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This is Extremely Dangerous to Our Democracy™: Part 1
People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction.
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“Democracy requires censorship!”
No, it doesn’t. The Democratic Party requires censorship to maintain power.
There’s a fad, a new tactic or strategy or what have you, among those of the liberal persuasion, whereby they purposefully repeat a demonstrably false claim over and over and over again until one day it just becomes an article of faith. I’m sure you're at least vaguely aware of it, even if you don't realize it.
It’s not exactly unique to one side of the political spectrum, this device. But it’s definitely not accidental, and it wouldn't be as significant if the Left didn't control society’s primary information conduits. Phrases, refrains, euphemisms, ritornelles—they repeat things regardless of veracity because they want it to be true, obviously, but it’s a little more convoluted than that. And pernicious.
People are more cognitively lazy than ever before, which I guess is understandable, considering we make some 35,000 decisions every day. But it’s because of this cognitive laziness that we form abstract beliefs in a rather haphazard way: We hear something; we believe it to be true; and sometimes, if we’re so inclined, we actually think about the thing we believe is true and take a bit of time to check that it is in fact true. Sometimes.
The cognitive laziness issue is magnified because it’s much easier to believe something than it is to doubt it; rejecting or disproving a claim requires significantly more effort than simply accepting that it’s true.
There’s something called the Illusory Truth Effect that explains how, when we hear the same false information repeated again and again, we believe it's true. Over three decades of research shows that repeated statements are more likely to be judged true than novel statements, and that this is the case with both plausible and implausible claims and regardless of whether or not the claims come from reliable or unreliable sources. Troublingly, this even happens when people should know better—that is, when people initially know what they’re hearing or being told isn’t true. And as if all this weren’t already bad enough, studies show that greater knowledge or intelligence doesn’t counteract all this. Case in point: the pandemic. Even today, college-educated Democrats hold the most skewed and erroneous views about covid. Per the NYT, in March 2022, 48% of “very liberal” people still believed that the virus posed a “great risk” to children’s health despite widely available evidence that the risk posed to children is tiny. Between January 2021 and September 2021, the CDC reported that 280 children died with COVID (later the CDC would admit that it had inflated its total death numbers by almost 25%; don’t get me started with that shit). According to the latest available data (from 2015-19), flu and pneumonia killed more children annually.
All that fancy book learning and you're still morons.
Why am I talking about this. I suppose because, first and foremost, I’d personally suggest that the best way to counteract the aforementioned tendencies is to practice a radical curiosity, maintain a profound sense of humility, and remain wary of the maelstrom—don’t get sucked into today’s epistemic free-for-all in which the truth is wholly a matter of politics and agenda; don’t partake in the ovine docility of a populace that kisses its chains.
The mainstream media does not exist to inform you; it exists to construct a feed of self-affirming narratives that vindicate the partisan loyalties of its target audience (the Left), sticking to a defined ecosystem and selling specific narratives that support agendas benefiting them. And when I say them, I mean the affluent, culturally liberal American elite who’ve benefited immensely from the pandemic, globalization, and the financialization of our economy. These folks can be evaluated with a certain confidence largely on the basis of appearance; they all share that peculiar I-went-to-an-Ivy-league-college-and-my-self-worth-depends-on-you-acknowledging-that-I’m-the-second-coming-of-Christ look around the eyes, the sort of look that you just know that if they’re not in twice-a-week therapy it's only because they can't afford it.
It’s this Ivy League intellectual and elite managerial class, these aristocrats and their mainstream media brethren, that repeat shit that’s not just false, but toxic. Not always verbatim, no; they’re not always saying the same exact thing over and over. It’s a variation of the same message, like the Left’s campaign to paint Elon Musk as “dangerous,” a rich megalomaniac who’s going to “harm marginalized communities.”
It’s patently false.
They've been saying it for going on a month now.
This is how something as absurd as “supporting free speech is fascism” becomes propagandic; say it enough times and it’ll begin to sound less and less idiotic. It’s why they’ve been banging away on their collective cowbell since 2016, talking non-stop about the “insurrectionist” threat from the right and obsessing over the 4-hour pushing and shoving match on January 6th, saying, with all the smug moral certainty one can possibly fit on a face, that it was “worse than 9/11.” And yet an objective, non-partisan onlooker would have no trouble noting that despite years of warnings about Trump’s and Republicans’ supposed authoritarian instincts, we’re suffocating in an environment of left-wing oppression.
Trump had authoritarian tendencies, but he did not wield authoritarian power, and frankly I'm not entirely convinced he has the frontal lobe capacity necessary to actually pull off anything remotely close to a successful “insurrection” or “coup.” It’s the Trump #resistance that’s exhibited hallmarks of authoritarianism—suppressing dissent, criminalizing and demonizing the noncompliant, and tightening control over the flow of information.
And while this is still being dismissed as conspiracy fodder, everyone knows it’s true: There’s a nexus, an alliance, between the mainstream media, government bureaucracy, corporate entities, progressive nonprofits, etc. that has slowly but surely created a highly centralized government assisted by Big Tech that’s been pushing, via suppression and censorship, for ideological conformity and a vice grip on information to maintain hegemony over American democracy.
Though critical of the company years prior, Musk raised the ante when it became unequivocal that just weeks before the 2020 election, Twitter banned the Biden laptop story due to, if not partisan interests, pure negligence.
When word got out that Musk was indeed trying to buy Twitter, Liberals of all persuasions lost their fucking minds.
Twitter’s board stalled, then decided to take the “poison pill” route in a desperate attempt to fend off Musk, thereby more or less confirming serious ideological reasons for wanting to maintain control of the company, and that they, the board members, were acting with career interests in mind instead of the financial interests of their shareholders, which is the board's legal responsibility.
This looked even worse — a lot worse — when we learned that the Twitter Board, excluding Jack Dorsey, owned a whopping 0.12% of the company.
Behind closed doors, they'd not only rejected Musk's very generous offer to buy Twitter at 20% above market value, but they’d opted to dilute the shareholders’ stakes to prevent a change in ownership that would've been quite beneficial to the shareholders, particularly in light of the stock’s overall performance since the company’s inception. Oh, and Goldman Sachs, the bank said to be “advising” the Twitter board to decline the deal, had a $30 price target on Twitter's stock—a tad under Elon's offer. Forty-five perfect (45%), to be precise.
Musk was serious and had a Plan B and possibly some kind of Plan C as well. There were reports that he’d reached out to various high-profile friends, of which he has an impressive plenitude, about a group effort. (Since buying the company, he’s raised an additional $7 billion in equity from various investors he personally reached out to.)
More stalling from the board.
Twitter employees explained how pissed they were that Elon Musk had ruined their “monthly day of rest” because they were all so “super stressed” about his offer, leading yours truly to say aloud to himself, “God we need another fucking war.”
And then the denouement: Musk buys Twitter, and the Left devolves into paroxysms of rage the likes of which we hadn’t seen since maybe a few weeks prior—probably something covid-related, or perhaps it was something to do with that rascal Ron DeSantis down in the heathen hellscape they call Florida. He can take his all-around equanimity and decency and shove it where the sun don't shine, as far as I'm concerned.
Three days later, the Biden administration stood up a “Disinformation Governance Board.” Amazing, isn’t it, how fast ideologues will move to protect their power and self-interests?
What the Reaction to Musk Buying Twitter is Really About
Fifteen years ago, Twitter was founded by Jack Dorsey to serve as a platform for the “free speech wing of the free speech party.”
Today, it's like the crown jewel of social cesspools. It’s also, uncoincidentally, home of the liberal clerisy — the judgmental, absolutist, intolerant spazzes and, frankly, pretty much every other kind of person you want to beat up on sight — who think having to acknowledge alternative views and opinions is, rather than integral to any liberal democracy, an unjust imposition of emotional labor; and the left-wing socio-political hegemony captained by wealthy, progressive elites who understand the power of information and collectively work to discredit and suppress that which contradicts liberal orthodoxies and diverges from decreed liberal truths.
It's been both fascinating and entertaining to observe how those of the lefty persuasion have reacted and responded to Musk buying Twitter: like a bunch of obstreperous toddlers overwrought with apocalyptic panic.
And in a fantastic twist of irony, the people who’ve spent years snidely dismissing concerns about Twitter’s censorship are now in hysterics about how dangerous Twitter’s going to be without censorship.
Essay after essay in our favorite legacy media publications has condemned Musk in every which way you could possibly imagine someone being condemned. The Twitterati have been churning out moralizing, panicked screeds at an unprecedented rate. Memorably, one CNN analyst fumed that “you cannot let these guys control discourse in this country or we are headed to hell!” Meanwhile, the punditocracy and its mob of pretentious do-gooders, the progressive clergy, have been performatively decrying the purchase.
“He could have ended world hunger with that $44 billion but noooo, he just had to satisfy his white man ego and—” BITCH, THE FUCKING GOVERNMENT SPENT $7 TRILLION LAST YEAR AND NOBODY EVEN KNOWS WHERE IT WENT!
It seems that, mysteriously, Twitter went from a corporation beholden solely to shareholders, an independent entity whose open secret was the manipulation of information and engineering the illusion of consensus and truth, to a secular public entity that under no circumstances should ever be affected by outside parties, especially “old, rich, cis white men.”
The apoplexy says everything you need to know about what's at stake for the port-side firebrands and political class, for whom Twitter has always been unabashedly an activist extension of progressive orthodoxies thanks in large part to its employees.
The platform is beloved by the activist and media class, the humor-free puritans who thrive on rhetorical manipulation and moral grandstanding and hathos. The media’s over-reliance on Twitter to determine which stories deserve covering is a big reason why they pay way too much attention to the political interests and agendas of people who occupy the top percentiles of American life; it's also why academics and elites misjudge how little significance they have from the perspective of ordinary people. This is symptomatic of an even bigger problem—the economic chasm between Democrat-affiliated elites and Americans stuck further down the totem pole, a divide that's given rise to a highly insular bunch of aristocrats steadily drifting farther and farther away from reality.
“Twitter is overwhelmingly liberal — which explains much of the liberal panic over Elon Musk buying it. According to Pew, 10% of users generate 92% of all tweets, and seven out of 10 of these users are liberal. Using this data, Brian Riedl, a budget and tax expert, calculated that if Twitter were a congressional district, it would have a Partisan Voter Index (PVI) of D+43. Today, that would tie it with Washington, DC, the most liberal district in the country.
Because Twitter reinforces ideological conformity by swarming dissenters, elite liberal journalists and policymakers alike confuse consensus among themselves on Twitter with popular consensus. Joe Biden fancies himself a moderate, but his administration takes its cues from a platform that might as well be a poll of Democratic primary voters in D.C.” — NY Post
That it's still considered a matter of some debate as to whether or not Twitter promotes liberal accounts over conservative ones is testament to the outsized influenced enjoyed by those described supra.
In the days following Musk’s purchase, Twitter users started seeing their follower numbers fluctuate bigly; tranches were either subtracted or added, and it was often proportional to how well-known the person is (follower count). For example, Barack Obama, who boasts the most followers of anyone in the world, reportedly lost 300,000. Fox News host Laura Ingraham remarked about her own account that “After being magically stuck at 3.9M Twitter followers for a few years, I'm now at 4mil. I'm sure it's just a coincidence.”
“It’s not your imagination: follower counts on Twitter really have been shifting wildly in response to news that Elon Musk had finalized a deal to acquire the platform.
Data compiled by The Verge from social media statistics site Social Blade shows that in the two days since the deal was completed, influential conservative accounts have increased their follower counts at roughly ten times the average daily rate for the month leading up to the acquisition.
Meanwhile, popular liberal accounts have suffered, collectively losing hundreds of thousands of followers on April 25th and 26th after a month of gains.” — The Verge
Twitter released a statement claiming that “these fluctuations appear to largely have been a result of an increase in new account creation and deactivation,” but I don’t buy that for a second. Millions of people didn’t come rushing to Twitter because Elon Musk bought it; even the dimmest lightbulb knows that Musk doesn’t control Twitter yet, and that the platform will remain unchanged until he cleans house (which is exactly what he’s going to do).
No, this is clearly the digital equivalent of paper shredding.
The Twitter algorithm favored liberal accounts over conservative ones, and the former were rewarded with inflated numbers while the latter were penalized with “shadow bans,” which is the oft-discussed theory among Twitter users that their “engagement” — i.e. the number of people who see one of their tweets — is reduced as a penalty for espousing views and sharing content contradicting the prevailing liberal orthodoxy. But after Musk bought Twitter, the Grievance Studies majors employed at the HQ tinkered with the algorithm so that shadow bans and suspensions were reversed en masse, covering the tracks of malfeasance.
Can I prove this? Nope. It's just what I think, nation.
The Ministry of Truth
Just when you think things couldn't possibly get any more Orwellian, and that wrongthink and newspeak would be the worst of it, the Biden administration stands up an actual Ministry of Truth.
Less than a year ago, these same government officials and their media minions were actively suppressing and censoring people who said very important, very true things, like:
Not only that, but you’re telling me that these people — the same people suffering from some sort of weird amnesia preventing them from defining what a woman is, and who’ve gone as far as to replace the actual word “woman” with a host of neologistic monstrosities like “chest feeders,” “birthing persons,” and “bleeders” — are going to run a federal “disinformation” program for our own good?1
Folks, listen. I detest sensationalism. It bothers me to no end that thanks to the evolution of the attention economy and digital media supplanting traditional news, hyperbole infects nearly all forms of partisan communications. I therefore do not say this lightly: A “Disinformation Governance Board,” which is to be housed within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is a really, really bad development. I reference George Orwells’s 1984 fairly often, I know, but I cannot stress enough how eerily similar this Disinformation Board is to INGSOC's Ministry of Truth.
The main character in Orwell's novel is a dude named Winston Smith who works in this Ministry of Truth. He explicitly states the MoT was created by the government of Oceania, the novel's totalitarian state, to decide what's true and what's false, and that this determination adhered to whatever the government wanted, irrespective of circumstances.
As time’s gone by, the American story has been increasingly shaped by a survivorship bias of sorts. I worry that too many of us are convinced everything will continue working in our favor, as if by preordained destiny, and America will always remain a relatively safe and altruistic nation that’s not going anywhere any time soon, and that it’ll never become a totalitarian state run by a government that treats you like a robot, and we’ll never take up arms against each other again. And it’s like we keep testing the waters, seeing how much political stress we can put on America before she collapses.
This Disinformation Governance Board that the Democrats have created and which I will heretofore refer to as the Ministry of Truth (MoT), has nothing to do with “protecting the marginalized” or the sanctity of our democracy or ANY of the cretinous reasons proffered by the Left. It's 100% a political ploy, and it's unsettling not just because of the insidious future it portends, but because of what it implies about today’s Democratic Party: They're willing to bend, break, and create new rules if it helps them maintain power. You know who else had a Ministry of Truth? Adolf Hitler. Joseph Goebbels. And Joseph Stalin.
So no, it's not about disinformation at all. It's infuriating to even think people believe that. You have to be impressively ignorant of history to actually think it’s wise to make U.S. Security operatives under the Department of Homeland Security the national arbiters of truth when this agency has a well-established reputation as one of the nation’s most secretive and least transparent agencies, one with a well-established reputation for desecrating civil liberties; and you have to be just as stupid to think these appointees, these fucking prophesies, are blessed with a preternatural ability to separate true from false, and that their partisan loyalties won’t affect how they perform their duties in the slightest.
This is about controlling information. It’s little more than a thinly veiled attempt to pass off ideology as inflexible Holy Writ by stamping it with the imprimatur of propped up propagandists posing as “anti-disinformation” authorities who just so happen to be part of that monstrous messianic machine, the modern federal government. Think about it. If you get to decide what's true and what's not, you essentially determine reality; you get to shape the public’s understanding. If you should have any doubt about what that might possibly mean, consider everything that’s happened during the pandemic that should not have happened and would not have happened if other experts — i.e. the Great Barrington Declaration — hadn’t been maligned and suppressed and even punished for trying to highlight the attendant costs of a pandemic measure — lockdowns and shutting the country down for six months — that’s always been explicitly dismissed as a last-measure resort.
The Mary Poppins of Disinformation
It gets worse, of course.
The conceit of our self-appointed gatekeepers, these selfless servants who’ve preemptively endowed themselves with the divine right to adjudicate what is and is not “disinformation” as if by dint of the magic 8 balls they have within their minds, these spazzes of all varieties who chide people for expressing concerns about censorship and then pontificate on the “extremist content” ever-proliferating in the murky depths of the internet, piously warning THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO OUR DEMOCRACY™ and we need more censorship, dammit — the conceit of these people is the belief that they're smarter than you, than us, and that we’d therefore be well-advised to stop interfering with Democrat-led attempts to monopolize information.
Something tells me that if you were to create a Venn diagram illustrating the people who profess profound fears about disinformation and the people who’ve pushed the most egregious examples of disinformation over the past few years, you’d end up with a full circle. See, for example, the disinformation czar chosen to lead this new venture—the progeny of none other than Dolores Umbridge herself, one Nina Jankowicz,2 a woman who’s only a degree or two removed from clinical psychopathy and has a thing for sharing cringeworthy videos of herself busking for dopamine hits in the form of digital affirmation from strangers on the internet.
There are some things that do not lend themselves to easy articulation. The visceral repulsion I feel when watching this clip is one of them. Every time someone watches this, a unicorn dies. Let’s say we leave it at that.
Funny thing about Jankowicz, though, is that for an “expert,” she has shockingly little expertise.
She’s also a bonafide moron.
According to this New Yorker piece, in 2017, Jankowicz was a communications advisor who “had an interest in digital diplomacy and in countering disinformation that was matched by a passion for musical theatre.” One day, she came across a Facebook page for an anti-Trump rally calling on ‘“resistance activists, show-tune lovers, and karaoke fans“ that piqued her curiosity. She decided to attend. It wasn't until more than a year had passed that she learned the rally she’d attended was a front for “Russian disinformation.” This sparked her interest, (it's unclear whether she actually had an interest in disinformation prior to attending the rally or if it was because she later found out she'd been fooled that she became interested, but it seems like the latter to me).
And thus it was, our maiden Ministry of Truth czar became the preeminent expert on disinformation—her reputation such that, the day of the MoT announcement, Jen Psaki couldn't answer questions from reporters about her because she “wasn't familiar with Jankowicz.” And DHS Secretary Mayorkas, the dude who actually picked her for the job, admitted he wasn’t aware of Jankowicz’s prior statements regarding the Hunter Biden laptop—statements that you'd imagine qualify as disinformation.
(Oh, yeah: And nobody else was interviewed for the position.)
Here’s our Nina Jankowicz lecturing on “disinformation and democracy” last year: "Critical race theory has become one of those hot-button issues that the Republicans and other disinformers, who are engaged in disinformation for profit, frankly . . . have seized on. But it’s no different than any of the other hot-button issues that allow disinformation to flourish. . . . It's, you know, it's weaponizing people's emotions.” Her just-released book, How to Be A Woman Online: Surviving Abuse and Harassment, and How to Fight Back, is of course full of justifications for online censorship.
Take a gander at her personal Twitter page and you’ll immediately ascertain this is someone who’s a partisan and ideologically-motivated dolt. Having Jankowicz be head czar is idiotic in the extreme. Mary Pompous herself has helped spread virtually every disinformation campaign perpetrated by the Democratic Party and mainstream media since 2016. She pushed the pre-election lie that the Hunter Biden laptop story was “Russian disinformation,” claimed on numerous occasions that the infamous Steele Dossier, paid for and used by the Clinton campaign to convince the FBI to spy on a sitting president, was completely legit, and echoed as true all the Russiagate conspiracy theories with the fervency you’d expect of a zealot holes up in a left-wing bubble. She even promoted the zoonotic origin of covid bullshit as a ratified fact, dismissing the lab-leak theory as convenient scapegoat drivel for Trump that was promoted exclusively by conservatives.
In part II of this post, we’ll dig well below the surface of everything that's transpired the past month or so, and I'll highlight what's really at play here.
The justification for this abomination, per Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas is to fight the “huge threat to our homeland” that is free Americans saying things that the federal government doesn’t like. You’ve got to be kidding me.