The Steven Crowder, Carlos Maza Affair

On the 7th of June YouTube has demonetized conservative political commentator and comedian Steven Crowder, after Carlos Maza, a self-described “Marxist pig” journalist from Vox, pressured the Silicon Valley giant with incessant Tweets, calling for the removal of the comedian channel for what he perceived as “racist and homophobic” jokes directed at him.

Yet, to anyone who watched the video, it was clear from the start that the reasons for criticizing and mocking the Vox journalist, had little to do with his sexual orientation but everything to do with his radical views. Steven Crowder is, in fact, an independent creator that, in-betweens setting up debates with students on college campuses and defending Judeo-Christian values, free markets and individual liberties in a playful manner with his wide arrange of guest appearances, spends a portion of his time making fun and exposing left-wing mainstream outlets such as Vice, Buzzfeed, CNN, and among others Vox, for their political bias and often distorted rhetoric. It just happens to be that Maza, being an employee from Vox and an individual who is given plenty of air-time by the Mainstream Outlet, is often the target of a long list of rebuttal by the American comedian.

Youtube, at first, having reviewed Steven Crowder’s video criticizing the Vox journalist anti-Fox News and pro Antifa routine video, established that Crowder violated no policies guidelines, and therefore, no reasonable grounds were present for taking any sort of action against the conservative commentator.

Despite that, after mob-like pressure from far-left Twitter mobs and the constant ones from Maza directed at the YouTube team account on Twitter, the tech giant punished Crowder anyway by demonetizing his entire channel; letting everyone know, once again, that in the era of political correctness even if none of the rules have been broken you still have to pay a price, as long as someone with the “right” identity feels offended. After all, Crowder might have not being guilty of being a racist or a homophobe, but in today’s cultural and political lens, he is seen as inherently advantaged, being straight and white, as opposed to gay and Latino, and therefore not in the position of criticizing someone like Maza.

Yet apparently, the conceptually anti-constitutional strike against the independent conservative comedian didn’t satisfy Maza who, despite being employed by a powerful multi-billion dollar company like Vox, kept insisting to be the victim of the situation and continued to demand the total banning of the entire channel on the basis of, once again, not much more than his uncomfortable emotional state-—all the while, in a quite telling tweet, inciting his side of the political spectrum to engage in outright violence against anyone who disagrees with him by throwing “milkshakes” at them, or “humiliating them at every turn”.

That, aside for exposing Maza’s as a textbook narcissist (and a coward), highlighted and shed light once again on one of the many double standards of today’s cultural narrative where, for example, one independent creator like Steven Crowder is held accountable and punished for making jokes, while another mainstream employee like Carlos Maza is allowed to literally inciting people to engage in physical violence (an offense prosecutable under US laws) without any sort of repercussion, just because of his perceived status as “marginalized minority member”.

Once again illustrating that in the era of identity-politics, when it comes to judging an individual, his or her actions and words are no more relevant. What matters it’s his status as a victim in the identity hierarchy; whether it’s the color of the skin, gender, origin, or sexual orientation-—the higher you score, the more credibility you are granted. And naturally, a “privileged straight white male” should not dare to side against someone like Carlos Maza, a gay Latino man, because the simple act of doing so, of criticizing his perspective or political views, is, in and of itself, an unfair and oppressive act.

But in this mad and regressive mentality of the progressive left, what is even more frightening is that the technological establishment is giving up its neutrality in favor of an identity politics ideological based business-ethic. Future that, if not regulated, projects an Orwellian technocracy without precedents.

Numerous scandals in the last few years have proven times and times again that when it comes to enforcing their rules and take action against people for their views and content, Social Media are completely biased to one side of the political spectrum. The long list of evidence that political correctness has poisoned the Silicon Valley Giants judgment, forcing them to develop a defense mechanism and take a one-sided stance against conservatism, has continued to pile up to the point that is nowadays considered undeniable.

The most infamous example is probably the one of James Demore in July 2017, a Google engineer found guilty and fired by the “Diversity Department” for writing a memo that, referring to biology and psychometric research, questioned preferential sex hiring and affirmative action, showing studies that demonstrate that, since men and women have biological differences that can influence their choices, it is unreasonable to assume that all the numerical disparities between the sexes inside the company are due to oppression and discrimination and that it is authoritarian to correct that by literally excluding people based on their sex/gender.

The fact that a simple internal email questioning a radical political narrative with accurate biological facts caused an employee to lose his job in one of the world’s biggest corporation, caused one of the biggest storm surrounding political correctness. Story which has come to be known as the “Google ideological eco-chamber”. Since then, other controversial banning of other prominent right-wing figures from platform like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube (all of whom for, presumably, violating their policy guidelines against abuse and harassment), have caused plenty of protests on Social Media by the moderate centrist and conservative side of the population who fear a dystopian future where corporations have the immense and unelected power to control the direction of the discussion.

Complains who have become so numerous that a few months ago, Twitter’s CEO and Co-Founder Jack Dorsey – to defend himself and his company’s reputation – agreed to be questioned along with his trust and safety lawyer for 3 and half hours by Tim Pool on the Joe Rogan Podcast about their platform controversial bannings and censorships. Banning such as the ones of conspiracy theorists Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson, trickster Milo Yannouopouls, British activist Tommy Robinson, and Canadian political commentator and writer Gavin McInnes (the latter booted simply for his former association with the initially satirical right-wing group “the Proud Boys”).

Called to answer to their paradoxes and various injustices, like the one that have seen violent groups like Antifa being allowed to cheer for violence and (literally) incite the death of people even after being repetitively reported on, while independent citizens get permanently censored and exiled from public discourse for simply tweetings things such as “Men aren’t women”, the duo in charge of Twitter failed continually do give a plausible and consistent explanation.

In what surely was an historic moment for podcasting and a significant turning point in modern journalism, the ex Vice reporter exposed Twitter for their one-sided policies, repeatedly accusing them of having a left-wing bias, being partisan, creating an ideological echo chamber, and posing a threat to freedom of speech and the American 1st Amendment.

It must be said though, that at the present moment, according to US laws, Social Media are not obliged to obey the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, been listed as a private business (just like a newspaper editorial)—and yet at the same time, they continue to claim that they are, in all intent and purposes, a non-partisan public platform that promotes free speech and therefore meeting the required criteria to be protected by the “Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act”.

Mark Zuckerber, 35

In other words, by how things are currently settled, Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc, can have all the legal benefits of being a private business and have complete control over their content (users), just like an editorial publisher such as, let’s say, the New York Times, and at the same time all the legal protection that being a public platform can enjoy, just like (to complete the analogy) an operating system such as Windows or Machintosh, making them practically immune from liability.

The truth is, that this obvious contradictory legal standard lays out a terrifying perspective. After all, in 2019, Big Tech’s opinion of the Trump administration doesn’t allow him to team up with Silicon Valley Giants to circumvent the first Amendment of the Constitution. But – hypothesis – what happens if companies like Google or Facebook (with billions of users each month engaged in dialogue) will support a candidate in the future? Then they could, under current laws, ban anyone who criticizes him or his ideology, and effectively interfere in the electoral process putting American’s (and not only) Democracy at risk.

But regardless of what the intent of the Silicon Valley Giants is, whether you believe is a genuine attempt to create a healthy space for public discourse, or a simple PR self-serving marketing tool to look good in the public eye in order to generate more income, the irresponsibility of this Social Media platforms generate a far greater danger then the one they claim to want to deal with. No reasonable person would ever question the existence of a line between inappropriate or appropriate language, but no reasonable person, at the same time, would ever give anyone the power to make that distinction in the first place.

In fact, “hate speech” is not, and will never be, a scientific objective category—being inseparable from their subjectivity. And the goal of freedom of speech isn’t to allow us to say whatever we want whenever we want just for the sake of doing it, but to be free to express what we feel without being scared of running through a wall. Free Speech is the mechanism by which we keep our society functioning, by keeping all our ideas out in the open, not so we can be free from the consequences but so we can contemplate their validity and most importantly, recognize and establish their eventual non-acceptability. After all, how should one realize an idea is bad if he doesn’t get to hear it? Or how should one establish an idea is good if it doesn’t get to test it against his counterparts?

As John Stuart Mill once said; “if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.” The fact is, that the moment Silicon Valley decided to go past (and in some cases even ignore) the already regulated and illegal forms of speech in the US, like incitement to violence or defamation, not only they declared to be ethically responsible for the content of billions of users, by deciding what ideology or language is acceptable and what not—but they also presumed to possess an infallible judgment when it comes to deciding what constitutes “acceptable” in the first place.

And if we know one thing, is that in this era of political turmoil, where we are far away from common sense consensus about what the difference between a comedian’s joke and an act of violence is; the grand debate should not be about how to regulate hate-speech, but about who should get to define the concept of hate in the first place. And if we can learn anything from all this unfortunate set of events, is that the last thing we need, is corporations making those decisions for us.

di: Mark Granza


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