Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Economics of Unholy Alliances: Bootleggers and Baptists by Dan Mitchell

The class-warfare crowd and tax lawyers don’t have a lot in common, but both groups oppose the flat tax. An even stranger unholy alliance involves the War on Drugs, which has the support of both the activists who despise drugs and the criminals who get rich selling drugs in the black market.

Professor Bruce Yandle explains this “bootleggers and baptists” phenomenon.

Professor Yandle, who is at Clemson University, even has a book on this topic, co-authored with Professor Adam Smith of Johnson & Wales University (no relation to has namesake, the author of The Wealth of Nations, at least to my knowledge).

One message of the book is that politicians often have noble-sounding reasons for the things they do, but closer investigation usually reveals that interest groups are the real beneficiaries.

In other words, the phenomenon of bootleggers and baptists is run-of-the-mill government corruption, an example of “public choice” in action.

What’s motivated me to write about this issue is a story from Petaluma, California. As reported by Axios, the city wants to ban new gas stations for the supposed purpose of fighting climate change.

Petaluma, California, has voted to outlaw new gas stations, the first of what climate activists hope will be numerous cities and counties to do so. …Expect more such ordinances, particularly in liberal towns. Grassroots groups are popping up with the mission of spreading this type of ban… “This is not a ban on the existing gas stations, which are providing all the gas currently needed,” Matt Krogh, U.S. oil and gas campaign director for the environmental group, tells Axios. …The city councilor who introduced the measure, D’Lynda Fischer, is quoted as saying: “The goal here is to move away from fossil fuels…” A Seattle-based group called Coltura, which aims to phase out gasoline altogether, is working on the issue locally and nationally. …In the 2020s, this is not the time to be expanding fossil fuel infrastructure,” Woody Hastings, co-coordinator of CONGAS, tells Axios. …He says his group has succeeded in blocking three applications to build new stations in Sonoma.

Given my views of climate activists, I don’t want to say this effort is noble. But I’m sure the average person might say this is a well-meaning crusade.

But let’s take a jaundiced look at what’s really happening. At the risk of being the skunk at a garden party, I’ll state that what’s happening, either in the town of Petaluma or in Sonoma County, will have zero impact on the climate.

But it could have a big impact on the owners of existing gas stations. They now have no reason to worry about new competitors. Which makes their gas stations more valuable and gives them greater leeway to raise prices.

Mr. Hastings, the climate activist quoted in the above excerpt, even acknowledged in the story that a ban would help existing stations.

“The problem with allowing new gas stations is we don’t really need them and they’re putting existing gas stations out of business.”

The bottom line is that consumers will lose because the government is limiting competition.

Which is good news for the bootleggers (the owners of gas stations that already exist) and the baptists (the green activists who feel good because they think they’re saving the planet).

P.S. There are countless examples of bootleggers and baptists working together in Washington.

The moral of the story is that it’s almost always insiders who benefit when politicians do something. 

What is Bikepacking?

Why Rothbard Endures

Why Rothbard Endures: This week we celebrate the life of Murray N. Rothbard, born on the second of March 1926, a Tuesday, in the Bronx. And what a Bronx it was, teeming with brilliant intellectuals, dedicated Communists, and rock-solid middle-class Americans like David and Rae Rothbard. The family would later become friendly with their apartment building neighbor in Manhattan, one Arthur F. Burns. Burns, an economist at Columbia, was destined for a political career at the Council of Economic Advisers under Eisenhower and as Federal Reserve chairman, appointed by Nixon. Tellingly, Burns was also the man who later nearly sabotaged Rothbard’s dissertation at Columbia. By … Continue reading →

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

An overview of OMIK - a ham radio organization with a unique history and...

progressingamerica: Why not accept money for your audiobooks? Why giv...

progressingamerica: Why not accept money for your audiobooks? Why giv...: I think I have covered this before, but a fresh look might have some value. Immediately below are in-summary bulletpoints, with details aft...

SlinkTenna | Ham Radio Antenna by Quirky QRP

Troubleshooting Computer shutdowns on transmit | common-mode currents by Julian OH8STN

 Hello Operators.

Once or twice a week I receive a question asking about computer shutdowns during data mode operation, when using more than a few watts TX. The computer used doesn’t matter, it could be the mini pc, or a Raspberry Pi. Sometimes it even happens to laptops and tablets.

What we are usually talking about is “Common mode currents”. Here are my best tips for reducing or illuminating this problem.

Normally when we start talking about this problem, people will offer solutions or “advice” which treat the symptoms, but not identify the actual cause. When you hear that nonsense smile nicely, then walk away.

Very often we get common-mode currents when when using non-resonant, unbalanced, or poorly setup antenna. 9:1 random wire EF is notorious for causing this problem.

Station grounding

Station grounding can do wonders to prevent common-mode currents from wreaking havoc, on our radios, computers and power supplies. A sufficient ground is important for your antenna, radio, antenna tuner if using an external one, and computer. This is straightforward in the shack, but not always convenient when operating portable. We will come back to operating portable later on in the article.

Home station  At my home station, there is a copper ground rod, (several meters/yards deep) driven into the ground. Attached to this ground rod are several radials spread out as far as possible in all directions. Also attached to the ground rod is a copper ground strap that runs into the shack, to a common ground bus bar, located behind the desk. The radio, antenna tuner if using one, and any other peripherals attached to my radio are all attached to that ground bus.

Antenna Ground rod and radials If I’m using an end fed or unbalanced broadband antenna, it also gets its own copper ground rod and radials. I always try to use quarter wave radials underneath the antenna. If I can’t, I’ll cut them in half to create twice as many. If those are still too long, I’ll cut them in half once more, again doubling the amount of the radials  albeit very short ones. Remember, we’re looking for “ground potential” here.

Feed line Now our station equipment, and antenna have a good path to ground. Since common-mode currents travel from our antenna to radio, over the shield of our feed line, they will now happily find “the path” rather than “a path” to ground. Unfortunately this may still be insufficient. If we are operating higher power, or not able to set up a sufficient  ground Network as mentioned in the previous paragraphs,  we take it one step further.

Choke balun 1:1 choke balun blocks the path of common mode currents traveling along the coax shield, into the shack. This choke balun Works in cooperation with the ground rod and radials. We place this choke balun at the end of our feed-line, just before it attaches to the antenna.

I know some of you will say “wait a moment Julian”, we’ve seen you place the choke balun at the close end of your coax just before your radio. This is a different discussion, one which deals with using your coax cable, as the counterpoise. Let’s not think about that for now, because it confuses the discussion.

So our choke balun is placed between our coax cable and our antenna, at the antenna feed point. With everything we’ve done so far it means:

  • we have sufficient ground on the radio,
  • we have sufficient ground at the antenna,
  • we’ve blocked the path for common mode currents to travel down the feed line to the radio,
  • and those common-mode currents are given a good path to ground, both at the antenna and at the radio (if they make it that far).

If you plan to build your own choke balun, Gil has done a wonderful video explaining why and how. You can watch it here

Wire mess

The next thing we have to talk about is ridiculously long wires and so many of them. USB cables, coax patch cables, power cables, cat control cables, audio cables,… manufacturers tend to deliver 6 foot or 2 meter long cables with everything. Throw them in the trash! Build custom cables the shortest length possible, to connect between your radio and peripherals.

If your Raspberry Pi is sitting just next to your radio, there’s no need to have several meters/feet length of USB cable between it and your rig. The same goes for the length of the audio cables between your radio and rig. If you’re using an external antenna tuner, keep those patch cables as short as possible. The bottom line here is, cables should ALWAYS BE AS SHORT AS POSSIBLE! It doesn’t matter what type of cable they. This is true in the shack, as well as out in the field. Apologies for “yelling”.

In addition to shortening our cables, the quality of the cables is also important. We should always use shielded cables. Yes I know they are more expensive, but the cheap junk generally supplied with peripherals we’re buying from China (you know the ones), they usually end up in the junk box. These are not the cables we want to use! Throw them in the trash! In a moment we will talk about clamp-on toroids. Using clamp-on toroids with poor quality cables only hides the problem, it doesn’t solve it.

Clamp on toroids you’re probably wondering why I put this the near end of the article. Well, most people giving advice will start here, clamp-on toroids. Unfortunately it’s a ridiculous way to “solve” the problem since it actually treats the symptoms, not the causes.

So assuming you have already gone through all of the things I’ve written earlier in this article, it doesn’t hurt to use clamp-on toroids to finish up the job. If you’ve done a good job you won’t need them, but they won’t hurt. What they are better with, is helping to quiet down local sources of noise. Like that cheap charge controller which was such a good deal. 😉 It can’t be stressed how important it is to finish up with toroids rather than starting with them, since they hide the true cause of the problem.

Portable Station

Everything mentioned earlier in this article regarding the home station is also true for a portable station, albeit within reason. It’s unlikely anyone will ever carry a couple of meters long copper pipe and sledgehammer out in the field, driving it down into the ground. This is one reason balanced antennas are nice for portable Communications. Unfortunately balanced antenna are often difficult to raise, especially in heavily wooded forests, or where it’s difficult to get their feed point high enough for good performance. In this regard, the end fed antenna is our friend. Just remember, we need to deal with creating enough ground potential to allow it to operate efficiently, and play nice with the rest of our station.

Earlier in this article I mentioned ground potential. The difference with creating a good path to ground while portable versus in the ham Shack, isn’t all that different. We just need to Apply these methods within reason.

I use tent stakes as a station ground Rod. One for the radio, one for the antenna.

Antenna Attached to an aluminium tent stake, is a short length of copper wire, terminating with an Anderson power pole.  These are attached to the cold side of the antenna. That tent stake is driven into the ground. Don’t worry, it’s not very deep. Also attached to the tent stake is a series of radials, about one meter or yard long. These are deployed in multiples of 3. 3, 6, 9, and so on. I use the lightest, thinnest wire I can find. At the end of those wires there’s a loop made of stretch cord. In that Loop I’ll cut pieces of wood found in the forest, to spread them in a circular pattern around the tent stake. This isn’t perfect, but it’s more than sufficient for most random wire end fed antennas with a 9:1 balun. It also does very well for the chameleon MPAS  EMCOMM 3p,…

1/4 wave vertical   When using a quarter wave vertical, a similar system is employed, using the tent stake and radials. The difference is the radials are a quarter wavelength of the lowest band you want to operate. We can also make them 1/8 wavelength, but we should double them up. This is also true for 1/16 of a wavelength, but quadrupling them. This is assuming we’re using something like the Super Antenna MP1, or DX Commander as an example.

Station Ground On the radio side, we also use an aluminium tent stake. Attached to the tent stake is a jumper with an Anderson power pole at the end. The radio ground lug also has a small jumper with an Anderson power pole. The jumper from the radio, is attached to the jumper from the tent stake, with the tent stake being driven into the ground. The feed line coming from the radio can be set up in two different ways. If you don’t have a very good ground system on your antenna, you can deploy a long feed line, and place your choke balun at the end of the feed line, just before your radio. Then use a small patch cable to attach it to your radios antenna port. This allows your coax cable to become part of your antenna, while still allowing common-mode currents to be blocked for the most part, and or given a path to ground.

You can also put that choke balun at the antenna feed Point as we do with our home station configuration. Just keep in mind more radials may be required at the antenna.

Normally I would add a lot of diagrams and images to show you what’s going on here, but I decided to write this all out, forcing readers to think about it. I invite you all to experiment! It sounds terribly complicated but I promise, it’s anything but difficult. Finally, you may not ever hear me talking about it on the channel, but I assure you station grounding on the radio and antenna side, is almost always there. The only time you won’t see it is when I’m using a magnetic loop, or a balanced antenna. In any event some amount of station grounding is always there. Usually, it’s enough that I don’t need to use Snap-on toroids. 😉

So please do some experimentation, before opening that email client and asking for help. This is one practical lesson, we all need to learn for ourselves.

I promise to stop rambling in just a moment. There is just one more thing I want to cover. All of the station grounding tips covered in this article, will also help improve your stations performance. With improved station grounding your noise floor will be reduced, allowing you to decode much further down into the noise. With improved station grounding, your antenna will also perform better. This means you’ll be heard further (or better) and you’ll be able to achive the same results, using less power. Better station grounding at home or in the field, will put more of your signal out of the antenna, than not investing the effort to do it. So please do give it a try.

Julian oh8stn

A Fast Wind Burst & Solar Flux Boost | Space Weather News 02.28.2021

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Why the Capitol Riot Terrified the Elite | James Ketler

Why the Capitol Riot Terrified the Elite | James Ketler: These days, it sure looks like they have them right where they want them. Using the storming of the Capitol Building as a pretext, the media-government alliance has targeted Trump, his supporters, and their fellow travelers harder than ever before.

MELTING BRASS - Step By Step Backyard Metal Casting! Humor & ASMR

Woke Classrooms Show Why US Parents Should Be Free to Choose on Schools | Kerry McDonald

Woke Classrooms Show Why US Parents Should Be Free to Choose on Schools | Kerry McDonald: The new “culturally responsive” teaching standards passed by Illinois legislators are just the latest example of the accelerating trend toward introducing and elevating critical theory ideology throughout US institutions.

Building a MINI VILLAGE | The Cabin (PART 1)

The Narrative, the Coup, and the Bourgeoisie Marxism, innately, requires an oppressor to push back against. With Donald Trump out of office, expect the definition of “oppressor” in America to continue to expand. By Milton Abdiel

The purges began shortly after the revolution. For all its haste and ill-preparedness, the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, led by the perpetually temperamental Vladimir Lenin and fueled by a fierce devotion to Marxism, quickly gave rise to the vast and unimaginably harsh Soviet labor camp system that would come to be known as the “gulag.” As the leader of the newly established Russian Soviet Republic, Lenin wasted no time in ordering the establishment of decrees calling for the severe punishment of anyone deemed a “class enemy” to the new Soviet Republic. 

From the perspective of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, class enemies were those who had opposed the Marxist Bolshevik Revolution and often consisted of individuals the Bolsheviks contemptuously regarded as privileged in their social class. These so-called class enemies, a term which eventually became synonymous with the “bourgeoisie,” ostensibly posed a threat to the proletariat-ruled, Marxist utopia Lenin was promising to the masses. 

Thus, lists were made, and the unfortunate bourgeoisie who found themselves on these lists were stripped of their rights and their property, sent to the gulag, and executed by the millions during Lenin’s purges and Stalin’s Great Terror. To be clear, Lenin’s goal was not to eradicate the bourgeoisie entirely. Rather, he hoped to deconstruct the existing cadre of class enemies via extreme wealth redistribution and ultimately rebuild as the Bourgeoisie 2.0. The Marxists believed their moral superiority bestowed upon them the responsibility to identify and remove privilege from one class while simultaneously shifting privilege to those in the less fortunate classes. 

As author Daniel Orlovsky writes in Russia: A History, “ . . . the ‘exploiters’ were deprived of civil rights and legally classified as the ‘disenfranchised’ (lishentsy). They had no right to work, but could be mobilized for menial labour or public works.” But how, under the bleak rule of Communism, could so many be considered privileged enough to deserve such a fate? The answer of course was that the bourgeoisie nomenclature was inherently vague, by design, and the gulag did not differentiate between its political prisoners of one social class or another. If you were there, you were an enemy of the state.

In her Pulitzer Prize-winning historical account of the Soviet gulag system, author Anne Applebaum writes: 

From the very earliest days of the new Soviet state, in other words, people were to be sentenced not for what they had done, but for who they were.

Unfortunately, nobody ever provided a clear description of what, exactly, a “class enemy” was supposed to look like. As a result, arrests of all sorts increased dramatically in the wake of the Bolshevik coup. From November 1917, revolutionary tribunals, composed of random “supporters” of the Revolution, began convicting random “enemies” of the Revolution. Prison sentences, forced-labor terms, and even capital punishment were arbitrarily meted out to bankers, to merchants’ wives, to “speculators”—meaning anyone engaged in independent economic activity—to former Czarist-era prison warders and to anyone else who seemed suspicious. 

The Bolsheviks did not launch their revolution and plant the initial seeds of communism without help. In fact, several years before the actual revolution, select members of the bourgeoisie and intelligentsia helped to facilitate a cultural revolution of sorts, in which they sought to atone for their sins of privilege by offering enlightenment to the peasantry. The intelligentsia hoped that with enough encouragement, they might convince the peasantry to rise up and revolt against the oppressive Tsarist autocracy. When that failed, the intelligentsia resorted to committing violent acts of terrorism while audaciously purporting to act on behalf of the oppressed peasantry in the late 19th century. In spite of the intelligentsia’s role in facilitating the eventual Bolshevik revolution, their lives were not spared under Lenin and Stalin, as they too could not escape the epithet of “class enemy.”

So goes the history of the Soviet Union, and perhaps, so too will be the future of the United States. 

American Parallels 

Even the most elementary understanding of the aforementioned brutal history of Marxism would require a profound level of willful ignorance to avoid taking note of the similarities between the early days of Communism in Russia and the agenda of the now-mainstream Left in Joe Biden’s America. One can say without hyperbole that cancel culture has been the inevitable precursor to whatever gulag and reeducation camps, both metaphorical and physical, the Biden Administration and CNN have reserved for the MAGA crowd. The self-described antifascists, who ironically remain decidedly fascistic, fancy themselves to be the modern incarnation of the Bolsheviks, with their college professors and establishment political class on the Left and Right acting as the apologetic intelligentsia with the grandiose moral imperative to protect the perceived peasantry of oppressed minorities, oblivious to the bigotry contained within their white saviorhood. 

While the Spanish flu raged across the world in 1918, coinciding coincidentally with Lenin’s destruction of the Russian Empire, Marxism ultimately would prove to be the far more deadly pandemic around the world, resulting in an eventual death toll of an estimated 100 million people in the 20th century alone. These were deaths directly attributable to executions, starvation, and exhaustion from forced labor in Mao’s China, Castro’s Cuba, and Stalin’s USSR, among several other manifestations. 

And yet Black Lives Matter, Antifa, much of academia, and their de facto sponsors within the corporate woke culture of Big Tech all openly endorse Marxism, not to mention the woke political elites on Capitol Hill pushing for Marxist reforms, seemingly as often as possible. If any individuals or groups openly espousing tenets of white supremacy or fascism emerge amongst a crowd of Trump supporters, the crowd is often quick to assume these individuals must be Antifa agitators or FBI plants instituting an entrapment scheme. Why? Because these individuals are outliers. They do not represent the values of mainstream conservative America and Trump supporters. This does not happen on the Left with Marxism. Thanks to an army of liberal arts professors, radical politicians, the Red Army factions of BLM and Antifa, and the messianic overlords of Big Tech, the Overton Window has shifted so dramatically that Marxism has gone mainstream.  

As a minor aside, prominent libertarians have been conspicuously absent from the battle against censorship and cancel culture that has naturally accompanied the rise of Marxism in recent years. When the sanctity of our actual civil rights begins to falter, the folks who have long purported to be most in favor of defending them are nowhere to be found. One can only assume the libertarians are too busy imagining Satoshi Nakamoto origin stories and re-reading The Road to Serfdom to notice the ceiling falling on our crumbling democracy. To quote Alfred from Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” But perhaps when it comes to the libertarians, some men want to pretend that doing nothing stops the world from burning.

While Big Tech and woke corporate America continue the purge of conservatives from social media, airlines, hotels, book publishers, payment processors, etc., the Left dismisses conservative concerns over censorship while simultaneously gleefully engaging in political one-upmanship for accolades over the loudest calls for free speech eradication. Gaslighting aside, Parler ostensibly was shut down by tech monopolies Amazon, Apple, and Google because the free-speech platform provided an outlet for dangerous Trump-supporting extremists to organize and express violent rhetoric. Whether you agree or disagree with the intentions of that motley crew of selfie seeking orderly grandmothers, attention-seeking Viking cosplayers, undercover Marxist agitators, anarchists, trust-the-plan conspiracists, or the remaining incontrovertibly frustrated Trump supporters who rushed the Capitol, the argument that the alleged Trump-supporting “domestic terrorists” should be denied the opportunity to express opinions in order to keep the nation safe is nonsensical and dangerously naïve. 

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

They Know Silencing Won’t Root Out Extremists

If data exist demonstrating a positive correlation between the silencing of Trump supporters online and the reduction in threats posed by domestic terrorism to national security, then American citizens deserve to see this information. They never will, however, because such information does not exist. The fact is, if the law enforcement and intelligence communities truly believed Trump supporters were legitimate domestic terrorists, they would not support silencing them. The open-source intelligence data they can accrue from social media chatter alone is invaluable.

Two of the most high-profile actual domestic terrorism cases in the United States, Timothy McVeigh of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, illustrate the absurdity behind the lie of the necessity for censorship. Timothy McVeigh murdered 168 people on April 19, 1995 using a truck bomb parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Liberals familiar with the Oklahoma City bombing are usually quick to point out that McVeigh was inspired by a racist, white nationalist novel he had read. McVeigh on the other hand, consistently maintained following his arrest and until his execution that the bombing was revenge for atrocities committed by the U.S. government at Ruby Ridge and Waco. 

McVeigh watched these events unfold via live TV coverage and, in the case of the siege at Waco that left 75 dead, from a hilltop three miles away from the Branch Davidian Compound. Following his arrest, McVeigh explained, “What the U.S. government did at Waco and at Ruby Ridge was dirty. And I gave dirty back to them at Oklahoma City.” 

If Twitter had existed in the 1990s, would they have removed any tweets documenting the events at Ruby Ridge and Waco in order to prevent the radicalization of all the Timothy McVeighs out there? Does expanding the definition of domestic terrorism to encompass all Trump supporters or anyone questioning the integrity of our electoral process mean the federal government is more likely to identify actual domestic terrorism threats like McVeigh? 

Considering the FBI’s misconduct in abusing FISA for political motives, why should any American citizen expect the FBI to use these same tools effectively to prevent domestic terrorism? If we eliminate the effectiveness of the FBI’s electronic surveillance operations and we reduce their capability to gather open-source intelligence on these alleged domestic terrorists online, then we are left with an over-reliance on human intelligence sources. Confidential Human Sources in the FBI are only as effective as their handlers, and given the mistrust Americans have for the FBI at the moment and the general problems with reliability inherent to human intelligence operations, America is not safer with the Biden Administration’s irresponsibly wide definition of domestic terrorism and Big Tech’s censorship. This is particularly alarming given how useful the widely viewed death of Ashli Babbitt will be in potentially radicalizing actual lone wolf extremists. 

Ted Kaczynski, the notorious lone wolf domestic terrorist who would come to be known as the Unabomber, was cursed with an intellect far above those of his peers in childhood. As an elementary school student, a school psychologist had administered the Stanford-Binet Intelligence test to Ted, where his incredibly high score was limited only by the uppermost ceiling of the test. Considering the average IQ score for test takers was 100 and Ted scored over four standard deviations above this mean, the results confirmed that Kaczynski was a genius. This superior intellect meant that Ted skipped grades in school, ultimately leading him to graduate from high school at 15 and attend Harvard on a scholarship at age 16. 

Unfortunately for Kaczynski, these remarkable cognitive abilities came at a cost. They overshadowed a significant deficit he maintained in interpersonal abilities. He was an awkward loner as a boy, often bullied by classmates who could not understand his apparent indifference to the usual adolescent interests. His life was a sad tale of loneliness, of a brilliant child whose math skills led to an expedited entrance into adulthood without ever mastering a developmentally appropriate ability to socialize. By the time he was 30 years old, Kaczynski had withdrawn entirely from the world around him, living an isolated life in a remote cabin in Montana. By the age of 36, his bombing campaign began and would last until his arrest at the age of 52. 

Notably, his arrest was only made possible because the Washington Post ceded to his demands they publish his manifesto in 1995, ultimately leading to Ted’s own brother recognizing the style of writing and alerting the authorities to the possibility that Ted Kaczynski was the notorious Unabomber. 

Kaczynski’s manifesto offered an incredible glimpse into the motivations behind his multi-decades long domestic terrorism campaign. Titled, “Industrial Society and Its Future,” Kaczynski spends over 30 pages opining about the role of modern technology in the destruction of civil liberties, the environment, and our ability to engage in healthy human interaction unrestrained from corrosive ideology. In short, the man who spent his life as an isolated and misunderstood loner seemingly launched a decades-long bombing campaign across the United States because he believed modern technology was driving people apart, and his primary demand in exchange for halting his reign of domestic terrorism was to allow his voice to finally be heard via the printing of his manifesto. 

Considering again the Biden Administration and the mainstream media’s attempts to regard Trump supporters as dangerous “domestic terrorists,” thus attempting to align half of the population with actual terrorists such as McVeigh and Kaczynski, would the Washington Post even agree to print a Unabomber-style manifesto in 2021? Discussing the impact of modern technology on personal freedoms in the future, Kaczynski writes in his manifesto: 

Human freedom mostly will have vanished, because individuals and small groups will be impotent vis-a-vis large organizations armed with supertechnology and an arsenal of advanced psychological and biological tools for manipulating human beings, besides instruments of surveillance and physical coercion. 

Ted Kaczynski wrote his manifesto decades before anyone had ever heard of Amazon, or Facebook, or Parler. Ironically the social media apps purportedly designed to bring others together and allow for a more connected world are rapidly denying conservatives the right to participate in that connectivity. Kaczynski no doubt would find the Big Tech monopoly on free speech a confirmation of the very bleak future he posited in predictions throughout his manifesto. 

If the Unabomber’s campaign of domestic terrorism had occurred in 2021, would investigators finally crack the case after discovering a handful of selfies taken by him while he was participating in the storming of the Capitol, along with a trove of Pepe memes on his Parler account? Of course not. The Unabomber was the ultimate lone wolf, the type of terrorist who remains a far greater threat to our nation than roving bands of Trump supporters demanding election audits. The federal government knows this. Big Tech probably knows this as well. 

Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Silencing Dehumanizes, Which Is the Point

The real reason conservatives and libertarians are being censored online, forgetting the drivel of Twitter’s bearded prophet Jack Dorsey, is that removing the voices of conservatives removes their humanity in the process of that censorship. Eliminating free speech for half of the population dehumanizes them to the other half of the population. Social psychologist Stanley Milgram’s famous Obedience to Authority experiments offer some illumination on this point. 

In these classic experiments, Milgram’s study involved an authority figure in a laboratory setting instructing volunteer subjects to administer a series of electric shocks to fellow study participants on the supposed basis of the shock recipients’ response to a learning and memory task. Unbeknownst to the volunteer subject administering the electric shocks, the recipient/victim of these shocks was in fact an actor and the shocks were not real. The experiments examined the extent to which a research subject would inflict pain on another if following orders given by a supposed authority figure, particularly in the absence of any external coercive threats or repercussions in the event the subject chose not to obey. The results of the experiment found that all of the subjects obeyed to the point of believing they were delivering some level of shock to the victim, and two-thirds of the subjects delivered a level of shock that would have resulted in extreme pain and possibly death, had the electric shocks been real.  

There were several variations to this experiment, including one version in which the recipient/victim of the shocks could not be seen or heard by the volunteer subject. In this instance, the volunteer’s obedience to the instructions given by the authority figure increased dramatically. In other words, increasing psychological distance between the person administering the pain and the person experiencing the pain resulted in a greater willingness from the volunteer subject to inflict pain on the other. The distance meant the volunteer could more readily dehumanize the victim, meaning the most salient traits that denote one’s humanity are removed from the purview of a potential aggressor in order to participate in some atrocity without experiencing a debilitating sense of guilt or remorse in the process. 

Further, based on the results of this research, Milgram proposed that the ideology of the authority figure was a crucial factor in the volunteer subjects’ willingness to obey, meaning the authority figure’s insinuation that the pain inflicted upon the victim was necessary for scientific progress and for the good of the victim made the volunteer subject more likely to follow orders. “[I]deological justification,” Milgram writes, “is vital in obtaining willing obedience, for it permits the person to see his behavior as serving a desirable end.”  

For a real-world example of where deference to authority and dehumanization of the other can lead, consider author Christopher Browning’s case study of Reserve Battalion 101 of the German Order Police in Poland during the Holocaust. The reserve police battalion profiled by Browning consisted of ordinary, middle-aged men who were not as heavily indoctrinated by Nazi fanaticism as the SS, but who nevertheless committed profound atrocities due to conformity, obedience to authority, and the dehumanization of their Jewish victims. The battalion was ultimately involved in the shooting deaths of at least 38,000 Jews and the deportation of another 45,000 Jews to the Treblinka extermination camp.

The men of Reserve Battalion 101 likely never imagined themselves capable of participating in such unspeakable horrors prior to the Holocaust, but ideology and obedience can corrupt even the most charitable and compassionate among us. The Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn understood better than most how easily the suppression of free speech and thought can quickly lead to the suppression of free movement and ultimately violence committed by those purporting to act on behalf of some common good. Solzhenitsyn was arrested in the Soviet Union in 1945 for criticizing Joseph Stalin in a personal letter he had written to a friend, resulting in a sentence of eight years in the gulag for his crime. Upon his release, in spite of all efforts in the Soviet Union to silence him, Solzhenitsyn wrote the largely untold truth about the gulag and the history of this oppressive system dating back to the Bolshevik Revolution in his famous book, The Gulag Archipelago. Discussing how readily average human beings can turn on one another when an oppressive system requires it, Solzhenitsyn writes:

The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart…even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains . . . an uprooted small corner of evil.

To be clear, I am by no means suggesting the removal of Parler from the internet is comparable to the mass extermination of Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II or the horrors of the gulag in the Marxist Soviet Union. That would require a dangerous level of disgusting hyperbole monopolized for use by the present-day fanatical Left in America.

It is notable, however, that shortly after President Trump was banned from social media by Big Tech, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki condemned this censorship, stating, “Censorship of free speech, which is the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is now returning in the form of a new, commercial mechanism to combat those who think differently.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel and poisoned Putin critic Alexi Navalny offered their own condemnations as well.

It would seem that those most familiar with the dangerous creep of communism, fascism, and authoritarianism are most apt to warn us when censorship is beginning to run amok in our own nation. Learning from history has never been a particularly strong suit within our polarized democracy, however. 

Ushering In Another Kind of Extremism

In spite of the innumerable examples of Marxism, Communism, and socialism destroying nations and millions of innocent lives, the conglomerate of Big Tech, woke corporate elites, mainstream media, and Marxist foot soldiers have all happily joined together comfortably under the umbrella of the Biden Administration in order engage in what amounts to a replication of the tactics of the Bolshevik Revolution on American soil. For over four years, Trump supporters have faced the wrath of a cancel culture that holds zero regard for due process as long as the army of Bolshevik keyboard warriors can choreograph their mental gymnastics routines well enough to identify and denigrate the alleged privilege held by the suspect in question.

In Biden’s America, the loudest voices lobbing the loudest accusations will be rewarded like never before. The MAGA crowd, and by proxy conservatives and many libertarians, have been deemed racists, Nazis, and now domestic terrorists in order to justify the eradication of diversity in thought and speech. 

As politically moderate Twitter users are gradually exposed to fewer and fewer conservative and libertarian voices online, Washington Post columnists, CNN commentators, and Biden Administration appointees will become the only voices shaping the narrative. Theoretical discussions about compiling lists of Trump supporters to ban from flights and employment will move from casual conversation to actual implementation, as will talk of re-education camps and deprogramming. Why would anyone want to grant domestic terrorists the right to live their lives unabated from public shaming and financial ruin? These domestic terrorists might be your neighbors, your friends, your coworkers, or even your own family. If Parler can be no safe haven for extremists, surely your neighborhood HOA will feel similarly? 

Under the leadership of President Trump, the millions of MAGA supporters, adorned with their red hats and American flag t-shirts, were fairly easy for woke leftists to identify. But Donald Trump is gone now. And Marxism, innately, requires an oppressor to push back against. Just as Lenin and Stalin continued expanding the definition of “bourgeoisie” in order to justify the elimination of detractors, political foes, and anyone privileged enough to disagree with the official Communist Party narrative, so too will the definition of “oppressor” in America continue to expand. The gulag awaits, but there is no solace in the knowledge that a nation under Marxism will reduce us all to the same fate.