YouTube has launched an Orwellian program for users to “moderate content.” For “YouTube Heroes,” volunteer contributors concerned about trollish or inappropriate content—or really anything they don’t like—can connect with other “heroes” to get “deplorable” videos shut down. The premise is that YouTube should be a place where everyone feels comfortable because “you deserve a place you call home.”
Really? Is YouTube a safe space comparable to hanging out in your bedroom with a bunch of friends, or is it supposed to be a place where ideas are freely shared, even those we find offensive? Evidently not the latter.
Watch the introductory video for YouTube Heroes. It’s downright creepy.
That’s right, folks. You can become a self-proclaimed “hero” by deleting comments you don’t like, adding captions or subtitles to videos, accessing a so-called “hero dashboard,” receiving more intensive “training” with other heroes, getting “super tools” like mass-flagging videos and connecting with the YouTube Overlords directly, and accessing “hero perks” and privileges like getting sneak peeks into new products and testing new features before release.
The more these online agents report undesirables, the more points they earn. After all, as the #YTHeroes tagline says, “All heroes deserve a little glory.”
Actually, People Don’t Like Speech Police
Sounds cool, right? Kinda reminds me of Hitler’s Youth program. It’s always a favorite tactic of totalitarians to enlist impressionable do-gooders—who are often really bitter malcontents who simply want revenge on their social, economic, or moral betters—to become deputies to the statist elites.
Think of Draco Malfoy in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” joining Delores Umbridge’s Inquisitorial Squad, which rewarded students for spying and reporting on anyone who dared to violate one of the High Inquisitor’s tyrannical decrees. It took fearless pranksters like Fred and George Weasley to challenge her authority and incite an uprising that would drive the statists from power. That’s exactly what’s happening across the Internet as rebels refuse to comply.
The program has been universally panned. Just look at the likes compared to dislikes. Last time I looked it was 751,000 thumbs down to 21,000 thumbs up. That’s good news for liberty. Counter videos condemning the “heroic” program have been unleashed in huge numbers as people across the Internet refuse to let social justice warriors shut them down.
One of the most recent targets of YouTube’s Inquisitorial Squad is Paul Joseph Watson and his video blog rant on the Charlotte riots. The editor at the controversial site InfoWars exposes how the mainstream media has tried to downplay the violence in Charlotte—something the “heroes” of the Left have deemed racist and bigoted. InfoWars might be fringe, but that is not a reason to silence them.
YouTube snitches descended on Watson’s video in droves, even though his point was valid. There was violence in Charlotte—a lot of it. Protests against the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott quickly spiraled into riots in which dozens of people were injured, scores of others threatened, one man died, businesses shut down, and property was stolen or damaged.
Watson’s attempt to push back against the narrative of the mainstream media by calling attention to the facts of the case couldn’t be tolerated by those who want to control the narrative and shut down someone they find offensive. These faceless, online monitors of “Truth” don’t want you to know that the black man was shot by a black cop, that he was a convicted felon who served seven years in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, that it was illegal for him to have a gun, that thugs took over the protests in Charlotte, and that Black Lives Matter is a racist movement bent on agitation and chaos.
Being Free Means Dealing With Being Offended
Another video blogger being targeted is science academic Philip Mason, who uses the pseudonym Thunderf00t. He has a series of videos criticizing creationism—“Why do people laugh at creationists”—and produced several video blogs attacking feminist Anita Sarkeesian of Gamergate fame. Of course, Mason isn’t a stranger to being shut down by SJW campaigns. In 2014, he was suspended from Twitter for allegedly using abusive language toward Sarkeesian and other third-wave feminists.
A hard lesson about liberty that needs to be learned, not only by those on the easily triggered Left but by some socially sensitive conservatives on the Right, is that freedom is messy. It can be uncomfortable as you hear and see things you think are offensive. But if you live in a world free of offense, then you don’t live in a world that’s free.