“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi.*
When the New York Times recently published a prominent hit piece article entitled The Making of a Youtube Radical, it featured a collage of hate-filled internet bigots as its front splash. Dangerous demagogues like Jewish Nazi Ben Shapiro and openly gay (also Jewish) erstwhile Young Turk Dave Rubin were finally exposed to the light of civilised society. Other illuminati of the Intellectual Dark Web included such shadowy and menacing figures as gun toting Bill Whittle and the clearly deranged Stefan Molyneux, who earned himself no fewer than three mugshots in that montage. Now we know who the mainstream media really fears.
As the New York Times watches its bottom line swirling round the same drain that swallowed its reputation in 2016, it has been reduced to the kind of childish finger pointing and false equivalence which is rightly derided across the serious debating chambers of cyberspace. This desperate attempt to mix dissenters of every stripe into a synthetic moral panic around some sinister and imminent Alt Right threat (cue evil laugh) is a glaring admission of their own failure to engage and persuade. The once mighty media establishment has been reduced to the status of a young Dave Lister, who describes everything he sees as crypto fascist, despite not having the first clue as to what that obscure phrase even means.
The mainstream media have lost the battle of ideas along with their credibility, and they know it. Genuinely fearing for their future, their only response is to sling as much mud and make as much noise as they can in a desperate bid to prevent even more of their audience from going off script in search of something fresh, challenging and intellectually honest.
Having been unable to compete with this loose affiliation of free thinkers and serial dissenters for a number of years, the corporate media class has fallen back on the tried and tested strategy of pushing for censorship and suppression. They've even talked themselves into the ludicrous position of complaining that YouTube is somehow too right wing.
I'm not writing to defend or condemn Rubin, Shapiro or anyone else; they're all grown ups who can look after themselves just fine without me. However, as an independent author and blogger, it is my job to call out the mainstream media's deliberately disingenuous and coordinated attack on the modern heretics of our internet age. If any reader thinks that heretic is an emotive and inaccurate description, then I invite them to test the idea for themselves...if they have the courage.
Not sure about about transgenderism? You're fired!
Unashamed Christian? Public humiliation for you; and don't expect any help from the state either!
A gay conservative? Shame on you, traitor!
Wondering if racism explains every group difference? No more research grants for you!
The labels may have changed but the shrill, pearl clutching and cowardly condemnations remain reliably unchanged. The only difference between yesterday's bigot and today's outrage mob is that the bigot never awarded himself such a galactic sense of self-righteousness.
This coordinated effort by the powerful to label free thought and critique as somehow immoral is exactly why we should embrace, celebrate and protect our modern heretics; those souls who are brave enough, smart enough and maybe just plain crazy enough to take a stand, speak out and ask the difficult questions. By contrast, popular speech requires no legal or cultural defence, regardless of how foolish, dangerous or provably false it happens to be.
First they came for the Daily Stormer, and I did not speak out because I was not a neo-Nazi. Then they came for Alex Jones, and I did not speak out because I was not a supplement selling conspiracy theorist. Then they came for the YouTube conservatives, and I did not speak out because I was not a YouTube conservative...
We all know how it ends.
*It was on the internet so it must be true.
Image courtesy of Bob Smith at www.freeimages.com