By now, most everyone knows the story of how Establishment Finance gamed the system to gag and stop GameStop investors. The "apex predators of capitalism, hedge funds are accustomed to raking in billions by driving companies into the ground and feasting on the carcasses," as one observer puts it. But, somehow, it's not okay for large groups of regular-guy investors to possibly drive a predatory hedge fund into the ground and perhaps feast on its carcass.
So what did happen the Thursday before last, when the powers-that-be halted acquisition of GameStop stock to allow billionaire hedge funds to shore up their most vulnerable "short positions"? Well, it's a bit as if someone had intervened in the Battle at Kruger - a famous 2004 event in which Cape buffalo, shockingly, turned the tables on lionesses that were killing one of their young - and had isolated the herd so the predators could finish the baby off.
But perhaps underappreciated about the GameStop stop is how Establishment Finance used censorship to stymie its competition. Paypal founding COO David Sacks addressed this recently at Persuasion, writing of how the empire struck back.
"First, the digital distribution platform Discord banned the WallStreetBets [a Reddit discussion forum] investors account after the close Wednesday for 'hate speech, glorifying violence, and spreading misinformation.'" (For a moment, it looked like Reddit had also banned the group, but they resisted pressure to do so.)"
Yet there was no "hate speech," just "the same raunchy language you would hear if you visited any trading floor or boiler room on Wall Street," Sacks explained.
Moreover, if "the quoted [hate speech] justification sounds familiar, it's nearly identical to the one given by Google, Apple, and Amazon for deplatforming Parler just three weeks earlier," Sacks also noted. "Echoing Amazon, Discord said it had sent the group repeated warnings about objectionable content before deciding, on that day of all days [that Wednesday], to shut them down."
It's also identical to justifications we've now heard for years, ones used as pretext for censoring conservatives whose influence could threaten Establishment Politics' power just as the Redditors' voices threatened Establishment Finance's money.
While GoogTwitFace's censorship goes back more than a decade, the most notable canary in the coal mine was InfoWars' Alex Jones. But his 2018 deplatforming was followed more recently by the Big Tech banning of President Trump and Twitter suspensions of figures such as commentator Dan Bongino and conservative actor James Woods. Then, of course, there's the mostly unseen "shadowbanning" and general suppression of thousands of lower profile commentators whose stories are seldom heard.
Also little mentioned is the war on conservative Internet comments sections. Increasingly, traditionalists will visit their favorite news/commentary website and, upon planning to comment on an article, will be greeted with something such as: "The College Fix has temporarily suspended comments, as independent-minded websites like ours try to survive cancel culture and social-media hostility."
The College Fix and others are targeted with the Parler treatment. Big Tech will essentially make them an offer they can't refuse: Censor your commenters as we prescribe or terminate commenting - or we may terminate your website. The Federalist was thus compelled to disable commenting last summer, while American Thinker was strong-armed more recently.
The issue is that battling GoogTwitFace is as fighting city hall: Most websites just don't have the resources to battle the Tech Cartel.
Of course, ranging from child porn to "hateful" messages, content more vile than what's found at conservative sites is transmitted via GoogTwitFace and left-wing news media. So the pseudo-elites' "social responsibility" is selective.
As Sacks put it Friday on Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight, "The real purpose of censorship is as a tool for the people in power to keep the outsiders out." And as host Carlson pointed out in response, the Establishment doesn't employ "hate-speech" standards to "protect the weak - it uses that phrase in order to protect the strong".
To be clear and precise, there are people - certain naive activists and academics in particular - who actually do believe hate-speech restrictions are positive, foolhardy though the notion may be. But the concept is used most cynically by Establishment power- and money-mongers, who decide what constitutes "hate speech."
With the Redditors, the pseudo-elites scoured their comments, would "screen-shot any post that could plausibly be characterized as hate speech, they [would] report it, and then get the site taken down," Sacks explained above. These puppeteers "weaponize speech rules" to neutralize threats, he elaborated.
It's an old strategy, do note. An enemy can be more easily defeated if you disrupt his lines of communication.
Then there are the Establishment claims, as made with WallStreetBets, that it's fighting "misinformation's" spread. Seriously? We have politicians who, as politicians will, make lying an art; and a mainstream media that mainstreams misinformation. So their complaints about such, even when occasionally valid, are a bit like Bill Clinton condemning an altar boy for confessing impure thoughts.
Related to this, perhaps forgotten is that Google tacitly announced in 2015 that it would cease being a true search engine: Instead of just ranking sites based on popularity as it always had, it would begin assessing "trustworthiness."
And I bet you thought if Reagan's 1984 became Orwell's 1984, the Ministry of Truth would be a government entity (and not a government censorship proxy).
This dovetails with what Carlson and Sacks mentioned at their discussion's end. The Internet was meant to empower the common man, to be an engine of "democracy," they stated. This is precisely what happens, too, when sites are ranked based on popularity because it's tens of millions of Internet users who determine what's popular. This is also what happens when people use their influence freely in comments sections and when small investors band together and act.
So while the Establishment claims these social media forces are a "threat to democracy," they in fact are democracy (for good or ill). The Establishment doesn't like it one bit, either, because democratic power threatens their oligarchic power.
And what of the little man? As the Democrats used to claim to be, the Establishment is all for him - as long as he's kept as little as possible.