The Neoliberal War on Dissent in the West

When it comes to distant and adversarial countries, we are taught to recognize tyranny through the use of telltale tactics of repression. Dissent from orthodoxies is censored. Protests against the state are outlawed. Dissenters are harshly punished with no due process. Long prison terms are doled out for political transgressions rather than crimes of violence. Journalists are treated as criminals and spies. Opposition to the policies of political leaders are recast as crimes against the state.

When a government that is adverse to the West engages in such conduct, it is not just easy but obligatory to malign it as despotic. Thus can one find, on a virtually daily basis, articles in the Western press citing the government’s use of those tactics in Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela and whatever other countries the West has an interest in disparaging (articles about identical tactics from regimes supported by the West — from Riyadh to Cairo — are much rarer). That the use of these repressive tactics render these countries and their populations subject to autocratic regimes is considered undebatable.

But when these weapons are wielded by Western governments, the precise opposite framework is imposed: describing them as despotic is no longer obligatory but virtually prohibited. That tyranny exists only in Western adversaries but never in the West itself is treated as a permanent axiom of international affairs, as if Western democracies are divinely shielded from the temptations of genuine repression. Indeed, to suggest that a Western democracy has descended to the same level of authoritarian repression as the West’s official enemies is to assert a proposition deemed intrinsically absurd or even vaguely treasonous.

The implicit guarantor of this comforting framework is democracy. Western countries, according to this mythology, can never be as repressive as their enemies because Western governments are at least elected democratically. This assurance, superficially appealing though it may be, completely collapses with the slightest critical scrutiny. The premise of the U.S. Constitution and others like it is that majoritarian despotism is dangerous in the extreme; the Bill of Rights consists of little more than limitations imposed on the tyrannical measures majorities might seek to democratically enact (the expression of ideas cannot be criminalized even if majorities want them to be; religious freedom cannot be abolished even if large majorities demand it; life and liberty cannot be deprived without due process even if nine of out ten citizens favor doing so, etc.). More inconveniently still, many of the foreign leaders we are instructed to view as despots are popular or even every bit as democratically elected as our own beloved freedom-safeguarding officials.

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Graphika: The Deep State’s Beard for Controlling the Information Age

Graphika is the toast of the town. The private social-media and tech-intelligence agency that tracks down bots and exposes foreign influence operations online is constantly quoted, referenced and profiled in the nation’s most important outlets. For example, in 2020, The New York Times published a fawning profile of the company’s head of investigations, Ben Nimmo. “He Combs the Web for Russian Bots. That Makes Him a Target,” ran its headline, the article presenting him as a crusader risking his life to keep our internet safe and free. Last year, business magazine Fast Company labeled Graphika as among the 10 most innovative companies in the world.

There is no doubt that Graphika leans into this cool and dynamic corporate image. From its beginnings in 2013, the company has expanded to employ dozens of people at its trendy Manhattan office. Describing themselves as “cartographers of the internet age,” the company puts out investigation after investigation about foreign influence operations online, especially concentrating on RussianChinese or Iranian attempts to manipulate social media. A layperson could certainly be blinded by its science and impressed by the complex and innovative graphs and charts. Yet when it comes to similar but far larger U.S. government programs, the intelligence and analysis agency is silent.

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Portland State University Professor Resigns, Says School Is a ‘Social Justice Factory’

Portland State University professor Peter Boghossian said he’s resigned from his position in an open letter and accused the college administration of creating an environment that imperils dissent.

“I never once believed—nor do I now—that the purpose of instruction was to lead my students to a particular conclusion,” Boghossian, a philosophy professor, wrote in the letter. “Rather, I sought to create the conditions for rigorous thought; to help them gain the tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions. This is why I became a teacher and why I love teaching.”

But over time, he argued, Portland State University—a publicly-funded college—made “intellectual exploration impossible” and has transformed itself into a “social justice factory” with a primary focus on race, victimhood, and gender.

“Students at Portland State are not being taught to think. Rather, they are being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues,” said the letter, which was published on Bari Weiss’s Substack page. Weiss herself previously worked for the New York Times until 2020 when she resigned, accusing her Times colleagues of bullying, and argued that the paper capitulated to Twitter-based pressure campaigns.

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Police Question Man at His Home For Legal Email He Sent Critical of Gov’t

Last year, after the killing of George Floyd, protests erupted across the country. One such protest took place in Manassas, Virginia and subsequently turned violent, sparking a secret meeting among several Prince William County board members and then-chief of police for Prince Williams Barry Barnard.

The secret meeting was not open to the public which spawned a subsequent lawsuit against the board, claiming that the supervisors violated the Virginia Freedom of Information Act by attending a forum organized by the police chief and refused to allow the public to attend.

The lawsuit was supported by many members of the community, who subsequently raised nearly $25,000 for legal fees. Though the lawsuit was ended in May of this year, according to those close to the plaintiffs, the harassment for seeking government accountability did not end.

Alan Gloss was one of the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit last year, who is reportedly a target of said harassment as he has been outspoken in holding his local government accountable. In fact, the harassment was captured during a meeting in July when the board’s Chair At-large Ann Wheeler was caught on a hot mic saying, “what are you going to do about Alan Gloss?”

This statement garnered the attention of another concerned citizen, who decided to email the board and tell them that it was not okay to target citizens in this way. In the unnamed man’s email, he wrote:

“What about you going to do about Alan Gloss?” The smart answer to that is “nothing.” If anything happens to him, you will face even more investigation and scrutiny than has already been revealed.

According to the Potomac Local News, that unnamed man also criticized a number of other government policies and moves in his email.

The writer also criticized Wheeler for comments earlier this year at those who opposed a new housing development on 340 acres of land in the county’s rural area, noting they created “manufactured outrage” in their opposition to the project.

The author also called out a newly proposed equity and inclusion policy, initiated by the current Board, that would create diversity and equity teams at every county government level to ensure the new equity policy is enforced. The policy is still under review by county officials.

“The feedback deadline [for the proposed policy] had to be extended, presumably so you can get more positive feedback,” the author writes. The author also urges the Board of County Supervisors to censure Wheeler and Potomac District Supervisor Andrea Bailey “for their disdain for citizens.”

Exactly none of the words in the email were threatening or otherwise unlawful but this did not stop the board members from siccing the police on the man for his free speech. Because the email had a subject line of “Government Target” — in reference to government targeting Alan Gloss as recorded on the hot mic — board members claimed this was a threat.

This week, body camera footage of the interaction between the officer and the unnamed man was released, showing the power of government to attempt to silence or threaten their critics.

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A Who’s Who Of Left-Wing Hacks: Behind The Aspen Institute’s Upcoming Report On Silencing Dissent

Most people haven’t heard of the Aspen Institute. Others maybe recall some mention of their annual Aspen Ideas Festival. A few more might somewhat remember a minor political dust-up from 2020 when Michael Bloomberg, who was blowing money on a doomed bid for president at the time, had to grovel and beg forgiveness for simply stating the facts on crime at an Aspen conference five years prior.

The “festival,” which The Economist called a “mountain retreat for the liberal elite” and “a corporate Never-Never Land,” refused to release the video; it’s a safe space for the right types of people, and liberal billionaire technocrats are precisely the right type of people.

And you better believe “the right types of people” are sitting on the institute’s Commission on Information Disorder. Behind the psychiatric name, the commission is a group of liberal activists, donors, journalists and tech executives, a disgraced foreign royal, and even a corporate “senior vice president of social impact,” who must be in charge of all the junior corporate vice presidents for diversity. For the past six months, this liberal Dream Team has been hard at work on their big report to help the federal government work with corporations to squash news they call “disinformation.”

So what will this “disinformation” be? A look at the commissioners hints strongly that it will be you, me, and anyone else who disagrees with Katie Couric and her left-wing friends.

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