Given the current federal government shut-down over funding of a border-wall and the continuing increase in Internet censorship and “deplatforming,” I’ve decided I might as well publish a lengthy note I’d privately circulated last year to a considerable number of individuals, many of whom were then prominently associated with the “Alt-Right” movement.
A few people had suggested at the time that I release it, but I felt I was much too preoccupied with my software work to involve myself in any resulting discussion. The heated reaction to my recent discussion of racial politics in California does indicate that these issues still deserve a wider audience.
Very little has happened in the last fifteen months that would cause me to reconsider any of my views.
A Confidential Note to Various “Alt-Right” People and Others
Dated: August 21, 2017
I’ve been very dismayed by the recent “political purge” being conducted by some of the largest Internet companies, in which numerous controversial websites of the “Alt Right” have suddenly been “disappeared,” and in which all sorts of basic Internet services such as PayPal have been terminated to many of the others on grounds of political ideology. Some of these sites might eventually come back, but I’d assume that others are gone forever.
This is a very disheartening development, and has enormous negative implications for freedom of thought on the Internet. I’m very busy with my own software work, but have already run or republished a number of highly critical articles of this purge on my website, and will certainly continue to do so in the future. I’ve also run numerous articles suggesting that the current excuse for this purge, namely the recent violence at Charlottesville, is being heavily slanted and misreported in the MSM.
There’s also a chance that some of the projects I’m currently working on might somewhat help somewhat mitigate this situation, though none of you should much count upon that for the immediate future.
However, that being said, I’d like to provide some very candid observations regarding what I think were some of the factors over the years that put all of you in this terrible predicament. Whether or not you decide to accept my conclusions is your own choice, but the sentiments I’m expressing are entirely sincere.
First, I’m sure that all of you realize that there are very powerful interests that are extremely hostile to your positions, and which are always looking for some means of shutting you down, one way or another. These groups possess enormous wealth, media power, and political connections and none of you have any of those things. Under such circumstances, I think that the “risky behavior” in which some of you have chosen to indulge has contributed to your situation.
I’d also like to emphasize that many of your opponents, whether in the commanding heights of power or in the form of “antifa”-associated radical activists, engage in all sorts of questionable and dishonest behavior as well, saying all sorts of things that are extreme or just aren’t true. But since their side almost entirely controls the distribution of information in the MSM and elsewhere, they can get away with these things while you yourselves cannot. That’s certainly not fair, but as the old saying goes “Life is Unfair.”
Now although I’m a software developer and live in the heart of Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, I’m really not part of the mainstream “tech community” and only very slightly know a few of the prominent figures in it. But I think I have a reasonably good sense of what’s going on and why they’re taking the absolutely unprecedented step of purging many of you from the Internet.
My strong impression is that most of the leading Silicon Valley people are generally pretty nice and reasonable, but are very politically unsophisticated. They’re totally focused on technology and business issues, and with a few exceptions here and there, don’t really pay any deep attention to politics or ideological matters, sub-contracting out those things to the same “mainstream” opinion-forming elites who provide that role for almost everyone else in our society. Just think of the leading Silicon Valley people as your pleasant, college-educated next door neighbors, who sporadically catch the regular news on TV, glance at the newspaper headlines, and regard that as the reality of the world.
As an example, when “everyone says” that Russia hacked our presidential election, well, then, I suppose that Russia must have hacked our presidential election. And pretty much the same applies to matters of race, ethnicity, and social policy.
Now most sensible people somewhat weigh the reality presented in the MSM against what they actually experience in their day-to-day lives, and if there’s a sharp divergence between the two, they may gradually become suspicious of the MSM, and begin turning to alternate sources of information, even including the sort of ideological views presented on your own websites. That’s obviously why your own readership has risen quite a lot over the last few years, and why Donald Trump stunned America’s elites by winning the presidency despite 99% opposition in the MSM. Maybe all the TV programs told working class whites in the Midwest or the South that things under Obama were great and Trump was horrible, but when they looked around themselves, they saw something totally different, so they decided the MSM was just lying and voted Trump.
But the problem that all of you face is that when people in Silicon Valley look around themselves, what they see reasonably matches the claims of the MSM, while if they ever visit Breitbart, let alone any of your own Alt-Right websites, you mostly come across like a bunch of total lunatics. Therefore, when the MSM recently claimed that you were all a bunch of violent, murderous madmen, they stampeded the Silicon Valley people into deciding to help shut all of you down as a public service to America.
Let’s take a few salient issues. Over the last year or two, I’d guess that 70% of the most visible and heated rhetoric coming from Donald Trump has involved ferocious attacks on Muslims, Mexicans, and immigrants in general, and certainly that’s also been a major theme of his backers both in the Alt-Right and the Alt-Lite.
Now obviously, almost every mainstream/prominent figure in American politics and media, Democrat and Republican, has denounced these attacks in the strongest possible terms as “racist,” “bigoted,” etc. But that had no impact upon Trump’s support in e.g. West Virginia, since the people there watched FoxNews shows about Muslims conquering America and imposing Sharia law, and had become very fearful. The fact that ordinary West Virginians have almost no real life contact with Mexicans, Muslims, or immigrants left them open to such nonsense.
But Silicon Valley is a different story. One-third of the local population consists of Hispanic immigrants, mostly Mexican and a large fraction from an illegal immigrant background. There are huge numbers of other immigrants in the technology industry, and a noticeable slice of them are Muslims. Nearly all of these groups seem like perfectly fine people, very few are criminals, and virtually none are terrorists. Trump and Ann Coulter and others may talk about swarming hordes of “Mexican rapists,” but they just don’t seem to exist in real life. Rightwingers may claim that immigrant crime has been forcing affluent whites to barricade themselves inside gated communities, but Silicon Valley has no gated communities. For twenty years, Steve Jobs lived in an ordinary house sitting on an ordinary street, one which wouldn’t have seemed too out of place in the white-bread San Fernando Valley of the 1950s, and the same is true for many of the other top Silicon Valley execs.
Alt-Right people are always talking about the horrific future consequences of white Europeans becoming a minority, but they already became a minority decades ago in Silicon Valley, and these days are probably down to around 30% or so. Yet everything is perfectly fine here. Well, not perfectly fine since everyone is always complaining about traffic being terrible and housing prices ridiculously high, but these aren’t exactly the central concerns raised by the Alt-Right.
California overall is almost 40% Hispanic these days, heading towards an outright majority, and the top two leaders in the State Legislature are Hispanic, as are many of the other members. But although tearing down “racist” Civil War monuments has become the burning issue in the South and along the East Coast, there hasn’t been the slightest talk of doing anything to the various monuments or towns honoring various figures from the Mexican-American War or the annexation of California. Frankly, the whole notion would seem so ridiculous it would just be laughed out of court.
Admittedly, some of the renaming nonsense did recently spread to ultra-liberal Palo Alto. Some ultra-PC immigrant from Sweden was horrified to discover that two of the local middle schools, Terman and Jordan, were named after pro-eugenicist academics from the Stanford of a century ago, and despite opposition he stampeded the Palo Alto school board into voting to rename those schools, but although it’s ridiculous, it’s not exactly the same thing as what’s been happening with mobs attacking those those statues in New Orleans and elsewhere.
So the problem is that when people notice that many of the things your organizations are saying are absolutely 100% contrary to what they actually see in their ordinary lives, they quickly conclude that you’re just as crazy as your critics in the MSM always say you are, and they immediately dismiss all of your other claims and ideas. Perhaps that’s not entirely fair, but it’s what happens.
Meanwhile, certain other “alt-right”-type issues have very little daily resonance in Silicon Valley. For example, black behavior here is just as problematical as it is elsewhere, and blacks are responsible for a remarkably high fraction of all the serious local crime. But since there are very few blacks, it’s relatively easy for local “good-thinking” people to pretend not to notice the problem. Overall, California has by far the lowest black percentage of any large state, and for Silicon Valley, the figure is something like 3%, of which a relatively high fraction are middle-class engineers and such, while overall crime rates are too low for it to be much of an issue. Anyway, my impression was that Trump and his people were far too PC to ever talk much about black crime, instead focusing their concerns on the deadly threat of pro-Iranian terrorists and Islamic Shariah Law and all that sort of nonsense.
The bottom line is that some of the things the Alt-Right has been saying for years are generally true while other things are generally false. Your misfortune is that it is the falsehoods which have the most day-to-day presence in the lives of the Silicon Valley community, thus leading to their total dismissal of your entire message, and perhaps the blacklisting of most of your websites and organizations, thereby setting a very dangerous precedent for the future of the First Amendment in America.
At this stage, I’m really not sure that any of you can do anything, and anyway maybe the newly Neoconized Trump administration will get us all into some crazy nuclear war with Russia or China or both, rendering this whole website situation completely moot. But I thought I might as well provide you my honest appraisal of how you got into these difficulties.
Like I said, I’m very busy with my software work, so perhaps I shouldn’t have taken the time to send this note, but the overall Internet trends are so unfortunate, I decided to put together a few quick words on the matter.
August 21, 2017