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Tags: culture wars

No Time for Right-Wing Whining — To the Online Battle!

Facebook app on a smartphone

Ralph Benko By Tuesday, 07 July 2020 09:30 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

America and the world are beset by a pandemic of unknown origin. Confused authorities and experts issue conflicting and changing directives. We get muddled advice about whether or not to reopen for business. There's tension between measures designed to save people's lives and livelihoods.

Meanwhile, legitimate demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism are commingled with vandalism against monuments, even anarchy. Polarization reaches epic proportions. How bad is it?

A few years ago, writing at Forbes.com, I warned that unless the political class took decisive steps to restore equitable prosperity America faced a 'Little Dark Age.' I recalled "A Saturday Evening Post reporter asked, in 1932, John Maynard Keynes if there had ever been anything like the Great Depression. Keynes replied, 'Yes. It was called the Dark Ages and it lasted 400 years.' While the Great Recession is not so severe as was the Great Depression, it begins to appear that the world is enduring something that could be called 'The Little Dark Age.'"

We no longer face the possibility of the Little Dark Age. We have entered it. Will it be the beginning of a new, long, neo-feudal Dark Ages? Let's saddle up, not whine.

Most know (or should) that July 4th is celebrated as the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Fewer know (but should) that the idealistic legitimacy, and even success, of the American Revolution was set by Thomas Paine. He began with Common Sense and then a series of pamphlets called The Crisis.

The Crisis has Paine at his most memorable:

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

I deplore the emergence of a victim mentality by populist leaders (who style America as victimized by our neighbors, trading partners, allies, and adversaries) and self-styled conservatives. I expect the left to play the victim card. We have long made fun of progressives easily triggered into hysterical reactions. We dismiss these hypersensitive souls as "snowflakes," defined at Wikipedia as implying "overly-emotional, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing opinions."

The emergence on the right of such fragility does not offer a glorious triumph. For instance now, many (by no means all) conservatives claim victimhood at the hands of digital media. Trigger warning! If you look at the companies' standards and practices these by and large are simple good taste and their enforcement generally even-handed. No, not infallibly. Neither, however, are any conservatives I know infallible.

I don't agree with every interpretation by the companies. That said, I will defend to the death a private company's right to decide in good faith what statements are inappropriate, as needed to protect their brands. Nobody forces me to tweet or post on Facebook or search on Google. I do so because I choose to. So what's up with the call for government censorship or breakup of these companies, or, worse, legislation making them liable for posts by their users?

The First Amendment prohibits the Congress (and by extension the States) from "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." What, exactly, do my fellow conservatives find ambiguous about "no law abridging?" When will Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) propound legislation holding Apple, Dell or HP liable for defamatory material typed on their laptops?

Conservatives can and do thrive on social media. We can be fiery so long as we are not bullying. I'm co-proprietor, along with Tea Party progenitor Bill Collier, of the Facebook group The Capitalist League. We have grown this 200-proof conservative group worldwide from fewer than 6,000 to over 100,000 followers in just the past six weeks. We're hard core and Facebook hasn't jailed us. And we're not unique. Heritage Foundation, the Mecca of conservatism, has over 2 million Facebook followers. Judicial Watch, unflinchingly conservative, has over 6 million followers.

Facebook's prohibitions are almost entirely unexceptional and former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl found no evidence of bias. They readily permit people (including hard-right wing nuts like me) to "share diverse views, experiences, ideas and information"... "even if some may disagree or find them objectionable."

Conservatives? Leave the whining to the left! It's time for my fellow members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to become proficient in using social and digital media to advance the conservative cause. Do conservatives encounter an occasional rebuff? (Yes. So, too, does the left.) Oh darn!

Enough with conservative snowflakery! We have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. On to a golden age!

Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $88T. He served as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House, has worked closely with the Congress and two cabinet agencies, and has published over a million words on politics and policy in the mainstream media, as a distinguished professional blogger, and as the author of the internationally award-winning cult classic book "The Websters' Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World." He has served as senior adviser, economics, to APIA as an advocate of the gold standard, senior counselor to the Chamber of Digital Commerce and serves as general counsel to Frax.finance, a stablecoin venture. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.

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Enough with conservative snowflakery!
culture wars
Tuesday, 07 July 2020 09:30 AM
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