About 18 months ago, some lonely voices on the dissident right in the US began warning of the worrying antics of large tech and financial organisations with respect to political wrongthinkers. The ZMan was particularly vociferous on this, citing the case of some obscure neo-Nazi website having its domain name yanked without any transparency or due process. Within months of that we saw alt-right figures being denied hosting and other web-based services such as Cloudflare, which prevents DOS attacks. These actions at the time appeared to be the result of Antifa mobs piling pressure on the service providers and finding sympathetic (or scared) managers within who would do their bidding. As usual, the traditional right did nothing except help the enemy by holding aloft their principles; I’ll come onto that in a minute.
Pretty quickly Antifa worked out they could get anyone from the alt-right booted from social media and their contracts with web service companies cancelled, and that’s precisely what they did. As I wrote here, I thought Antifa would overreach and put people in a position where they had little recourse but to violence:
Ordinary people suddenly found a handy source of income has been cut off simply because the tech giants were unable or unwilling to stand up to a gaggle of hard-left thugs. It’s only a matter of time before ordinary Americans find themselves denied access to the website or payment processing platform their livelihoods depend on, without ever knowing the reason why. If that happens, people will start throwing their support behind whichever outfit professes to be on their side and against the people responsible, regardless of how nasty and thuggish they are.
The ZMan took it one step further, and said these tactics were endorsed by the ruling classes, happy to allow Antifa mobs and social media companies to enforce the censorship they are forbidden by law from imposing directly. He was one of the earliest voices to warn that political censorship and punishment was being meted out via compliant social media giants and other corporations, and it appears he was absolutely right. Look how quickly we’ve gone from Antifa mobs getting Nazi websites shut down to this:
Facebook and PayPal accounts used to organise “yellow vest” protests that have seen MPs verbally abused in Westminster have been deleted.
Organiser James Goddard’s Facebook profile disappeared amid calls for police to prevent the group from “harassing” politicians, journalists and pro-EU protesters.
His PayPal account was disabled a short time later on Tuesday afternoon.
The reason this chap’s PayPal account has been deleted is because he upset Anne Soubry, and someone made a call to PayPal to tell them to inflict the standard punishment. If it were you or I being abused, or even knifed on a London street, nobody would be interested. But attack a member of the ruling class and suddenly services on which you depend are cancelled without warning. Where’s the transparency here? Where’s the due process? And where’s the consistency? When Nigel Farage was attacked by a mob in a pub, the media classes thought it highly amusing. Plod didn’t seem much interested either, simply because their masters don’t like Farage very much.
Now the conservative right have thus far defended the actions of the likes of PayPal and Facebook on the grounds private companies should have the right to do business with whomever they please. I have two problems with this: firstly, businesses don’t have a right to do business with whomever they please as whole rafts of anti-discrimination legislation attest. There’s not much point in defending a principle which hasn’t been upheld in these lands since flares were in fashion, unless as part of a philosophical discussion. Secondly, whereas it may be reasonable for a restaurateur to refuse service to someone who can eat next door, how does this work with PayPal? And where does it stop? Credit card providers, banks and insurance companies are already coming under pressure in the US to refuse service to those who own guns or wish to buy one. How long before Mastercard (who’s politics are evident) decides it’s going to cut people off without warning? Well, you just switch to Visa, right?
Not quite: as we saw when three or four social media companies all banned Alex Jones within hours of one another, these actions are coordinated. If one company bans a wrongthinker, it’s almost certain their peers will follow suit. There are many restaurants in town, but only a few credit card companies. If they collectively decide to blacklist you, you’re screwed. Now the dimmer free-market fundamentalists will say “If you don’t like it, start your own service, market forces, innit?” Which again is a great topic for discussion in an Ayn Rand convention down the local pub, but the average person is not in a position to start their own bank. And where does this stop? There used to be a principle that utility companies such as electricity, phone, and water providers had to supply all customers regardless of who they were. Nowadays people are just as dependent on credit card, banking, and insurance services yet they appear to be allowed, thanks to a few lines of font 4 text in 18 pages of terms and conditions, to just immediately halt services without warning and without explanation. “Don’t like it?” say the free marketeers. “Well, start your own insurance company, then!” If the right can’t come up with a better response than this, they deserve the left’s foot on their necks for the foreseeable future.
Note what’s interesting in this latest incident is the ruling classes don’t even need the Antifa mob any more. No, all it took was 50 MPs writing to Plod and PayPal got the message loud and clear. The Antifa mobs were useful in terms of testing the water, seeing if these companies would knuckle under and do as they’re told, but now they’re surplus to requirements. Bear in mind all his has happened in less than two years, and try to imagine where we’ll be in another two. We’re rapidly heading into a situation where the ruling classes can effectively cut you off from services on which you depend as punishment for stepping out of line. People are making lots of noise about China’s social credit system, but at least the CPC is open about it. Our ruling classes are doing the same thing while claiming it’s nothing to do with them because we live in a free society. Free for whom, exactly?