So, what’s new?
Hey, everybody. Sorry I’ve been incommunicada these last few days, but shit has gone DOWN. I lost a good friend to cancer (Thinking Man Neil, greatly and terribly missed even though we both knew it was going to happen eventually…just, maybe, not so damn soon.) A few days later, I also had a birthday, sadly clouded by the loss of my dear friend (who, thoughtful to the end, left me some of his most cherished possessions and a simple message of love in a card, thus cementing the sad coincidence between his untimely passing and the regularly scheduled event of me marking another year of looping ’round the Sun).
And THEN, right on time for said birthday, THIS shit happened:
And THIS shit also happened, the next day:
In both cases, the motivation behind the massacre was the same: It was RACISM. And that rules out leftism as a motivator, categorically, because the left has always historically been opposed to racism, whereas the right has historically been conducive to it. Who but racists could continue to support “gun rights” over HUMAN rights?
And it seems that something is changing on the Internet, at last, because Cloudflare has no-platformed one of the major sources of far-right radicalization — namely 8chan. A forum which another of my friends aptly called an “incel cloning vat”. They wrote:
The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths. Even if 8chan may not have violated the letter of the law in refusing to moderate their hate-filled community, they have created an environment that revels in violating its spirit.
We reluctantly tolerate content that we find reprehensible, but we draw the line at platforms that have demonstrated they directly inspire tragic events and are lawless by design. 8chan has crossed that line. It will therefore no longer be allowed to use our services.
So, finally, SOMEBODY is admitting that hate speech is NOT free speech. And that hate speech is not just shitposting for shitposting’s sake, nor is it just harmless, victimless fun; it has far-reaching real-world consequences. Real people are killing other real people as a result of that speech. Edgelords are literally driving each other over the edge. And the worst part is, even if one service provider stops them, others are still willing to step into the breach, because CAPITALISM:
Unfortunately, we have seen this situation before and so we have a good sense of what will play out. Almost exactly two years ago we made the determination to kick another disgusting site off Cloudflare’s network: the Daily Stormer. That caused a brief interruption in the site’s operations but they quickly came back online using a Cloudflare competitor. That competitor at the time promoted as a feature the fact that they didn’t respond to legal process. Today, the Daily Stormer is still available and still disgusting. They have bragged that they have more readers than ever. They are no longer Cloudflare’s problem, but they remain the Internet’s problem.
I have little doubt we’ll see the same happen with 8chan. While removing 8chan from our network takes heat off of us, it does nothing to address why hateful sites fester online. It does nothing to address why mass shootings occur. It does nothing to address why portions of the population feel so disenchanted they turn to hate. In taking this action we’ve solved our own problem, but we haven’t solved the Internet’s.
In the two years since the Daily Stormer what we have done to try and solve the Internet’s deeper problem is engage with law enforcement and civil society organizations to try and find solutions. Among other things, that resulted in us cooperating around monitoring potential hate sites on our network and notifying law enforcement when there was content that contained an indication of potential violence. We will continue to work within the legal process to share information when we can to hopefully prevent horrific acts of violence. We believe this is our responsibility and, given Cloudflare’s scale and reach, we are hopeful we will continue to make progress toward solving the deeper problem.
It’s commendable that Cloudflare is at least doing something about it on their own platform (and even more so that they are calling on governments to do something about it as well), but the fact that the whole Internet hasn’t yet come together to stop fascism is worrisome. It is precisely this hands-off approach, this unwillingness to slaughter the sacred cow of Freeze Peach, that enables the worst to flourish. It is the willingness of service providers to take hatemongers’ money that continues to fuel the hate machine. It is capitalism that is enabling fascism.
Meanwhile, on other platforms, the racism — some more covert than others — goes on. The question is: Who’s going to no-platform FUX Snooze? And motherfucking, daughter-letching Donnie? Is anyone going to bother?
The obvious answer is no. Of course not. Hate drives FUX’s ratings, and Twitter’s traffic. It greases the wheels of the NRA’s murder machine, and keeps the gun-wanks buying and their victims dying, so the vicious cycle never ends. It’s all about the eyeballs. Every viewer is more money for the advertisers who feed the hatemongers, and every taker of what’s being peddled — be it racism or guns — puts more money in the pockets of the gunmakers who keep the NRA’s lights on.
Once again: Crapitalism at work. Crapitalism doesn’t care who gets hurt, or who kills whom, as long as money gets made, and that money keeps getting suctioned right to the top, where too much of it is resting already, and virtually nothing is trickling down to those in need.
And that is a cancer even more malignant than the one that took my dear and thoughtful friend Neil from this world far too soon.