Sunday, February 07, 2016

These People Talk Too Much, Need to Shut 'em Up

Allum Bokhari:

This is another chapter in the left’s long-running war on comments sections, which we have previously covered at Breitbart Tech. Once upon a time, comments sections were welcomed by the left as the a huge leap forward for democracy and free speech.

...The left’s embrace of comments sections lasted only as long as commenters agreed with them. Once the masses started challenging the elites above the comment line, it was only a matter of time before the innate authoritarianism of the regressive left showed itself.

If your Internet persona was born yesterday, you, like Bokhari, might find this to be an occasion for smug self-back-patting. Lefty writers have indeed become boring, predictable, and particularly intolerant of dissent. I attribute this to the old maxim "power makes stupid". Our political discourse these days is dominated by a left-wing obsession with intersectionality, and most prominent writers have committed themselves to circling the wagons and defending the party line. There is nothing surprising about this. People in control of a narrative have no interest in promoting free-thinking which might undermine it. Opponents who are seeking a way back into power can afford to be more heterodox. This is just a structural factor, you might say, not a partisan one.

Which brings us to our time machine, in which we travel back to the days of 2001-2006 when Republicans were in charge of the White House and Congress, and the Iraq war, rather than the taxonomy of gender, was the burning political topic on everyone's mind. If you were in the blogosphere back then, you likely remember, as I do, that right-wing websites were notorious for censoring comments from dissenters, if they even allowed comments at all, which they frequently didn't. Not only that, many prominent right-wing bloggers engaged in what we now know as doxxing, i.e. ferreting out and publishing personal information about hitherto anonymous people. Why, it's almost like there's nothing inherent in partisan identity that makes one side reliably more virtuous than the other. Power makes stupid, and self-serving rationalization is a tool we all reach for when our territory is threatened. Stick around, and you'll surely see the whole charade reverse itself again and again.