randombio.com | commentary
Saturday, December 10, 2016

American Samizdat

Only two years ago the New York Times was criticizing Russia for trying to censor the Internet.

W hen people weaponize speech, there can be no more ordinary conversations. There can only be battles. As battles go, the Battle of the Fake News Websites is no Midway, but may be more like the Boston Massacre: the one that turned our hearts to stone.

NBC's Brian Williams on the Moon
Not a fake picture, honest

Fake news isn't new. Only two years ago, the New York Times was complaining bitterly about Putin's crackdown on fake news. Russia, it seems, had passed something called the Bloggers Law. Op-ed commentator Gal Beckerman argued for the return of the samizdat press:

The ‘Bloggers Law’ forces the owners of any website receiving more than 3,000 visitors per day to register with the government, forfeit anonymity, and become legally responsible for the factual accuracy of their content.

It looks as if the Internet—one of the country's last remaining enclaves for free speech—isn't going to be available for much longer.

Russia's underground samizdat press sprung up in the Soviet era in response to the bias and inaccuracy of the Soviet press. One such underground paper was Khronika (Chronicle).

Khronika became a pastiche of material, arriving from as far as Simferopol and Perm, and covering small incidents like teachers being fired for assigning a banned book to reproducing clandestine transcripts from political trials.

Now under Putin oppression was roaring back, suppressing freedom of expression, something the New York Times once supported:

But social media can also play a critical role in a lower-profile process: incubation. It can be a space for individuals, sometimes anonymously, to egg each other on and test out oppositional identities and ideas. It's where new ways and habits of thinking are formed.

The irony is strong with this one. Now the entire Democrat party (motto: never let a bad idea go to waste)(note: not really their motto) has risen up in unison demanding equal oppression for us, too. We must not allow an authoritarian oppression gap! If Hillary Clinton had become our Dear Leader (note: not really the title of the president), we'd be behind an Iron Firewall by now: “It's a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly,” quoth the prevaricating pantsuited pinnochio, trying to blame her election loss on fake news, now that the Russian hacker theory has fallen into ridicule.

It's not about truth; it's about controlling information. First they'll block news they consider false. Then they'll block global warming skeptics, then the alt-righters. Next thing you know all you can find about Hillary Clinton is glowing drivel about what a great humanitarian she is and how she'd make a great president and how we should all vote with our vaginas, and if we don't have one we should just stay home and practice putting the seat down.

Facebook and Google will ultimately go extinct from this: their lifeblood depended on providing credible, impartial services. But what a mess their cowardice will leave behind.

Sooner or later, the kids who once relied on Google will figure out what they're getting is just sugar-coated propaganda, as intellectually nutritious as those Kelloggs Soggy Flakes of Diabetes (note: not really the name of their cereal) people used to eat. Breitbart won't disappear. When the lefties block it, it'll become a samizdat. Deprived of challenging ideas, the ferment that once drove American intellectual creativity will slow even more, and what's left of our culture will shrivel up and die. We'll look to Russia and China for our blue jeans and our music and our ideas, and we'll tune our laptops as if they were shortwave radios, trying to pick up the modern-day equivalent of Radio Free Europe as we wait for the Berlin Wall of Disinformation to fall.

When people block themselves off from the truth and read only material that supports their political opinions, it divides the country—not by race or sex this time—that part has been accomplished—but by what we take to be true.

Liberals and conservatives don't just have different values. They have different heroes, different jokes, and different bodies of knowledge. This creates two conflicting cultures, each of which views their side as obviously correct and the other as hopelessly deluded. By censoring and labeling sources that diverge from their narrative, Facebook and Google are pushing us a little bit closer to a permanent split.

We see this in biology. You can have two groups of animals that stop communicating and stop shtupping one another, and pretty soon you have two coexisting, incompatible species. And then instead of cooperating they compete for resources, and they will fight, sometimes to the death, for a single place in the ecosystem.

We need to stop censoring each other and start shtupping each other more (intellectually speaking, of course). As Dr Jordan Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto who is under siege for refusing to use those Newspeak pronouns like ‘ze‘ and ‘zir‘, put it:

If you stop talking to people, you either submit to them, or you go to war with them.

Liberals have been at war with us for years: tearing down statues, banning flags, banning words and books, renaming buildings, and putting politically fashionable people we never heard of on our currency. Now they're weaponizing the English language. The goal is to bake their ideology into the language itself, so if we do manage to talk, our words validate their ideas. The only way to stop them is to make it as unpleasant as possible for companies like Google and Facebook to go along. Make their lives as miserable as possible: as Alinsky would say, this is a tactic we can all enjoy doing.

Last edited dec 10 2016, 1:02 pm

Related Articles

Lying about fake news
The only thing worse than fake news is big media corporations trying to censor it in the guise of protecting us.

Censoring the internet would be bad for science
Liberals are agitating for Google to censor what they call “fake news.” Doing so would be a catastrophe.

Power to the Xeeple
Xe Must Implement Absolute Language Equality

Left-wing logic
Left-wing logic is similar to the logic used by people here on Earth. Studying it will be invaluable for when NASA makes contact with extraterrestrials.

On the Internet, no one can tell whether you're a dolphin or a porpoise
Name and address
book reviews