You think I’m joking? The NYT thinks it’s true.
Caleb Cain pulled a Glock pistol from his waistband, took out the magazine and casually tossed both onto the kitchen counter.
“I bought it the day after I got death threats,” he said.
The threats, Mr. Cain explained, came from right-wing trolls in response to a video he had posted on YouTube a few days earlier. In the video, he told the story of how, as a liberal college dropout struggling to find his place in the world, he had gotten sucked into a vortex of far-right politics on YouTube.
“I fell down the alt-right rabbit hole,” he said in the video.
Mr. Cain, 26, recently swore off the alt-right nearly five years after discovering it, and has become a vocal critic of the movement. He is scarred by his experience of being radicalized by what he calls a “decentralized cult” of far-right YouTube personalities, who convinced him that Western civilization was under threat from Muslim immigrants and cultural Marxists, that innate I.Q. differences explained racial disparities, and that feminism was a dangerous ideology.
“I just kept falling deeper and deeper into this, and it appealed to me because it made me feel a sense of belonging,” he said. “I was brainwashed.”
Over years of reporting on internet culture, I’ve heard countless versions of Mr. Cain’s story: an aimless young man — usually white, frequently interested in video games — visits YouTube looking for direction or distraction and is seduced by a community of far-right creators.
Some young men discover far-right videos by accident, while others seek them out. Some travel all the way to neo-Nazism, while others stop at milder forms of bigotry.
The common thread in many of these stories is YouTube and its recommendation algorithm, the software that determines which videos appear on users’ home pages and inside the “Up Next” sidebar next to a video that is playing. The algorithm is responsible for more than 70 percent of all time spent on the site.
The radicalization of young men is driven by a complex stew of emotional, economic and political elements, many having nothing to do with social media. But critics and independent researchers say YouTube has inadvertently created a dangerous on-ramp to extremism by combining two things: a business model that rewards provocative videos with exposure and advertising dollars, and an algorithm that guides users down personalized paths meant to keep them glued to their screens.
“There’s a spectrum on YouTube between the calm section — the Walter Cronkite, Carl Sagan part — and Crazytown, where the extreme stuff is,” said Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, YouTube’s parent company. “If I’m YouTube and I want you to watch more, I’m always going to steer you toward Crazytown.”
There is a bunch more if you want to read it. It’s all bullshit.
The article is based on some false premises. The first false premise is the idea that bad ideas should be censored. If you want to control what other people can read, watch, and/or listen to, you might be a fascist. To quote Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis:
“If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
How do we know an idea is bad? We put it out there in the Marketplace of Ideas and see if it sells. If it sells, we judge it on its results. Socialism is a bad idea that still has a sizeable share of the marketplace. Socialism is responsible for more deaths than Hitler and the Black Plague combined, and yet we have a Socialist running for President. (Actually, we have a bunch of Socialists running, he’s the only one who admits it.)
Liberty is messy. Living in a free country requires advanced citizenship.
A second false premise in the article is the idea that the far-right is anything more than a disorganized bunch of losers. They are not a large movement of people, they are a small number of misfits and shit-stirrers. None of them have ever accomplished anything of significance. They don’t have any money either.
The third false premise is the odious assertion that most or all Trump supporters are alt-right or far-right. The author doesn’t come out and say it explicitly, but it is a safe assumption because that is what all Leftists claim. They think Trump supporters are evil and Trump voters are stupid.
As usual with articles like this, examples of racism and far-right ideology are lacking. If you say that those Peckerwoods are posting racist stuff, show us what it is. Link to it or provide screencaps. Put up or STFU.
Leftists have one little problem. Their ideas stink. In the Marketplace of Ideas all they have are Edsel’s and New Coke. So they use the same strategy that Obama used to win his first election – eliminate the competition.
If Leftist ideas are so obviously good, and Conservative ideas are so obviously wrong, why are they so afraid of debating their ideas with us? Why do they shout us down? Why do they deplatform us? They say they are opposed to fascism but they behave like fascists.
Ima gonna let you in on a little secret: Leftists lie.