News & Politics

Don’t Cry Wolf When It's Only a Robot

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Conservatives are becoming less afraid to speak out.  This is mostly due to the internet, and to our finding out that we aren’t alone and isolated.

This is also, of course, why the left has redoubled efforts to make us feel alone, isolated and above all crazy.

For years those in control of the mass news/entertainment industrial complex (well, it was.  Also they hate it when we call it that) labored really hard to make it sound like all right-of-center opinions — and eventually, those were all the opinions to the right of Lenin – were insane or evil.  And those of us who added up the evidence of our eyes and figured we were indeed to the right of Lenin were afraid to speak out, convinced it was just us and madmen out here, on this shaky branch.

As I’m fond of saying (because it too drives the left nuts) the times they are a-changin’.  Coming out as not-Marxist is still risky, but it is not precisely career or social suicide.

We are, you could say, an oppressed people on our way to being accepted in the polity.  The left still maligns us – even harder, in fact – but the means of communication they control are losing reach and credibility incrementally, and the more they scream and drop the mask of impartiality, the more credibility they lose.

So I have two pieces of advice: Don’t panic, and don’t cry wolf.

Last week on Amazon someone, out of the blue, harangued me to stop using Amazon because Amazon is a Marxist company.

This type of crazy rant makes people – even our people – sound like the people preaching about chemtrails or fluoride in the water.  Throw in a reference to the Trilateral Commission and the Knights Templar, and you’ll have gone your length and caused more people to wonder if the left are right about us being crazy than any of the left’s shrieking will.

Sure, I’m sure Bezos is “Marxist” in the sense that Marxism is a positional good (still) for the very rich.  When Catholicism was a positional good for kings, they would write proclamations promoting and endorsing the Church and very often have mass said in their quarters six times a day.  They also fornicated with everything that crossed their path, gambled, started wars because they were bored, and in general were very non-Catholic beings.

Marxist positioning is the same thing, and even there Bezos runs his mouth less than other rich and successful people.  Yes, perhaps what the Washington Post publishes are his real opinions.  Or perhaps, like other naïve men of business, he lets the Post run itself in the belief that the people in it know their job.

But Amazon?  Amazon mostly wants to sell you things.  Sure, it got jumpy about Confederate flags – because it’s the only big outfit to get scared at a screech campaign from the left – but other than that?  Not seeing any crazy bias.

In fact, for me and other indies, Amazon provided the opportunity to escape the leftist lockstep of the publishers who are very much a part of the news/entertainment industrial complex. Which allows yet another wall of uniform leftism to crash down.

Is Amazon perfect?  Oh, dear Lord no.  And particularly in things like ebooks, it often goes through some really strange convulsions.

To understand what they’re trying to fight, you need to be aware of the scams being pulled.  Since these are — usually — in erotica, it takes me a long time to figure out what was going when Amazon starts jumping at shadows.

The one thing I can tell you though is that in every group I belong to (including some lefty ones, where they’ve forgotten I’m a member from way back before they went crazy-left and before I came out politically), the same process repeats itself.  Whether it’s reviews being pulled or accounts being closed because they think you’re having robots read your pages for KDP, or whatever the outrage of the week is, it hits both sides equally, and both sides immediately assume it’s politically motivated.

Usually, by squinting, you can tell it’s “stupid robot” motivated.

One of Amazon’s downfalls (but also one of the ways they save money) is having software do what very often necessitates a human.  Also, by the way, being total drawers at how the publishing business used to work, which matters, because the first time one of their panics hit me was when I was putting up individual short stories whose rights had reverted. Their crawlers determined that my short stories were also part of a collection and they removed it from sale.

Why?  Because at the time there was a scam where people – mostly in Eastern Europe – took the free samples from a bunch of books and made a book.  I guess enough people didn’t return them that it made them a fortune and then they’d disappear.

That was the day I spent 4 hours on the phone, ranting in accented English to a variety of people and explaining that rights to short stories in our field normally reverted after a year, and why were they preventing me making money from my property?

It worked, and they stopped bothering me and even others doing the same thing.

Because they are a large company, and they use bots, sometimes they need a big or small correction.  (Another happened via email when I released my refinishing mysteries – yeah, there is a fourth one coming.  This year has been interesting – and Random Penguin refused to confirm that the rights had reverted. It took me three days and a lot of emails, and a scan of the reversal right before Amazon fixed it, but fix it they did.)

Here’s the thing: had I assumed that “Amazon is a Marxist company” (yes, it was something like this at the back of that woman’s belief) and after a few interactions with low-level drones (I honestly think the low-level replies are also automated.  Not only do they often make no sense, but they don’t seem to be answering what you said)  had given up and marched off into the sunset convinced I was being “victimized” for my political beliefs, I’d have missed out on making a couple thousand dollars.

I see this going on on both sides of the aisle, but on ours it will rise to the level of blog posts and creditable journalists making that sort of assumption.  And it starts to sound like we want to join the victimhood sweepstakes.

Does the left discriminate against us?  Oh, dear Lord, yes.  Life on the easy mode is wealthy, white, liberal, female.  The liberal males don’t make out too badly, either.

Yes, they’ll discriminate against us every place and every way they can. And it’s fine to point out indisputable instances of such, like, say, being banned from conventions because your “values don’t align” or being accused of horrible things because one of your novel’s characters did them and you’re “one of those.” Or – as a friend of mine was – being denied a lucrative job when they find out you write for PJ Media.

There’s discrimination aplenty.  We don’t need to read the tea leaves of the workings of a massive corporation and then start screaming wolf for all the world to hear.

Look, if you think Amazon – or some other large corporation, yes, even the biased ones like Microsoft or Google – is discriminating against you because of your politics, look around first and see if they’ve already done that to more prominent conservatives than you.

If you are missing reviews, are luminaries of the right also missing them?  If not, it’s probably a matter for customer service, not denunciation.  If your books were withdrawn, are they still selling prominent figures of our movement?  If they are, that’s probably not the reason and you should keep at Amazon until you reach a level where you’re not talking to a not-very-convincing version of Smarter Child, the old AIM AI.  If your blog has lost its associates account, look and see if the big blogs on the right have lost theirs.  They have not?  Then perhaps it’s a bot-snafu.

And not just with Amazon.  Again, when one of these things happens to you, examine whether it could have any other explanation.

If it couldn’t, then go ahead, ring that bell.  There are still instances of political discrimination, and the more we expose it the better.

But exposing all sorts of “just happened” and accidents as oppression only makes us sound like the boy who cried wolf, or like crazy, twitchy third-wave feminists.

You don’t need the problematic glasses, the bright red hair, or the scream of “microaggressions” to make the crazy obvious.

All you have to do is keep screaming at shadows.  And the unconvinced shake their heads and walk away, sure the left was right about us all along.