Friday, May 3, 2019

The Outrage Over The Banning of Farrakhan

Yesterday Facebook and Instagram banned not only a bunch of jerks  (including Alex Jones, Millo Y., and so on)--but got one particular jerk who hasn't come up a lot: Lewis Farrakhan. The guy is a raging anti-Semite and is more or less elevated because he was once important to black politics back when black politics was a niche thing.

The outcry over his banning (and, worse, a WaPo article fingering Farrakhan as "far right") was extreme:

Yes--first they came for the Nazis--and I was not a Nazi so I said nothing. Then, when they came for me there was no Nazi to speak up for--uh--something, something--eh.

The Incredible Power of Deplatforming
Guys like David French say "if you don't want to listen to the person, just block them." Good show, David. That'll be wonderful when I can block bullets from crazed Alex Jones nut-jobs. Today the QAnon guys took several random letters from a tweet by Comey, put together a backronym for the rest, looked it up on google, and an school fundraiser that happened to have the same letters got canceled due to threats.
There are two things that are incontrovertible at this point:

  1. These platforms are giving people whose message is literally deadly and figuratively poison a way to reach millions of vulnerable followers.
  2. Deplatforming works.

Lois Loomer was reduced to showing up at the CEO of Twitter's house with a megaphone, begging / demanding to be let back on. Alex Jones has been one enormous tantrum since he was kicked off his most profitable platforms. Milo is auctioning off his belongings, including a "throne" for 800.00 (someone on Twitter suggested that wouldn't cover the cost of properly sanitizing it) .

Free Speech--the way it is encoded in the 1st amendment is great thing. As a venue with no barrier to entry that thrives on the user's attention, though, social media platforms are, it turns out, a deadly threat when allowed to proliferate in the age of Trump, the alt-right, and the attendant white-genocide conspiracy theories.

What About Farrakhan?
The right loves Farrakhan--he is their poster-boy for "the Left Does It Too." He's best-buddies with Obama (they took a picture together). He's their guy--they love him. Mainstream liberals? Nobody complained that he got kicked off Twitter. None of the major mainstream voices cared.

That's how you know that there's a distinction here--The Right didn't complain about Farrakhan being booted--they hate him. They complained about WaPo calling him a right-wing activist. On the other hand, with the usual disclaimer of "I hate their message," lots of conservatives were upset about the other conspiracy and hate-mongers that were deplatformed.

Those are major voices on the The Right--sure, most senior Republicans think Alex Jones is a nut--but he reaches a necessary component of their constituency and keeps those people in the fold. They need the Milos because they know they are in a culture war--and if they cannot provoke antifa to attack (which Milo could) then they will lose if they're the only side with the Nazis.

Oh--well, yeah--they are the only side with the Nazis.

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