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On December 6, crowdfunding service Patreon removed the account of popular YouTuber Carl Benjamin, who is better known by his YouTube moniker Sargon of Akkad. In a statement, Patreon explained that Benjamin was removed for exposing hate speech under its community guidelines, which prohibit: “serious attacks, or even negative generalizations, of people based on their race [and] sexual orientation.” The incident in question was an appearance on another YouTube channel where Benjamin used racial and homosexual slurs during an emotional outburst. (The outburst was transcribed and included for reference as part of Patreon’s statement.)

Patreon’s reaction sparked immediate accusations of political bias from many centrists and conservatives, as Benjamin—who identifies as a classical liberal—is a frequent and outspoken critic of contemporary progressivism, receiving hundreds of thousands of views on many of his videos. The fact that Benjamin was removed from Patreon for an outburst on another YouTube channel almost a year ago, when he produces hours of content every week on his own channels and appears regularly on many others, suggested that this was a targeted attempt to remove him due to his politics, either by Patreon employees themselves or as a response to outside pressure.

This belief was bolstered by the fact that Patreon’s CEO Jack Conte had appeared on popular YouTube talk show “The Rubin Report” last year to explain the removal of conservative YouTube personality Lauren Southern, where he seemed to suggest that Patreon’s content policy had three sections and that hate speech was in the first section, meaning that it only applied to content uploaded to Patreon’s own platform. (Southern was removed for off-platform activity because she had “crossed the line between speech and action,” Conte maintained, which he implied was covered by the more severe second and third sections of their content policy.)

There’s nothing unusual about a company revising its content policy, of course, but it seemed suspicious that Benjamin was being removed for a different set of rules than those Patreon’s CEO had previously articulated. In fact, several people pointed out the prevalence of similar slurs on Patreon’s own platform as further indication that Benjamin was specifically targeted for his political views.

The situation became even more confusing when Patreon’s Head of Trust and Safety Jacqueline Hart in a long conversation with YouTuber Matt Christiansen seemed to distinguish on multiple occasions between content posted on and off Patreon’s own platform. Similarly, in an interview with The New York Times, Hart said of Benjamin that: “You cannot say those words on our platform,” again seemingly conflating content posted on Patreon’s platform with off-platform content.

At minimum, this situation suggested that Patreon has now established guidelines that are so broad and vague that they could be applied to almost any situation, including non-funded activity. Given the current cultural climate, it’s not implausible that a social media post on the biological differences between men and women could be viewed as a negative generalization, thus making it hate speech and grounds for Patreon to terminate the person’s account. (Patreon’s definition of hate speech includes negative generalizations of people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or serious medical conditions.)

Facing this uncertainty, several prominent Patreon accountholders announced they would pursue alternative solutions. Sam Harris closed his account immediately and referred supporters to a subscription service through his website, while Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin announced they were building their own crowdfunding platform, which Quillette said it would join. Peterson and Rubin later announced they were leaving Patreon on January 15.

Carl Benjamin aka Sargon of Akkad. Photo: Andy Ngo

While there are many interesting subplots to this story, it’s difficult not to notice the contrast between Conte’s attitude when he appeared on “The Rubin Report” and the direction Patreon has moved over the past year and a half since. It’s impossible to know for sure how sincere someone is, of course, but it certainly seemed to me that Conte, who is also a musician and songwriter, embodied a kind of live-and-let-live attitude that he wanted Patreon to adopt. He spoke enthusiastically to Rubin about his desire to free content creators from the constraints of advertisers being the arbiters of acceptable content.

Yet, ironically, Patreon has now essentially taken on the role of content arbiter. Hart suggested to Christiansen during their discussion that if he had any questions, “about something you might be saying, is that you can always contact us,” and that, “one of the things that we do with creators is if they say, hey, I’m about to go and do this thing, we say don’t link that to Patreon, or don’t say this or this.”

In fact, Patreon has gone even further down this path than advertisers. Hart mentioned in her Times interview that after a breach in their policy, Patreon requests a public apology from the offender where: “Patreon has to decide what qualifies as a sincere and thorough apology.” She further noted that: “We hand-hold creators, and we work with them one on one, and nearly every creator reforms—and so it’s quite a successful process.” She said of Benjamin that he, “did not respond to attempts to engage him in the reform process.”

It strikes me as exceedingly unlikely that Conte has been driving these changes, given his previous attitude. And Hart, speaking off-the-cuff during the Christiansen discussion, seemed to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Most likely, the changes have been forced upon Patreon from outside the company.

Interestingly, it seems these pressures aren’t just coming from one side, but from two. Hart, during her discussion with Christiansen, mentioned both Patreon’s need to satisfy its other accountholders, who might not want to be associated with Benjamin’s words, as well as the payment processors Patreon works with. (Confirming the second part, a tweet from Patreon to controversial Islam-critic Robert Spencer a few months ago declared that it had removed his account at Mastercard’s request.)

This reflects what seems at first glance like an odd dynamic, in which predominantly progressive people combine with large corporations to pressure their partners into restricting speech and behavior. In this sense, Patreon’s case strikes me as emblematic of a broader development in the technology industry, where idealistic founders and early adopters wanting to liberate people from restrictive structures have found themselves pressured to enforce restrictions of their own.

But how do we explain this strange alliance between progressives—including progressive activists and organizations—and corporations? These two groups seem naturally opposed, but that isn’t nearly as much the case as it used to be. The reason, I would argue, is that there has been a realignment among both groups that makes their interests far more aligned than they used to be.

*     *     *
 

In 2015, psychologist Jonathan Haidt and lawyer Greg Lukianoff wrote an article in The Atlantic titled: “The Coddling of the American Mind,” describing an emerging culture on university campuses focussed on preventing discomfort amongst students, achieved in part by describing it as harm or violence. This phenomenon has continued to develop and has spread to universities in other countries, and Haidt and Lukianoff recently published a book with the same title expanding on their observations.

While this phenomenon clearly extends beyond political ideology—Haidt and Lukianoff attribute it first and foremost to overprotective parenting and the rise of social media, although they mention other factors as well—it does intersect with it in interesting ways. The phenomenon is most apparent at universities where progressive views are dominant, suggesting there is a link, and it’s usually especially focussed on protecting marginalized groups.

So, it would be wrong to say that this emerging safety culture has replaced progressivism. Rather, it seems to have reframed it. If we define progressivism roughly as a movement focussed on the desire to minimize domination, then this aspect has clearly been preserved. What does seem different relative to traditional versions of progressivism, though, is that it’s less prone to describing domination as oppressive and restrictive, and more prone to describing it as harmful and violent. Consequently, it tends to frame its goals in terms of safety and harm-prevention, rather than in terms of freedom.

This might seem like nitpicking, but it does make a difference. And this is not something that is restricted to universities. Consider the following recent case:

A billboard advert for an over-fifties dating app featuring a topless man with the tagline, “Pull a cracker this Christmas,” was rejected by Transport for London’s advertising agent, Exterion Media, on the grounds that it wasn’t compliant with Committee of Advertising Practice guidelines, demanding that the advert feature a clothed model and a less suggestive tagline. Exterion claimed that the advert could be seen as objectifying the man and his physique, and in emails also rejected the advert on the basis of social responsibility and potential offense. Lately, it has been cracking down on adverts deemed to be body-shaming.

This follows in the wake of a decision by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority to enforce a new code from June 2019 so that: “British companies will no longer be able to create promotions that depict men and women engaged in gender-stereotypical activities, amid fears that such depictions are contributing to pay inequality and causing psychological harm.” Also, “adverts that suggest that transforming your body will make you romantically successful,” will be banned. It also clarified “rules on the sexualisation of young women.”

It’s obvious from the use of terminology that these changes have been heavily influenced by the kind of safety culture Haidt and Lukianoff refer to, although it’s not something that’s easily attributed to overprotective parenting. A better explanation here seems to be the influence of feminist ideas and discourse in relation to beauty and fitness norms, gender stereotypes, and sexuality.

More broadly, though, it’s not unreasonable to think that the influence of feminist ideas has helped cause the reframing of progressivism from an emphasis on freedom towards an emphasis on safety and harm-prevention, and that this isn’t just limited to the specific issues mentioned above, but represents a general shift in attitude that includes less tolerance of offensive speech, for example.

And there does seem to be a gender-component to this. An ongoing survey of the political orientation of incoming American university students dating back several decades shows an eye-opening trend. During the early 1970s, men were more likely to be on the political left than women. That gradually reversed during the late 1970s and 1980s, and the gap has been growing. Today, women are substantially more likely than men to be on the political left among incoming university students.

Source: The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2016, Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA

Women are traditionally more conservative than men, but modern progressivism seems to have gradually developed into a movement that is extremely appealing to women, especially younger, more secular women. And part of the reason for this, perhaps, is that it has shifted away from the freedom-oriented attitude of the 1970s and towards safety and rigid norms. It has essentially adopted values traditionally associated with conservatism, thus making it something of a hybrid. (This refers to mainstream progressivism, not the radical fringe.)

But this seems to have produced a counter-reaction of predominantly young men who find themselves unable to identify with this version of progressivism. So, almost by default they find themselves on the political right, aligned with conservatives with whom they have almost nothing in common.

*     *     *
 

What’s interesting about this new version of progressivism is that it’s much more palatable to corporations. While there’s a common belief that corporations are focussed on “making a profit,” this is an oversimplification. What corporations are most concerned with is growth; especially stable and predictable growth. For example, Apple, the world’s most valuable company just three months ago, has lost almost 40 percent of its market capitalization since then. This wasn’t due to a massive drop in profitability, but rather because of uncertainty related to its future revenue potential, especially in China, as well as because of general economic uncertainty. When corporations downgrade their revenue forecasts even slightly, they’re usually punished by investors.

So, corporations are interested in fostering a stable environment that minimizes risk and which provides a platform for predictable long-term growth. And in this regard, progressives that want to restrict offensive speech and regulate behavior to ensure safety and minimize the risk of harm can actually be quite beneficial. Certainly, they pose less of a problem than more disruptive old-fashioned progressives.

And this is especially true when taking into account a second shift in progressivism over the past few decades: a de-emphasis of class- and labor issues in favor of an emphasis on other forms of identity, especially race, gender, and sexuality. Not only does this reduce the pressure progressives have traditionally placed on corporations, but it also supports the increased emphasis most corporations place on growth and talent-acquisition.

If one were to design the perfect employee for these corporations, it would be hard to do better than one that was cosmopolitan and desexualized, while also being exquisitely sensitive to offense and harm.

And, of course, there has also been a shift in the corporate world which makes this even more relevant. Industrial companies have become less and less important, and technology companies more and more important. Of the world’s six most valuable companies, five are technology companies: Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), and Facebook. All of these companies operate in sensitive international environments and recruit from all around the world.

Now, it would be an exaggeration to say that contemporary mainstream progressives never are at odds with corporations, clearly they sometimes are. But their interests are far more aligned than they were in the past, and even when in conflict, they’re easier to placate. Witness the many social justice projects that corporations undertake in cooperation with progressive organizations. While they aren’t free, they’re more manageable than facing serious disruption, and they create co-operation and goodwill.

The point is that one shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that companies like Patreon face surprisingly similar pressures from both progressives and corporations—their concerns are in many respects more similar than they might initially seem.

*     *     *
 

So, what’s the problem—if progressives and corporations find their interests more aligned than previously, and are able to co-operate to achieve shared goals, surely this is beneficial to everyone?

Progressives and corporations when aligned form a very powerful coalition, so when they combine to restrict speech or behavior they’re likely to be successful. As technology continues to develop, it will become easier and easier in practice. This is especially true when both groups also formulate these restrictions in co-operation with governments and other organizations, as they sometimes do.

This seems like something progressives should be concerned about, but as their goals have shifted from freedom to safety this can no longer be taken for granted. The problem, of course, is that it’s possible in principle to have a society that is entirely safe and entirely without domination, as long as one is willing to give up freedom. Why? Because control can be offloaded to an impersonal system.

And this is the risk: Corporations, whether it be tech companies like Google or payment companies like Mastercard, develop increasingly advanced technology to monitor, regulate, and influence speech and behavior. Contemporary progressives, meanwhile, are happily on board because it ensures an unoffensive and safe environment while also eliminating domination (as it’s all automated). This, to me, is dystopian, although if someone is genuinely willing to give up freedom for safety it’s difficult to argue against it.

And, of course, this assumes things go right. It’s also possible that this amount of control could be abused and could be used to cause harm rather than prevent it.

This is definitely something to be aware of.


Uri Harris is a freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter @safeortrue.

95 Comments

  1. Its almost as if “Progressive Leftism” is a middle class movement backed by monopoly capitalists that exists as battering ram to destroy the organizations of the working class and the institutions of democracy. Its obsession with mental purity and mental hygiene maintained by social coercion is the real tell.

    • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

      @KD

      Yes ‘almost as if’. Who might want to destroy freedom? Follow the money and you find that it’s people with lots of it who seem to want more.

    • The current progressive values are exquisitely “Petite Bourgeosie” in their parochialism and bigotry. It’s sad and dangerous by most political measures – they are the path to fascism by the opinions of both Marxist and Fascists alike. Thus wannabe middle class and uninspired middle class. You don’t generally see lower classes worrying on this stuff – they have bigger, more real problems to conquer. Upper classes certainly don’t have any of these issues either.

    • hunter says

      The ruling class is making democracy and freedom impossible by their control of the money and the public square.
      It is privatized tyranny.
      How dare MasterCard, or any bank, dare to decide who can access money to undertake legal actibiacti?
      How dare YouTube censor content which they monetize?
      At the least these bullies are depriving their shareholders of the revenue and profits of the customers and content providers create.
      This suppression–all from one direction, the bully cowards of the left- is unhealthy anywhere.

  2. Wow, could this piece be any more milquetoast? This kind of control could be abused. COULD?

    Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. This kind of power would be abused, it will be abused so badly it will eventually shock the hell out of people.

    We’ve seen this before. In the 20th Century, there was a political movement predicated on the state and corporations acting in partnership to steer society in the direction the leaders wanted. To a degree that the leaders touted creating a new type of perfect human. The name of that system is FASCISM.

    Oh, but you say, the fascists were different than progressives, they were racist (hmmm, modern progressives are quite aggressive in attacking white people, check modern progressives are racist). Well, the fascists were also powerfully anti-semetic (I point you to the progressive BDS movement, there really isn’t anything more anit-semetic than wanting to utterly destroy Isreal). The fascists demanded and implemented gut control to enable better control of their citizens (again check, the modern progressive movement agrees).

    This is a terrifying development in modern politics and it isn’t a small problem to be watched. This will get out of control and will get out of control fast.

    Progressivism may say its all about preventing harm, but its actions deny it this claim, its really all about obedience and submission. The irony is that on the care/harm axis, progressives seek to care for themselves by executing incredible harm on all who do not comply. We’ve seen this kind of behavior before and it ends in horror. Modern progressive are the new fascists and they’re as dangerous as the old fascists.

    • Progressives haven’t cared about liberty (liberalism) for many decades, preferring state “solutions” to any woe that might befall a citizen. Had they at least demanded taxation to pay for their shoddy and counter-factual solutions, it would be acceptable in a democracy.

    • It’s not milquetoast, it’s Orwellian. E.g. In 4th to last paragraph “The problem, of course, is that it’s possible in principle to have a society that is entirely safe and entirely without domination, as long as one is willing to give up freedom.”

      Entirely w/o domination *if* we don’t count all the people purged, and the fact that everyone not purged is always under threat of it.

      Bizarrely the author seems to think people without freedom aren’t dominated, threatened, and oppressed.

  3. Robert Macklem says

    “Progressives and corporations when aligned form a very powerful coalition…”

    One of the interesting parts of this story is that the campaign against Benjamin was mostly orchestrated by the alt-right, who he has consistently denounced and debated against.

    The story does seem to miss the mark by pointing fingers in one direction towards the progressive motivations for the de-platforming, but what Benjamin really faced was a perfect storm of authoritarian harassment on all sides of the spectrum. That is the fate of being a genuine liberal these days.

  4. ga gamba says

    Both Jack Conte and Jacqueline Hart are liars full stop.

    Readers ought to view Christiansen’s and Benjamin’s YouTube videos for the thorough analysis of Conte’s and Hart’s untruths. im Pool as well did a fine job reporting this because Patreon contacted him too.

    My favourite bit of the conversation was when Hart told Christiansen that he ought to check with Patreon first to get its take on whether something he intends to say is permissible or not. Not only is that a bizarre idea, the implementation of it would require an enormous staff, much larger than Patreon’s Trust and Safety department’s approximately two dozen employees could handle if each creator actually took Hart’s recommendation at face value and complied. Bonkers.

  5. Sam Hall says

    If we define progressivism roughly as a movement focussed on the desire to minimize domination

    That is not and never has been what progressivism is about. It has from the beginning been a totalitarian movement to use power — any power that can be obtained and wielded — to suppress anyone who isn’t part of the progressive movement. That is the only consistent characteristic of progressivism from its beginnings through today. Progressivism is about power, and power only.

    Both Jack Conte and Jacqueline Hart are liars full stop.

    What did Hart lie about? She said straightforwardly that her vision is for people who use Patreon in any way to run all their speech by her first, and she’ll tell them whether it’s okay or not. That is certainly a horrifying, dystopian neo-Soviet frame that validates every alt-right theory about the left, but it isn’t a lie…

    • sprationalist says

      This is insanely reactionary. Any established definition of progressivism that you could go by talks about progressives dismantling abuses of power. In the political arena, of course it is necessary to accumulate power in order to make the changes you want, but every political movement has had to do this. Progressives are against abuses of power. Sure, abuses of power have been misdiagnosed in the modern era, but denouncing the entire progressive movement accomplishes nothing. In fact, if you look at all the reforms that were implemented in its period of dominance, progressives were an amazing force for good: Corruption reduced, poverty reduced, education increased, wages raised. Plus TR was progressive. Go back and live in the 1880s if you want, I’m staying here.

      Your “horrifying, dystopian Neo-soviet” future has already been avoided by the decision of Peterson, Rubin, and Quillette to create and move to a different platform. This is not saying Patreon’s speech discrimination is justified, but that there is another option already available; and I suspect this will happen to other platforms in bed with the Leftists if they cross the line as well.

      • What exactly is a progressive? From teh name it means someone who wants to progress towards a better future but how is that better future defined and what methods are to be used to get there?
        I always considered myself on the left someone with a classically liberal political philosphy including a believe in freedom of expression, equal opportunity and a minimisation of discrimination. What seems to have happened is that ‘progressives’ have become strongly opposed to freedom of expression, have become extremely sexist and frequently racist. The establishment especially in the media, political parties and the civil service have to a large extent become captured by this ‘progressive’ view. The suppression or attempted suppression of divergent political views or even main stream scientific evidence and theories which impact upon political theories has become widespread.

        It is a strange inversion to me if you want to hear sexist views exposed listen to left wing political groups and feminists, if you want to hear a nakedly racist opinion or policy then listen to a strongly left wing politician or activist. If you want to see deny mountains of evidence on human nature then listen to an academic gender theorist. It leaves people like me without any natural political home and a sense of foreboding. Technology will continue to advance and that will bring benefits but the direction of movement in politics and society seem extremely negative.

        • @AJ
          I feel for you. I’m politically just right of center, just as much classical liberal as someone just left of center. We have no where to go either. The hard core conservatives and Republicans are largely disingenuous and won’t even stand for their own principals that they bark about constantly. The leftists and the Democrats literally deny human nature and more and more deny the science and reason they bark about constantly.

          This site, as others have pointed out, is dominated by classical liberals of the left who are becoming alienated with their own political bedfellows. Perhaps a new coalition is needed.

          • Leon Story says

            Great short comment, Craig.. Thank you! Patreon’s been useful to some friends of mine (supporting good mountain biking videos, etc.) while entirely muffing the essential practice of political neutrality. I’m glad that Quillette (which I like very much, while disagreeing with most of the founders’ political positions) decided to move elsewhere.

          • Bulldust says

            Dave Rubin has been arguing for this for ages. A poll recently highlighted the minority support for the vocal fringes of the political spectrum. There is a large centrist base, which Australian PM Howard used to call the ‘silent majority.’ These are the people that probably don’t want to be engaged, but chatting over a beer, will stare incredulously at the sheer lunacy of the progressive these days. The author needs to embrace the correct term for progressives of the current wave … cultural Marxists. To call them anything less is to be wilfully disingenuous.

            My politics align well with the Rubin’s and Benjamin’s of the world. What happened to Carl was outrageous, but I doubt much of the impetus came from the progressives. Follow the money… it leads to MasterCard. Who is pulling the strings up there? And at what point do politicians step in and regulate payment processors as utilities? This underhanded use of useful idiot intermediaries such as Patreon to do their dirty work needs to be blown wide open. Also, the current wave of progressives need to yank the reins sharply… they are so far off the rails it is beyond comedy, though Louis CK might have another opinion there :p

      • Farris says

        @sprationalist

        “Progressives are against abuses of power.”

        Everyone is against abuses of power until they acquire it. This is the reason the U.S. Constitution contains a Bill of Rights, to limit or restrain the power exercised by those holding it.

        All groups acquiring power rationalize themselves as forces for good.

        • @Farris –

          “Everyone is against abuses of power until they acquire it.”

          Your statement proves again that brilliance is often found in simplicity….

      • Sarodinian says

        “Your “horrifying, dystopian Neo-soviet” future has already been avoided by the decision of Peterson, Rubin, and Quillette to create and move to a different platform.”

        I’m not so sure about this. SubscribeStar, a very small (and I mean damn minuscule) Patreon alternative, had its support from payment processors revoked the moment it got publicity due to this whole scenario. The reaction and events are such that there’s apparently now a small, but growing campaign to petition the FTC to investigate Paypal and other payment processors for anti-competitive practices due to the speed and circumstances regarding the withdrawal of said processors.

        It seems to me like there’s a real risk that this is not actually a free market, and that entities in the space already are willing to exercise market power to prevent the creation and flourishing of these other platforms.

      • > ” … there is another option already available”

        And what is that, please, exactly ?

      • hunter says

        Wow, grest satire!
        Thanks.
        That , “the “progreddprog” are only accumulating power to do good” is a classic.
        The reactionaries of today are the “progressives”.

    • Progress is fine, but progressives attempt to use state power to force progress based on the narrow views of a powerful, yet small, class, taking from one group to fund another based on the views of their leadership.

  6. So much of what is going on regarding the actions of Patreon’s and Mastercard etc etc, are shades of Orwell’s 1984. They (the progressive gestapo) are controlling speech through economic and reputational threats quite effectively. Thought control cannot be far behind.

    People are so eager to have Alexa and the IOT living in their appliances throughout their homes how much of a stretch is it that their private conversations will be used against them? This week at CRES they are unveiling monitors that will live in our cars that will be watching our eyes, head movements, our location and even our entertainment choices. This will, of course, be connected to the ‘system’. Nowhere will we be alone.

    Are thought reading technologies all that far off? The questions and concerns of how all this data will be used already exist, and remain unanswered. All of this is absolutely frightening.

    • xyz and such says

      I know, right??! It’s bizarre to me that people are actually paying money to put electronic spying equipment into their homes. So, for a little ‘convenience’ you give up your privacy? Wow.

      Although the fact that I use a smart phone, willingly maintain an Amazon account and facebook (I feel forced to for my business) and use a grocery store card for ‘discounts’ doesn’t put me so far behind in my participation either…

      And I wonder about using my credit cards or Paypal account to pay for things like JBP support or buying books that challenge the accepted narrative and if those kinds of ‘patterns’ are eventually going to add up to my own accounts getting frozen.

  7. jakesbrain says

    What does seem different relative to traditional versions of progressivism, though, is that it’s less prone to describing domination as oppressive and restrictive, and more prone to describing it as harmful and violent. Consequently, it tends to frame its goals in terms of safety and harm-prevention, rather than in terms of freedom.

    The ultimate aim of this method is that once they successfully reframe opposing positions as violent, harmful, and dangerous, they can then claim that a physically violent response to these positions is warranted. The progressives are laying the ground for (let me phrase it as bluntly as I can) a hoped-for series of anti-conservative Kristallnachts, where “dangerous” right-wing rhetoric is punished with the vicious reaction it “deserves”; you may see the beginnings of it already, with physical attacks on conservatives being defended as “Nazi-punching” and therefore morally justified.

    • I think you’re exactly right. It disturbs me that the author of this piece is willing to accept the progressives’ premise without question – the premise that speech can cause ‘harm’: “This, to me, is dystopian, although if someone is genuinely willing to give up freedom for safety it’s difficult to argue against it.”

      It’s very easy to argue against if you don’t accept the premise that unpleasant or distasteful speech causes people ‘harm’.

  8. Farris says

    If the author’s assertions are correct, there would appear to be some type of Anti-Trust violations a foot. Restraint of trade possibly?

  9. Ive had the same thoughts ive followed several small youtubers that were deplatformed by PayPal. When Patreon deplatforms folks they do it in batches like someone sent them a list Monday morning as opposed to dealing with issues reported separately and adjudicating them individually. The fact that Sargon was taken out within 24 hours of joining Subscribe Star and the whole platform along with it definitely suggests that the folks behind it were higher up. Why destroy the entire platform altogether if not to send a message? It also explains why other folks on the platform get away with being provocative but not banned. If Conte is a live and let live kind of guy the only difference between Sargon and those creators is they didnt make the list.

  10. peanut gallery says

    So when do we flee the country and where to?

    • D.B. Cooper says

      @Peanut Gallery

      Before answering this question, I want to stress the fact that – while I do happen to live in the rural South and I am by dent of birth what some may describe as a redneck – I am not, I repeat NOT, a ‘prepper’ in any sense of the word. Despite the fact that I may or may not personally know of such people (they have levels of paranoia, you would not believe), I very much enjoy making jokes at their expense when possible.

      Having hopefully established as no such (prepper) person, I haven’t asked myself similar questions. The question of when do we flee is considerably more difficult to answer in the absence of a more refined command of divination than what I can currently claim; however, the answer to, “Where do we go” is really quite simple.

      To put it bluntly, lazy people do not live – at least in any great numbers – in cold weather. If you have to wake up an hour early to shovel the snow out of your driveway, just to go to work, you are, by definition, not a lazy person. I know people in the South who would be willing to consider a bad hair day or an ugly paper cut sufficient reasons for why they shouldn’t go to work. So ask yourself, is it really a matter of happenstance that most, if not all, of the 3rd-World Nations are near the equator, where it’s always warm/hot? I think not. Moral of the story? Go North, youngman, and do not stop until it snows in more months than it doesn’t. Good luck and God speed. I hope to see you there, Peanut.

        • D.B. Cooper says

          @benita

          Yes, but aren’t they confined to urban areas? My understanding is that many/most are living in subsidized housing (ghettos), at least as it pertains to Canada & Sweden. Surely, they’re not building cabins in the woods, are they?

          • D.B. Cooper says

            @sestamibi

            Are you trying to ruin my well laid plans here, Sestamibi? You are shitting me, right? There’s no way Muhammed and the gang are timber framing their way to Newfoundland and/or the Yukon. Any respectable jihadis would know how difficult it is to acquire explosive materials that far up. I’m calling b.s. unless and until supporting evidence materializes.

  11. Charles White says

    “She [Hart] further noted that: “We hand-hold creators, and we work with them one on one, and nearly every creator reforms—and so it’s quite a successful process.” She said of Benjamin that he, “did not respond to attempts to engage him in the reform process.””

    That is one hell of a scary quote!

    So Patreon has taken on the role of a re-education camp?

    • Truthy says

      I had exactly the same thought when reading that. Who the hell does this person think she is and why does she think it’s normal or constructive to handhold someone through a process like that? The arrogance is unbelievable as is the lack of understanding of free expression.

      more broadly considering the authors comments and then people’s comments here, one thing that seems obvious is that when we enter a world where all truths are relative, and everyone’s personal truth is as good as everyone else’s, we can’t even do something as simple as define what it means to be a progressive anymore

      The political climate in general and the climate around speech specifically makes it difficult to even have a set of common understandings, much less have a constructive discussion, much less learn anything. this above all else is what scares the hell out of me when it comes to our current climate and social media.

  12. But its also true that there is plenty of precedent for public figures losing their position for using racist or discriminitory language. Isaiah Washington was blackballed for years after allegedly using a gay slur. “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Mel Gibson and Michael Richards have all had their careers severely damaged by their use of racial slurs. Sargon is a public figure anything he does in public can affect anything else he does in public. Looking for context in those situations implies there is an acceptable context for using that kind of language which is a bit like saying there is an acceptable context for striking your girlfriend, a difficult argument to make to say the least, chalk it up to “poorly communicating your ideas” and watch eyes collectively roll appropriately. There has been a red line on slurs for decades now, that consititutes a reasonable limit on speech, he should’ve known better.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Ron

      “Looking for context in those situations implies there is an acceptable context for using that kind of language…”

      I think it’s terrible that there are certain words that are not allowed to be said in any context these days. See the situation with Viggo Mortensen. We’ve given that one Word That Shall Not Be Named way, way more power than any word should have. It’s not healthy. Obviously there are ways in which such words shouldn’t be used, but to make it a sin to utter them under any circumstances is crazy. I’m not speaking specifically about the Sargon situation as I’ve not checked out the context there.

      • Great quotes from the Viggo Mortensen apology.

        ‘“I am very sorry that I did use the full word last night, and will not utter it again,” he said.’

        Meanwhile, the airwaves are full of it thanks to rap music.

        • Asenath Waite says

          @breathnumber

          At least cooler heads seem mostly to have prevailed with Viggo, but it’s ridiculous that it was an issue to begin with.

          With rap music you have a bizarre situation where the primary consumers of the music (white people) are forbidden from speaking the lyrics to the music. I recall an incident where a white girl in the audience at a concert was brought onstage to perform a song with Kendrick Lamar, who then proceeded to publicly berate her for performing the song.

    • Farris says

      “There has been a red line on slurs for decades now, that consititutes a reasonable limit on speech, he should’ve known better.”

      If “Freedom of Speech” is determined by the content of the speech, then speech is no longer free.

      “Unless there is complete freedom of expression of all ideas, whether we like them or not, concerning the way the govern- ment should be run and who should run it, I doubt if any views in the long run can be secured against the censor. The First Amendment provides the only kind of security system that can preserve a free government–one that leaves the way wide open for people to favor, discuss, advocate, or incite causes and doctrines however obnoxious and antagonistic such views may be to the rest of us.”
      Justice Hugo Black in Yates v. The United States

      Progressives once understood and defended this principle as evidenced by the ACLU’s defense of the American Nazi Party in the Skokie, IL case.

      Rebuttal over censorship is a much more effective weapon against obnoxious speech.

    • Richard says

      …a bit like saying there is an acceptable context for striking your girlfriend…

      This is rather ironic. I don’t disagree with your point about there being repercussions for public figures using slurs in public, but your chosen analogy stepped right into the “speech as violence” pit. Perhaps this was subtle sarcasm or satire?

      • Asenath Waite says

        @Richard

        Also what if one’s girlfriend turns out to be false memory implant who tries to kill you like Sharon Stone in Total Recall?

    • Shenme Shihou says

      ” Looking for context in those situations implies there is an acceptable context for using that kind of language ”

      There is. Just ask Migos.

    • Dan Love says

      @Ron

      You seem like a thoughtful guy, but it is disturbing to see something you consider absurd so easy to justify…

      “Looking for context in those situations implies there is an acceptable context for using that kind of language which is a bit like saying there is an acceptable context for striking your girlfriend, a difficult argument to make to say the least…”

      Um, for example, when your girlfriend is attacking you with a knife; or right after she has struck you two times harder; or if she’s attacking your children, or… there’s a huge number of variations of these situations.

      Do you consider it acceptable for a black rapper to say the N word? -context. Do you consider it appropriate for a white college history teacher to say the N word when describing what white slave owners would call black slaves? -context.

      This black-and-white context-doesn’t-matter stuff scares the crap out of me. It’s the stuff of fascism. The anti-flexibility here is spirit-destroying.

  13. He used genuinely racist/homophobic slurs, why are we defending this guy again?

    • First, you choose to ignore the larger point of this article. That is, censorship in the name of “safety” by Big Tech.

      Second, you choose to ignore the context of his language. Do you know what the context was?

      Third, you ignore the fact that Patreon is changing the rules as they go and selectively applying them at that.

      • A) Do you know the context? Having read it, I feel that it’s obviously unacceptable and anyone who has been a member of the Anglophonic world for the last 50 years should know there are consequences to publicly using the most offensive word in the English language.

        B) It’s not censorship, media platforms have a right to restrict the speech of their users just as you or I reserve the right to kick out a house-guest who was using racial slurs in our home.

        C) How is this selective? Has anyone else who has used racial slurs on Patreon been allowed continued use of their service?

    • I want to note the WW posting here is not the same person who made the first WW post on this article. I completely disagree with this WW. Is commentor impersonation common on Quillette?

  14. A) Do you know the context? Having read it, I feel that it’s obviously unacceptable and anyone who has been a member of the Anglophonic world for the last 50 years should know there are consequences to publicly using the most offensive word in the English language.

    B) It’s not censorship, media platforms have a right to restrict the speech of their users just as you or I reserve the right to kick out a house-guest who was using racial slurs in our home.

    C) How is this selective? Has anyone else who has used racial slurs on Patreon been allowed continued use of their service?

    • WW, I doubt you’re capable of being convinced on this issue, but let me give it a shot anyway.

      What is happening here is politics by other means. In other words, companies like Patreon are going after people like Sargon who are more or less political dissidents, pinning whatever dirt on them they can dig up, and attempting to shut them down and starve them out, all the while assuring the world that they are only doing so to protect their other users.

      Whereas it’s obvious to anyone with a half-suspicious bone in their body that Sargon was targeted because of his dissident political opinions. This is not an isolated incident, either. It is a political strategy used to shut down dissent, and it has been used again and again in the past, and will continue to be used in the future.

      But I don’t think that really concerns you, WW, does it, because everything’s just fine in your happy little rose-tinted world. Just make sure you don’t accidentally utter a forbidden word when the censors are around… (see the recent Viggo Mortensen incident.)

      Disclaimer: I don’t even like Sargon. Can’t stand listening to him.

  15. Robert Franklin says

    And of course feminism has always promoted women entering the workforce, the result being a greater supply of labor competing for existing jobs thereby bringing down wage rates. Corporations like that too.

    • James Lee says

      @Robert

      Rod Dreher’s recent column discussed Tucker Carlson praising “…Elizabeth Warren for having written a 2003 book about how the US economy traps families. He points out that in her book, Warren made an economic case that the mass entry of women into the workplace has been a financial disaster for families. More:

      [Tucker Carlson speaking:] ‘Elizabeth Warren said that out loud. Nobody seemed to mind. She’d never say that today. It’s not allowed like so much else that is true and important. She can’t talk about the things that she believed 10 years ago. No modern Democrat can.'”

      Dreher then asks: “Can Republicans?”

      https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/secret-right-wing-elizabeth-warren-crush/

      The history of increasing immigration to benefit the ruling class is not new. The practice of Divide and Conquer is also quite old. The fact that both are in full throated display and that they are now championed by *the left* in coordination with the ruling class is the only new feature in this stale play.

      The old political alignments of left and right make no sense at this point in time. Traditional leftist causes are now taken up by those on the right, and vice versa. To watch leftists champion monopolistic corporations is a sight that few thought they would see…just as it is to watch the right take up the mantle of free speech while the ACLU does a complete about-face.

      I grew up a Noam Chomsky fan (and I still am), and I have heard him say many times that free speech means defending the right of people to say things you despise. Otherwise, it’s not free speech. Stalin was all in favor of “free speech” that conformed to the official dogma.

      The West is in real danger right now.

  16. “But how do we explain this strange alliance between progressives—including progressive activists and organizations—and corporations? These two groups seem naturally opposed”

    It’s called fascism.

  17. IronSI says

    Ron, this would be more like your bank closing your account because of something you said than a business canceling a deal with you.

    WW, have you read the transcript of Sargon’s alleged violation, or, better, listened to it in context?

  18. Mark Beal says

    I think the author is missing something here. It has seemed to me for a long time that identity politics such as it was in the 80’s, was very beneficial for advocates of market liberalism. Dividing people along lines of ethnicity, sex, sexual identity, was great for conquering working class solidarity. Since the left was busy giving up on the working class anyway, the two worked very much in tandem. Companies didn’t mind the nascent identity politics, and if identities could be marketed profitably (e.g. the pink dollar) it could even be to their benefit. For this reason I don’t think corporations and progressive politics are such strange bedfellows, at least not from a historical point of view of their parallel interests.

    Nevertheless there is merit in the idea of a progressive shift from freedom to safety and harm prevention and a possible connection to the rise of feminism that’s worth much deeper investigation (especially since the graph would appear to suggest that progressivism has become more concerned with the safety paradigm as a result of women beginning to dominate progressivism in the 1980’s, before the safety paradigm became a dominant feature of campuses and western societies in general). However, I would argue that hardcore progressives aren’t much concerned with harm prevention at all. Few people exhibit as much hostility and hatred (in word and deed) as hardcore progressives.

    Where harm reduction does play well, however, is to “soft” progressives and well-meaning liberals; the kinds of people who yearn for a gentler, kinder society, and who interpret buzzwords like “inclusivity”, “equality” and “diversity” as being indicative of that kinder, gentler society without recognizing the underlying power grab.These are the people who agree with policies if they are framed as intending to “protect children” (a phrase which should always set alarm bells ringing).

    The version of progressivism that is marketed through the mainstream media is almost exclusively one that makes this “gentler, kinder” appeal. Well-meaning but harmless people accept the “inclusivity/equality/diversity” line as well-meaning in a general sense, failing to recognize the full consequences of the end game, and this makes the mainstream progressive narrative a comparatively easy sell. And because it’s an easy sell, using it to sell stuff comes naturally to companies. Again, parallel interests combine.

    Progressivism continues to be attractive to companies because it means they not only get to sell goods and services, but also virtue. Buy these trainers and support equality, buy this washing powder and save the whales, sign up to this crowdfunding service and metaphorically punch a metaphorical nazi. It’s probably also considered a low risk strategy, because classical liberals and conservatives aren’t known for their propensity to boycott companies, and libertarians are generally happy to live and let live.

    If the Patreon debacle makes companies realize that there is a point at which a large enough proportion of people will boycott you so much that it really hurts the bottom line, that’s all to the good as far as I’m concerned. It seems likely to me that Carl Benjamin was deliberately targeted, and for the reason that he is so good at pushing back against the progressive narrative. The real challenge, though, is for classical liberals and conservatives to shape a narrative that is more appealing to well-meaning folks than the deliberately disingenuous but nevertheless saleable appeal of “inclusivity”, “equality” and “diversity”.

    By the way, collusion between the market and the counter culture is nothing new. Advertising paid for pirate radio in the 60’s, and think of all those hippies filling the coffers of Warner Brothers and Columbia buying all those Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan LP’s.

    • Yes. In my view modern Progressivism IS the ideology of globalization (“market liberalism”). One has to look to the source of identity politics in initiatives by the big foundations such as Ford starting in the early sixties. It also helps to look at the identity politics campaigns being waged by those very same foundations in other countries. See this book for example:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_India

      One consequence of identity politics, not much mentioned, is the eradication of a cohesive national identity. As we move closer to a single world government without sovereign nations, it is of course necessary to extinguish national identity…

    • ““gentler, kinder” appeal. Well-meaning but harmless people accept the “inclusivity/equality/diversity” line as well-meaning in a general sense, failing to recognize the full consequences of the end game, and this makes the mainstream progressive narrative a comparatively easy sell”

      Whereas those on the center/right who focus on the literal outcomes and the problems that ensue are considered mean, heartless and uncaring. The deck is stacked…

    • Well put. Companies in the business of mass marketing look to social trends. They want to be ahead of the curve before their competitors or potential competitors arrive at the same understanding. They want the next generation now emerging from universities to become loyal customers for life. If this new generation of target customers have their favourite emotional buttons pushed by protecting “safety in speech” then it is seen as good business to adopt such censorship as a business strategy. The strategy is implemented through censorship of speech and of speakers deemed by these business targets to be unsafe. One can only hope that in time such amoral commercialism is shunned effectively by enough people to enable business that still value free speech and dislike censorship to remain viable.

  19. Help me here, to pen a concise and penetrating deconstruction of the smoke and mirrors the left has been using to effect.

    What disturbs me is the left’s assault on truth. In language, through distorting the meaning of words. And in science, by denying the standards of objective scientific method.

    A man talked to me, or looked at me. I’m harassed, this is violence, he is a rapist, all men are violent rapists. (They can round up rapists using DNA markers: everyone with an X chromosome…)

    Through intersectionality, there’s always a victim at hand, and the SJW can either be that victim, or in solidarity with that victim. And then next after all, as the voice of the oppressed, we should give them all the power.

    And as Janice Fiamengo has been chronicling, they are bringing this little roadshow to any and every bastion of power, they come for the professors, they come for the scientists, they come for the engineers, they come for the doctors.

    The left does not have a genuine concern with victims, but only in so far as they can use them to insert and promote their agenda. Similarly their concern with harm is just another rhetorical trick.

    I suggest though that even as they gain power, they will not in fact house the homeless or feed the hungry. Because their goal is only power, and one pillar of their power is the presence of victims. On top of this they not only get power, but they simultaneously stay the victim!

    • @shaggyblogstory
      Yes, everything you are saying is demonstrably true. Why can’t people see this for what it is? How can so many be blind to it and keep voting for and supporting people who promulgate this on society at large? I understand why the young fall into this trap, but so many adults and intellectually bright people do to. It astounds me.

  20. James Lee says

    There is another key link between Western oligarchs, global corporate and financial power, and the new “progressivism” of identity politics. They all valorize immigration and push policies of mass immigration.

    Oligarchs favor mass migration and labor oversupply as it allows them to lower wages and increase profits.

    This is such a basic and obvious fact that Bernie Sanders was taken a bit off guard after he was accused of racism for merely pointing it out. (He quickly fell in line).

    Both George Soros’ Open Society and the Koch brothers fund organizations to increase immigration to Western nations. In that regard, they have much in common with their Capitalist/Robber Baron ancestor Andrew Carnegie, who likened immigration to “a golden stream which flows into the country each year”.

    In 1864 Congress passed the Act to Encourage Immigration- one of its provisions was the establishment of the Federal Bureau of Immigration whose explicit intent was “the development of a surplus labor force.” Oligarchs like Carnegie repeatedly used imported immigrants to break the nascent unions of the day.

    Tucker Carlson has pointed out the deleterious effects of mass migration on the host population and especially the working class. Carl Benjamin is a rising voice within UKIP, a party against mass migration and in favor of border sovereignty. Robert Spencer’s JihadWatch reminds people of the dangers posed by radical Islam. Tommy Robinson keeps talking about the thousands of young English girls who were raped and trafficked by gangs predominantly comprised of Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants, horrific crimes which the British authorities refused to investigate for years because they didn’t want to appear “racist”.

    All have been financially attacked, and the attacks appear to originate from a very high level.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/nickmon1112/status/1076886857445711872

  21. Dave says

    …true, also don’t forget that for neo-liberal corporation everyone is equal, equally a consumer, equally unmotivated by money…. corporations and neo-liberal theory treat everyone equally in this way and so it is no surprise that neo-progressives who are also obsessed by equality can get along with them… it’s starts at the source, at the university where neo-liberal business schools and neo-progressive social sciences seem to get along fine… true left wing activist in the unis should be shutting down the business and economic departments as if they were animal testers…

  22. SJW are not actually interested in safety and harm prevention. They only tout it as a ploy to run their victim/voice-of-the-oppressed scam. Their real goal is power.

  23. Sydney says

    Patreon’s behaviour is simply totalitarian. I’m puzzled why Uri Harris is doggedly determined to give the company – which, like Twitter and Facebook cannot be viewed simply as private do-as-they-wish companies but as partners in the town square – the benefit of the doubt.

    These social-media behemoths have all lost their ‘minds’ with the power they wield. Just today it was reported that CAIR (an Islamic terror-linked organization; and, evidently, a huge part of Twitter stock is held by a Saudi prince) pressured Twitter to have Jewish journalist Laura Loomer permanently removed from the site. This is one of many instances where free speech of the centre or right is being silenced.

    Not sure why Harris’ tone is so ‘chill’ on an issue that is downright chilling (read: Orwellian).

  24. “progressives should be concerned about, but as their goals have shifted from freedom to safety”…

    I don’t believe their goals are about “safety” but are really about control and power.

  25. I’m not sure if this was mentioned, but Sargon said the n word to the alt-right who had been harassing him. That’s why he was banned. In context, he called these alt-right people “white n words”, using their own language against them. He did not call any non-white person the n word.

    This is an important point that gets missed.

    I believe Patreon accepts “tip offs” if someone has violated their terms and conditions, which, well, only encourages the fuckwits on the far left who are so determined to wipe out anyone to the right of Marx.

    • I forgot to add that a search on Patreon’s website of the n word reveals many results, showing Sargon was indeed targeted for his wrongthink.

      I closed my Patreon account. I did not receive any replies to my emails complaining about his treatment.

  26. @Mark – Well Done… If I had such an account I would do the same…

  27. I know this will probably fall on deaf ears, but you all (conservatives, etc.) have your labels mixed up. Progressives are defined primarily by being economic leftists, and as such generally support free speech much in the same way as Quillette does since they are also at risk of censorship. These are the types of people who are engaged in debating the right’s ideas rather than trying to censor them.

    The “social justice warriors” are by and large center-leftists – not progressives at all – in favor of the economic status quo and concerned with political correctness over material changes in peoples lives. Since they favor the status quo, they naturally believe in censorship, deplatforming, etc. In left circles, they might be referred to as “liberals.” Yes, there will be some leftists who are also SJW’s, but that is not the defining characteristic. I suppose there might be an ulterior motive by some to use the word “progressive” for SJW’ism as a way to attack the true enemy of economic leftism, but I don’t think it does any favors to go after the group that is generally an ally on free speech issues.

  28. xyz and such says

    The whole ‘trust and safety’ thing is a farce for all of those behemoth companies. It’s the new HR Department, but acts as the static between the organization and the customer instead of the employee.

    They never do anything to promote trust or safety; they are there to serve themselves and my experience with them is that they refuse to hold any accountability. They have a front line that practices bogus ‘customer service’ and if you actually want some kind of solution to a problem they put you off by citing vague and impenetrable ‘Terms of Service’. There’s no common sense, no one willing to go out of their way to make things right. As a customer or contractor you should plan to be screwed over if there is ever any issue.

  29. xyz and such says

    Also, I’ve been following the Patreon thing and I closed my account when this went down despite not being a fan of Sargon. I do follow and appreciate Peterson and Harris though.

    I had been concerned when I’d heard about the Robert Spencer thing and was alarmed that that didn’t seem to set off anyone else’s alarm bells. The fact that payment processors are targeting people should scare the crap out of everyone, no matter what ‘side’ they are on – they have enormous reach and could completely shut down and control the flow of information.

    I was hopeful that so many of the IDW type folks closing their Patreon accounts would have an impact, but then I looked at Patreon’s overall numbers and the reality is that it probably didn’t impact their bottom line in any meaningful way. Although I still wouldn’t want to give them my business or do anything to support that way of operating.

    I do hope Peterson and Rubin will be able to figure out an alternative system – but the payment processor issue could prove problematic…

  30. Wilson says

    Uri Harris says: “If we define progressivism roughly as a movement focussed on the desire to minimize domination, then this aspect has clearly been preserved. What does seem different relative to traditional versions of progressivism, though, is that it’s less prone to describing domination as oppressive and restrictive, and more prone to describing it as harmful and violent. Consequently, it tends to frame its goals in terms of safety and harm-prevention, rather than in terms of freedom.”

    Uri Harris has written many great articles here, but this does not define political correctness fully.

    At most it defines a part of the PC movement.

    Jordan Peterson’s research with Christine Brophy revealed a distinction between “PC egalitarians” and “PC authoritarians.”

    Uri’s definition for political correctness might describe the PC egalitarians in some of their better moments.

    But the PC authoritarians have been bent on silencing their critics — that is, dominating them with forceful tactics — for about four decades.

    The shifting description of domination to “harmful and violent” is their weaponization of the idea, making it easier to smear their opponents.

    They may frame their goals “in terms of safety and harm-prevention,” but safety for whom?

    Not for anyone who might disagree with them, including actual progressives who see the PC movement as regressive even for the people they say they are trying to help.

  31. I think this article gives corporations too much benefit of the doubt. The main purpose is to induce a conformist and obedient culture within a corporation, and in the broader society, by spreading fear and anxiety. Intersectionality is ideal because the boundaries of transgression can never be clearly defined (because of internal inconsistencies), and because it de-emphasizes the idea of a common humanity. On a larger scale, it accomplishes what Marx described as attempts by companies in the nineteenth century to divide the working class in England by importing workers from Ireland.

  32. Steve says

    Benjamin “did not respond to attempts to engage him in the reform process.”
    Wow! just wow! 1984 anyone? Holy shit.

  33. martti_s says

    This article cleared my thoughts a lot.
    I have been wondering how come we now have ‘progservatives’ who use the female weaponry in their argumentations -tears, name calling and stonewalling.
    Your data gives a nice explanation.
    Where do we go from here?

  34. Boris says

    Patreon is against conservative ideas like repeatedly saying the n-word and using anti-gay slurs.

  35. No Sharia says

    More griping by conservatives who can’t stand the thought of a PRIVATE company (patreon, google, what not) declining to spread certain points of view? Should they be forced to do so by big government? What are you, Communists??

    • xyz and such says

      @No Sharia
      I think the concerns have a lot more to do with private companies that dominate and control the culture, and thus the public debate/discussion, like facebook and twitter. As well as those that control the flow of money, like Mastercard and Paypal. Because we’ve allowed the deregulation of private industry, they end up having the same kinds of control as ‘big government’ and therefore it becomes the same problem, with fewer remedies to reign them in.

  36. This whole argument to me is ridiculous. Private companies can decline to include hate speech or vitriol on their platform. Where I do take issue is using information from other sources as a predictor of what they will do on another site is a bit Orwellian.

    You want to say what you want…create your own company and have at it.

  37. David says

    My concern is that we are moving to a cashless society where all financial transactions will be digital. If the likes of MasterCard are calling the shots, and private corporations are denying service at will, where will this leave individual freedoms.

    If an individual wishes to give money to another individual, why must the transaction be assessed via political and social filters?

  38. jeremy cohen says

    “This, to me, is dystopian, although if someone is genuinely willing to give up freedom for safety it’s difficult to argue against it.”

    Fine, as long as their desire doesn’t lead to laws that force that choice on others, which unfortunately does seem to have already started…

  39. Foyle says

    I found your observation that women tend to be more conservative in their leanings (from being conservatives 40 years ago to being progressives now) while men tend more to being the radicals (left wing then, right wing now) very enlightening.

  40. Some actions of companies can be explained by ideology. E.g., in the early 2000s, the CEO of JetBlue decided to outsource call-center jobs to Utah, so that Mormon mothers could stay at home and work. By the way, the CEO was Mormon.

    http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2006/04/thank-you-david-neeleman-ceo-of.html
    “Thank You David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue!”
    “If I remember correctly he was also interviewed favorably by Thomas Freedman for The World is Flat, Freedman’s latest book. His method of recruiting Utah housewives to do his booking got Freedman’s attention as a nice counterpoint to outsourcing call center jobs to India.”

    From wikipedia and other sources:
    The MasterCard CEO is named “Ajaypal Singh Banga”, who was born in India, wears a turban on his head, and is a member of the Sikh religion. In 2010, we was appointed to CEO of MasterCard, and then in 2015, Obama appointed him to a committee on U.S. trade policy. The MasterCard CEO “Banga” did not even come to the U.S. until at least 1994 (to work at PepsiCo), when he was 35 years old.

    The PayPal CEO is named “Dan Schulman” who is a Jewish progressive:
    https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Dan_Schulman.html
    “Dan Schulman once told the New York Times, ‘I was born with social activism in my DNA. My grandfather was a union organizer in the garment district in New York City. My mother took me to a civil rights demonstration in Washington in my stroller.’ Schulman and his wife are Jewish.””

    I’m not just referring to religion. I’m just talking about ideology in general, which can be affected by relgion, political background, national origin, ethnicity, insitutional influence, zeitgeist, etc. Of course, the CEOs are not all-powerful, but they do exert an influence. Also, there seems to be an increasingly shared excecutive ideology that may lead observers to think that the decisions are just being made for the sake of maximizing profits. After all, you might say, why are so many companies doing the same things? My answer is that to some extent, it is shared ideology.

  41. I Brown says

    I have emotional outbursts on a weekly basis, but I’ve never said anything like this:

    “I just can’t be bothered with people who chose to treat me like this. It’s really annoying. Like, I — . You’re acting like a bunch of n*****s, just so you know. You act like white n*****s. Exactly how you describe black people acting is the impression I get dealing with the Alt Right. I’m really, I’m just not in the mood to deal with this kind of disrespect.”
    “Look, you carry on, but don’t expect me to then have a debate with one of your f**gots.…Like why would I bother?…Maybe you’re just acting like a n****r, mate? Have you considered that? Do you think white people act like this? White people are meant to be polite and respectful to one another, and you guys can’t even act like white people, it’s really amazing to me.”

    Why does Quillette try to downplay his comments as a slip of the tongue? I wouldn’t do business with someone who spoke like this and I don’t fault Patreon for ditching him.

  42. Rory Mc Closkey says

    I take it that a phrase such as old, straight, white man is not tolerated on the Patreon platform either. ? Surely the simple approach to this restriction on freedom of speech is to reduce it to absurdity. Insist that all groups, including so called dominant groups be protected.

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