ways, such as hosting your own site (like EPautos.com) or returning to some of the “lost” protocols like NNTP, Jabber and the like, but that’s difficult to do because, well, the clients for these systems are half-baked and designed by a bunch of nerds. Some of you might remember Google News, which was their web wrapper on NNTP. It was generally loved by the community, but because Google couldn’t make money on it, it was killed off. I didn’t use it, because my ISP had their own NNTP server and I was able to use it. But the number of people who knew anything about NNTP (and weren’t into downloading pirated binaries) was minuscule because the masses were just getting a handle on web browsing.
I’m sure the successor to Facebook is in the works. A potential contender is Mastodon, but because of social justice types banning entire servers it won’t ever be ubiquitous -then again maybe that’s a good thing. But then again Mastodon looks half-baked and doesn’t have any sort of user-defined filters for NSFW, a major feature of Facebook, at least if mom’s going to let the kids on it.
google purposely destroyed their usenet service. It was never as good as a real usenet news reader but it was functional. But then they set about making it useless.
There was a great era of usenet between 1990 and 1996. After that the spammers began destroying it and the binary newsgroups meant having a full service news server far too costly. Many discussion groups lasted right into the late 00s but then the decline sped up. Of the groups I followed only one has a handful of people left and is just overrun with cross posted political troll spam.
Screw em. Silicon Valley is full of statist corporations and I am weary of the control and influence they have on our overlords. Best you can do is de-tech your life and give them the finger by not patronizing anything they touch.