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The Closing Edge of the Digital Domain

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Hugely popular radio host Alex Jones has been erased. He has neither been murdered nor quickly bundled away by the authorities for speaking to a crowd in Times Square. Erasure of this kind has disappeared from the most highly developed countries, not because it has fallen from favour within the evolving ‘moral’ and ‘humanitarian’ consensus, but because it is obsolete. However any rejoicing in light of this development would be ill-founded. We are all now faced with the threat not of a physical gulag, but a digital gulag, in a world where those outside of the digital domain are increasingly isolated and at the mercy of those who aren’t.

In a coordinated action, major tech giants Spotify, Google, Facebook, and Apple, all simultaneously eradicated Jones’ online presence from their platforms on August 6th. Particularly damaging was the removal from Youtube (a website which started as an open platform, but quickly became a heavily censored institution of the internet when it was acquired by Google in 2006). 2.4 million subscribers found that Jones’ channel was now inaccessible, his videos memory-holed, with Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Mailchimp quick to follow their larger sisters in scrubbing all vestiges of his perspective on national and global politics[i]. Jones certainly isn’t the first person banned from a website for his opinions, which are admittedly controversial and oftentimes inflammatory either in content or expression, nor is he even the first to experience a coordinated attack by multiple supposedly independent tech companies. However, he is the highest profile victim of the digital gulag to date.

Even before the election of Donald Trump, many spoke of the shadowy network of elites who truly run the Western world, behind the scenes of democratic pageantry, this web of like-minds, produced by the same universities, in tune with one another’s vision of the world despite perhaps never even having to plot in a classically conspiratorial fashion. An understanding of this secret society evolved away from the idea of the Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, Bohemian Grove, etc. to a more mature and plausible analysis of how Modern governance truly operates. Ironically enough, one could have witnessed Jones himself make this transition away from more explicit conspiracy theories, towards a Schmittean comprehension of power. An early proponent, the tech entrepreneur and part-time political theorist Mencius Moldbug, proposed ‘The Cathedral’, that which he referred to as “the transfer of power from political democracy to the American university system”[ii], or rather the complete and unassailable dominion of liberal, progressive, neoliberal, and in an erratic fashion neoconservative views, via university education of the Western elite. Lately, another term has become incredibly popular, the ‘deep state’, which some mistakenly think refers solely to the entrenched intelligence community, but as we have seen during the Jones debacle, plainly includes large corporate figures and virtually all of the mainstream media.

This ‘deep state’ is difficult to date in terms of when it came into existence, but as likely a time as any is the end of WWII, after which liberalism realized that it needed craftier methods to ensure its survival vis-à-vis a still existent communist threat, and the spectre of a return to fascism. Thus we arrive in the contemporary era where despite Donald Trump’s victory in a fair and free election, voted for by close to 50% of the electorate, every single elite figure and institution stands against his ideas, his person, and his supporters.

This brings us back to Alex Jones and what his erasure from public life (which today the internet is undoubtedly a greater part of than anything which occurs on the streets) means for others. Of course, censorship has been applauded by major news outlets, those on the left displaying a rabid glee[iii], and those on the right rather despicably condemning only the reasons given for the digital gagging[iv]. The only major voice in America to give Alex Jones an opportunity to defend himself was talk radio host Michael Savage, always a somewhat admirable and feisty thorn in the sides of the American elite[v]. Jones is now, it seems, a non-person, despite as mentioned before his huge viewership worldwide. If the tech companies, taking revenge on behalf of offended and enraged political operatives (we should remind our readers that it was Jones who broke the story on Hillary Clinton’s declining health), can erase Jones, then they can erase anybody, and that doesn’t just mean being frozen out of the national conversation online. Hotel services[vi], credit card companies[vii], and other major providers of what are effectively public commodities in this day and age, are also included among those who could refuse you service for having unfashionable opinions.

Now more than ever, people cry out for action to defend consumers from the growing power of major corporations who have free reign to shut down anybody whom they don’t wish to be heard. But such action would itself have to pass the deep state gatekeepers of the American Congress who have shown great willingness to deny the president of their own party his wishes. There is no hope of protection it seems. The era of ‘free speech’ has come to an end, largely due to the fact that the nature of our speech has changed. A word said on a forum has far more impact today than a world in the street. Initially, one would be forgiven for thinking that the internet itself was a blow to the deep state, a free global network of exchange and conversation, praised by figures such as Jones himself for being the ‘bane of dictators’. How wrong we were. The internet has instead imprisoned us within a honeycomb of digital cubicles, with the lid to each box held by the deep state and its lackeys. One word out of place, and the lid comes down. Sure, you can still speak to yourself, but in the digital gulag, nobody can hear you scream.


[i] Wells S. Here Are the Platforms That Have Banned Infowars So Far. TechCrunch. https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/08/all-the-platforms-that-have-banned-infowars/. Published 2018.

[ii] Moldbug M. An Open Letter to Open-Minded Progressives; 2008. https://www.unqualified-reservations.org/2008/05/ol7-ugly-truth-about-government/

[iii] 3. Wong J, Solon O. Does the Banning of Alex Jones Signal a New Era of Big Tech Responsibility?. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/aug/10/alex-jones-banning-apple-facebook-youtube-twitter-free-speech. Published 2018.

[iv] 4. Shapiro B. What Tech Giants’ Alex Jones Ban Got Wrong. National Review. https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/08/alex-jones-infowars-social-media-ban-hate-speech-claim/. Published 2018.

[v] MUST LISTEN: Michael Savage Interviews Alex Jones. YouTube. Published 2018.

[vi] Shaw J. Airbnb Decides to Get Political on Unite the Right March. Hot Air. https://hotair.com/archives/2018/08/11/airbnb-decides-get-political-unite-right-march/.

[vii] Freiburger C. Mastercard Pressures Crowdfunding Site to Boot Jihad Critic Robert Spencer. LifeSiteNews. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/mastercard-pressures-crowdfunding-site-to-boot-jihad-critic-robert-spencer. Published 2018.

Author: K. E. Benois