Angry Words From Conservatives On The Internet

If you’re a conservative, read this. There’s a bit specifically for you.

Summary of the Situation

My opinion about the Sad/Rabid Puppies, GamerGate, etc is … not a secret. But I’ve not been paying attention to what those loose collection of right-wing fools have been doing for a few years for my own reasons. Largely because my own personal financial difficulty led to the failure of my publishing endeavor [1].

Jason Sanford, who I will definitely attest is A Good Guy – better than myself, I think – has, on our behalf. He posted an investigative report showing – with quite a bit of evidence – that Baen Book’s official, moderated forums are/were being used to advocate for right-wing political violence. [2] [3]

And as a result, he is being harassed and receiving death threats. A summary of that can be found at File 770. [4]

This… isn’t surprising. It is typical for these folks – and, interestingly, narcissists – to immediately play the victim and blame the person who points out the bad behavior rather than examine why their actions and words are upsetting others.

Why This Is Important For Online Communities

FOSTA-SESTA. While that law is supposed to be about sex trafficking, these laws are written so that online platforms are responsible for the content posted by users.[5] That’s why Parler got shut down so quickly, and is probably a large part of why Baen’s Bar got shut down. I strongly doubt that a publishing company wanted to be legally liable for advocating violence.

This also means that if you host an online community – no matter how smallYOU ARE PERSONALLY AND LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING YOUR USERS POST.

Have a small online forum? A BBS (yes, they still exist, and are actually having a small revival)? Anything where others can leave a message? YOU ARE PERSONALLY AND LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING YOUR USERS POST.

At best, you’re running the risk that your platform will get shut down by either your hosting company or the law if your users advocate illegal action. Like, say, storming the Capitol.

That isn’t “cancel culture”. That’s the law, signed by one Donald J. Trump.

How To Take Action

I would urge you to support Jason’s Patreon [6] at any level you can. Even if you’ve never heard of him before, he does good work covering things happening in genre fiction, including shining a light on extremism hiding there. – and has been doing so for years. [7] This kind of support is really valuable – even if it’s at the $1 level – because it lets the person bearing the brunt of the backlash know that what they’re doing is valued and supported.

Secondly – and this is the part conservatives tired of being called “bigots” or “racists” or “extremists” should pay special attention to – you can stop letting others do this shit and dominating the conversation.

These people – whether you’re talking about the seditionists who stormed the Capitol, the racist and bigoted statements by politicians, or even something as minor as Ted Cruz flying to Cancun (and leaving his dog alone at home to freeze with his constituents) – are the vocal voice that are defining what “conservative” and “Republican” mean in this country.

Because those of you who are more reasonable are not telling them to shut up.

Look at this picture.

1936: A sole dissenter refuses to do the Nazi salute at a Party rally.

Right now, conservatives – and the Republican party most definitely have a seat at the table for bigots, extremists, and racists. What voices denounced the violence on 6 Jan 2021 were pretty damn quiet just a few weeks later – I can only guess because they chose party over principle.

I urge you to be better than that.

Regardless of your political views.

Because it doesn’t matter how often you say “I’m not like that” if you’re silent when those claiming to represent you and your interests are so very, very loud.

A protester holding a sign saying "Silence = Violence"

[1] Just making sure that’s up front so they don’t try to use that to discredit the rest of what I’m saying – and yes, they’ve already tried doing that towards Jason, calling him a “nobody” and claiming that having a day job doesn’t make him a real author. See the File 770 summary for receipts.

[2] If that link doesn’t show up for you (because you’re reading this on Amazon, Goodreads, or Facebook), it’s https://www.patreon.com/posts/47582408 . I’ll be doing this for all links in this post.

[3] Good additional reading from Cat Rambo at http://www.kittywumpus.net/blog/2021/02/18/opinion-on-baen-books-moderating-discussion-boards-political-expression

[4] http://file770.com/baen-strikes-back-sanford-under-growing-storm-of-harassment/comment-page-1/

[5] https://www.dailydot.com/debug/what-is-sesta-fosta-bill/

[6] https://www.patreon.com/jasonsanford

[7] https://www.jasonsanford.com/blog/2015/4/when-science-fiction-authors-are-no-longer-grounded-in-reality

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