Monday, January 12, 2015

"Mini-dictators"

I have noticed a trend, both online and offline, that people who try to silence other people's opinions and stifle discussion tend to be on the wrong.

This doesn't mean that people who welcome discussion and never silence anybody tend to be on the right. In this case it may or may not be so. However, those who try to silence others do tend most often than not be on the wrong.

Silencing dissent is a typical aspect of most dictators. Criticism and discussion is discouraged, and most often than not even criminalized. Those who do oppose the dictator are vilified, dehumanized and persecuted. All dissenting opinions and media are silenced as much as possible.

In the internet era a minor form of this has emerged. They could be called "mini-dictators".

Also they don't like to see or hear criticism or dissenting opinions. They will often do everything in their power to try to silence the opposition, either within their own circles, or even sometimes actively everywhere. They will delete posts and comments, block or ban users, and often even disable comments altogether. If they run a blog or forum, the ban hammer will be delivered swiftly for any dissenters. If they have something like a YouTube channel or individual YouTube video, they will either delete comments they don't like, or disable comments completely.

Sometimes they aren't content in limiting their own circle to be "pure", but they will actually actively try to silence criticism everywhere. Nowadays filing false DMCA claims is an extremely common tactic. It's an easy way to try to silence dissent. (It's especially obnoxious when you see someone filing DMCA claims only against videos that are critical, but never against videos that are supportive. DMCA's are typically not filed against videos where there would actually be an actual legal stance, ie. it would not be a false DMCA at all, but a legit one, as long as those videos are supportive, not critical. For example videos that are just mirrors of the original.)

As said, I have noticed that this behavior tends to be engaged mostly by people in the wrong. Creationists, conspiracy theorists, AIDS denialists, neo-feminists, homeopaths and other snake oil salesmen...

I have seldom seen this kind of behavior eg. from actual scientists and skeptics. (I'm not saying it never happens, but it seems to be very rare.)

Just as a small example:

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