Have you ever sat back and wondered how it is what was once a playground for liberal ideas and thoughts more and more becomes a backwater cultivator for backwards ideology and thought? Have you started to wonder why a site like tumblr suddenly seems like the new saving grace in a land of websites that becomes more and more dipped in ideas and values that you find barbaric and problematic? Why is it that the playgrounds that we once used to play on, the sites we used to visit have become increasingly hostile to truly progressive thought?
The truth is that for a group that should be exceedingly good at the long game, the progressive movement truly sucks at it. We have been played and played hard by a system that is better at manipulation then we could ever hope to be. If you think I’m crazy then I only have one question for you: What was Occupy Wall street about?
If your answer was anything but “To address the issue of 1 Percent of the population owning 90%+ of the wealth”, then you’ve been had. You see, the modern media did a fantastic job of saying that the Occupy movement got infested with other progressive thoughts. Went to a fair amount of effort to show and paint the individuals which comprised the movement as moochers, slackers, who just wanted “insert X progressive idea here”. The movement’s overall message was almost always on target and fairly clear, yet in the United States and other Western affluence areas it fell apart despite the fact that for the most part it was spot on , in fact the wealth Gap is so perversely out of whack that most people don’t realize how bad it is.
But it’s not just income inequality where the progressive movement has failed so badly in curtailing regressive ideologies. The truth is that the one area which we considered safe and secure is quickly falling into the hands of the very same corporate interest and oligarchical structure that haunts the makeup of our economic and political system.
It started when I really started to dig into sites that I used to like very quickly becoming shouting points for incredibly racist ideas and platforms. I don’t pretend that these communities were inherently free of racism before, but sites that were at a time about programming, technology, and generally progressive thought more and more celebrate racist, backwards, transphobic, homophobic, and misogynistic ideology.
And I’m not just talking about the “Crazy Tumblr Social Warrior Justice” kind of stuff. I want to be clear that this site has it’s deeply disturbed individuals who are just as happy to wish death upon Cis Men, but that isn’t what this has become. This is about blatant stormfront level racism taking root in sites that were at one time celebrated as bastions of liberal thought and ideology.
The truth is that we’ve been so distracted trying to figure out how to get the FCC to keep the internet fairly neutral, a conversation that honestly shouldn’t even be a conversation, that we have failed to notice those same oligarchical structures moving in and buying up the internet real estate that we call home.
To break this down we need a little lesson in the basics of technology. Firstly the internet really is just a series of big tubes, that was built as part of an old Government decentralized communications network. At some point people realized that it had more potential then that and what was once just connections between the prominent technology schools is now what we know as the internet.
Every website that exist finds itself on a server somewhere, which is basically just a computer that happens to specialize in taking request from those tubes it’s connected to. Now the more people that connect to that computer the more powerful the computer has to be (a gross oversimplification). So when a site get’s too popular, the money to upgrade the servers and get bigger tubes pouring in and out of it.
Here’s where progressives really missed the mark. You see, outside media for a long time couldn’t figure out how to break into the internet. It was this land of nerds, hackers, and the socially reclusive. But when these sites started getting popular and needing money for infrastructure they saw a way to get in. Yahoo buying Tumblr, Conde Nast Buying reddit, God only knows how moot was able to scrap the money together to make 4chan a success.
We missed the buck and the slippery slope of free speech took hold. The truth is that Progressives a as a whole was busy looking out for stupid shit when honestly they should have been realizing the precious playground that allowed them to communicate was quickly being flooded.
How it is that Facebook, which was once only allowing College Students is now the home to Mom, Dad, and that Crazy Uncle who thinks the only way to bring about world peace is to glass 85% of the world’s population. Frankly it’s all really quite amusing.
In politics we’ve been dragged into thinking that it’s a 50 / 50 coin toss where both sides represent centralized balances between conservative and progressive ideaology. In truth there’s probably only 2 actually progressive senators in the entire system and even those I have my question about. The President of the United States certainly isn’t progressive in any sense, and what was a “Liberal” Majority couldn’t even get an idea that is 50 years old and quite frankly embarrassing passed.
The fact that Obama care is the “Win” should make everyone calling themselves a liberal in any seat during the time of that vote really just stop pretending. They didn’t have the backbone to say “No privatized health care is fucking stupid and barbaric” and now we have this system which as it turns out really just benefits the same insurance companies that should have been dissolved.
Progressives take these tiny, inconsequential victories and celebrate them like we’ve just won the world fucking cup, while the conservative movement is steam rolling ahead with a pipeline of crude oil right down the center of the country. The greatest benefactor of a change in medical care in the 21st century probably shouldn’t have been Blue Cross Blue Shield. There should have been out rage when a single payer system was deemed so “Scary” to the conservative base that it wasn’t even considered. Yet we sat here like the good, quiet, patient, and calm people we are and simply said “Oh yes please I’d like another”
Meanwhile we are considering yet /another/ ground war to perpetuate that military industrial complex a certain someone warned us about
I am not going to sit here and tell you ISIS isn’t a threat, but I will easily say if it is a threat, we are 100% responsible for it’s creation. In fact basically every conflict the United States has gotten involved in you can track back for 50 years or so to us lighting a match under another government. I had to jump on the conspiracy bandwagon, but the intelligence agencies that we are so quick to praise and say are required have gotten us in no end of trouble. From the Bay of Pigs likely being the reason that Cuba would later go to point weapons at us, interfering in South American governments like it’s a a track out of spring time for Hitler, pushing into Iranian politics in the 50’s which sent this lovely spiral including a war between Iraq and Iran some 30 years later which got us an all time favorite conservative in Regan
To now having the remnants of an organization lead by a CIA trained anti Russian group who’s primary irritation with the western world was it’s interference in that very same Iraq / Iran war. I’m not saying that the CIA is directly responsible for ISIS, Al’Queida, 9/11, The Iran Contra Scandal, and every subsequent failure in Middle Eastern Foreign policy since the 1950’s, but I am saying they did a fine job of making things miserable enough for such a thing to happen.
The scary thing is that it’s not just war and misery that the progressive individuals here in western society have missed. We’ve been so busy trying to remind people who won Roe V Wade that things like Fox News and other oligarchical mouth pieces are allowed to basically spout propaganda while progressive ideas are treated like conspiracy theories the X-Files might uncover.
People look at things like the word Patriarchy (which by definition the US has… because as it turns out when the vast majority of your government system is run by men that’s a patriarchy) and think to themselves, “Oh those dirty femanist, they ruined my video game” . We have in the last 10 years managed to make Femanist a bad word, and I can tell you very quickly how that was done. It wasn’t by the continued pushes of people in Femanism who still very much have legitimate gripes with gender inequality, it was done by equating the feminist movement with some kind of new wave anti-white, anti-cis, anti-hetero, anti-Male individuals and painting them as the voice of feminism.
It turned the absolute worst elements of perfectly good subreddits like Shit Reddit Says (which was a fine concept) and let those who had equally sexist, racist agendas push back in the name of com batting institutionalized systems. And then people turn to that and think to themselves “Oh that’s the femanist movement”. It hyper inflated stupid shit like accountability in the game’s journalism industry and tried to turn it into an us versus them scenario and the disgusting slime monsters of yester year came out of their holes to harass and threaten people who are probably legitimately just trying to point out that yes, by and large the game industry as it stands is fairly sexist.
We demonized people like Anita Sarkeesian, not for any particularly good reason, but because mob mentality couldn’t let it go. What should have been a bullet point in the conversation or something absolutely minuscule was hyper analyzed, and put under a magnifying glass and held up on a podium as evidence that the evils of feminism demanded some kind of misandrist sacrifice, and the progressive movement sits by and lets it happen on the media and format that we should dominate. We turned a stupid story that turned out not to be true into a scandal and have let it consume us because we keep feeding the flames. Hell I’m doing it right now by bringing attention to it.
Even knowing that the population distribution isn’t actually a Bell Curve of thought, there should still be about 35% progressive (and I mean true progressive [Scotsmen can eat me]) population, but for some reason the general population doesn’t seem reflective of that. Centrist ideas keep getting approval despite a highly educated group of individuals that should know better then that kind of shit.
And I know why, it’s because progressives tend not to throw money at problems, and as it turns out money is the great solution to all things. It wins the elections you want and it buys you the digital real estate you need to preach a shitty message. I’ve always suspected this is because a healthy % of the progressive base hates the system and is thus not willing to work with in it, but…. if that is the case why have we not found a way to push our own agendas through outside of the system?
Gay Marriage, Pot, and minor adjustments to Privatized health care. These are the big victories of the progressive movement in the last 20 years. Congratulations guys, the Libretarians got what they want and we got…. oh that’s right we got what the libretarians wanted. Everyone in the center didn’t care.