THE SENSIBLE CENTRE

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By ellymelly – If you enjoy my work, consider shouting me a coffee over on Ko-Fi


 

We live in a time of political upheaval. I know you are afraid. There is a sense of déjà vu hanging over the world, pressing but not quite breaking the surface of our tepid global peace. Revolution. No one wants to bell the cat but our cities are flooded with violent Marxists who are destroying property, history, and human life. It is the duty of every citizen to sit up and take an honest look at what is going on.

In all likelihood, that hour of the night is approaching where blades fall indiscriminately and fires take hold of the streets. But whose revolution is it, really?

Very few ordinary citizens fantasise about political upheaval. Instead, loosely connected activist groups have fanned out to grasp at civilisation’s corners, dragging it uphill toward carnage like slaves lashed to stone in a quarry. If the whip cracks hard enough, all of us will be drawn in to their horrific vision of ‘utopia’. The time to stop them is now, before the momentum overwhelms us. Unfortunately ‘peace’ isn’t very useful for political parties involved in dethroning stable governments. How do you get out of the monotony of opposition if the people are comfortable with the status quo? Simple. Manufacture a civil crisis by copying notes from the French Revolution and then fudge the detail with a few freshly minted micro ‘isims’.

Politicians do not like you to know that there is a mass of people who sit at the centre of politics. In Australia, where voting is compulsory, the politically disinterested are the votes that radical candidates struggle to move with their heated words and unrealistic promises. I speak of the Mrs Gafoops and Bobs of our world. Their ambivalence to the mindless shrieking of rancorous activism ties our political class down to ‘reason’ like the ballast of a ship keeping the vessel steady against the wind.

I have heard the argument that only the politically enthusiastic should vote. Young political hopefuls are especially keen on this. Surely, they insist, draped over their beer in a conniving manner, only those who follow the campaign trail have a right to decide the outcome? How can the uniformed vote correctly if they do not care?

First, it is the right and duty of every adult citizen in a democracy to vote – whether you like their choice or not. Otherwise, do not pretend to call yourself a democracy.

Second, it is the most politically devout who bring about history’s worst dictators. They are in love with the game and worship its heroes – this makes them especially vulnerable to sweet sounding lies from the lips of charismatic leaders.

Third, those who do not care for politics vote to benefit themselves based upon what they see presented. The working class and peasantry of humanity typically value security, stability, autonomy, and prosperity. It is their unwillingness to engage in personal risk that acts as the Achilles heel for revolutionary movements. More to the point, they have a habit of re-enforcing Aristotle’s theory on group behaviour in which random samples of the population average better results than small teams of experts. Can they make mistakes? Sure, but in a mimicry of evolution, groups of individual selfish motivations more accurately represent the needs of a diverse nation than an homogeneous panel of self-appointed geniuses.

This roadblock to power is what drives those who wish to deplatform democracy into breaking down compulsory voting. They want you to stay home. They want your silence. They want the majority out of the ballot box. If you don’t care about politics, you’re hard work as far as a party is concerned. After all, it’s such a nuisance to come up with sensible policies. When you hear a political leader start talking about the ‘sensible centre’, they do it begrudgingly.

And what is the centre of politics?

It is customary to refer to political theory as a flat spectrum – a single line upon which recognisable parties cluster. These parties are not stuck down to any particular point but rather have a tendency to drift around over time. Their philosophy is an average of its members; an approximation of ideas loosely connected with history. Because a party’s position on the line is defined by continuously re-written polices, it is often the case that a voter’s fond, youthful memory is no longer the reality of the party running at the ballot box. Stability does not come naturally to politics because it is bound to the flux of human thought, and, like the metaphoric boiling of a frog, it is only when parties completely abandon their foundation that people notice.

Generally speaking, in a system dominated by two parties, one sits on the left and the other, on the right, of this arbitrary line. Defining the centre is hard, especially when each country puts the centre either in a different location or uses an alternate set of ideological norms to draw the line. Suffice to say, the concept is a mess but in Australia both parties are closer to a Westernised centre line than their American equivalents while the UK sits somewhere in-between. Other European nations with deeply held Socialist histories scatter their parties all on the left so ‘right’ for them is ‘left’ for us. Religious theocracies do the reverse and single party dictatorships pick a spot and plant a flag.

To define this poorly drawn political line, the left follow the works of Karl Marx. They are the Socialists, Communists, and miscellaneous Collectivists. These are big government, low freedom, heavily censored welfare states with tightly controlled or non-existent markets who rarely employ a system of real democracy. The right are Conservatives. A misnomer, in my opinion. Far from conserving they have been agents for political change, dragging civilisation into the famous golden age of the Enlightenment. They are small government, fierce supporters of democracy and capitalists who use free markets to liberate the individual. Focus is placed on advancement through private property and economic competition.

Here is where I will pick a fight with accepted political theory.

Extremism has always been labelled as ‘far-left’ or ‘far-right’ but I believe the political spectrum has another dimension – a vertical axis where traits that belong to neither side of the line belong. Some of these are harmless, normal, and necessary – others are recognised as destructive. Their addition gives much needed perspective to the line.

Expansionism. Despotism. Nationalism. Militarisation. Personality Cults. Social Responsibility. Border transparency. Ethnonationalism. Surveillance. Transparency. Freedom to Speak. Fair legal system.

This clustering of unaffiliated ideas paints a better picture of political threat posed to the populace and its neighbours.

Take nationalism. All historic definitions list this interchangeability with patriotism. (Forget re-written ‘woke’ definitions – I refuse to play the revisionist game.) Historically, nearly every political system is nationalistic. National pride is how you hold scattered village populations together, especially if they have different cultures, languages or religions. Nationalism makes a country harder to attack and generally more harmonious internally. It is also an indicator of political health. People are more likely to love their country if they are not victimised by it. A lack of nationalism can act as a warning sign. Some Socialist parties suppress nationalism in favour of creating alliances of dictators – the last two times this played out, it ended in civil war or serious regional instability.

Let us contrast this with ethnonationalism. Despite how Europeans feel about this one, it is not an uncommon political trait across the globe. Indeed, most countries on Earth consider race to be a requirement of citizenship – many go so far as to put that in print. This can and often does lead to acts of genocide, internally and externally. Not always, though. Japan places emphasis on ethnonationality in its laws but does so dispassionately.

Expansion is an indicator that accurately predicts risk to the sovereignty of neighbouring countries. This trait exists solely for the expanding of territory and conquering of other nations. When coupled with other risky behaviour like ethnonationalism, militarisation, despotism, and a personality cult, you get someone like Hitler or Mao. Take out ethnonationalism and you have Stalin. Take out expansionism and you have Kim Jong Un. Or, a combination of expansionism and militarisation in conjunction with an otherwise open, democratic nation with a strong sense of liberty and law gives you the British Empire during its period of conquest. Put a dictatorship and personality cult in and you have the Golden Era of the Roman Empire.

With this sampling, we can see how the line of left and right tells us very little about whether a political system is fundamentally dangerous.

What does this mean for the sensible centre? Well, in reality they are not people sitting at the centre of the ideological political thread. Instead, they are the group of citizens who shy away from zealous political extras. They tend to fear personality cults. Oppose despotism. Reject expansionism. Side-eye surveillance and rise-up against racial politics.

This scepticism is a survival instinct. The common people have a collective wisdom passed down through generations. It is the sensible centre who are generally composed of citizens that find themselves on the front line of a war if one were started, oppressed by a maniac government, or terrorized by political radicals. While ever they are required to vote, these people will hold back the tide on extremism.

Not only are they the centre, they are also the majority. In most elections during dull electoral cycles when the public are casting their vote between two innocuous parties, their vote is split. But, if ever there is a time when a party manages to upset them, their invisible force underwriting politics suddenly rises up in a wave – destroying parties, leaders and entire systems of government.

Colloquially, we call this revolution. A revolution of the sensible centre.


By ellymelly – If you enjoy my work, consider shouting me a coffee over on Ko-Fi

HONG KONG : DYING WITHOUT TEARS

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By ellymelly – If you enjoy my work, consider shouting me a coffee over on Ko-Fi


One day soon, Hong Kong’s skyscrapers will shadow China’s horizon like limbs protruding from the ground after Mao’s famine. They’ll be tombstones for a city whose people are ethnically Chinese but ideologically Western, the fruits of an experiment left to rot where the best features of opposing powers came together and created something temporal.

Everyone can hear Hong Kong’s screams but the world are powerless observers to its death. We are already in mourning, keeping our eyes closed to spare ourselves the sight of approaching steel. Politicians have stopped talking about it. Articles pass by without comment. Dissidents vanish and silence is spreading like a virus chasing fear.

Free Hong Kong!

I wish it were that simple but in 2020, the world is struggling to save itself let alone a city that has been tipping into China’s abyss for decades.

‘Inevitability’ is an abstract concept that haunts humanity felt no more strongly than in Hong Kong, whose demise is tied to a clock with hands pushed around by impatient Communist Party officials. While the world saw The Sino-British Joint Declaration (drawn up in 1984 and registered with the United Nations in 1985) as a binding treaty to extend Hong Kong’s lifespan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that the declaration was merely, ‘an historical document that no longer has any realistic meaning’.

This was news to international law and highlighted a recurring problem. China has developed a habit for using regulation as a tool to manipulate foreign nations into legal binds that their dictatorship has no intention of honouring. This ensures that the world is left tied up in knots of their own making while China’s regime remains free to snatch nations and torment citizens in full view as they come down off their Opium War bender. Harsh? Perhaps, but true.

The memory of China’s golden millennia scratches at the back of the CCP’s mind, demanding that Xi Jinping and his army of bureaucrats embark on a period of global conquest to regain what they see as their rightful position as the dominant political force. This is bizarrely cheered on by anti-colonial teenagers inside Western universities who harass pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters or see them expelled to spare the fragile feelings of Beijing. Unfortunately, Communism is a disease that eats nations from the inside out. The further they expand, the poorer the world becomes. Hong Kong’s free market and democratic success has spent two and a half centuries laughing in China’s face and the CCP would happily erase it, regardless of the economic hit.

From sleepy inlet to on-again-off-again Portuguese port, Hong Kong’s relationship with mainland China has always been like the tide. For two hundred years starting in the 1600s, China’s desire for isolationism left it at an economic disadvantage, easily exploited by a flourishing European maritime trade. To combat this force of progress, the Canton system was developed reducing China’s foreign trade to a single legally sanctioned port. Racism was law, with foreigners prevented from learning Chinese languages or intermarrying with locals. Then in 1759 the Emperor set forth the rather non-PC code titled, ‘Prevention of Barbarian Ordinances’.

‘Within our lands, we have great wealth, why on earth would we desire the inferior products brought from abroad? The tributes given to us out of kindness were originally unregulated. Yet if there lies the possibility of unrest through their presence, even if we permit their foreign commerce in the future, they will not be allowed entry into the nation.’

Ironically, the world is starting to feel a similar sentiment toward present day China and their flood of inferior products produced by modern slave labour for morally confused mega-corporates.

Isolationism in the face of tempting profits led to merchants and officials inside China engaging in lucrative corruption. The world was a messy place three hundred years ago, shuddering through the rise and fall of empires. It concluded when the Qing Dynasty, China’s last imperial empire, ceded the island of Hong Kong to the British Empire in 1842 at the close of the first Opium War. Later wars expanded this territory with ninety-nine year leases, the termination of which triggered the treaty process between Thatcher and Xiaoping. This means that Hong Kong has been under Western influence since Australia started carving itself up into states. That is an eternity for living people. It is no surprise that these children of democracy are filling the streets in their millions, flying British and American flags, demanding sovereignty while their friends are dragged off to the mainland without trial.

After the 1997 handover, Hong Kong’s people distracted themselves with a life of noise.

No one can deny that after all was said and done, Hong Kong emerged as the gateway to Chinese investment right at a moment in history where China was poised to take on the world’s economic gold mine. Blessed with a valuable port, Hong Kong enjoyed its democracy and free market economy, setting itself up with a special legal grey area where people did not require cumbersome visas to trade and enjoyed low taxation. Prosperity swarmed. Hong Kong became a marriage of East and West that honeymooned every night and was described as the only true nation city in the world.

Being a ‘nation city’ is part of Hong Kong’s problem. It is not and can never be, independent from mainland China, this makes the prospect of fighting for its freedom on military terms essentially impossible with China’s current level of influence. Wary observers note that when mainland China realised this, it decided to call the UK’s bluff during treaty negotiations. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had no choice but to sign the Sino-British Joint Declaration or face the prospect of open war with China – a war which they could win on paper but never hope to enforce without destroying Hong Kong.

Whether you regard it as the lesser of two evils or a geopolitical act of procrastination, it was agreed that Hong Kong would be gradually handed back to China like the tightening of a noose. There was a vague, foolish hope that given the long period of time laid out in the treaty, China would see the error of their authoritarian ways and strive to be more like Hong Kong, embracing markets and democracy. Anyone who thought this must not have read the fine print of the agreement which already harboured the sinister overtones of a jealous nation.

Once signed, the world could no more save Hong Kong than stop the seasons. At heart, most people knew that the city was doomed. Successive waves of refugees fled to various nations inside the Commonwealth, each time tearing off pieces of Hong Kong’s GDP and gifting them like a dowry. Businesses persisted, determined to drain as much money from mainland China as possible before the Communist regime turned red enough to see blood in the water.

In 1997, with the official handing over of Hong Kong to China and the birth of ‘One Party, Two Systems’, five-hundred thousand Hong Kongers fled. Since then, China has only made it half way through the fifty year caretaker period before skipping out on its promise with the passing of the National Security Law, destroying any lingering hope. Under Boris Johnson’s amendments, three million Hong Kong nationals are either eligible or already hold a British National Overseas (BNO) passport, allowing them a passage to UK citizenship. By treaty law, this does not include their children and so many remain stuck between worlds, unable to abandon their kids even if they could relinquish their nation. Once this game starts, things will get nasty fast. China doesn’t want the world to see millions of Hong Kongers fleeing in fear of China.

What will kill Hong Kong?

Most assume (quite fairly) that as China erodes the economic and democratic freedoms that make Hong Kong special, the failings of Communism will take root. The people will be easily subdued as they always are when a ruthless dictator provides enough force, but what about the nine thousand foreign businesses? Thirteen hundred of them are American and many are already in the process of packing their bags. It has become obvious that you cannot simply purchase a city and hope to inherit its wealth. Personally, I think China already knows this and does not care. The Chinese Communist Party want Hong Kong’s port and they’ll bulldoze the whole lot to get their way if they have to.

This is what the history books will say killed Hong Kong, but I see a larger force at play.

Hong Kong is a city on the edge of oblivion, caught between the CCP’s clutches and a world which is withdrawing from China to protect itself from Communism. It has nowhere to go and no hope of reprieve as businesses are told to flee ‘anywhere but China’ to protect the sovereignty of their parent nations. If China is no longer a destination, then Hong Kong is a gate to nowhere. Hong Kong has always been a city driven by commerce and therefore it is the loss of commerce that will hold the knife. There is no threat of war that can fix this and to be perfectly honest, the West knows that they have to dis-empower China economically to prevent global conflict. This will require the sacrifice of Hong Kong – something no one wants.

In the middle of all this, their market economy is suffering from China’s little Wuhan cough. This is being used as an excuse to crush political dissent inside Hong Kong. If it were any other country, the United Nations would insist they be given the right to a referendum to choose their own fate. China, with a veto seat and plenty of cheaply purchased friends, has no intention of playing by intentional law or following Britain’s lead down the path of the peaceful collapse of its empire. Xi Jinping is building his empire by force and he has no time for pesky global interference in China’s acquisitions.

When Western nations see people in their millions crying out for help in the face of a Communist oppressor, of course, the inclination is to help. They have seen this before, a dozen times across the continent, always followed by unspeakable terror. Morally, we should help but in reality, what could be done? Hong Kong is not like Taiwan. The moment she is won, she’ll be starved to death or left to rot in darkness.

And so, Hong Kong has become both a tragedy and a Greek Siren, beckoning the last few sailors toward the rocks.


By ellymelly – If you enjoy my work, consider shouting me a coffee over on Ko-Fi

DEPLATFORMING THE PLATFORM

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By ellymelly – If you enjoy my work, consider shouting me a coffee over on Ko-Fi


Social media is a match we cannot un-burn. Even if we unplugged our forests of servers and filtered ourselves behind six feet of digital cement like our totalitarian neighbours, the memory of global connection would linger on with humanity.

A few years ago, everyone thought that the future would be constructed from within this new utopia – a sort of ‘camaraderie of cyberspace’ in a true border-less world. However, with the way politics is headed, the generation who were present at the birth of the internet may also be the ones to watch its collapse. The pieces of its corpse are already snapping off and scattering across the ground, laying there like some forgotten god’s temple with its features weathering smooth. Occasionally, glints of its past glory catch our eye, but mostly it’s decaying into bits of rock with weeds taking hold of the empty field.

We are social animals and the easy addicts of a system that offers assured contact. Talking is our primary form of bonding and, though the phenomenon might appear alien to those born before the technological revolution, online relationships hold the same intimate status as traditional friendship groups, even when based in anonymity.

Social media platforms act as little cities within the internet where a collection of people conduct their business and personal lives. They each have their own flavour and regional oddities. Some are growing, others are in the final stages of death with a few core users clinging to the ruins with eviction notices pinned up through their threads. Truly, these entities create another world that envelopes the ‘real world’ – a phrase I am not especially fond of because like it or not, social media is mostly comprised of real people having real interactions. This slur is a stigma from the internet dark ages when everyone was anonymous, but in 2020, social media is driving the ‘real world’ with politics birthing itself online before tumbling out into the streets. Only last week, resigning New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss described Twitter as the publication’s ‘ultimate editor’. Social Media’s power is undocumented, poorly understood, and largely ignored by serious commentators who are led around by the nose without being able to see their reins.

Deplatforming is an idea co-opted from the political action of denying a speaker a stage (platform) to speak on. Usually, it led to feisty politicians shouting their speeches from the steps outside the hostile building, drawing crowds regardless of the attempted censorship. Or, if your name was Winston Churchill, clambering onto the roof of a car to shout your argument at the baying mob.

Withholding platforms from speakers happens today even though we claim to be a civilisation that values free speech. Universities and sometimes entire countries, deny speakers the opportunity to host talks in what should be public property for fear the ideas of the speaker will rub off on the host’s reputations or be seen as a passive endorsement by power-hungry activist groups looking for a bone.

Deplatforming in the online world is closer to an ex-communication order from the church or a decree of banishment. A speaker deplatformed from social media is not only denied the right to say something at a particular time in a particular place, they are being ejected from their entire social and business community. Worse, the reason for a platform to ban someone is usually political without clear or equal rules, creating an era of dangerous censorship the likes of which we’re more used to seeing from Communist dictators.

There is significant evidence that the oligarchy of social media platforms which control the bulk of social interactions online, collaborate to erase people they do not like from all of their platforms simultaneously, even if that person in question has not broken any of their community guidelines. Collusion of this sort is illegal but has resulted in people losing their livelihoods overnight along with all their friends. In severe cases, banks have joined in, denying service based upon ideology. The disparity of law is extraordinary. There are all kinds of regulations to stop employers from sacking staff without due process but online, social media barrens act with impunity like 18th century work-house bosses.

This is scary stuff.

The freedom to speak and do business underpins Western Civilisation and yet, without debate or democratic vote, we have allowed corporations to side-step civil law while bewildered, outdated politicians still believe that the internet is an obscure land where people sometimes go to read the news. These politicians, who were elected to protect us against the predatory behaviour of businesses wielding too much power, have very little understanding of social media’s expansion into real-world power. This is the fault of a generational gap where technology has grown so quickly that it is almost written in another language indecipherable to those in government. This is compounded when those same social media companies cuddle up to politicians and promise to help them win elections by expanding their advertising reach, therefore leaving no motivation at all (other than morality) for politicians to chastise in digital tyrannies.

Abandoned by both the platforms and the political process, citizens are left with a proposition. Do we, as their customers, deplatform the platforms?

We answer this with two further questions. Can we? And more importantly. Should we?

It is definitely possible to bring down a social media platform. We’ve done it before. Usually it is quite by accident through the evolutionary cycle of competition. Humans are fickle, flocking to the next shiny thing as it emerges and there is already a long line of tombstones erected in honour of lost platforms. More linger at the end of their lives, full of static data collecting dust. I find the process sad. I’ve grown up on many of these lost platforms and left a trail of memories in their disintegrating husks. When they die, so too do the connections with the people on them.

Platforms die because they are usurped by a better product, destroyed by poor management, banned by governments, or they simply fall out of fashion. Most of these deaths occurred before there was serious money tied up in the concept. It’s a little different now. Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, and Twitch are have a combined wealth in the trillions. The prospect of experiencing a natural death and moving on to the next product is no longer a possibility for these powerful enterprises.

The problem of power works like this: social media platforms originally lured customers using the concept of the open forum with the ‘it’s free!’ sweetener. During the sign up process, they hid sinister data gathering intentions inside incomprehensible pages of fine print. Customer data is their product which they then sell to third party advertisers without the informed consent or knowledge of the customer. If you or I tried this, we’d spend the rest of our lives in jail. The amount of data collected is astonishing. Not even your government is able to stockpile this sort of treasure trove. These third party advertisers then engage corporations, who either purchase user data to evaluate it as market research or place targeted ads onto the original platform.

For many years, this arrangement worked. Everyone (except you) made a fortune off content stolen from blissfully ignorant users – often children. Then, the culture wars began. Revolutionary in spirit, they set about causing upheaval and chaos to no one’s advantage except the leaders of the political movement. Despite them being bad actors dressed up as terrorists, plenty of serious businesses have found themselves flailing around in the turbulence they create.

Essentially, trolling activist groups started to target corporations over the proximity of their ads to user-generated content. If that content did not adhere to the dictatorial demands of these basement-dwelling communists, they launched noisy campaigns to boycott that company. Instead of telling these idiot kids to bugger off (which would have stopped the whole problem then and there) companies began to bow to the perceived pressure and demand platforms censor content to protect their brands. This doesn’t work for a variety of reasons, but regardless, it triggered the era of mass online censorship and deplatforming. Part of the problem is that the hyper-sensitive activists were installed in both corporate marketing departments and on the staff of the platforms.

Instead of adults recognising this as a mindless political coup, inexperienced employees began empowering online lunatics to turn marketing departments into the grave diggers of their own companies.

This vicious Stalin-cycle intensified when platforms started to sell their product to political parties. Although their natural inclination is to make as much money from both sides of the arena as possible, political hostility between the platform’s staff has intensified to the point where they are actively manipulating their platforms as political weapons, trying to swing elections with digital might. In retaliation, and quite rightly, this has led to the status of social media companies being challenged in court.

Social Media companies survive on a precarious balance defined in their infancy when they held next to no power. These experimental entities were permitted to walk the line between publisher and platform with a small ‘Good Samaritan’ clause in the middle to moderate unsavoury content. Essentially they are platforms, facilitating the publishing of user content but crucially, without the legal status (and responsibility) of a publisher. They may maintain community standards of decency but they are not allowed to act as publishers or they risk having their status changed.

Platforms cannot survive as publishers – period. If a ruling ever comes down to say that they are, the dream is finished. We may see a day come soon where a company like Twitter is prevented by a court from deplatforming and censoring users. This means advertising companies with their corporate clients will have to suck it up or forfeit the tasty user market. Right now, it is more likely that we’ll get this court case than see the deplatforming of any major social media company.

That said, if everyone walks off a platform, technically any of these companies, no matter how large and powerful, will be ruined. This is happening to Facebook organically. They are a victim of their own success where they became so popular that it wasn’t only kids signing up, all their parents and grandparents signed up too. As soon as this happened, the kids were less keen on sharing photos and stories knowing their relatives were watching, and abandoned the platform leaving ghost accounts with low interactions. The average age of the platform went right up outside what advertising companies wanted and ever since, Facebook have been trying to adapt their way into survival – mostly by transforming themselves into a platform for businesses rather than individuals. It’s kind-of working. We’ll see…

Twitter is not learning anything. They are the industry leaders in toddler-censorship with employees in senior levels of management unhinged by delusions of power, rolling out banned words every day. Every time they ban a prominent figure, a walkout is staged, with droves heading over to devout free speech platform ‘Parler’. If Parler manages to iron out its bugs and improve their user interface, it could be a legitimate threat to Twitter. Right now, it’s not quite user-friendly enough to storm the market. The biggest challenge is getting users to move. People will stay with the herd so you have to get all of them moving at the same time. I’m not convinced that even a boulder like Trump would be enough to manage it. More likely, Twitter will do something stupid such as ditching the ‘like’ button (which they’ve long threatened) and without the endorphin hit, users will flee.

Yeah, we could do it. That brings us to, should we?

This question is more interesting. There is no problem with platforms changing shells like hermit crabs if it happens by the mob moving from one social media entity to the next. This migration does not change the dynamics of society any more than switching from stone tablets to ink. Deliberate destruction has unintended consequences – the most likely of which is the retribution of powerful people. If we, the users, win the debate by standing our ground and forcing platforms into an ideological cage, we have a chance at restoring peace.

Bad things happen when wealthy, powerful people are deplatformed from their own platform. We have allowed these individuals to accumulate the wealth and influence of nations through the currency of talking shit and stalking exes. Now, it is up to the laws of our democracy to soberly and sensibly assess how to maximise the benefits of this technological leap without creating an axis of all-powerful lunatics. It is possible that through our desire to share cat videos, we have created a tyranny of un-elected dictators free of a political system to dethrone them. Not even Mao could have dreamed of such a thing. They already have the power to delete people – how long before they delete democracy for profit?

The truth is, the internet was once the soul of creativity. It was successful because it allowed a flourishing world of human thought. Fixing its current problems is easy, but requires extraordinary political fortitude. If we enshrine online freedom into law and return the internet to its roots, our world would change for the better, but greedy platforms bribe politicians into protecting their monetary interests which leads to them passing ever more oppressive protections for the most disingenuous players cheered on by Marxist trolls who want to see liberty burn.

These new users don’t have any appreciation for the creative culture that built the systems they are now using so they are perfectly happy for the god-like companies to erase and hide content that offends them. What we end up with is a bland, static, censorial giant run by trigger happy marketing executives whose goal is to protect their profit at any cost while their bosses sculpt civilisation as if we were clay toys.

This is why Facebook and Google were happy to work with the authoritarian Communist government of China to create technology to cyber-stalk their citizens, assign moral rankings to their behaviour, and use that to deny them fundamental human rights. Normal laws would prevent a Western company from engaging in this sort of behaviour with foreign military super powers, but digital companies imagine themselves to be operating above our elected leaders.

You do not have to regulate their power but rather empower everybody else. If the government enforces the public forum on these platforms and removes their ability to erase people and content, then their ability to manufacture politics is greatly reduced. If you allow people to once again produce content, rival products will emerge, forcing market economics back onto our digital platforms.

The threat of competition is the only way to keep these bastards honest and our platforms above the mob.


By ellymelly – If you enjoy my work, consider shouting me a coffee over on Ko-Fi

WINTER IN SHANGRI-LA

“Unfortunately ‘global safety’ is nothing more than Shangri-La politics – a beautiful fiction that was subverted the minute it began empowering nefarious dictatorships leaving all foolish enough to chase it set on doomed expeditions. Its laws drape across the world like sheets of ice, built by years of Winter. Undisturbed, these expensive veils make for picturesque views so long as they are never tested by the earthquakes of colliding interest…” (originally the third last paragraph).

Read online at the Penthouse AU

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