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QAnon, Facebook and the Inquisition

Many years ago (in 2003) a man drove his truck up the steps of the main entrance of the Canadian Parliament buildings. CBC just happened to be there. He was wrestled to the ground as he shouted: “you are all a bunch of Satan worshippers!” . I heard him say this on CBC news, and I thought to myself, how did that slip through the censorship? How had he guessed? Who had told him?

So when I heard that the basic premise of the evolving doctrines of the QAnon conspiracy was that an elite of pederastic or hebephile Satan worshippers is running the United States, I thought – nothing new here. That it was being run out of some pizza joint somewhere just adds that piquant touch of pseudo-facticity that lends credence to nonsense on stilts. Do they not know it is being run out the Council on Foreign Relations?

There has always been wickedness in high places, to cite St Paul. Always will be.

Thus I was interested to read on Unherd that “Facebook is radicalising your parents“. As the avergae age of users of Facebook rises, the kinds of concerns expressed naturally reflect the concerns of middle-aged and older people. (This usage pattern reflects the gradual ageing of the population, as births have crashed since the 1970s)

I quote: “The most shared news pieces on the site are increasingly on the Right. On 20 July of this year, for instance, the top-performing Facebook link posts by US pages were:

1. Fox News
2. Fox News
3. Occupy Democrats
4. Fox News
5. Ben Shapiro
6. Ben Shapiro
7. Ben Shapiro
8. An0maly
9. Blue Lives Matter
10. Dan Bongino”.

 

In possible accordance with this concern for radicalization of the elderly and the stated concern for spread of the dangerous ideology of QAnon, FaceBook announced the following:

“On October 6, we announced that we will begin removing any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content, in line with our expanded Dangerous Individuals and Organizations Policy.”

Naturally I was interested in what the policy said. Under the “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations Policy’, Facebook has announced the following on its webpages:

 

Policy Rationale

In an effort to prevent and disrupt real-world harm, we do not allow any organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence to have a presence on Facebook. This includes organizations or individuals involved in the following:

  • Terrorist activity
  • Organized hate
  • Mass murder (including attempts) or multiple murder
  • Human trafficking
  • Organized violence or criminal activity

 

We also remove content that expresses support or praise for groups, leaders, or individuals involved in these activities. Learn more about our work to fight terrorism online here.

 

We do not allow the following people (living or deceased) or groups to maintain a presence (for example, have an account, Page, Group) on our platform:

Terrorist organizations and terrorists, which include:

Any non-state actor that:

  • Engages in, advocates, or lends substantial support to purposive and planned acts of violence,
  • Which causes or attempts to cause death, injury or serious harm to civilians, or any other person not taking direct part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, and/or significant damage to property linked to death, serious injury or serious harm to civilians
  • With the intent to coerce, intimidate and/or influence a civilian population, government, or international organization
  • In order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aim.

 

Hate organizations and their leaders and prominent members

A hate organization is defined as:

Any association of three or more people that is organized under a name, sign, or symbol and that has an ideology, statements, or physical actions that attack individuals based on characteristics, including race, religious affiliation, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexual orientation, serious disease or disability.

 

Mass and multiple murderers (including attempts)

We consider a homicide to be a mass murder if it results in three or more deaths in one incident
We consider an attempted mass murder to be one where an individual uses a weapon or vehicle to attempt mass harm in a public space or against more than one person
We consider any individual who has committed two or more murders over multiple incidents or locations a multiple murderer

 

Human trafficking groups and their leaders

Human trafficking groups are organizations responsible for any of the following:

Prostitution of others, forced/bonded labor, slavery, or the removal of organs
Recruiting, transporting, transferring, detaining, providing, harboring, or receiving a minor, or an adult against their will

 

Criminal organizations and their leaders and prominent members

A criminal organization is defined as:

Any association of three or more people that is united under a name, color(s), hand gesture(s) or recognized indicia, that has engaged in or threatens to engage in criminal activity, including (but not limited to)

  • Homicide
  • Drug trafficking
  • Arms trafficking
  • Identity theft
  • Money laundering
  • Extortion or trafficking
  • Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual exploitation (covered in section 7 and section 8)

We do not allow symbols that represent any of the above organizations or individuals to be shared on our platform without context that condemns or neutrally discusses the content.

We do not allow content that praises any of the above organizations or individuals or any acts committed by them.

We do not allow coordination of support for any of the above organizations or individuals or any acts committed by them.

We do not allow content that praises, supports, or represents events that Facebook designates as terrorist attacks, hate events, mass murders or attempted mass murders, serial murders, hate crimes and violating events.

End quote

__________________________

There you have it. Without appeal or means of address to the decision makers, your collection of 3 friends may be designated supporters of ‘hate events’,  without any actual event having taken place.

It is really much more pernicious than it appears.

Suppose for instance I became convinced that cousin marriages should not be allowed. (The case is made in Joseph Henrich’s “The WEIRDest people in the world” that the abolition of cousin marriage has marked the character of the people of western Europe profoundly, and in a positive direction for the emergence of modernity). Then I pointed out that in many societies of the world, mainly though not exclusively Muslim, cousin marriages are encouraged. If I pointed out that the suppression of cousin marriages was a necessary condition for the emergence of broadly based non-kinship societies, as Henrich’s book does, and that the secret of success of Western European societies was the suppression of cousin marriages, would I be banned from FaceBook as a hate group, if three of us decided it was an important idea to agree upon and promote?

Now a lawyer might quibble, but you know the answer. You betcha. Some social justice warrior kid would ban you in a flash if he or she thought that a discussion of the negative effects of cousin marriages was aimed at Muslims. Or even if it was not aimed at Muslims but Muslims complained.

We are inventing the new Office of the Inquisition. It is being done before our eyes. It is being done for all the right reasons, as long as you believe harm results from speech.

The least that could be done was what they did about the Inquisition in Portugal in the 1750s. No penalty imposed by the Inquisition was effective unless ratified by the state. That sharply reduced its power. If we cannot avoid the creation of these new Offices of the Inquisition, we should limit their jurisdiction and effectiveness.

 

Controlling the Human Spirit The Inquisition and Slavery 1250–1800 | by I POWER ALLAH | Medium

 

A calm inquiry  into the nature of beliefs about time, space, law and God is conducted in the 1700s. Are we there again?

Television versus Joe Rogan, and other topics

Spotify's dilemma: Censor Joe Rogan or call his podcast free speech? | National Post

 

This past week I spent a few days with friends at their cottage. They have a complete spectrum of broadcast television available, whereas I have not subscribed to cable for at least five years. During that time, I have cultivated my news and opinion sources by selecting twitter feeds, facebook friends, and youtube videos. I am not living in an outrage bubble. I see more of Joe Rogan and Douglas Murray, for instance, than talking heads. Even my favourite broadcaster, Tucker Carlson, is watched solely through the Intertubes. I have become accustomed to conversations on Triggernometry and other interview shows where questions are asked sincerely and answered comprehensively, where issues are engaged, and answers are open to debate rather than assumed to be false or true according to the Narrative – the tale the media are making up today for our consumption.

It was thus something of a shock to the system to watch reaction to the Speech From the Throne on CTV this week. I simply could not believe the rudeness of the chief Talking Head, Lisa Laflamme. Every question was a gotcha or a “when did you stop beating your wife?”. She made the current Finance Minister look good in that Chrystia Freeland answered hysterical questions with factual responses, and kept her cool throughout.

So naturally as Joe Rogan enters the world of broadcasting, he becomes the target of the hysterics and witch hunters of the MSM. The case in point this morning was a hit piece by Sadaf Ahsan, “Spotify’s dilemma: Censor Joe Rogan or call his podcast free speech?”

She writes:

“But here’s the thing: Rogan has long had a habit of spreading misinformation, sharing his own personal feelings and thoughts as facts, and he’s also a very big fan of conspiracy theories. It’s partly why he’s so popular for a very specific brand of fanboy, which Slate once generously described as “freethinkers who hate the left.”

Oh my goodness, how shocking! An opinion journalist who is sometimes wrong! And add to this the phony dilemma of whether Spotify’s staff has some role in censoring Joe Rogan, or Douglas Murray, or amy of the other thinkers who appear in Youtube. Apart from factual errors he is also accused of “transphobia” – the thought crime of insufficiently accepting that biological males are fmals when they declare themselves to be so.

Joe Rogan now draws viewership that competes seriously with entire cable TV networks.

This is from the article hyperlinked above.

  • “Joe probably gets 5-7 million views of full podcasts a day, which makes him far larger than any TV host.

  • Joe gets 200 million podcast views a month. CNN gets 330 million views a month, NBC and Fox are way bigger.

  • Factoring in Rogan clips, and media website views. Joe gets 400 million views a month. CNN 800 million, Fox 1.2 billion, 700 million for NBC. So Rogan is gigantic, but not bigger than the big media corporations. 1/2 of CNN though, and 2/3 of NBC. That’s insane.”

Other sources show cable networks drawing about 2-3 million viewers a month.( https://www.statista.com/statistics/373814/cable-news-network-viewership-usa/)

Our busy little thought controller Sadaf Ahsan writes:

“Relatively politically liberal, Rogan has supported Bernie Sanders (though recently shifted his support to President Donald Trump), is pro-choice and believes in more social spending for the working class, but he also regularly gives right-wing commentators the space to share their ideas and often questions issues of LGBT equality. So it’s not all that surprising Rogan is loved by so many and that, as a figure who perpetuates a kind of toxic masculinity – what with his penchant for hunting, MMA fighting, and heteronormative views – he has become a beloved figure particularly in conservative circles that largely thrive online.”

 

Joe Rogan is a centrist Democrat, a male, a focused martial arts combattant, and a political liberal who likes Trump (sort of). He sounds like a quite typical American male of his generation, and he and millions more like him will secure Trump’s next term as President.

Rebel Yell rightly chides me for my naivety, in that I still think there might be some truth occasionally permitted in the MSM. Maybe there is, but the economics of slime hurling obviously provide more eyeballs than sobriety. The economic incentives of the MSM are skewed towards lies and outrage. Stay away from them.

 

 

confessions of a student marxist

Tobias Fibbs, a Cambridge graduate, dissects expertly the emotional and moral atmosphere of the modern university. 

 

Social theorist Mark Fisher described from first-hand experience the manipulation of this scene as a Vampire Castle which “feeds on the energy and anxieties and vulnerabilities of young students, but most of all it lives by converting the suffering of particular groups — the more marginal, the better — into academic capital. The most lauded figures in the Vampire Castle are those who have spotted a new market in suffering — those who can find a group more oppressed and subjugated than any previously exploited will find themselves promoted through the ranks very quickly.” The Vampire Castle recruits on the promise of community and self-healing. The reality is an ouroboros of emotional manipulation, stripped of the political and of all that makes life interesting and worthwhile…..

We would have laughed at the idea we formed an elite and we certainly didn’t act like one. But we were the vanguard for a movement that has swept the English-speaking world in the subsequent decade. We still professed to be fighting the old powers — patriarchy, white supremacism, the nuclear family, colonialism, the university itself. But in truth we represented what Christopher Lasch called psychological man, “the final product of bourgeois individualism,” and were being trained in elite formation for the therapeutic age just as surely as our forerunners had been for the previous, paternal age….

The material genesis of the radical cultural politics that has shown its strength in the last few months lies in the overexpansion of higher education, which produced a new middle class that is materially discontented and uncomfortable in its own skin. The globalisation of American pathologies has given this new urban class, present across the Western world, a politics that is carving through our institutions….

 

Bari Weiss Resigns from the New York Times

Her resignation letter is fascinating, and what we suspected is happening, is. Calling it American Pravda is not an exaggeration.

 

“….a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

“Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.\…”

“Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

“All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.”

Our Orwell, who art in Heaven

The events of the past months – murders, riots, firings for writing that all lives matter, statue shattering – reveal that the Leftist war on the past is total. The Left seeks power for ever, by erasing the past. The coverage of Trump’s speech before the Mount Rushmore monument showed that patriotism is now considered by the New York Times, the Washington Post and their ilk to be white supremacy. White supremacy is touted when there has never been less chance of encountering even so much as white self-respect. White idiots are kneeling before black people seeking forgiveness. Useful idiots every one.

Faced with my incapacity to say anything sufficient to the occasion, I refer to George Orwell for relevant insights and quotations, This one is from “the Prevention of Literature”

 

“Literature has sometimes flourished under despotic regimes, but, as has
often been pointed out, the despotisms of the past were not totalitarian.
Their repressive apparatus was always inefficient, their ruling classes
were usually either corrupt or apathetic or half-liberal in outlook, and
the prevailing religious doctrines usually worked against perfectionism
and the notion of human infallibility. Even so it is broadly true that
prose literature has reached its highest levels in periods of democracy
and free speculation. What is new in totalitarianism is that its
doctrines are not only unchallengeable but also unstable. They have to be
accepted on pain of damnation, but on the other hand, they are always
liable to be altered on a moment’s notice. Consider, for example, the
various attitudes, completely incompatible with one another, which an
English Communist or “fellow-traveler” has had to adopt toward the war
between Britain and Germany. For years before September, 1939, he was
expected to be in a continuous stew about “the horrors of Nazism” and to
twist everything he wrote into a denunciation of Hitler: after September,
1939, for twenty months, he had to believe that Germany was more sinned
against than sinning, and the word “Nazi”, at least as far as print went,
had to drop right out of his vocabulary. Immediately after hearing the 8
o’clock news bulletin on the morning of June 22, 1941, he had to start
believing once again that Nazism was the most hideous evil the world had
ever seen. Now, it is easy for the politician to make such changes: for a
writer the case is somewhat different. If he is to switch his allegiance
at exactly the right moment, he must either tell lies about his
subjective feelings, or else suppress them altogether. In either case he
has destroyed his dynamo. Not only will ideas refuse to come to him, but
the very words he uses will seem to stiffen under his touch. Political
writing in our time consists almost entirely of prefabricated phrases
bolted together like the pieces of a child’s Meccano set. It is the
unavoidable result of self-censorship. To write in plain, vigorous
language one has to think fearlessly, and if one thinks fearlessly one
cannot be politically orthodox. It might be otherwise in an “age of
faith”, when the prevailing orthodoxy has long been established and is
not taken too seriously. In that case it would be possible, or might be
possible, for large areas of one’s mind to remain unaffected by what one
officially believed. Even so, it is worth noticing that prose literature
almost disappeared during the only age of faith that Europe has ever
enjoyed. Throughout the whole of the Middle Ages there was almost no
imaginative prose literature and very little in the way of historical
writing; and the intellectual leaders of society expressed their most
serious thoughts in a dead language which barley altered during a
thousand years.

Totalitarianism, however, does not so much promise an age of faith as an
age of schizophrenia. A society becomes totalitarian when its structure
becomes flagrantly artificial: that is, when its ruling class has lost
its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud. Such a
society, no matter how long it persists, can never afford to become
either tolerant or intellectually stable. It can never permit either the
truthful recording of facts or the emotional sincerity that literary
creation demands. But to be corrupted by totalitarianism one does not
have to live in a totalitarian country. The mere prevalence of certain
ideas can spread a kind of poison that makes one subject after another
impossible for literary purposes. Wherever there is an enforced orthodoxy
–or even two orthodoxies, as often happens–good writing stops. This
was well illustrated by the Spanish civil war. To many English
intellectuals the war was a deeply moving experience, but not an
experience about which they could write sincerely. There were only two
things that you were allowed to say, and both of them were palpable lies:
as a result, the war produced acres of print but almost nothing worth
reading.”

Eric Weinstein stands up at the right moment

I am overwhelmed by the amount of things to blog about. Riots, mayhem, pandering to blacks, moral posturing, Black Lives Matter, professors being fired, diversity inclusion and equity, anti-white ideology.  But I can raise a hand to salute Eric Weinstein on his balanced and incisive attack on the movement to defund police, and the reasons why it is nonsense.

On the other hand, he takes twenty minutes to say what the redneck cracker said in twenty seconds.  But he takes an adult and balanced approach. Moral posturing is the death of the search for the right moral balance. “You are opening the gates of hell” says Eric. And indeed we are.

 

 

Making decisions – about riots

I was watching a video of US Marines about to attack a town in Afghanistan. The Captain addressed his battalion. At about 2:20 into the video he said (I paraphrase) : “The plan we have gone over and over – as soon as you land, it will fly out the window. You will be called upon to make a hundred decisions that there is no right answer to. But guess what? you will have to decide; you will have to act.”

I enjoyed the approach, and it ought to be better understood. You will have to act, you will have to decide. I wish it were more broadly understood in society. You have to decide and you have to act. Make a wrong decision? Go ahead and make another. This one may be better. This approach is utterly contrary to the bureaucratic mindset which fears decision-making.

A former boss of mine was a judge. He said: “Make ten decisions. Eight will be right. One will be wrong. One you win or lose on appeal”. But the message was” keep making decisions.

This brings me around to Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s book on the newest generation, and it is not pleasant reading.  The Coddling of the American Mind 

chronicles the increase of neurotic levels of fear among American college students: how good intentions and bad ideas are generating a generation of weak people. As he says: prepare your children for the road not the road for the children.

 

The message Haidt is giving in his YouTube lecture is that we are heading for tribal war. That was in 2019. Look around you. What do you see? Dogmatism, groupthink, a crusader mentality and anti-intellectualism [at 42:40]. The riots and revolt we have been witnessing these last few days have been long prepared by the erosion of cultural and educational standards. The failure of the forces of order to act, because they have been told to lay off by mayors and governors, is yet another signof the scale of  the rot inside our institutions.

 

Someone, possibly Jonathan Kay, said that this could be Trump’s Reichstag Fire moment. I avoid the connotation that Kay would like to put on these riots. These are an excuse for  looting and for anti-fa to break windows. Everyone is seeing far too much disorder to be enthusiastic for kneeling before the black race and beseeching forgiveness, as the Left would have us do. Time for some violence from the state against Antifa and the looters. And yes, Derek Chauvin disgusts me. But so does mass break down of order.

 

 

Where everything is policed except the crime – 2

From the Telegraph – “An Asian grooming gang was free to roam the streets and abuse young girls because police officers were told to “find other ethnicities” to investigate, a detective has claimed. 

At least 57 young girls are thought to have been exploited by a paedophile network of around 100 suspected perpetrators based in south Manchester in the 2000s. The gang, mainly comprised of Asian men, hooked their victims on drugs, groomed, and sexually abused them. One girl, aged 15, died after being injected with heroin by a 50-year-old man. 

Following a two-year inquiry, commissioned by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, into the historic failings of police and social workers, a report was published today which concluded that vulnerable girls in care were groomed and abused in “plain sight”. 

The report found multiple failings at the hands of GMP, including how fears over race relations appear to have played a part in senior police thinking when tackling grooming gangs comprised of predominantly Asian men.

It added that officers were aware of “many sensitive community issues” around policing in south Manchester in 2002 and 2003.”