Substack's Nazi Problem

Apparently, there’s a “Nazi problem” on Substack.

I wasn’t aware of this. And I spend a decent amount of time on the site. I publish there myself, and I follow a good number of writers there. I initially went because of the promise to allow free speech on topics that had been actively censored on other social-media platforms, and I have stayed because of that free speech, but also because of the quality of discourse there. It tends to be much more civil and thoughtful than on other platforms.

But now I am told, by one Jonathan Katz of the Atlantic, that there is a “Nazi problem” on the platform that I should be concerned about. I’ve also been asked to sign on to a letter condemning, not only the Nazis themselves (apparently there are 16 of them), but Substack management, for “platforming and monetizing” these folks.

So here’s my message to Jonathan Katz and all the others who are concerned about the freedom of some people to express noxious and offensive views on Substack. This is my heartfelt message to them, and I mean it with all the respect and goodwill I can muster: Last Rights: The Death... Bovard, James Buy New $19.99 (as of 07:33 UTC - Details)

Go to Hell.

Your self-righteous whingeing might have been tolerable four years ago. It no longer is. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to see it as the product of an innocent concern for respectful and civilized online communities.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED

So let’s back up a little.

We have just lived through one of the most devastating examples in recent human history of why censorship is not merely morally wrong, but quite literally deadly.

Here’s El Gato Malo (who was banned from Twitter back in January of 2021, with no reason given) doing a very good job of explaining how the state and its cronies were able to strong-arm social-media companies into censoring speech on their platforms:

“private companies should be free to make their own choices about speech, publication, amplification, etc. i really, truly believe this and that any other path or practice leads to greater mischief. it is always worse to have the state tell you what you can and cannot say and a free market will always route around the limitations created by individual actors within it. thats what markets do. its as inevitable as sunrise.

“but what breaks this and forces behavior into unified channels of suppression is state intervention to ensure that markets are not free and in a world as webbed by bureaucratic stricture as ours, this intervention need not be direct. it may easily be indirect and this starts to look like state sponsored extortion.

‘nice FCC license you got there. be a shame if you lost it because you let our political opponents speak.’

‘nice section 230/antitrust exemption and/or tax planning you got there. be a shame if someone did away with it, broke you up, and audited you till the cows come home.’

‘boy, that sure was some nasty, anti-competitive market fixing you used against PARLER. but well look the other way if you play ball.’

As we later learned, government actors had been directing the censorship effort from the very beginning. What were the results of that censorship? Any information that went against the official narrative on Covid-19 was suppressed. Most egregiously, and with deadly consequences: Information on existing, effective, treatments, such as hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, IV vitamin C, and vitamin D were suppressed. Some – probably very large – number of people undoubtedly died because of this.

Once a “vaccine” was in development, any criticism of that vaccine was suppressed. After its release, this remained the case, even as the reports of adverse events began rolling in. (As an aside, here is a really important discovery regarding the under-reporting factor for VAERS.) And it is still the case, even as excess deaths worldwide have skyrocketed following the introduction of the vaccine. How many of these deaths are the direct result of the vaccine? How many lives might have been saved had there been free and open discussion of the risks of the vaccine? We will never know with certainty, but the number is obviously not zero, and very likely in the millions.

What number is zero? The number of people who have died as a result of the offensive words of white nationalists on Substack.

Before anyone charges in and argue that many millions have been killed because of the racist views these people espouse, no, they haven’t. The people who were killed in the Holocaust, in the Holodomor, the Great Leap Forward, the Cambodian Killing Fields, were not killed because of anyone’s racist or hateful thoughts or words. They weren’t even killed by “hate” – not on its own anyway. They were killed because there was a large, centralized state that had the power to kill en masse. If you want to prevent further genocide and mass murder, then oppose powerful, centralized states. Not hate-filled losers on social media.

This is critical to understand. Because somehow, most Americans seem to have come away from their government-school history classes with the lesson that what causes genocide and officially sanctioned crimes against humanity is hatred, and especially racial and ethnic hatred. Not massively powerful states with total power over those that live under them. Indeed, those massively powerful states can do a lot of good for humanity if you just get the right people in charge of them!

The Atlantic’s Katz seems to have taken this lesson to heart, and his condemnation of “Nazis” on Substack is, remarkably, not a condemnation of those who call for a marriage between state and industry, or a powerful surveillance state, or neighbors ratting out neighbors for not going along with the latest diktat. No, Katz’s examples are exclusively about racism, and white nationalism in particular. (Although he does also bemoan – without even a hint of irony – the platform’s willingness to defend “anyone’s right to spread …conspiracy theories.”)

Conflating “Naziism” with racism is an easy mistake to make: The German National Socialists could certainly list “racism” as one of their defining characteristics. But to believe that being racist is what made that regime dangerous, or that it is the worst thing about “Nazis” (then or now) is to reveal a profound level of ignorance about what National Socialism was all about.

Here are a few things I happen to know about Nazis, and fascism, that maybe Jonathan Katz doesn’t know:

  1. They’re all about “public-private partnership” – that’s actually the cornerstone of fascist political economy;
  2. They like to kill people in large numbers;
  3. They like to perform medical experiments on unwilling subjects;
  4. They’re all about centralized power (which is how they accomplish all of their other goals);
  5. They use campaigns of fear to get people to go along with their plans;
  6. They use fear to get people to hate, and attack, groups of other people they want demonized;
  7. They also use tactics such as bullying, shaming, groupthink, a collectivist ideology, and encouraging neighbors to turn on neighbors, family members to turn on family members;
  8. …and they just love censorship. There is nothing a good Nazi loves more than having the power to dictate what other people may and may not say, hear, read, or write.

If none of this is ringing bells for the pro-“content-moderation” folks reading this, I’m going to suggest that that is a very large part of the problem.

AN INNOCENT DESIRE FOR RESPECTFUL SOCIAL SPACES?

It is not hyperbole to say that censorship kills, as the examples from the past four years illustrate.

Yet people like Katz are still calling for more of it. As if they are not even dimly aware of what’s been going on all over the world for the past four years. It is getting harder and harder to to excuse this kind of garbage thinking as the result of “ignorance.”

It’s getting harder and harder to extend the benefit of the doubt to those who stood by silently while social-media companies silenced anyone who spoke out about legitimate treatments for Covid-19, who spoke out about the harms caused by the lockdowns, who spoke out about hospital protocols that were killing patients, who spoke out about the dangers of the experimental mRNA “vaccine. It is getting harder to find excuses for those who remained silent in the face of this blatant and outrageous censorship, but who now choose to ignite an uproar over a few marginalized people with wildly unpopular views about race.

It absolutely beggars belief that there are people who witnessed what was wrought at the hands of “content moderation” over the past four years, yet who still believe that the biggest problem we face online is people who openly call themselves Nazis and who you have to spend a lot of time digging around to even find. That the folks who hold “offensive” beliefs, but absolutely no way to force those beliefs upon others, are the ones we should be worried about.

As opposed to the people who just spent nearly four years whipping up a worldwide campaign of fear over a virus with a minuscule case-fatality rate and for which effective treatments already existed; suppressing any information about those treatments; giving hospitals financial incentives to kill their patients; shutting down treatment for cancer and other serious, non-Covid-19 conditions; shutting down people’s livelihoods and sources of income; promoting a dangerous and experimental “vaccine”, encouraging the dehumanization of those who chose not to take it, and working to mandate it; and then doing their best to silence information about the inevitable deaths and harm caused by that “vaccine”.

“Content moderation” on social media played a critical role in all of this, and those who used it to suppress what might have been life-saving information have a great deal to answer for.

WHY ATTACK THE SOLUTION?

Meanwhile, Substack has built a solution. An alternative platform where, for example, Naomi Wolf can speak freely about the horrifying effects of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine on the human reproductive system, on unborn babies and their mothers. Twitter had deplatformed her for posting about menstrual problems of individual women following vaccination; Where Alex Berenson can openly say that the Covid-19 vaccine “doesn’t stop infection. Or transmission…” words that got him booted from Twitter; Where numerous other independent journalists and writers can speak freely about the treatments for Covid-19, the dangers of the vaccines, the crimes committed by hospitals, and other topics that were suppressed by the government and a compliant media and social-media industry. UGG Women’s Cozy... Check Amazon for Pricing.

Even if Substack had absolutely no content moderation at all, even if it allowed for blatantly illegal content (which it does not) such as child pornography and death threats, it would still be the humanitarian hero in this story. And those calling for censorship would still be the villains. It is frankly astonishing that there is anyone left standing at the end of 2023 who cannot see this.

It’s difficult for me to have much goodwill towards the folks who are asking me to sign the letter calling on Substack management to deplatform the writers they deem offensive. (To their great credit, Substack management has responded to the letter with a firm commitment to maintaining freedom of speech on the platform, noting that “history shows that censorship is most potently used by the powerful to silence the powerless.”)

Try as I might, it is hard for me to see these calls as innocent. It is just very, very hard to believe that these people can be genuinely unaware that the “content moderation” practices they so hunger for were instrumental in facilitating the death and destruction wreaked by real-life fascists so very recently.

In short, these people were happy to turn a blind eye to actual, real-life, fascist policies and tactics being deployed by powerful governments around the globe, policies that ruined lives and killed thousands, probably millions – but are somehow called to courageously speak out when people with no actual coercive power whatsoever say things they find offensive.

Again, I say to them: Go to Hell.

You can take your calls for “content moderation” and the deplatforming of bigotry (would you like a “strong leader” to help with those?) and you know what you can do with them.

You bunch of Nazis.