The Far-Left Banhammer: A Tactical Analysis
If you’ve ever interacted with a far-leftist – particularly one who wields at least some minor measure of power –, disagreed with their criminally insane designs for countless nonconsenting human beings, and stood your ground, it went one of a few ways:
- If the encounter was in person:
- They made a scene accusing you of being a super-turbo-Nazi.
- They disengaged and spread lies about you to anyone who would listen. (This is called poisoning the well.)
- You were ejected by staff at the far-leftist’s request.
- If the encounter was online:
- You were summarily banned.
Am I wrong? What’s the deal with the far left and the banhammer? Many explanations have been offered.
There are many expanations that make sense, but don’t fully explain the phenomenon:
- The banhammer is a natural expression of their extreme authoritarianism.
- Fragile far-left ideology can’t handle the scrutiny dissidents put it under.
- Jordan Peterson’s extreme agreeableness theory: that people at the positive extreme of agreeableness divide the world into infants to protect and predators to fight off. By dissenting, you have categorized yourself as a predator.
These all explain some aspect of it, but something is missing. If you’ve read old posts on a far-left forum, you’ll have noticed that they celebrate banning people, like it was a victory. But it isn’t a victory: banning a dissident is a tacit concession that one was unable to refute their dissent.
Here, I present what I believe to be a more complete answer.
The Far-Left Banhammer as a Tactic
The banhammer, despite its paleolithic simplicity, is a very potent tactic. Its simplicity, in fact, is an asset: this tactic can be applied far and wide by even the most idiotic of useful idiots. Its potency, besides the obvious, will be made clear by its subtler effect.
The Effects of the Far-Left Banhammer
The primary effect is obvious: dissidents are removed in as undignified a manner as possible. This not only serves as a reminder that the space is dominated by the far left, it also shows everyone what happens to those who stray from the line. This is the aspect that the authoritarian explanation focuses on.
There is a subtler effect, though: why is there only ever one dissident? How is there never a group of dissidents supporting each other? Well, if every dissident gets banned the moment he is noticed, then there will never form a group of them. Moreover, every time they ban one, that person’s recollection is that he was the only dissident against group of far-leftists. This demoralizing effect accumulates over time, creating a familiar effect.
Have you ever known someone through work or a non-political social group, and later identified each other as fellow conservatives or libertarians? Do you recall that moment of surprise? One of you might have even said, “I thought I was the only one!” This is the demoralizing effect of the far-left banhammer. While they speak openly of their murderous ideologies, we keep quiet, hiding even from those sympathetic to us.
So, I put forward that when leftists celebrate banning someone, it is this subtle effect that they are truly celebrating. One more demoralized, reduced to thinking he’s alone and has to hide his thoughts.
The Non-Left Open Door
Outside the left, most spaces try to be neutral. This means that all are welcome, and, fingers crossed, the leftists won’t bring their politics in and destroy this neutrality. Unsurprisingly, this fails miserably, and these allegedly neutral spaces are generally leftist spaces now.
How does this happen? Enter O’Sullivan’s First Law.
All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing. –John O’Sullivan
While Mr. O’Sullivan explains to us the result, our analysis of the far left banhammer explains how it happens. Whereas far-left groups uniformly banhammer lone dissidents, also demoralizing them into hiding, most centrist and rightist groups do not.
So, what happens in rightist spaces? Let’s start with a space consisting only of rightists. A lone leftist enters. He is not banned for his dissent because he did not commit a bannable offense. More leftists enter; some are banned for committing bannable offenses, but this is nowhere near 100% because mere dissent is not a bannable offense.
Now there isn’t just a lone leftist or a handful of leftists, a leftist caucus has formed. They present a united front against the rightists, who do not do the same. Leftists join the staff. The staff sides with leftists whenever the opportunity arises… leftists become a majority… and it’s now a leftist space. The rightists are all banned for wrongthink, and the organization they built is now in the hands of leftists.
The open-door policy cannot work; neutrality cannot enforce itself, and a political space that does not enforce its politics will be subverted. But we don’t want to become mustachioed banhammer-happy totalitarians, either. Moreover, non-political groups are not supposed to have any politics to enforce. So how do we do it?
You’ve got to codify you principles, then make it a bannable offense to push any ideology that rejects those principles. This works best with principles that form the bedrock of civilization. For an example, follow the link in in the final paragraph.
For non-political groups, it’s even easier: identify the principles that, if not respected, your group or its raison d’etre cannot exist. For example, if you are an industry group, chances are strong that the very existence of your industry rests on the foundation of property rights. Count that as one of your principles, and you’ll have a rule you can enforce to defend your group against Marxists.
I have set out to do just this for Matrix (Riot.im) libertarians. The 76th Helicopter Squadron is a community for libertarians who will not be subverted. If you or a libertarian you know use Matrix, get your public rooms added to this community to let the far left know you won’t be subverted!