InfoWars and the Rise of the Tech Fascists
Fascist is a big word not to be bandied about (though it too often is these days), so let me make myself clear. I've spent about ten minutes of my life on InfoWars and think Alex Jones is a boring blowhard of little interest except to those who want to spend their lives worrying about whether there was a second gunman on the Grassy Knoll.
Nevertheless, the group censorship of Mr. Jones, led by our friends in Cupertino, the makers of the ubiquitous iPhone -- I've had a half-dozen myself and am typing this on a MacBook -- is one of the scarier developments of our time, if not potentially the scariest.
Apple is one hypocritical organization banning the puny Jones. They -- the first trillion-dollar company -- are the people who are genuflecting to the Chinese, kowtowing (that is definitely the proper word) to Xi Jinping and Co., and making all kinds of accommodations to that totalitarian regime for access to their giant market.
China is, as most of us know and Apple CEO Tim Cook prefers to ignore, the nation that has for years put their political dissidents in jail, completely censored the press and the Internet, stolen our intellectual property, brutally oppressed Tibetans and other minorities, and, lest we forget, mowed down the democracy demonstrators at Tiananmen. Alex Jones -- to my knowledge -- has done nothing anyone near as monstrous.
So what Apple is doing picking on the basically irrelevant Jones is a form of corporate virtual signaling, a particularly dangerous form if you believe in the Bill of Rights.
Yes, I know they're a private company not subject to government restrictions, but they are bigger, richer, and more powerful than almost every government on the planet, maybe more, which leads me to their noxious and equally powerful comrade-in-tech-arms.... FACEBOOK.
The Internet behemoth -- lest they be humiliated, I suppose, and not seen as politically incorrect -- immediately followed in Apple's footsteps, deleting all things Jones. They were joined rapidly by half a dozen others including Google and, bizarrely, Spotify. Did anyone have Alex Jones on his playlist?
But remarkably, only a few days before, Facebook's founder, my fellow Jew (yes, it's relevant) Mark Zuckerberg, had announced he was allowing Holocaust deniers on FB. From CNET:
He said content from Holocaust deniers should not be taken down from the platform because "I don't think that they're intentionally getting it wrong," he said.
"It's hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent," he continued. "I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak publicly."
So the piddling Jones has to go but the Final Solution, well, not so bad. We should be tolerant. They might be mistaken or see things in a different way. After all, they're not "intentionally" getting things wrong. (Yeah, right.) They just missed their screening of Shoah.
The clueless Zuckerberg took some flak for this and walked it back with the statement: "I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive."
Deeply offensive? I'm sure. Zuck should buy (literally) Ancestry.com so he can have a look at his family tree. He might be astonished at the gaps.
Which brings me to this: These Silicon Valley wizards, outside the tech and business worlds, are remarkably unsophisticated people on the psychological and moral levels. They are the last people who should be making judgments on matters of censorship and their followers, those they employ, aren't likely to be much better.
They are much like children, actually, extremely rich, selfish children who happened to have high board scores in math. They are the antithesis of the Founders of our country -- men like Franklin, Jefferson and Madison -- whose moral, psychological, and philosophical sophistication was extraordinary.
Nevertheless, these Silicon Valley dudes have more money and power than they know what do with, more than almost anyone else in the world, in fact. What we seem to be on the brink of, if not over the brink, is a kind of techno fascism replete with the deepest kind of enforced conformity through the fusion of social media and the hardware produced by these companies. It's already beyond what Orwell and Huxley conceived.
It would be ironic indeed if the suppression of someone as creepy as Alex Jones led to a serious reevaluation of our technological masters, but so be it. I'm the last person to argue for government intervention, but something has to be done before this goes any further.
Roger L. Simon - co-founder and CEO Emeritus of PJ Media - is an author and a screenwriter. His most recent book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic If It Hasn't Already.