Posted on August 28, 2019

Conservatives Benefit from Internet Censorship

Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, August 28, 2019

Yesterday, YouTube banned many channels including the American Identity Movement and James Allsup. Mr. Allsup had about half a million subscribers and no strikes against his account. He did not violate the terms of service. YouTube arbitrarily eliminated his source of livelihood.

Milo Yiannopoulos’s career never recovered after he was kicked off of Twitter. Facebook, Apple, YouTube, and Spotify deplatformed Alex Jones in a coordinated strike last year. Of course, American Renaissance can’t have a Twitter account or use Facebook. Twitter banned Charles Johnson in 2015.

James Allsup

Meanwhile, a “Young Turks” host, Hasan Piker, recently declared America “deserved” the September 11 attacks. This did not even get a YouTube “strike,” much less jeopardize YouTube TV’s official relationship with The Young Turks.

I’ve often heard people praise the “marketplace of ideas.” There never really was such a marketplace, because rich people could always buy media power and push an ideology. The internet made a “marketplace of ideas” seem genuinely possible. For a brief time, independent journalists, commentators, and artists could expand the public debate. If you produced good content and could attract an audience, you succeeded.

That time is over. Today, YouTube is just another mouthpiece for the same tired content pushed from the top down by a corporate oligarchy. YouTube, along with other social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook, openly pursue a political agenda. They silence opponents when journalists tell them to. Government Accountability Institute’s Peter Schweizer recently predicted that Google, which owns YouTube, would go “all-in” to defeat the President in 2020. President Trump saw the interview.

The president complains about bias, but has done nothing substantive about it. He hosted a “social media summit” that didn’t feature anyone who had actually been deplatformed. The only censorship came from the White House itself. It forced pro-Trump cartoonist Ben Garrison to withdraw because of complaints from the Anti-Defamation League.

“Mainstream” conservatives said almost nothing about the yesterday’s purges. Former Turning Point USA chapter president Jaden McNeil noted the conservative movement’s silence.

This isn’t surprising. In 2016, Conservatism Inc. learned, to its shock, that it had lost control over its own base—which supported Donald Trump. National Review condemned candidate Trump and his nationalist message. Pundit Amanda Carpenter wanted a “blacklist” of Trump supporters. Ben Shapiro left Steve Bannon’s Breitbart.com and attacked Donald Trump throughout the campaign. There was even an effort on the GOP convention floor led by Ken Cuccinelli to stop Donald Trump’s nomination.

Yet Conservatism Inc. quickly captured the Trump Administration, especially after Steve Bannon left. Instead of focusing on immigration and trade, the GOP Congress and the White House spent their political capital on tax cuts and a failed effort to repeal Obamacare. The “Russian collusion” investigation destroyed the relationship between President Trump and the most “nationalist” member of the Cabinet, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Michael Anton, who wrote the influential “Flight 93 Election” piece, resigned his position within the National Security Council just before John Bolton became National Security Advisor. President Trump claims to fight “fake news,” but the White House fired speechwriter Darren Beattie following a 2018 CNN hit piece. Ken Cuccinelli now works for the president.

Instead of President Trump transforming the conservative movement, the movement transformed him. The social media figures who championed his 2016 campaign have been kicked offline. Meanwhile, the conservative personalities that opposed him, from Glenn Beck to Ben Shapiro, thrive. With few exceptions, the conservative movement promotes capitalism, support for Israel, and tax cuts. These policies may be good or bad, but they aren’t what put the President in the White House. Not surprisingly, he’s trailing badly in most 2020 polls.

In 2016, the polls were wrong. Back then, however, people had the opportunity to discuss political issues outside the boundaries established by the corporate media. In 2018, the polls were right and the Republican majority that had supported Speaker Paul Ryan’s conventional agenda suffered a humiliating defeat.

Some claim President Trump will win in 2020 because the Democrats have become too “extreme.” Yet who determines what’s extreme? Ultimately, those with media power. Through his inaction, President Trump has given his enemies a media monopoly.

“Reparations” were unthinkable a decade ago, are debated today, and could well be policy tomorrow. After all, who will have a platform to fight it? The opposition will be Conservatism Inc. and their bad, ahistorical arguments.

Donald Trump’s enemies label him “authoritarian” because he calls journalists “enemies of the people.” Yet he’s so weak he makes Jimmy Carter look like Alexander the Great. President Trump once noted that Twitter essentially gave everyone his own newspaper. That power is being taken away, but he’s done nothing. Neither has the conservative movement.

In the long term, this means conservatives won’t win political power. Yet “winning” doesn’t seem to be their goal. They have no conception of victory, no vision. In 2016, Donald Trump had a vision, even if it was incomplete. He promised a wall, a better deal for American workers (including “something great” on health care), no entitlement cuts, and an America First foreign policy. It could be summarized in one word: nationalism.

Conservatism, stripped of its Cold War raison d’être, simply manages American decline. Conservative commentators are gatekeepers, steering their audience away from nationalism, populism, and ultimately, white identity. They will never win, but they plan to profit as they lose, like a boxer taking a dive. They faced a fighter in 2016 and lost control. They don’t want to lose it again.

The purge of James Allsup, AIM, and other figures and institutions helps them because it ensures they remain the controlled opposition. They get to enjoy free speech because they have nothing to say—and the Left knows it.

Will this change? Yesterday, PraegerU appeared before a California court in its lawsuit against Google/YouTube for restricting its videos. PraegerU did not mention the deplatforming, but if it wins its suit, it could set an important precedent. Inadvertent assistance is all we can expect.

A recent poll found that belief in God, patriotism, and the importance of having children has plummeted among young Americans. Conservatives saved Big Tech’s profits but lost the culture and the country. Yet conservative pundits benefit personally because frustrated, angry Americans keep sending them money to stop “socialism.” Worse, some conservatives think they’re “winning” because Donald Trump is in the White House.

The managerial class benefits from deplatforming us. It strengthens its control of social forces. Maybe it was inevitable that a Chinese-style system of a “social credit” would come to America. Yet if it was, I wish it had come with Democrats in office. At least some Republicans would then understand what’s being done to them. Instead, they want to “Keep America Great.” I’d settle for going back to the days of Barack Obama—at least then we could still use PayPal.