Saturday, January 9, 2021

Losing our freedom: gradually, then suddenly

 I've been watching the gradual part for many years, only occasionally poking my head up to scream, "Stop! This is insane!" at the people who wanted to force us all to mouth their politically correct platitudes. 

The pace has accelerated over the past year, as we've seen how many petty tyrants leapt on the "public health emergency" of a virus that was hardly more than a bad flu, as an excuse for arbitrary and confusing orders banning all that they did not understand or approve while ignoring the rules for themselves. 

It went into freefall this week with the sudden and arbitrary deplatforming of so many conservative sites and voices. I'm not going to repeat the list of suspensions, from Trump's banning from Twitter, to the disappearance of the #WalkAway Facebook page, to the mysterious loss of followers from many conservative Twitter accounts, to Google's and Apple's attacks on the Twitter alternative Parler. For those who want more details, and especially for those who may deny this is happening, I recommend Scott Johnson's excellent summary for Powerline, Shapes of Things.

For most of the last year I haven't been posting because I wasn't writing much, wasn't doing any art work, and had an outlet at Liberty's Torch for my occasional political thoughts. But this latest move, combined with threats to redefine "domestic terrorism" as "saying anything we the masters don't like" has roused me to shout into the wind once more. I don't use Twitter or Facebook, so I can't register my disapproval by canceling my nonexistent accounts. And I doubt anybody is bothering to read this blog after it's been quiescent so long. But it's all the platform I have, and I'm going to use it. 

I plan to post one short article each day about the ongoing loss of freedom. 

I'll know somebody's reading it when I get banned. 

To adapt a meme that's been going around: Dear censors, just so you know, I am typing this with my two middle fingers.


  1. Well, I'm still here but disturbed by your characterization of what's been happening, particularly "a virus that was hardly more than a bad flu". Makes me wonder where you have been and what questionable sources of information you count on as the death toll escalates beyond any flu year and survivors continue to battle with after effects that may plague them the rest of their lives. Other than that, I will read but keep my mouth shut.

    1. Okay, let's not get into the weeds of just how bad COVID-19 was; I suspect we can both find "statistics" supporting our different views. If we agree to disagree on that... what do you think of the sudden moves by Big Tech to shut down conversations they disagree with?

    2. Ok first of all, it's not shutting down conversations they disagree with. And secondly there is no inalienable right to Twitter or any other social platform , nor to media exposure. These are all private, not governmental, entities and as such do not fall under the restriction in the first amendment, have no obligation to let everyone on to say whatever they want. So yeah, I have no problem with that and in fact welcome it. The few have spoiled it for everyone.

    3. It's not shutting down conversations they disagree with? Then how come every single action has been against conservatives?

      And yes, sadly, the First Amendment is no protection in this situation. I do not consider it a good sign for our society that so many people, like you, respond to objections about the stifling of speech with "You can't stop this because it's not a First Amendment issue."

      When did we become a country that has so little value for free speech?

    4. I suppose it may partly be due to how much of that free speech has become lies, conspiracies, and outright hate which inevitably has lead to death threats and actual deaths. Which is what the social media platforms have realized they have some responsibility to tamp down. I've heard this whine before about how it's only the conservative voice being silenced, to which I say, it would not be being silenced if so much of it was untrue, misleading, and dangerous. People aren't necessarily saying you can't stop this because it's not a first amendment issue but rather quit crying about your first amendment rights being taken away from you when they are not.

    5. And there are no voices on the left saying untrue, misleading, and dangerous things? When the left is free to post death threats and vile suggestions about how to torture political enemies (see my post above for an example), when that "comedian" who posed with a mask of Trump's severed head suffers no banning, it's hard to persuade me that what's going on is about tamping down outright hate.

      Check out this video for copious examples of violence and threats from the left that have gone unquestioned:

      Then come back and tell me there's no viewpoint discrimination going on.

    6. Some of that was laughable in terms of making a direct comparison to what has been taken down that was posted by the far right (who I do not put in the same camp as conservatives). Some are Republicans, not the left. And the comedian with the severed head? You are so wrong that she did not get immediate condemnation and professional blowback. Far from being unquestioned, it was held up as crossing an unforgivable line and she lost work over it. But there were some in that tape that I definitely do not agree with and can't say with surety if it was let go or not (Maxine Waters in particular). I didn't hear much in there that was actual lies. There's a big difference between opinion and facts but a lot of opinion is being interpreted as fact. And this is the end of my participation in this conversation. I just figured if I didn't say something in response to this, you'd just think you'd bested me at last. It's not worth my time to keep arguing with you over this.


  2. I think there is a loss of believe in individual freedom among a significant % of the population. a survey by YouGov shows that 43% of those who identify as Liberals favor firing an executive who *privately* donated money to Trump, and 22% of those who identify as Conservatives favor firing an executive who privately donated to Biden…the numbers are 50% and 36% for *strong* liberals and conservatives respectively.

    There is a big generational factor in this, I think. David Brooks (even a stopped (analog) clock is right twice a day) said:

    "The values of the Millennial and Gen Z generations that will dominate in the years ahead are the opposite of Boomer values: not liberation, but security; not freedom, but equality; not individualism, but the safety of the collective; not sink-or-swim meritocracy, but promotion on the basis of social justice…Distrustful people try to make themselves invulnerable, armour themselves up in a sour attempt to feel safe… start to see threats that aren’t there."

    Another factor, I suspect, is changes in family structure. Kids who are put in a day-care situation at a very early age may develop a lifelong or at least long-term tendency to identify with the group…whatever that group might be…more than those who are raised in a traditional family situation, and especially so if there is only one parent in the home. (This phenomenon was apparently seen in some of the early Israeli Kibbutzim)

    1. It's not just Millennials. Last year one of my near-contemporary friends and I tried to find common ground, some goals that people of good will could agree on. The dialogue failed, IMO largely because she attached little or no value to freedom.

    2. Or to your definition of it. Yeah, so much for keeping my mouth shut. ;-)

  3. Not suggesting that it's *only* millennials & younger, only that the %s are higher in those categories.

    There are definitely a significant number of people who don't put much value on individual freedom (whether they'd value it if they lost it, or lost even more of it than they already have, is an open question.) There is a meme going around that the Native Americans were all about *responsibility and obligation* while the white European settlers were all about their *rights*, that being assumed to be a bad thing. One relative posted that that--the assumed/imagined Native America approach--is how she wants to live.

    It is interesting how things change...many 18th century Europeans, and some later Europeans & Americans, tended to think that the American Indians were wild individualists, and that there was something good about *that*.


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