The End of an Era

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The Internet began somewhere around 1970

The World Wide Web began somewhere around 1990

Mass participation in the internet was reached a little before 2000

With that, anyone could communicate with anyone else, or with any group, easily and free of charge.

That did not mean that anyone could whip up ordinary people with ordinary interests into political hysteria like Black Lives Matter or QAnon. Ordinary people with ordinary interests would not pay attention to that stuff.

Facebook hit a billion users a bit after 2010. It is Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube that meant that anyone, if they pitched it just right, could reach a mass audience. And that sent politics insane.

The Trump presidency was a glorious carnival, but a carnival is all that it was. When the Saturnalia ends the slaves go back to work. I said when he was elected that it was a setback for neoreaction, and it probably was.

I got a lot wrong though. I did not expect the anti-Trump hysteria to endure. Facebook-era politics was too new, then, for me to have understood how it works.

The Facebook era of politics ends today. As with the Trump presidency, I will miss the fun and excitement. I miss eating a packet of biscuits a day too. But man was not meant to eat that much sugar, and democracy was not meant to exist with uncontrolled access to mass media. From the invention of journalism until the twenty-first century, ability to reach the public with your propaganda was power, and power had its say on who could do it. A decade of unconstrained mass media gave us Trump and Brexit and the Gilet Jaunes1, and it also gave us Open Borders, Trans Rights, Russiagate2 BLM, PornHub, and QAnon. It was destroying our society, and it was going to be stopped sooner or later.

We only really had one thing to say to the normies – that democracy was an illusion, and they were not in charge. I don’t think we need Twitter to tell them that any more. The events of the last week have exposed the relationship between government and media much more obviously than weird technical blog posts.

I spent the night bitching about the hypocrisy and dishonesty of the censors. I suppose I had to get it out of my system.

The pogrom will go a bit wider at first, but in the end I don’t think it will do more than roll back to 2005 or so. I do not expect to be censored, because I do not speak to voters. It was the frictionlessness of the Facebook news feed that pulled normies into these games — if you have to go out of your way to find me, then I am doing the regime no harm, and I expect to be ignored, at least if I get through the next few months.

This, of course, is also the system in China. And I admire the Chinese system. When I tried to imagine neoreactionary victory, I struggled a bit with how a monarchical regime could exist in a world of uncensored internet. I don’t have to worry now.

Some practical resilience steps are sensible. Back up everything. Try not to depend on the Silicon Valley giants (GMail is nice, but you’re not the customer you’re the product). It’s possible that something like RSS could make a comeback if it’s awkward enough to use that the normies aren’t included, but don’t chase after the holy grail of a censorship-resistant mass media because that’s a coup-complete problem. Keep your head down, keep the channels open. I had this blog working as a Tor hidden service once, I’ll revisit that but I don’t expect to need it.

  1. I do not know anything about the Gilet Jaunes
  2. added, forgot about that one

One thought on “The End of an Era”

  1. The words “can’t stop the signal, Mal” from the film Serenity have stuck with me since the time I saw it (also from 2005). Maybe it’s hard to monetize but this is such a fast, hard-to-track whack-a-mole thing that can’t be stopped.

    The rapid death of a movie in its first weekend, for example. You can’t just put two big stars up, plaster them over the media in a huge franchise and last for weeks. If the movie is a turd, people have told their friends by the first night, and it’s toast.

    And this applies to politics. Someone digs up a speech of the MSM’s favoured candidate which exposes their awfulness, or hypocrisy, it’s going to spread. Even if you pull down the big media, people will sent it around on social media, encrypted messengers and so forth. It’s like Samizdat’s being passed around, but with incredible ease and speed.

    One thing I do hope comes out of all of this is the general end to the “app” and more people shifting to web-based technologies. Invest in an app and you’re at the mercy of Apple and Google. They can arbitrarily destroy your business, where the web at least requires a government to have to follow due process.

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