Unsurprisingly, the first step in the Progressive pogrom against normal people after the Pittsburgh shooting was an effort to de-platform Gab. The ruling class has a deep hatred of the site for a number of reasons. One being it puts the lie to the claim that the tech industry is an open market. The other is it puts the lie to the fact that Americans have constitutional rights. Anything that is seen as a challenge to Progressive rule is marked for death and the people in charge are not about to allow a tragedy go to waste.
The bodies were not even cold and the usual suspects were organized and sent out on social media, and then Progressive media, to denounce Gab as some sort of organized assault “on our democracy.” The only thing missing from the hysteria was the claim that Gab is a Russian agent. Everyone was supposed to drop what they were doing for a five minutes of hate against Gab, a tiny web site with about half a million users. FaceBook has billions of users, Google controls the internet. Yet, Gab is a threat to civilization.
Not soon after the signal from Prog was given, the heads of the tech oligopoly got together to throw Gab off the internet. First their hosting service, a company called Joyent, gave them 48 hours to find a new hosting service. The company is owned by Samsung and it is run by a loathsome bigot named Scott Hammond. The hope was that Gab would not be able to find a replacement over the weekend and the site would go dark. Word was sent out to the media to prepare a celebration of the event so Hammond could be honored.
Gab, ever resourceful, found another hosting company and was able to start making the transition, despite Joyent deliberately trying to sabotage their efforts. That’s when the next step in the operation was launched. GoDaddy, the registrar Gab used to buy the domain name, threatened to steal the domain name from them. This is the trick GoDaddy has used in the past, stealing domain names from owners, who hold opinions contrary to the official orthodoxy. Gab was able to avoid this and is in the process of moving to new digs.
Now, when you start looking at these companies, the thing that should ring out is they are pretty much the standard villain in Hollywood movies. They are large, soulless corporations run by bland automatons like Scott Hammond. They are men hired because they will just follow orders. When you look at a guy like Scott Hammond, you see the face of someone who never asks too many questions. He’s the guy who begs for his life at the end of the Hollywood action movie, but the good guy shoots him anyway.
The question that normal people ask is how this is possible. After all, these companies sign contracts and in theory, we still have courts where contracts can be enforced by impartial judges. While that is a laughable fiction now, the reality is these companies are not bound by standard business agreements. They have been allowed to carve out new law for themselves, forcing their vendors and customers to sign off on what is called an adhesion contract. This gives the tech giants absolute power over everyone else.
An adhesion contract or “standard form contract” is a contract drafted by one party and signed by another party. The second party typically does not have the power to negotiate or modify the terms of the contract. Adhesion contracts are commonly used for things like insurance or rental contracts. When you rent a car or purchase car insurance, you just sign the contract, because you have to in order to rent the car or get insured. Every technology service provider is now basing their relationships on these types of contracts.
It used to be that the courts carefully scrutinized these types of arrangements, so the contract had to adhere to some basic principles. The courts would often use the “doctrine of reasonable expectations” to void all or part of these contracts, when there was lack of notice, unequal bargaining power, or blatant and substantive unfairness. The reason for this should be obvious. When a powerful company has the right to dictate the terms of the contract to their customers, they have all the power in the contractual relationship.
In western jurisprudence, a valid contract is one in which both parties freely engage and have equal opportunities to negotiate. When one party imposes the conditions on the other, that’s not a contract. That’s slavery. In a world where a handful of people control the public space, these types of contract give them arbitrary power over public discourse. If they become vexed with what you say, they can claim you have violated their terms of service and remove you from the internet. Again, the terms are dictated, not negotiated.
A recent, less emotional, example is what happened with Stefan Molyneux, the alt-lite YouTube personality. He has built up a large following on YouTube for his quirky brand of edgy commentary. He said the wrong thing and was informed by YouTube that his business would be shuttered unless he conformed to their terms of service. His only recourse, like a slave being whipped by the master, was to beg for mercy. After getting a reprieve, he will have to live knowing who holds the whip and who is the slave.
This is not something limited to social media. Microsoft has imposed similar terms of service on users of Office and Skype. In theory, it means they can stop your company from using these products if they find out the owner gave money to the wrong political candidate or has the wrong opinions. All of the content providers like Hulu, Amazon and NetFlix have implemented the same one-way contracts. While they have not banned people from using their services yet, it is something they now have the power to do.
This is why the “cloud” is so popular with the Cloud People. Turn on the television and you are treated to ads telling you how the cloud will solve all the problems of your life. What it is, of course, is an inducement to walk into the cage. Once inside, the door slams shut and you are now just another bit of property on the plantation. In the near future, Brendan Eich will not just lose his job. He will be found to have violated the terms of service for his refrigerator, car and checking account. Internal banishment becomes real.
Slavery tends to end one of two ways. The slave-based society is conquered or the slaves rise up and slaughter their slave masters. It’s too much to hope for the political class to ban these leonine contracts used by global tech to enslave the rest of us, but that would be the peaceful resolution. The courts could also return to the habit of carefully scrutinizing these agreements. Given the behavior of the political class, this seems unlikely. Judging by the physiognomy of Scott Hammond, the alternative seems certain.