Hey everyone, today’s video is going to be a little different. A bit of a ramble maybe, even. But first I have to get a bunch of disclaimers out of the way. Most things I say in this video are going to be based on personal experience for a change and I’m not necessarily in any way representative of a broader experience of people getting invested in political Youtube. Also when talking about this niche of Youtube you are destined to make generalizations since no two content creators are really the same. So that said, what is today’s video about? Well, I get a lot of people coming forward to me telling me how they used to watch various anti-SJW Youtubers and used to buy into this worldview of, say, SJWs and feminism being this huge problem, and who are also very ashamed of their former beliefs. And I’ll also talk about this report recently released by Data & Society. And regarding our first topic, I always respond with saying there is really no reason to feel a sense of shame or embarrassment because you used to hold a set of beliefs you now deem unsubstantiated. And here’s why: I, and I’m sure many others got introduced to Political Youtube about two-to-three years ago, without even intending to. Maybe you’re just looking for some tips regarding a hobby of yours – and out of the blue you see a recommended video in the corner of the screen that’s titled, let’s say: “Why People Hate Feminism Part 12” Now, you may not be on the Right, or conservative at all. Maybe you’re kind of Center-Left because that’s pretty much the default of where you live. But the image the word “feminism” conjurs up in your head is Women complaining who don’t really have a reason to… or that it’s just about hating men. So, out of curiosity, you click the video and find out that your previous assumption was not only correct but that it even goes farther than that- with intersectional social justice warriors holding various positions of power and supposedly seeing everything through an “Oppressor VS. Oppressed” mindset. So you continue to watch hours of content like this and find other creators who talk about these topics through Youtube’s Recommended feature or collaborations between different channels. And at first, it feels pretty good. It seems like you discovered this entire new spectrum of content that’s not only informative, but also really entertaining. with different creators bringing their own personalities to the table. You learn about new viewpoints you previously weren’t exposed to, and also have the ability to exchange your thoughts with a giant group of people through the comments section, or subreddits. It’s like you stumbled into a big community that values the same things you do: free speech, common sense, and putting facts over emotions. It might even give you a boost in confidence seeing how laughable the opposition is and how embarassing they behave. Instead of checking out new Netflix series for entertainment, you watch Can’t Stop Milo on Youtube and don’t even have to select a new video once one is over, since the autoplay feature just serves you more of what you enjoy. Then you might see this clip of Real Time with Bill Maher where Ben Affleck calls a guy named Sam Harris a racist for seemingly just making rational arguments against the downsides of Islam. By that point in time, you know that when someone calls pretty much anything “racist” these days… They really don’t have an argument, and that’s why they resort to this kind of stuff. Not you though! You’re all about being rational… no matter how controversial the topic at hand is. You’re going to check out more of Sam Harris and maybe even buy a book of his. You get to learn about this video… and this video… and this video- and many, many more. Over time you see that this stuff you laughed at in Cringe Compilations is actually a phenomenon much more represented in mainstream culture than you would have thought at first. The Left seems to have rejected the notion of being Pro-Worker and traded it in for identity politics and virtue signaling. Which puts you somewhat on the same side as someone like Ben Shapiro The more you learn from all these new people you discover, the better you feel about your new political identity. People like Dave Rubin who seemingly had the same political awakening as you reaffirm that this is really the way things are. The uncomplicated answers these people deliver to societal problems which previously seemed impenetrable to you don’t only sound agreeable, but are complimentary. When Ben Shapiro says the 3 things you have to do to not screw up your life are: finish school, get a job, and not have kids out of wedlock it feels good. You already managed to do all of this stuff, or you’re in the process of doing so. And while you continue to take part int he discussion around feminism, Islam, and political correctness… There’s a set of beliefs that you acquire: like “Black Lives Matter” is a regressive movement, or that the Anti-Fascists are the real Fascists, or that Feminism in the Western World is an antiquated idea. Over time, the scale of this “Culture War” gets broadened even further, and things like Cultural Marxism, Post-Modernism, and the likes make their way into the discussion. A Professor comes forward who seems to confirm everything that the people you have been listening to already say. And maybe it stops for you there. Or maybe it doesn’t, and you go on to learn about things like “The Great Replacement” and other Far-Right talking points. Now, what’s my problem with all of this? Well, it doesn’t have to be a problem at all, since what I described doesn’t have to be the case for everyone. In my time on Youtube, though, I have seen a fair share of people get sucked into this Anti-SJW Vortex – and who come out the other side as just another reactionary. That’s not to say that every Anti-SJW Youtuber that ever existed is a reactionary, though. They may be Liberals or even Leftists for all I know. What is key here is the mindset that consumption of this content over a long period of time puts you in. Let’s pick the biggest in the bunch: supposedly Center Left Youtuber, “Sargon of Akkad”, as an example. What are some opinions you learn when consuming his vast amount of work? To only name a few examples: The EU sucks, Feminism sucks, Brexit is good, Trump is good because he makes the left mad, that Merkel invited millons of migrants because Germans still feel guilty for the holocaust, and that Black people in the US are in a bad position due to broken families, which stems out of the introduction of the welfare state. Now, Carl might be Center-Left in his heart – I have no idea. But the positions he mostly advocates for and passes onto his viewership are the ones of a conservative talk-radio host, with the occasional Far-Right conspiracy theory woven in. I would say the boom of this kind of anti-feminist, ant-sjw content happened right up until the election of Donald Trump, but I may be in the wrong there, since I joined the party a bit late. What makes the spiral i described so seductive, in my opinion, is that the people you are getting your politics from are very different than, let’s say, a newspaper, or the radio. The people on your computer screen are Average Joes – often broadcasting from their own homes and who are accountable only to you and the rest of their fanbase. It’s a much more intimate and direct interaction than watching your average political commentator on evening TV. This kind of interaction makes it much easier to develop a parasocial relationship with the people you’re getting your worldview from. “Parasocial”, meaning a one-sided bond with a media figure, or in this case, Youtube figure. And here’s where the heart of the problem lies, in my opinion: as you substitute more and more of your media diet with videos talking about how the SJWs ruin everything, you’re becoming part of this hivemind of people viewing politics through the lense of what they watch on Youtube every day. You’re taking on the “Anti-SJW”identity. To you, it’s a community of rational truth-tellers that don’t shy away from discourse, and is also often the underdog against things like the mainstream media. To me, there is really no other connection between the various Anti-SJW Youtubers or Skeptic Youtubers, or whatever you want to call it, other than that they are against the nebulous concept of the sjw. Media scholar Daniel Kreiss , in the book “Trump and the Media”, in the chapter “The Media are About Identity, Not Information”, writes about this in the context of the 2016 presidential election. “For over 60 years, political scientists and political communication scholars have consistently found that citizens know, and often care little about politics. Citizens have little in the way of developed ideological frameworks for understanding politics or consistent policy preferences.” They vote based on their social identities, or how they perceive themselves and others, their partisan identities, and their sense of the groups they believe the two political parties represent. Politics, then, is primarily an identity-based phenomenon. One way of thinking about it is akin to sports fandom, albeit with much higher stakes. Citizens want their partisan and social group teams to be the “winners”, and the other teams to be the “losers”. The political ideologies or policies at stake are largely unimportant for most Americans compared with the success of the teams they affiliate with. Now, to me, this is exactly what the Anti-SJW community was about in the time period I described earlier. An example of this was the content released after the election of Donald Trump. It wasn’t about how shitty it is that a conservative is now president, or how good it is that Donald Trump got elected so that he can he can finally get rid of the ACA, or DACA or any other policy position. It was about how mad “The Others” were, its not really about policy or even politics as a whole. You can also see this play out when someone goes against the grain, like when anti-SJW Youtuber Thunderf00t made a series of videos about Brexit in which he espoused his opposition to it. It’s not like part of his audience carefully weighed all of Thunderf00ts points and voiced concerns about how his points are wrong in the comments section. It’s limited to mass dislikes and political quips, mostly. Because he went against the anti-sjw dogma that part of his audience adheres to. There is no real political discussion going on here. The problem is that these creators are caught between being entertainers and political commentators. You might watch the “Social Justice the Musical” video because it’s funny and very competently made, and very competently made, but it also delivers a very clear political agenda. And that’s usually the problem with this kind of content. You come for the laughs and the entertainment, but what sticks in your head isn’t necessarily a pro-right agenda – but an anti-left one. Of course, this isn’t just true for Youtube. It’s a general political phenomenon. Where it gets even more worrisome, though, is when this kind of anti-SJW politics is sold as an alternative to the mainstream media. I’ll bet most of you remember when in February 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported on PewDiePie’s ironic antisemitism. Now, of course you can take issue with how the newspaper reported the story, But I remember very vividly how this was framed as an attack on alternative media because traditional media outlets can’t keep up with “people in their bedrooms.” That’s not my phrasing, by the way. That’s taken from one of the videos. I personally always found that quite silly, to be honest. 60% of the readership of the Wall Street Journal belongs to the upper management, are over 55 years old, and have an average net worth of over 2.1 Million dollars. It’s very hard to imagine, for me, that someone would cancel his Wall Street Journal Online access (which costs 75 dollars a year), To substitute it with watching PewDiePie videos, or listen to some dude talk about how SJWs ruined the Ghostbusters reboot. And that’s a good thing. Someone who limits his political diet to anti-SJW content will pretty soon start seeing the regressive left behind every street corner, while being blinded to the truly worrisome political developments in the real world. A good example of a person like this is displayed by the earlier-mentioned Sargon of Akkad in his recent debate with Richard Carrier. To be fair, though, Carl has expressed regret over how he handled the debate and ultimately made himself look stupid, because the person he was debating wasn’t the kind of person he imagines in his head an SJW to be, and which he sells his audience. Seems a bit like Carl and like-minded folks mention the majority of social justice advocates like this: “Yeah!” “This person just sexually harrassed me!” [MAN] “I said I’m humongous!” [woman filming] Yeah, that’s right! Humongous what?!
[MAN] Just humongous! [woman filming] Oh, oh, oh, so now you’re actually pointing to yourself? You’re actually pointing to your body parts, and saying that you’re humongous. You’re actually doing that! Looking at the current political landscape, though, where are all those people? Oh, right. There was this DNC candidate in January 2017, whose name you probably never heard of, who said “white people should shut up.” Well, I guess then it’s all true. Pack your bags, Marxist college professors wanting to subvert western civilization. You’ve been caught. Jokes aside, I can’t help but see the resemblance to a crowd of people who just bought into a massive conspiracy theory. And this goes hand-in-hand with other conspiracy theories. Be it cultural marxists wanting to destroy western civilization, intersectionality being a weapon of the Post-Modernists, or that people will be jailed for accidentally misgendering someone under Canada’s Bill C16. Not that there aren’t crazy people on the left side of the spectrum, But I fail to see how this minority justifies this laser-focus and massive outrage. And I don’t think I’m the only one noticing this. Because one criticism that frequently is brought forward towards these anti-sjw creators… is their selective outrage. Why do you go nuclear on a stupid MTV video, or a Buzzfeed article, but fail to criticize actual legislation that has a real effect on people’s lives, brought forward by the right? How can you be so principled on free speech, but also like or at least not criticize Donald Trump, who repeatedly shows his disdain for it? In my opinion, the answer to that is partially what I said earlier – about it not really being about politics – but also that being, or selling reactionary positions, is not a real ideology on its own. There are no political principles behind laughing at college students freaking out, or endlessly talking about a charicature of social justice advocacy. To be fair, though, this whole thing isn’t solely the fault of the individual creators, but also partially because of how Youtube’s algorithm works, and the nature of the medium. Once you have acquired a certain audience, this kind of thing is what they expect from you. Failing to deliver on that might even make you lose a significant part of your income. I’m sure a good portion don’t have sinister motives behind their content, or just somehow stumbled into this. But I’m not completely gonna miss out on some judgement in this video, and this is where we get to this report, Which was recently released by Data & Society, called “Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on Youtube” by Rebecca Lewis. The argument the report puts forward is that there is a web of conservative to far-right personalities on Youtube who frequently collaborate, or appear side-by-side. The report claims that these reactionary Youtubers demonize and discredit orthodox worldviews and the mainstream media, which they sometimes follow up with introducing their viewership to alternative worldviews like White Nationalism, which their audience is now more likely to be succeptible to because of the previous damage done by this group of reactionary Youtubers. It does not claim that everyone in this web is far-right. It claims the nature of these connections is largely irrelevant, because this group of Youtubers has already set their audience up to embrace unorthodox worldviews. Now, do I actually think this report delivers enough evidence for this claim to ring true? No, I don’t think so – and I wouldn’t cite it trying to prove a point. I have some issues with the methodology and the presented sample sizes. That doesn’t mean that the phenomenon, described in the report as radicalization, doesn’t exist… but in my experience, it works a little different. This dogmatic anti-leftism sets you up to be more susceptible to right-wing talking points, partially because your image of the left stems out of a caricature sold by Anti-SJW Youtubers. Repeating far-right conspiracy theories like Cultural Marxism, that Heather Heyer died of a heart attack, or that Ireland plans to import 1 million Middle-Easterners, also probably plays a significant role. The reason I bring up this report is twofold: mainly I wanted as much people as possible from the earlier described viewer base to watch this video, so I made it look like I would endorse this flawed report, which they then could hold over my head. Pulled a little sneaky one on you there, but I’m sure there will be another opportunity in the near future for you folks. The second reason is that the main chunk of people named in this report who actually made a response to it even failed to criticize the primary claim of this flawed report. They just can’t help themselves not to instantly jump into the victimizing loop of “help, I’m being smeared as far-right”, when the report never made that assessment. If they even read the conclusion, that is. Because most of them don’t even seem to have read the entire report. One of the biggest connectors in this web, Sargon of Akkad, made a short video titled “The Progressive Attack on the Youtube Political Sphere” in which he goes over a Guardian article, and states at the end that he will do a live stream going through the report in detail. [Sargon] I’ll leave a link in the description or in the comments to a video that i’m going through on my live-stream channel where I actually go through the entire report, line by line. And we’ll see exactly what it is they think, exactly how they’re misrepresenting us, and exactly what they think needs to be done. True to his reputation though, it seems like in the meantime he saw that the report is over 60 pages long, and that’s a bit much to read, isn’t it? So during his 2-hour livestream, he went through the report and stopped at page 14. [Sargon] Right, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to to go on with this. so we’re basically at the end of this part… uhm… but yeah, I mean, I think we can see where this is going by now. A Youtuber called “Some Black Guy” doesn’t even read the report, but only skims through the article mentioning it. “Styxhexenhammer666” and “Computing Forever” also completely missed the point the report is trying to make. Why are you folks always so lazy? And none of the people mentioned, with the exception of Tim Pool even tred to counter the claim that what the report calls the “Alternative Influence Network” serves as a pipeline from laughing at SJWs to repeating far-right talking points. Now, as I said in the beginning, this is only based on my personal observations – so take that as you will. But, in my view, this pipeline is very real. We can even look at some creators and how they moved further and further to the right For instance, Lauren Southern, who started off doing publicity stunts for The Rebel, who went on trying to stop boats in the Mediterranean setting sail to save possibly drowning refugees. Or, the previously mentioned Computing Forever. Initially just a channel about tech and mocking SJWs, which quickly spiraled into everything being a marxist conspiracy. Now let’s jump to a video of his uploaded in late September, 2018. This is what happens when a society no longer values logic and reason, and instead prioritizes emotionally unhinged and irrational arguments and self-entitlement. The Great Replacement is taking place across Europe, through mass immigration and the fertility rates of immigrants are far higher than ours. Once abortion is paid for through our taxes, there will be no financial barriers to getting an abortion, because *we* will all have to pay for them, obviously. It seems like logic, reason, and rationality don’t apply when it comes to far-right propaganda. But, wait. There’s more. You know, it’s almost like this was all by design. Hmmm… Anyway, this is certainly some food for thought for a lot of people. What’s the matter, Dave? Why so politically correct all of a sudden? Please, tell me. Who designed the currently-taking-place Great Replacement? Was it the Jews? Was it Kalergi? Was it the EU? Please, don’t shy away from discussing your ideas in detail, even if they might be offensive to some people. The previous statement also goes very well together with the video Computing Forever made regarding the Data&Society report. “They function as political influencers who adopt the techniques of brand influencers to build audiences and sell them on far-right ideology.” Examples, please? Nothing! Alright? I have never promoted anything far-right, ever. And I can speak for myself! Didn’t take long to prove that one right. Anyway, one more thing I want to talk about that came up in the context of the Data&Society report is the grouping of these creators. While I consider this web flawed and unconclusive, It’s not like there isn’t a point in claiming a connection between two Youtubers can serve right-wing radicalization. As an example: if you uncritically associate with or amplify someone who is obviously a far-right demagogue, like Lauren Southern or Stefan Molyneux, you are lending them some of the trust that your audience has built up to you. Why do you think an organization like Scientology is so eager to recruit famous actors who are well-known? It’s because they can get in on the relationship between Tom Cruise and his fans. So, if part of your audience jumps from laughing at feminism to believing in The Great Replacement, because of one of your associations, You are partially on the hook for that. And no amount of screaming “guilt by association” is gonna make that fact not true. Okay, so, where do we go from here? It seems like the golden days of anti-sjws are coming to an end. Well, I actually don’t know how it’s gonna play out. That’s a question for someone who has been doing this longer than me, and I’m sure this person could also address various factors I left out, like GamerGate and such. I never went nearly as far as I described earlier down the Anti-SJW Vortex, but that may have just been pure luck. One day I was working on something, with Youtube running in the background, and after about half an hour, I checked what it actually was that was running in the background while I wasn’t paying attention. Youtube’s algorithm, together, with the auto-play feature, had lead me to a compilation of Black Lives Matter protestors being run over by cars. And that led me to evaluate what kind of content I was watching, and how it might influence my political opinions – and if they hold any water. And to those who weren’t as fortunate as me: There’s really no reason to feel ashamed for buying into the whole anti-SJW thing in the past. The people who further this kind of stuff to the point of a conspiratorial worldview are the ones embarassing themselves. And, that’s it for today, folks. I felt like doing a shorter video this month, since my last one got way longer than it should have been. Thank you to my lovely patrons for allowing me to make more videos, and to all of you for watching this one. You can catch me on twitter and instagram if you have any questions, or on Patreon if you would like to support the channel. If you find the concept of Parasocial relationships interesting, there are various articles online about it, and also a couple Youtube videos by Shannon Strucci, which are definitely worth your time. I hope all of you have a spooky Halloween – and to see you the next time.