Chris Roberts, American Renaissance, August 23, 2020
There is now a cottage industry of journalists, vloggers, and pundits who document a “cancel culture” and the excesses of “anti-racism,” sometimes called “wokeness.” A few years ago, only conservative media discussed the increasingly stifled intellectual atmosphere in liberal arts colleges, non-profits, and newsrooms. Today, many leftists and centrists have come to see these trends as a problem. If an academic is denied tenure over “wrongthink,” a journalist is fired for a single tweet, or a pundit uninvited from a campus speaking engagement because he’s too controversial, the story is told on many websites: Quillete, UnHerd, Reason, and Areo. Victims may be interviewed, or at least have their travails discussed sympathetically on popular podcasts and YouTube channels: Blocked and Reported, What’s Left, Useful Idiots, The Rubin Report, The Joe Rogan Experience, The Portal, The Hill’s Rising, and DarkHorse are the more famous ones.
This is a partial safety valve for people facing condemnation and unemployment at the hands of politically correct censors. This loose network of “anti-woke” voices help thinkers on the brink of cancelation tell their side of the story. And with the help of YouTube, SoundCloud, and Twitter, heterodox intellectuals can keep a following, even after being blacklisted by prominent outlets.
Solidarity makes it hard for enemies to pick them off one by one. The heterodox also tend to be funded by their fans via PayPal, Patreon, or other subscription services, which means their podcasts and blogs can’t be folded on the whim of an editor or HR department. But their independence comes at a price: They are all entirely reliant on Big Tech. That reliance helps explain why almost nobody in “anti-woke” circles ever discusses censorship of white advocates and immigration restrictionists.
There are two levels of cancellation. The more common one consists of things such as a conservative lecturer being drowned out by leftist students or someone losing his job over a Facebook post. The outlets mentioned all denounce that sort of thing — as they should. But this kind of indignity can be recovered from. Nobody’s career is based entirely on college speaking, and there are many stories of media figures being fired from one outlet and moving to another or going independent. Many people in the anti-“cancel culture” network have done that.
Racial dissidents get the second “level” of cancellation, and it’s much harsher. It means being banned from PayPal, credit card processors, vendor websites such as Amazon, and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Twitter and Facebook may make it impossible to include a link to those sites in a tweet or message, and every website that defends white interests faces theses obstacles to varying degrees: American Renaissance, Counter-Currents, The Occidental Observer, VDARE. This “cancellation” makes it hard to spread a message, raise money, and reach new audiences. Even very popular figures may all but disappear; Milo Yiannopoulos is the foremost example.
There is actually a third level of cancellation. Cloudflare, which fights criminal DDS attacks, refused to protect The Daily Stormer, and it even lost its domain name. Persecution drove it onto the dark web for while, before it reappeared with an .su extension, a bizarre internet relic that stands for Soviet Union. So far, this level of obliteration has been very rare, but it could become more common.
Figures such as Dave Rubin and Claire Lehmann are righteous in defending open inquiry, free expression, and even a few controversial topics and figures, but there are certain victims of censorship they will not touch. Part of the reason is surely that although they are willing to risk the first level of cancellation, they know they couldn’t survive the second.
Until Big Tech monopolies are broken up or forced by law not to deplatform dissidents, even the bravest voices against censorship will have to think twice before they speak up.