Firing Ctrl-Alt-Delete at the Alt-Right


Google blocksFacebook biasesTwitter bans? Unless you’re blissfully bypassing the United States political controversies — from TPP to ICANN — you’ve probably seen the headlines highlighting the unified liberal-minded suppression of conservative-minded free speech on social media. But imagine the opposite. What if you were witnessing the unified conservative suppression of liberal free speech?

In other words, once you realize that the technopolitical suppression of ideas is happening in one direction, you might also realize that it opens the door to suppression of all opposing directions. But here’s the twist. What if today’s political reality is no longer about liberal versus conservative values? What if it’s about globalist-and-elitist oppression versus nationalist-and-populist self-determination?

Ctrl-Alt-Right

Ctrl-Alt-Right

Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. I’ve been using Google, Facebook, and Twitter for years. You probably have too. While filtering sexual and violent content makes sense, what if these same global Internet corporations censored your emails, posts, or tweets for being too “fascist”, “racist”, or “sexist” for their politics? Because it’s already happening in America.

What is technopolitics?

At the top of this post, what did I mean by “firing Ctrl-Alt-Delete at the Alt-Right”? What did I mean by “technopolitical” suppression? Essentially, like hitting Ctrl-Alt-Delete on your computer keyboard, I’m saying that there’s a coordinated effort to shut down or kill the “Alt-Right” movement, if we can call it a movement. Maybe it’s a temporary loosely-coupled “alliance”. But for now, “movement” is convenient.

But let’s zoom out for a moment to the broader technopolitical scale. Professor Gabrielle Hecht wrote in The Radiance of France: “As the strategic practice of designing or using technology to constitute, embody, or enact political goals, technopolitics is a distinctive form of political action. Its effectiveness, however, depends at least partially on the broader political framework.”

While Hecht applies technopolitics to the Cold War and pre-Google framework of nuclear weapons and nuclear power, the concept can easily apply to today’s framework of Internet domain name systems, Google search-engine results, and Twitter social-media tweets. Especially when global technology corporations are reshaping the politics of free speech, correctness, and censorship.

In this light, there’s an intriguing inversion. Not only is technopolitics a technological “form of political action”, it might also be a political form of technological action. Which leads us to zoom in again…

What is the Alt-Right?

What is the Alt-Right? In a nutshell, irreverence. The social-media embodiment of politically-incorrect anti-establishment irreverence, ranging from sarcastic stunts to racial taunts that playfully yank the chains of correctness. Up until a few weeks ago, I’d never heard of Milo Yiannopoulos. But as the “fabulously gay” conservative journalist banned by Twitter, Milo is the latest symbol of the Alt-Right.

In March, Milo co-wrote “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right” (29 March 2016), revealing “the elusive, often anonymous members of the alt-right, and… exactly what they stand for”:

THE INTELLECTUALS
There are many things that separate the alternative right from old-school racist skinheads (to whom they are often idiotically compared), but one thing stands out above all else: intelligence. Skinheads, by and large, are low-information, low-IQ thugs driven by the thrill of violence and tribal hatred. The alternative right are a much smarter group of people — which perhaps suggests why the Left hates them so much. They’re dangerously bright… an eclectic mix of renegades who objected to the established political consensus…

THE NATURAL CONSERVATIVES
Natural conservatives can broadly be described as the group that the intellectuals above were writing for. They are mostly white, mostly male middle-American radicals, who are unapologetically embracing a new identity politics that prioritises the interests of their own demographic. In their politics, these new conservatives are only following their natural instincts — the same instincts that motivate conservatives across the globe…

THE MEME TEAM
Earlier, we mentioned the pressure to self-censor. But whenever such pressure arises in a society, there will always be a young, rebellious contingent who feel a mischievous urge to blaspheme, break all the rules, and say the unsayable. Why? Because it’s funny!… Ironically, they’re drawn to the alt-right for the same reason that young Baby Boomers were drawn to the New Left in the 1960s: because it promises fun, transgression, and a challenge to social norms they just don’t understand…

THE 1488ERS
Anything associated as closely with racism and bigotry as the alternative right will inevitably attract real racists and bigots. Calmer members of the alternative right refer darkly to these people as the “1488ers,” and… it’s clear from the many conversations we’ve had with alt-righters that many would rather the 1488ers didn’t exist… Why “1488”? It’s a reference to two well-known Neo Nazi slogans… On the other hand, there’s just not very many of them, no-one really likes them, and they’re unlikely to achieve anything significant in the alt-right…

In the end, the Alt-Right movement doesn’t represent the majority of the Right, just as the Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t represent the majority of the Left. Which leads us to zoom in a new angle…

Google hides suggestions

Google hides suggestions

Facebook fires team

Facebook fires team

YouTube demonetizes content

YouTube demonetizes content

Twitter suspends Milo

Twitter suspends Milo

Milo guides the Alt-Right

Milo guides the Alt-Right

What is the actual technopolitical battle?

If we focus too tightly on Twitter, we might only see the battle lines between the liberal Left and the conservative Right (and Alt-Right). But if we widen our perspective to include other geopolitical and technopolitical entanglements — from TPP to ICANN — we might see the actual battle lines between the globalist Right+Left establishment and the nationalist Right+Left (and Alt-Right) resistance. How?

For instance, this wider perspective would explain the elitist Republican and Democratic opposition to (1) any outsider who challenged the global corporate establishment, and (2) any challenger who proposed sovereign American solutions that neutralize the multinational deals approaching from various geopolitical (trade and immigration) and technopolitical (Internet and social media) directions.

How are TPP and ICANN related to the Alt-Right? To the untrained or unawakened eye, these political buzzwords might still look like a randomly disjointed jumble. But now, by recognizing the battle lines between globalist correctness and nationalist self-expression, it’s easier to see where the Alt-Right might fight to rewrite EU-style multinational trade deals and UN-led multi-stakeholder Internet deals.

In fact, in this interconnected light, the irreverent Alt-Right might be America’s most unencumbered, unorthodox, and offensive artillery (pun intended) against the establishment’s technopolitical tactics.

What are my final thoughts?

What is the root of political correctness? Why do some of us get so emotionally offended or outraged by incorrectness? From what my common sense tells me, the deepest root lies in our own physical appearance, whether it’s skin color or gender. Which is why the most incendiary insults are “racist” and “sexist”. Sadly, the established “solution” is to avoid any mention of color or gender altogether.

What is the point of this overreaction? How sensitive is too sensitive? How far is too far? Because if we don’t use our common sense and recognize this gradual censorship, not only will our schools ban the terms “boys” and “girls”, they might ban certain crayons — first black and white, then other “racially insensitive” colors — sooner than we think, if it hasn’t happened somewhere in America already.

What is the point of ignoring common sense? For ordinary Americans, there’s absolutely no reason to ignore it. But if correctness forces us to substitute and suppress our own self-expression, then does ignoring our common sense and numbing our free thought benefit someone else? Does it benefit the global corporate (Google, Facebook, and Twitter) establishment to think for us? What do you think?

Luckily, the Alt-Right is waking up more Americans, and inspiring new Twitter alternatives like Gab.ai: “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.” — Salman Rushdie

Teachers avoid genders

Teachers avoid genders

Gab offers alternative

Gab offers alternative

Gab offers freedom

Gab offers freedom

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3 thoughts on “Firing Ctrl-Alt-Delete at the Alt-Right

  1. Jay, Once again, well done. I enjoyed reading your informative and provocative article. As you indicate, common sense is sorely needed in American thinking. I like how you flushed out the real issue the establishment (Left and Right) have with these fringe movement. The first amendment guarantees freedom of speech. But we know that the powers that be want to control what we say and think. Thanks again for shedding light on the broader issues at hand.

    • Thank you, Niles, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Exactly. Common sense, free speech, and alternative movements against the establishment (US, EU, and UN) are all more connected than we think. If we know how and where to look.

  2. Pingback: Blinding minds with technocratic IoT | jay.manaloto.ibm

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