Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘soft totalitarianism’

Democracy’s Google Problem

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Trust the United Nations to say that the world not as the world is.

They tell us that democracy is barely breathing in Venezuela. The only thing slowing its breathing is its constant gorging at the trough. Democracy is eating Venezuela like a buffet after the Oakland Raiders arrive. French President Macron accidentally and egregiously told the truth about what was happening over there.

“The generalised and systematic use of excessive force during demonstrations and the arbitrary detention of protesters and perceived political opponents indicate that these were not the illegal or rogue acts of isolated officials,” the report said. The extent of the violations “points to the existence of a policy to repress political dissent and instill fear in the population to curb demonstrations at the cost of Venezuelans’ rights and freedoms”, it (Macron, I presume) added.

The Unelected Cucking Caudillo of the UN (UCCUN) then held forth on what a democracy should do when bad things happen to people who protest election results.

“The government must ensure there are prompt, independent and effective investigations of the human rights violations allegedly committed by the security forces,” as well as by pro-government groups and armed protesters, Mr Zeid said.

But what if a good, solid working majority of the voters get off on the “the generalised and systematic use of excessive force during demonstrations and the arbitrary detention of protesters and perceived political opponents?” If Antifa forms a government in the US or Great Britain, wouldn’t they want Nazi-punching inaugurated as an Olympic Sport?

The flaw in democracy is the flaw in human individuals amplified by groupthink, hive-mind and committee mentality behavior. Once a majority of We The People (WTFP) wants your sorry posterior dirt-napped, you are going down. Democracy demands it — and no emperor, king or dictator is as cruel a master as the mob. Ask Jesus and Socrates.

And if you don’t believe that the will of the people is perverse, puerile, perverted, pusillanimous and frequently in accordance with the true spirit of Mordor, then you need to get your ass off the couch and meet more of the fine folk in your neck of the woods. So democracy in Venezuela delivers. It’s the product Macron’s mom, oops, I mean his wife probably instructed him to object to.

Joel Kotkin gives us the #Cuckservative version of the same sort of whinge. He tells us that President Trump damaged democracy and Silicon Valley will finish it off.

The Silicon Valley and its Puget Sound annex dominated by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft increasingly resemble the pre-gas crisis Detroit of the Big Three. Tech’s Big Five all enjoy overwhelming market shares—for example Google controls upwards of 80 percent of global search—and the capital to either acquire or crush any newcomers. They are bringing us a hardly gilded age of prosperity but depressed competition, economic stagnation, and, increasingly, a chilling desire to control the national conversation.
Jeff Bezos harrumphs through his chosen megaphone, The Washington Post, about how “democracy dies in the dark.” But if Bezos—the world’s third richest man, who used the Post first to undermine Bernie Sanders and then to wage ceaseless war on the admittedly heinous Donald Trump—really wants to identify the biggest long-term threat to individual and community autonomy, he should turn on the lights and look in the mirror.

Now, as America’s version of the democratic Visigoth Holiday threatens to wind on down, even Matthew Yglesias over at Vox started to take notice. Journalism’s extra from the set of Eyes Wide Shut ponders with furrowed brow that a company that owns over 80% of its market and maintains a fleet of offshore cruise ships to house its illegal immigrant workforce, might just be exerting a wee tad bit of influence over Matthew’s beloved Democratic Party.

All businesses lobby on behalf of their interests, and in recent years that lobbying has increasingly expanded to include more focus on things like think tanks and other aspects of the “deep” influence game. Google has been especially an especially aggressive player at deep influence. The Wall Street journal reported in July, for example, that they’ve spent millions of dollars subsidizing academic research that backs Google policy positions, often mapping out the thesis to be proven and then shopping to find the scholar to do the work. Google’s money, not always disclosed, has backed donations to think tanks across the ideological spectrum as well as more prosaic forms of influence peddling like campaign contributions. What makes Google somewhat unusual for such a big company is that it’s fairly closely aligned with the Democratic Party. Dozens of people moved from jobs at Google to jobs in the Obama administration, and vice versa, over its eight-year span.

We’ll walk Matthew through a gentle black-pilling here and let him see how The Matrix really works. Google finds it refreshingly pleasant and surprising that the Democrats are so willing to align themselves with its long-term corporate strategy. They find it particularly surprising how benign their acquisition of this old and once-proud political monopoly of coercion has actually been. There have been occasional hiccups along the way, but then again, what Megacorporation hasn’t had to spin-off or terminate a few unprofitable divisions.

And yes, dozens of people have moved back and forth between Google HQ and their subordinate Obama White House. It was a high-risk acquisition, that Obama White House, and somebody had to fly out there and provide a bit of technical expertise. So democracy has been surprisingly effective for Goolag, Crapple, Zuckerface, et al, but all good love affairs come to an end. Google owns politicians the way Wall Street money managers own positions in Walmart or Caterpillar.

They hope that they know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and never let those positions have any normative influence on their beliefs. Perhaps, as President Trump LBOed their butts out of DC and the EU decided to tax them as perhaps a rainy-day fund in case the Brexit actually leaves the building, Google thinks their democracy position is reaching its shelf life and smells like last Thursday’s delivery from the milkman. So as Google begins to think it has a democracy problem — and democracy wants to think itself potent enough to even solve a Google problem — something will have to be done.

Now Google properly evaluates ROI on democracy based on how frequently their paid politicians win and then how well they behave and stay bought once in office. If they get Hillaried, or if their protégés/catamites defect to Bernie or The Donald, then Google has a dilemma on its hands. They can double-down on the information control and politician-buying, or they can cut their losses and divest. They can be Amerikan and start moving all their jobs to China.

Democracy, on the other hand, has two options of its own to deal with their Goolag problem. We’ll describe these options as Roosevelt I and Roosevelt II.

  • Roosevelt I (AKA The Tedster) involves dusting off an old law known as The Sherman Anti-Trust Act and hammering the crap out of the Silicon Valley Oligarchs. Break their companies and make them spin off tentacles the way Judge Green dismembered AT&T. This would lead to something akin to the regional Baby Bells and a briefly less efficient Internet. After that, innovation will kick in and Google and Twitter will seem about as advanced as old, early 1990’s brick cell phones. If democracy beats Google, this is how I’d want it all to go down.
  • Roosevelt II (AKA Evil Amerikan Emperor) involves making the Internet into some sort of giant TVA. Theoretically, at least, nationalization of social media would make Goolag, Faceberg, Twatter, et al, have to work around the First Amendment in order to censor, say Baked Alaska. They would be licensed public carriers rather than private enterprises. But what if democracy goes into end-stage demotic decline here as badly as it has in Venezuela? Well, then the voters would demand “The generalised and systematic use of excessive force during demonstrations and the arbitrary detention of protesters and perceived political opponents.” Twitter’s Memory Hole Committee wouldn’t keep the people waiting. They’d be GLAAD to get cracking on that one pronto. The Roosevelt II option would only make the Internet more Orwellian than it already is.

So if you beat Google with democracy, you get totalitarianism. If you democratize Google, you get authoritarianism. Only smashing Goog-hole or smashing democracy — or ideally, smashing both Goolag and mob rule — will resolve the issue in a favorable manner for the commonweal of the society. Is there any conceivable chance that we can embrace healing power of and on this one?

How You Know You Are Living in a Soft Totalitarian State

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Conservatives struggle with a fundamental problem: our ideals are perennially unpopular, at least until things get so bad that people are desperate enough for a solution that they turn to matured wisdom.

As long as the proles — the 90% of any society who belong to the category of people who need to be told what to do — have fat enough paychecks, beer, bread and circuses, they are perfectly content to ignore any long term problems. In fact, they delight in not just ignoring them but shaming anyone who notices them as a “loser,” because this makes them feel more powerful.

With the fall of Berlin, conservatism was not just marginalized by its relative unpopularity, but actively under assault for any area where its ideas overlapped with those of the National Socialists. This caused the “winners” to immediately drop those ideas, and the “losers” to hang on to them, perhaps with the disclaimer that they could be implemented differently.

Only fifteen years after the end of the second world war, America and Europe were already swinging hard to the Left, mainly because post-war prosperity guaranteed that people would be entirely unconcerned about any long-term consequences. As the saying goes, while there’s food, the peasants party, and then only worry about what to do when they wake up the next day to find themselves hungry.

Since that triumph of the Left, conservatives who speak honestly and realistically have been essentially a persecuted minority, with those who speak taboo truths finding themselves facing the terror of public opinion which seeks to deprive them of jobs, housing, friends and family:

“The thought of getting outed as ‘white supremacists’ to our employers and possibly losing our jobs is a horrifying prospect,” the user Ignatz wrote. If forced to choose between a rally, which could bring him unwanted exposure, or supporting his white family, he says he would choose the latter.

…”But, by and large, people are scared because of the exact same reasons you’d expect,” says Hankes. “It’s hard to get a job, hard to make a living, hard to have a normal social life when all your friends and family know you believe in ethnic cleansing.”

This means that we are living in a soft totalitarian state. Like regular garden-variety totalitarianism, soft totalitarian controls people by regulating what methods and ideas they can be exposed to. However, soft totalitarianism adds a wrinkle: We The People, in our endless quest for social acceptance, do the enforcing instead of government.

That extends to corporations and others who achieve their success and wealth through being popular. Consumerism, as it turns out, is a form of democracy; whatever the largest group of people purchases, wins, and so a market or competition is set up in which companies compete to be the most popular. Inevitably, that spills outward from value and quality of their products to public image, which then swings Leftward as all things do when left up to a mass of people, mainly because that mass chooses the lowest common denominator, which is always simple social sentiments instead of complex critical thinking.

In a soft totalitarian state, government uses freedom as a weapon, knowing that most people are short-term thinkers and therefore both selfish and oblivious to long-term consequences, and that in groups, people always choose a mediocre option in order to keep the group together because only a few people understand the task and have a sensible take on it, anyway. The more freedom and fewer restrictions, the more emboldened the mob becomes to engage in bad behavior, and as a result, the more it fears anyone who wants actual standards, morals, customs, values, culture, heritage, religion or purpose. The mob is the weapon.

In any democratic state, the mob takes over because it creates a market for liars. These actors go on stage, make promises they know are untrue, collect votes and then drive out anyone else. Like the Chicago “political machines” of the 19th century, they then rig the system so no one else can win. As Plato noted, they invariably import foreigners who, as people alienated from the majority, always vote for strong protectors, and so keep the actors in charge.

Their problem is that, as conductors of the masses, they must find a way to motivate an increasingly selfish and sluggish group of very distracted people, most of whom are lost in solipsistic ego-drama and attention whoring, in order to stay in power. To do this they must create vivid images like we would find in comic books of exaggerated good versus evil, with the underdog always winning because most people see themselves as an underdog, if for nothing else to justify their selfish behavior and excuse their failings, claiming oppression and therefore a “right” to take what they secretly believe is theirs, or to simply not contribute much. Politics becomes a hybrid between a circus and a football game, with constant distractions to keep the crowd interested, and then narrow characterizations to channel them into one opinion or another. This is one of the many reasons that democracy is immoral and dishonest.

Many have misunderstood this characteristic of democracy. They see how democracy acts against white people, men, Christians and intelligent people, and assume that it has singled these out for some purpose of its own. In a realistic assessment, what it is doing is forming a pretext. Democracy is the political system of equality; equality is only valuable to those who need it, which are the ones who could not succeed without it. If there are one hundred students in a class and a test comes back where grades are worse than usual, it is not the kids with As who are claiming the test was not fair. Equality creates an inherent victim narrative where those who are not successful claim to be equal, which means that the only reason they are not doing as well as the successful is that they have been victimized, oppressed or discriminated against by some force… and there is no one to blame except those who are successful. This is why all equality movements consist of taking from the successful and giving to the less successful. The war against successful groups — including white people in lands founded by white people — is a pretext for the seizure of wealth and power, followed by redistribution of the same.

You might wonder, why does this equality of power not threaten those in power? The answer is that equality is entropy. If everyone literally has the same amount of power, nothing will get done; this is why all known anarchist communes have perished, even those below Dunbar’s number, the mythical amount of people that one can personally know which allows — in theory — any political system to work. As a result, the equal crowd will always turn to a leader or protector, and who better to do this than the person who just gifted them with wealth and power taken from those who succeeded more than the herd? This creates a cycle where politicians gain power by stealing, then give it to the people, who give it back in exchange for more, and so taxes always go up, more rules are created so there can be more fines, more fees are charged to those with more wealth, and educational systems are designed to bore the intelligent and delight the idiotic.

Soft totalitarianism consists of this cycle. In the circus part of the cycle, the politicians provoke outrage in the herd about some target that can be easily destroyed. The mob, which like all groups with no individual power and full anonymity, loves to destroy, and this whets its excitement like a guillotine or race riot. Then comes the football game part of the cycle, where the crowd is encouraged to view itself as intelligent and morally upstanding for supporting blue team over red team. Finally, the politicians deliver the flashpoint: the other team victimized us, and thus we are justified in destroying them. By any means necessary. They are against our values. They threaten us. They must be destr– errr, defeated, wink wink.

We are now caught in that cycle. The Left whipped up the circus by calling the Alt Right “racists,” and there has been no greater sin according to American herd politics since 1945, so people were ready for violence. The cops created the football game by encouraging violence. Then, after one potentially mentally unstable person panicked and in trying to escape, crashed into another car which then killed one person and injured nineteen, the herd was told that it was the victim. There was the dog whistle! The crowd rushed off to smash the bad team, and the corporations, desperate for attention because it is the only thing keeping them relevant in an anarchic society with no values, used that as a pretext to wage war against the Alt Right.

In the past twenty-four hours, we have seen:

  • The Daily Stormer website being removed from GoDaddy and then invalidated by Google.
  • Amazon dropping author Billy Roper’s book The Ice Path because of complaints.
  • VDARE, Counter-Currents and others being deplatformed by Paypal.
  • Discord deleting the thriving Alt.Right chat server.
  • Numerous accounts deleted on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram.

At this point, we see a fundamental problem with the internet: once entirely owned by the government, it now is mostly in the hands of private businesses, and they are prone to do whatever reduces the number of complaints coming in while also giving them headlines that appease the Left, because the Left are the primarily media consumers and especially of social media, where they are most active in both finding news and regular use:

Overall, consistent conservatives are somewhat less likely than consistent liberals to get government and political news on Facebook or Twitter, primarily because they are somewhat less likely to use the sites in the first place. About half (49%) of consistent liberals (and a similar share of those with mixed ideological views) say they got news about government and politics in the past week from Facebook, compared with 40% of consistent conservatives. And while 13% of consistent liberals say they got political news on Twitter in the past week, just 5% of consistent conservatives (and 8% of groups in between) say the same.

Rather than expand to an audience which is less interested in spending its time clicking around, perhaps because it has more important things to do, the media is doubling down on its existing audience, mainly because the fortunes of the dot-com boom are fading and since statistics count warm bodies, it is essential to these companies to get as many warm bodies in the door as possible.

This means that private companies are in control of public spaces where these private companies derive benefit from making “safe spaces,” which means removing all non-Left-wing content. That realization prompted calls to regulate social media as a public utility:

Bannon’s basic argument, as he has outlined it to people who’ve spoken with him, is that Facebook and Google have become effectively a necessity in contemporary life. Indeed, there may be something about an online social network or a search engine that lends itself to becoming a natural monopoly, much like a cable company, a water and sewer system, or a railroad. The sources recounted the conversations on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give the accounts on record, and could face repercussions for doing so.

…Under the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission moved forward on a plan to regulate internet service providers as utilities, barring them from slowing down traffic to a site in order to pressure it into paying higher fees. The Trump administration is pushing to reverse that move, which complicates Bannon’s message.

…Silicon Valley’s liberal cultural politics puts it at odds occasionally with more conservative, rural Trump voters. Facebook was confronted by a backlash over its news curating during last year’s presidential campaign. With insiders claiming there was an anti-conservative bias, Facebook pulled its live team off the project.

If you can imagine a town where the only public spaces — churches, pubs, parks, streetcorners and any other place where more than a handful of people could gather — were owned by a company that forbade discussion of certain topics, you can see the risk in allowing private companies to control what has become a public space that has displaced other means of mass communication. This causes concern for the removal of free speech through methods that soft totalitarianism pioneered:

This brings me to the heart of my argument, today free speech no longer hinges on the government telling people it cannot say certain words. Earlier this year the Supreme Court affirmed that “hate speech” that bogeyman of inferior minds is protected speech. Rather, what’s happened is that the concept of “corporate social responsibility” a buzzword for social justice taught in business schools across the US, has been used to deplatform and deny the right the opportunity to participate in the arena of ideas simply because they control the medium, or media, through which the message must travel.

Technology has put the spirit of the First Amendment in a difficult position. Pedants all over the internet will tell you that censorship is only censorship when the government does it, private companies can censor all they want. They can refuse to do business with an individual.

Totalitarianism is a government banning ideas and behaviors; soft totalitarianism is a raging mob that destroys anything which disagrees with the idea of the mob itself, which is that everyone is accepted and wealth and power should be redistributed to them. This is what mobs have always wanted, an excuse to destroy and loot, and resembles a slow-motion riot more than intelligent political change. With social media, soft totalitarianism has found its ultimate weapon.

For the Right to survive this, it will need to create its own internet from the ground-up based on explicit principles of freedom of speech. A good start would be decentralizing, or abandoning centralized sites like Facebook and Google, to instead user a smaller network of blogs, news sites, search engines and chat rooms that are too numerous and too unknown to become targets. Eventually, the wires and servers themselves could be furnished, presenting a space of actual net neutrality not just in its mechanics but in its refusal to allow any host to prioritize traffic from any other, because that would in itself be a form of proto-censorship of this public-private space.

We are living in a soft totalitarian state. As Plato wrote, democracy always collapses this way and leaves behind tyranny. People are loathe to realize that what most of us want, in any group, is usually wrong, mainly because a mob has no accountability and people act through social behavior instead of logical thinking. If humanity is to survive into the next century, it is essential that we come to awareness that the crowd is evil and our only salvation lies in creating a hierarchy where the smartest, not the mob, are on top.

Soft censorship

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

soft_censorship

Back in the 1980s, a number of suburban political wives wanted to protect their special snowflakes from the bad content in rap, rock and heavy metal. They formed a group, the Parents Music Resouce Center (PMRC), which attempted first to get legislation passed to require warning stickers on album covers.

Then the PMRC-heads discovered another way to achieve the same thing. They called up and threatened record stores who sold material without stickers. They did not claim it was morally bad content they wanted to censor; they claimed it was dangerous. As with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and other 80s phenomenon, this proved irresistible for store owners and insurers, who saw an advantage to being zealously “safe” in case an incident came about. Remember that this was a time when bands were being sued for the suicides and murders committed by their fans, even though there was usually another precursor — depression, drug use and divorce seemed to be the usual triad — that was more probably both the cause of the eventual violence and the reason for the appeal of certain bands, much as gangsta rappers often attract as their audience people who want to be gangsters more than they care about the music.

The point is that soft censorship was born. Why make a law when you could simply induce the sheep to flee to the other side of the corral by telling them the offensive material was “unsafe”? Any business interested in staying in business would gladly write off the risk and take on the positive of seeming to be safe for the cowed herd.

It was not a new idea, but its newness was its transfer to the cultural and social realm instead of the political. With the Civil War and the world wars, the American federal government established a policy of not just beating its enemies, but invading and smashing their economies. This paralleled the type of action that occurred in the Napoleonic wars where the threat was not only that one might be conquered, but that the victors would bring in their own delusional ideas and in the process, destroy culture and economy alike. Nations shied away from “extreme” ideas relative to the Revolution because to do so engendered the risk of invading revolutionaries who would then trash the place. Looking at the ruins of what was once the world’s foremost power, France, and later Russia, many countries decided like most of Scandinavia to sit out WWII and other conflicts.

In the 1960s, this doctrine transfered to the social sphere with government laws and court decisions which rendered opposition to civil rights as frowned upon and thus unsafe. Businesses were on notice that certain behaviors could attract federal suits, crucifixion in the media and worst of all, negative status as government contractors. They all lined up to conform after that. The 1980s saw this doctrine being taken up by private parties who quickly realized that all they needed to do was create legal risk for having certain ideas or behaviors. This only worked against people with ideas that rose above a baseline (“equal”) level of venality. For example, headshops could keep selling drugs and porners could keep selling hardcore abuse videos because their business was venality and thus legislative approval was all they needed to achieve. But a normal business had something at risk because it did not want to get shunted into the same category.

Soft censorship lives on today through the user complaint. Leftists motivate large groups of people to complain about something and the company that moderates the space in which it is displayed opts to leave it aside. For this reason, “hate speech” — a nebulous category which stretches from racial slurs to the notion that racial differences are genetic, including published science — is banned on most internet sites. They do not want the risk and have nothing to gain from a minority viewpoint that will not attract them the dollars of the herd, who are busy avoiding any public mention of such thoughts.

You can see the effects of soft censorship above. An outspoken men’s rights blogger, Heartiste, is now categorized as a “dangerous” site through search engine DuckDuckGo’s results. On the surface, this seems harmless; some people complained, so DuckDuckGo — which promotes itself as a privacy safe alternative — drops them from the listings. Users have the option to turn off safe search results, but most will not do it, because at work or at home no one wants to unknowningly enter keywords that despite their normal meaning also trigger popular porn or hate sites. If you type in “two sisters who act in movies” or “black metal fence to stop crime” you might accidentally get something… unique. And if your boss, girlfriend, friends, Mom or pastor/rebbe are looking over your shoulder, an awkward moment may result.

The only solution here is the one that should have been taken with “free speech” in general, which is to decouple political speech from free expression. Political speech comprises written documents like the one you are reading, speeches, books and other forms of analysis. It does not include spray-painted obscenities, nude pictures, or slurs. Free expression on the other hand includes all of those. By decoupling these two, we can also separate “dangerous” material — images, slurs and obscenities — from merely “dangerous ideas,” which have always constituted the cutting edge of social growth. Some of today’s taboos are tomorrow’s new frontiers. In the meantime, it is shameful that DuckDuckGo and other internet companies are browbeaten into this position by a public who, through inaction against obvious travesty, has rubber-stamped its approval on soft censorship.

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