The Continuing Degeneration of FreeRepublic

Anyone who has visited this once great conservative forum will by now have noticed a crackdown on certain opinions regarding this quagmire into which America's military has so enthusiastically launched itself. Quite aside from the warmongering comments that now saturate the forum, opinion pieces that are strongly critical of our president, foreign policy, or sacred cows such as Ann Coulter tend to get yanked from their server pretty quickly. Admittedly, not all antiwar pieces that are posted get pulled, but they are predictably panned and trolled by these self-righteous armchair generals. Oh, there are still a few voices of reason and noninterventionism on the forum, but they number maybe a couple of dozen, at most, while the warmongering majority rank in the several thousand. Disheartening, to say the least.

Nor has the forum always been this uncritical of American foreign policy. During the Kosovo war and after, voices critical of NATO and U.S. involvement seemed to be in the majority. It was enough to begin to give one hope that real change for the better might be possible. And it illustrated excellently how the antiwar movement had shifted to the right. Of course, since Bush Jr. became president, none of the damage done to the Balkans has been undone, and the US is still involved militarily there even today. In this matter, Freepers now prefer to look the other way, or to think that it has no relevance to current events. And besides, it's all Bill Clinton's fault anyway.

Posting images of nuclear explosions are a particularly popular form of patriotic expression these days, often accompanied by comments such as “Lets Roll!” or “If only we had the will to use it!” Absolutely charming. They must be proud to be able to express such genocidal feelings so openly. If it took an attack on America’s home soil to spark this kind of patriotism, one can only imagine the amount of “patriotism” abroad that decades of US military interventionism have succeeded in cultivating around the globe. I strongly suspect that in the case of FR's nuke-u2018em-all crowd, they have at least secretly harbored the desire to drop the big-one on the “ragheads” years before September 11th, and now feeling vindicated, they are able to come out of the closet.

In addition to the absolutely rabid warmongering, there is the new American-syle Hitler Youth/Gestapo mindset. For example, an article written by Justin Raimondo will often bring out the junior G-men on the forum with remarks like: “Who is this Justin Raimondo/ (or Lew Rockwell for that matter)? Has the FBI/CIA/IRS looked into them?” Geez Louise! No doubt these folks on the forum were never good friends of the Constitution and Bill of Rights to begin with, and were staunch supporters of the war-on-drugs. But now, with a new war (and the old one isn't even over yet) to sink their fangs into and a potential police state just around the corner, they too, are able to come out of the closet.

To the credit of many Freepers, a good number of them (not necessarily a majority) are still questioning some proposals such as national id cards. However, I suspect that this too will get worse, as more and more decide that trading their liberties for security is worth it.

But now a brand new facet in the quest for self-censorship has appeared. One that would be laughable if it weren't so sad: Under their new “Loose Lips Sink Ships” philosophy FR is now yanking breaking news stories regarding attacks launched on the Taliban, even though anyone can turn on the TV or go to one of the major news sites and get the information for themselves.

Oh, eventually FreeRepublic gets around to keeping the story up on their server. But darn, FR used to be such a great source for breaking news!

October 9, 2001