When news broke that someone was shooting up YouTube, the usual suspects geared up to profit from it. You can be sure that the ridiculous little twerp David Hogg was looking for cheap airfare to California, so he could mug for the cameras. Then it turned out to be a Persian woman, who was pissed about being censured by the YouTube Stasi. She was most certainly a nut, but what sent her over the edge was the way she was treated by the petty tyrants of YouTube. She was the multicultural version of Falling Down.
The funny thing is, none of the respectable people have bothered to notice what has been happening with social media until now. This story on PJ Media takes the girl angle and this post on National Review takes the CivNat approach. If the shooter had been Baked Alaska or Sam Hyde, they would be saying the usual things about extreme right wing extremist hate speakers. Instead it was a neurotic foreign vegan, tormented into a homicidal rage by the semi-official thought police now running the public square.
Of course, when bullets start flying, people tend to get serious. Up until now, the people running the social media companies have paid no price for their behavior. In fact, they have been publicly praised by the left side of the ruling class, and quietly praised by the right side. All of a sudden, the folks in charge have to consider the possibility of a lunatic with a gun showing up in their offices, when one of their moderators willy-nilly decides to nuke a user account. That changes the math of being the morality police.
Even through this has been given a good leaving alone by the media, there are now two types of meetings going on in companies like YouTube. The people in charge are huddling in their executive suites, talking about security and how best to make sure the next lunatic does not get beyond the first floor. The soulless shrew running YouTube will no doubt make sure security around her is beefed up in response to this incident. She will probably issue a memo demanding greater vigilance by the YouTube morality police.
There’s a second form of meeting going on today. That’s the one in the lunch rooms and chat rooms for employees of these social media companies. These are the people who take the bullet when the next pistol packing Persian shows up with a beef about the arbitrarily enforced terms of service. At least for a little while, some of them will think twice before pushing the button to delete a video or take down an account. After all, that vegan yoga instructor with quirky politics, could be a really good marksman.
A smart man once said that the post-modern age is a period where the best people painfully relearn all the things everyone used to know. For example, the whole point of liberal democracy was not to give the people a say in how things are run, but to give them a non-violent veto. Instead of the angry rabble stringing up their local rulers and burning down their mansion, the angry rabble gets to vote out some candidates or perhaps pass a referendum that will be ignored. Political liberty is the pressure release.
The guy on street corner, waving around a manifesto, proselytizing to his fellow citizens, is only a threat to the public order, if the people in charge don’t have better answers or a way to steal his ideas. Otherwise, he is just a crank who can be ignored. Today, the street corner is a user account on social media and the manifesto is a series of videos detailing some political or social cause. All of which is entirely harmless, just as long as the people in charge have better answers. Within this lifetime, people used to know this.
Something else people used to know is that the guy with a tiny bit of power, is often the most dictatorial. Meter maids, building inspectors, zoning office clerks, these are people with very narrow authority, but hey wield it with the zeal of a bloodthirsty tyrant. That’s because the sort of people attracted to the work, are the sort of people looking for any chance to have authority over another person. The way American cities solved their sadist problem is they installed parking meters and made the sadists into meter maids.
Today, it is the social media companies hiring the petty tyrants, sadists and mentally disturbed spinsters, giving them a job of reading your tweets. These are the people who scan the internet, looking for “hate speech” they can put on a list, so that other petty tyrants can use it to torment the hate speaker or anyone interested in him. These are people who relish the task, because it is the only time anyone notices them. Our public space is turning into a daycare center run by sadistic schoolmarms.
The people in charge of social media firms spend so much time smelling their own farts, they truly think they can regulate what the world has to say about things. Again, people used to know better. Reality is that thing that does not go away when you stop believing in it and reality is, there’s no controlling public opinion. There’s no way to stifle dissent. The only thing that comes from efforts to do so is a violent response. But, the petty tyrants will only learn that lesson when the next Persian vegan shows up at their door.