Mercenaries of the Revolution

Over the past couple of days, I have written about the Terrifying Anti-Conservative (Media) Purge being carried out as we speak by that diabolical totalitarian regime, YouTube. To listen to the conservative media millionaires who are pushing the story, you would think this was Kristallnacht in our time. These conservatives-for-profit have successfully wound their consumers, the comfy-chair revolutionaries, into a frenzy of misdirected anger, all in support of their, the conservative media’s, self-pitying whine fest.

Allow me to take just one more stab — gosh, I hope I haven’t triggered the conservative media’s millionaire snowflakes with that word, “stab” — at this profiteering pseudo-issue, before returning to real matters of political and philosophical principle. I would not waste anymore of my time or yours on this, except that I believe it is important to drive a wedge, once and for all, between the people who popularly claim to be representing, even leading, the “grassroots conservative movement,” and the sincere, principled people who are trying to find a way to salvage their civilization from the ash heap of history. (Hint: dutifully adhering to the commercially-motivated self-promotional optics generated by professional crowd-pleasers is not the way.)

Today, Right Scoop has highlighted an analysis of this issue by one of the wunderkinds of today’s conservative entertainment industry, Ben Shapiro. As his comments (naturally) come in the form of a series of tweets, and since I don’t have the patience to copy and paste all those tweets individually, I will just quote his entire argument directly, inserting my own comments along the way as appropriate:

Re: that absurd @voxdotcom letter calling on YouTube to deplatform @scrowder, advertisers should also note that Media Matters-style activists masquerading as journalists who call advertisers for comment on conservatives aren’t interested in a story. They’re astroturfing boycotts.

This applies to @voxdotcom, @HuffPost, @buzzfeednews and a wide variety of other pseudo-journalistic entities that see it as their mission to destroy the profit motive for conservative shows by attacking advertisers who advertise on a wide variety of programming.

This, for Shapiro et al, is the big story here: the left is trying to “destroy the profit motive for conservative shows.”

“Conservative shows.” Think about that for a moment. America is presently in the last moments of its complete dismantling, the penultimate step before its intended rebuilding under a more overtly totalitarian regime. This has been coming for a century or more; it has effectively been the stated aim of the leading progressive thinkers and activists operating within an American context for generations. They are now reaping what they have so carefully sown. The nation is essentially bankrupt, though she doesn’t know it yet; property rights are a thing of the past; education and health care (the soul and body of the nation, respectively) are owned and operated by an uneasy alliance of Marxist-Maoist and corporate-utilitarian progressives; the two-party system, the most fraudulent political Ponzi scheme the world has ever known, has left the American people without any elected representation for the foundational American principles of individual liberty and constitutional republicanism — you literally cannot vote in favor of limited government and the rule of law in the United States of America today, because both major parties have openly dispensed with those ideas, while simultaneously jerry-rigging the electoral system to exclude any alternative voices.

And yet Americans concerned about the fate of their nation are supposed to focus their worries on threats to “the profit motive,” i.e., the profit potential, of “conservative shows” on social media? 

Imagine the generation of America’s Founding Fathers. Did the Revolution depend on whether Jefferson was able to sell enough “George III Sucks!” baseball caps to make the whole effort worth his while? Did the Boston Tea Party almost get cancelled because advertisers pulled out at the last minute? Did Washington decide whether to cross the Delaware based on whether it might get him his own Fox News show? Did Patrick Henry forego his military commission during the Revolution in favor of embarking on a lucrative “Give Me Liberty” speaking tour of college campuses? (Fun facts: When Henry gave his famous speech to the Virginia Convention, and led the march on Williamsburg in the Gunpowder Incident, he was thirty-nine, just a few years older than Shapiro; the year Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he was younger than Shapiro.)

To continue with Shapiro’s argument:

These pseudojournalists know full well that advertisers don’t endorse every message on every program upon which they advertise. But they manufacture the specter of secondary boycotts that never take place to frighten advertisers into submission. It’s disgusting, and it’s common.

It’s the reason they won’t call advertisers for Joy Reid to ask whether they will continue to advertise on her show, but they will reliably call advertisers for @IngrahamAngle and @TuckerCarlson for comment on their nightly programs. It’s all a gross attempt to shut down voices.

It’s not only a “gross” attempt to shut down voices. It’s also a completely ineffectual one, since no one loses his voice because businesses refuse to advertise on his show. More to the point, one’s voice does not depend on having a “show” (a very appropriate and revealing word in this context). Only one’s moneymaking potential depends on that. To conflate having a revenue-generating “show” with having a voice is the standard fallacy of this age of the conservative media celebrity, a chief distinction between a real revolutionary voice and a mere self-seeking profiteer, and a major reason the so-called conservative movement has died in America. 

They’re not policing the public square for bad actors. They’re policing it for conservatives, and then using whatever brickbat is available to club advertisers — and the shows that benefit from advertising revenue — into submission.

Why into “submission”? Why should a “voice” disappear merely because it loses advertisers? Because — as is implicit in every word that Shapiro speaks, that Crowder speaks, that Levin speaks, that Limbaugh speaks, that they all speak — they are only in this for the money. If the revenue stream dries up, they are out. If you don’t believe that — that is, if you are a fan of any of those “voices,” and I am making you uncomfortable — just wait and see. (I used to be a pretty big fan of Levin’s myself, so I understand your discomfort. But lying to myself makes me even more uncomfortable than the short-term pain of losing a pleasant delusion.)

You know how this all stops? By advertisers and platforms just saying “no.” That’s all it takes. All they have to do is say that they don’t agree with or even like all the stuff they advertise on or that is posted, but they endorse open platforms and differences of opinion.

Wrong. You know how this all stops, Ben? By people who pretend to care about principles, or even to be the rhetorical and intellectual leaders of a movement, but who are in fact merely clever businessmen selling a political product, finally learning what it means to actually believe in something; finally understanding that political speech as salesmanship is the most cynical and damaging form of pied piperism in an era of serious, civilizational crisis; finally waking up to the reality of a disillusioned citizenry looking these mercenaries of the revolution — these pragmatic soldiers for personal gain and fame — in the eye and just saying “no” to their profiteering pied piperism at last.

See, e.g., Chick-Fil-A — or, on the Left, see Nike. The best way to stop this vicious cycle is for those with the power (advertisers and platforms) to simply refuse to play this idiotic game.

The “idiotic game,” and it is a game, goes both ways. One side of the game is motivated by personal material gain. The other side, knowing this, is motivated by a desire to exploit and expose the petty self-interest motivating the first side, and thereby shut them up forever. The second side will probably win, because they have read their opponents perfectly.

And the losers in this game, ultimately, will be the people who, for twenty years, have been palliated into believing they are “doing something” about their failing nation, and “making a difference” in resistance to the progressive tide, merely by sitting in front of their televisions, their radios, or their computers, and helping Shapiro, Crowder, and the rest of the faux revolutionaries, conservatives of convenience, and political showmen, make money.

I think I’m done with this topic now. As Levin used to say, “Thank me!”

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