Sargon of Akkad's Ostracism & The Great Online Schism

strange headache

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As some of you may have heard, Sargon of Akkad has been banned from Patreon. This triggered a huge uproar followed by yet another discussion on free speech. While some are defending Patreon's decision, others are accusing the funding platform of censorship and political cronyism. Many prominent online voices are now criticizing Patreon for their behavior, partially urging Patreon users to migrate to other platforms. The resulting fallout may very well lead to the creation of an online rift that may split the the World Wide Web along political trench-lines. Civil online discourse is faltering, driving along the further balkanization of the internet.

Sargon was banned, because Patroen found a video from 10 months ago, on another channel where Sargon was using the N word to mock the alt-right and Nazis. Apparently Patreon's "Trust and Safety" team decided that Sargon violated their ToS by committing "hate speech". In his interview, Sargon was criticizing the alt-right groups organizing various harassment campaigns against him to the point where he was forced to report them to the police. As by his own statement, Sargon did not make this public because he did not want to "excite his harassers" any further. Here is the relevant part of the interview as well as Sargon's immediate reaction:


Since then, many well-known opinion makers have come to Sargon's Defense. Most notably:

Dave Rubin


Bret Weinstein



Jordan Peterson



Ben Shapiro



Gad Saad



Tim Pool, Matt Christiansen, Maajid Nawaz, Benjamin Boyce and David Fuller and many others. Sargon's political opposition of course is celebrating Patreon's decision. Now, I don't watch a lot of Sargon's videos as I find his political musings not all that interesting or insightful. When it comes to his output, Sargon is a mixed bag and while he certainly likes to provoke, I've never considered him particularly hateful. He considers himself a liberalist and a centrist who strongly opposes "political correctness" and from what I can gather, that's about right. I don't know about you people, but I wouldn't consider him a racist, a Nazi or an alt-right troll.

Thing is, no matter what I think of Sargon, whether I agree with his views or not, I think that Patreon's decision sets another dangerous precedent that seems to be less about what Sargon did wrong, but more about his political commentary. I don't condone his use of the N word and while I don't share the same American sensibilities around that particular term, I can understand if some people may find this in bad taste. That being said, I find Patreon's refusal to take into account the context in which said word was used to be indicative of their double standards. Like, what's more insulting to a Neo-Nazi than calling him the N word?

When it comes to speech, the reductionist approach to outright ban the usage of certain words is not a workable approach. A couple of weeks ago I stumbled over the N word in a text by famous philosopher David Hume. I wasn't particularly surprised as the work was published in 1748, but does that mean merely reading Hume's original text would get you banned from Patreon? Context matters and labeling Sargon's interview "hate speech" is a rather willfully negative interpretation of his words. So far I have yet to see any particular instance where Sargon is advocating violence and hate against a certain demographics. It makes me wonder, what exactly is Patreon's problem with Sargon, because as it stands the reason for his ban seems more like a weak excuse rather than a valid complaint.

That being said, I think that Sargon is merely the symptom of a much larger pathology. The internet is segregating itself along the political spectrum. I do not consider this a particularly healthy approach as it makes civil discourse between differing political views pretty much impossible. Instead of muting political online discourse, online platforms should find ways of fostering the exchange of ideas between the different ideological echo chambers. Breaking up these political bubbles through bilateral argumentative exchange is the only way to attenuate the more extreme ideas that are circulating out there.

Silicon Valley's attempt at moderating public deliberation may be well intentioned, but its effects are vastly nefarious. Instead of driving civil discourse, they are stifling it, resulting in the creation of competing platforms that are merely fostering their own ideological ecosystem. By imposing specific political values on their user-base, they are indeed contributing to the great online schism because no matter ho hard they try, no matter what you do, you can't kill ideas. I personally do not share their utopic views of sanitized speech, I'm not fazed by egregious ideas, I'm not shocked by words, I like to get down and dirty once in a while and I consider my education good enough to keep me straight. Are tech giants to distrustful of their own users that they took it upon themselves to protect them from "bad ideas"?

The antidote to fake news is informed news, the antidote to hate speech is reasoned speech, the antidote to misinformation is more information, the antidote to ignorance is education. I think that is the only way how citizens of a pluralistic western democracy can make progress across political trench-lines. What we get instead is an Orwellian approach to political discourse with both sides whipping themselves into a frenzy over the awful speech of the opposing side. In this never ending race to the bottom, the notion of hateful speech has become so diluted, it almost lost all meaning.

Be that as it may, it has become quite evident that Silicon Valley has cultivated its very own political culture and that culture is slowly seeping into their platforms. Those who find themselves agreeing with these views may have no problem with that, but for how long? I seriously doubt that those who find themselves in lockstep with those tech giants will do so for all perpetuity. Browsing my classic literature, I always find it astounding how many thinkers and writers were censored and considered taboo at certain points in history. I am certainly not comparing Sargon with these enlightened intellectuals, but no matter which way I look at it, letting public opinion and outrage dictate the limits of what is allowed to say has always been a frikkin' dumb idea.
For hundreds, and sometimes thousands of years, these ideas weathered censorship, yet managed to survive. What makes the tech giants at Silicon Valley think that they can do what thousands of years if history could not? Once an idea has been born, it will not go away. The only thing we can hope to do, is counter bad ideas with better ideas, knowing full well that, given enough time, truth will prevail, as truth always does. The hyperbolic reaction and opposition to Sargon merely shows how little confidence those who oppose him have in their own ideas and arguments. Their censorious behavior does not make Sargon weak, it makes his arguments appear only the stronger, independent of the actual quality of their content.

Think about Sargon what you will, I'm not here to defend his views. I only know one thing, if civil discourse breaks down, the only alternative is violence. We're already witnessing this, in Charlottesville, in the violent clashes between Antifa and the alt-right, in the gaming community and its rising instances of getting people fired, in the hateful clashes between liberals and Trump supporters, on college campuses, etc... That's the stuff that I care about and thus I see myself obligated to come out once more in defense of a yet another controversial internet persona that I shouldn't really be forced to give a crap about in the first place.

Sargon has since then moved to another platform, which has now come under attack by the very same militant activists that tried to get him banned from Patreon. It's all history repeating sadly...
 
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danielberg

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subscribestar is a temporary solution gab is working on their own payment system until then its gab,mind and subcsribestar instead of patron and twitter.
 
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TekNav

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Well that's a PR nightmare.

Good post, by the way. You put that together yourself?
 
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It's stupid. I'm sick of the secret Hitler shit going on so much. When did people forget that if they don't like somebody saying something, they could just turn the channel? Or close the browser, or avoid the thread? Rather than changing the channel, they burn down the station. Now nobody gets the choice of what channels they can listen to. Censorship takes my choices away. They rob ME. This intellectual burglary has to stop.

When did the freedom of a speaker ever depend on the listener's approval? When did disagreement become a declaration of war?
 

njr

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I’ve been following this story the moment it happened, I’ve been wanting to make a thread about the case for crypto currency and a more decentralized internet and how proper competition can solve this problem. I see this as a larger issue since there are so few payment gateways it’s getting to a quasi monopoly. It appears that it’s not enough that the “undesirables” are not on the bigger preferred platform, but that the competing platforms they use must also submit to the same guidelines. I mean surely the best argument for this is “their platform their rules”... except that they never stated issues with Sargon in their rules. With Stripe & Paypal making these moves I can’t see a better time to push for crypto currency than right now.
 

TrainedRage

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Edit: link to video removed

...Sorry OP I missed the link to Tim Pool... :messenger_pensive:

Patreon should be giving warnings for violating the ToS and give an opportunity to 'do better'. This may stop the digging through old stuff to take people down phenomenon. I agree that political targeting is a problem. But it falls on Patreon for bending over to these whiners.
 
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infinitys_7th

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They already went after one alternative, Hatreon, by using the state to kidnap its founder. Honestly, he needs to flee the country if he gets out on bail.

Where’s the clip of what he said so we can judge for ourselves.
He was bantering with alt-right race realists and told them that they were acting the way they claim black people act, calling them by the slur, of course.

I don't really see anything wrong with that - most of the alt-right leadership is hilariously hypocritical when it comes to talking about "degenerates", calling minorities lazy, etc. There was one scandal where one leader, Matt Heimbach, fucked his MiL(F) while his FiL stood outside the trailer on a crate peeking in through a window. Matt then chased his FiL around the trailer court beating him with a baseball bat or something.
 
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Dude Abides

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They already went after one alternative, Hatreon, by using the state to kidnap its founder. Honestly, he needs to flee the country if he gets out on bail.



He was bantering with alt-right race realists and told them that they were acting the way they claim black people act, calling them by the slur, of course.

I don't really see anything wrong with that - most of the alt-right leadership is hilariously hypocritical when it comes to talking about "degenerates", calling minorities lazy, etc. There was one scandal where one leader, Matt Heimbach, fucked his MiL(F) while his FiL stood outside the trailer on a crate peeking in through a window. Matt then chased his dad around the trailer court beating him with a baseball bat or something.
Oh. That doesn’t sound like what OP described. I thoughts this was a nbirounic usage where he was mocking their racism, not lashing out at them for being rude to him.
 
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infinitys_7th

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Oh. That doesn’t sound like what OP described. I thought he was mocking their racism, not lashing out at them for being rude to him.
He's been in a years-long feud with the alt-right. He was banned from Twitter for tweeting interracial gay porn to various alt-righters, and has gotten progressively more butthurt over time over various slights. Richard Spencer told him he wasn't "as smart as he thinks he is", which lead to him scheduling a debate with Andrew Anglin and basically filibustering Anglin, and then he and his fellow "skeptics" started going after people, continuing the works of Kraut and Tea. As Sargon has tried to branch into IRL politics, Metokur and other trolls have been tearing into his missteps, which has driven him even further insane. Metokur's more loyal followers are likely behind alerting Patreon en mass to this clip that got him banned.

There is shitloads of ammunition that they can use to embarrass him - it's nothing morally questionable, beyond some hints of tax fraud, but he can't handle ANY criticism. He is in an open relationship with his wife, he apparently has a trans fetish, he may be doing yiff/vore erotic roleplay with his "best friend" Veeh in Second Life, there are tons of clips of him bantering years ago that, ah, wouldn't age well (like joking about "gay black people from outer space", with more colorful language). Oh, and he said (in the context of underage people having sex with each other) that age of consent "depends on the child" from a more recent debate, which has been spread around out of context to make him look like a pedo.

I love internet drama.
 

strange headache

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Good post, by the way. You put that together yourself?
Yes.

Where’s the clip of what he said so we can judge for ourselves.
It's the first video in my OP, I even timestamped it.

Oh. That doesn’t sound like what OP described. I thought he was mocking their racism, not lashing out at them for being rude to him.
I literally used Sargon's words, because I wanted to portray his intentions in that interview as clear as possible. So I don't really understand your problem, it says so right in the OP:

In his interview, Sargon was criticizing the alt-right groups organizing various harassment campaigns against him to the point where he was forced to report them to the police. As by his own statement, Sargon did not make this public because he did not want to "excite his harassers" any further.
If you feel that something is unclear, please provide what should be complemented and I'll be happy to oblige.

Edit: link to video removed...Sorry OP I missed the link to Tim Pool... :messenger_pensive:
Feel free to post it again if you want. I didn't want to make the OP any longer as it is so I didn't embed the video directly.
 
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Dude Abides

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Yes.



It's the first video in my OP, I even timestamped it.



I literally used Sargon's words, because I wanted to portray his intentions in that interview as clear as possible. So I don't really understand your problem, it says so right in the OP:



If you feel that something is unclear, please provide what should be complemented and I'll be happy to oblige.



Feel free to post it again if you want. I didn't want to make the OP any longer as it is so I didn't embed the video directly.
Oh I see. The first video wouldn’t load for me until the fourth try. i figured it was an ironic usage but that seems to not really be the case. Still, banning is way too harsh for one isolated outburst like that, particularly on someone else’s channel.
 
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haxan7

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so don't say trigger words, nothing else matters, got it.

Thanks for clearing that up world!

I know how to think now.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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I don't agree with all of Sargon's points or conclusions, but he was definitely the wrong sort of person to ban. His arguments are too lucid. This can't be seen as anything other than picking political sides.

As you pointed out, this is only going to cause more rifts. If people don't feel as though they can trust these providers, they'll go to alternatives.

And when it comes to the actual "nefarious actors" who might have genuinely been in violation of these ToSs, they will only be pushed further underground into darker corners of the internet where their arguments -- no matter how bigoted -- will gain the all-powerful luster of forbidden knowledge. This is how countercultures begin. This is how cults are formed.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. These ideologues are so stupid. They are trying to play Pope and they haven't learned a damn lesson from our own history.
 

haxan7

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And when it comes to the actual "nefarious actors" who might have genuinely been in violation of these ToSs, they will only be pushed further underground into darker corners of the internet where their arguments -- no matter how bigoted -- will gain the all-powerful luster of forbidden knowledge. This is how countercultures begin. This is how cults are formed.
Yes. It's also how ISIS was created. Take out Saddam, kill all the leadership that you can, drive the most hardened, resourceful, and intelligent survivors underground. Then watch what happens.

Then a decade later you get a national holiday for your dad's funeral. Good times.
 
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finowns

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Holy crap, PayPal pulled support from SubscribeStar and now they are pausing accepting payment from subscribers and are looking for an independent payment processor for their platform. Conspiracy level stuff. I liked my tech companies apolitical.
 

Cunth

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Wish Peter Thiel would setup his own patreon/youtube site. He seems more level headed then other tech bros.
 

llien

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There is a small chance that US conservatives, which seem to be concerned with what is going on, would address the "but private company" issue in regards of media giants.

Because if not, I don't see how "Patreon alternative" concepts would work, given that PayPal is in the censorship bandwagon and I don't think it's realistic to create PayPal alternative.
 

EviLore

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This is a rather important subject that is not getting near enough coverage. Thanks, @strange headache , for your comprehensive investigative work and well-written thread as always. This is better journalism than you'll see from most professional outlets.

Patreon's aptly named "MOB" policy is absurd. So, while I'm not fond of engaging in identity politics, I'm Jewish and a USA-Israeli dual citizen, but if I satirically, sarcastically, or facetiously use an anti-Semitic slur for example on camera or authenticated in some other way, regardless of context or intent, according to Patreon's "MOB" rules I'd be subject to removal from their platform? And they've now exercised this sort of protocol in a similar fashion against someone who, by any pragmatic and rational basis, is not some alt-right hatemonger, rather someone who used language in a slightly more sophisticated way than Twitter mobs care to understand or Patreon's "MOB" policy cares to recognize? And nuking him--that's what they're considering to be a rigorous, apolitical approach?

I stand with the Intellectual Dark Web guys on this one 100%. I have no strong opinions about Sargon one way or another, but we're well beyond "slippery slope" here. We're off the cliff.
 

Blood Borne

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This moral campaign against hate is very scary. Lots of people are not taking this seriously. These tech companies are putting moral causes before profit and that’s what is scary.

Only radicals/extremists/jihadists/religious zealots put morals before profit. They genuinely believe they’re fighting a holy war, a good vs evil mindset and that’s what makes them radicals. Contrary to popular belief, people who put profit before morals are the rational and logical people. It shows they place reasoning above emotions, hence they’re predictable and stable. Moral warriors place emotions above reasoning hence their extreme violent and unpredictable behaviour. Virtually all bloodbath throughout history was done on moral bases.

Also, if you’re a leftist, please stop for one moment and deeply ponder on this question. Why are all the elites, big tech, big banks, Hollywood, celebrities, mega corporations, etc why are they all on the left and support the same policies as me?

OP, wonderful post.
 

Kadayi

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Holy crap, PayPal pulled support from SubscribeStar and now they are pausing accepting payment from subscribers and are looking for an independent payment processor for their platform. Conspiracy level stuff. I liked my tech companies apolitical.
Yeah, I'm entirely not remotely comfortable with this whole aggressive intervention angle by Paypal here, and Patreon can fuck right off with this 'Trust & Safety BS' it's nowhere in their own remit to start policing people in this fashion, least of all over something so utterly trivial in this situation. Honestly, I don't know what can be done in the long-term from the financials, but one would hope that the US government might cast an eye over the conduct of these companies and the dubious nature of their de-platforming/de-funding. It's all very well for people to say 'they're private firms, they can do what they want, don't like it build your own' but it seems whenever people actually try, some other tech film is there waiting to cut them off at the knees before they can walk.
 
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njr

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Nick Monroe wrote an outline on the effect this ban had. Not only did content creators lose patrons, It appears that there are some individuals on a moral crusade to get any alternatives deplatformed for allowing the undesirables in.

 

Boss Mog

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The worst part of this whole mob justice thing is that the mob usually consists of a handful of nobodies on twitter, yet multi-billion dollar companies bow down to them.
 
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guggnichso

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This is a rather important subject that is not getting near enough coverage. Thanks, @strange headache , for your comprehensive investigative work and well-written thread as always. This is better journalism than you'll see from most professional outlets.

Patreon's aptly named "MOB" policy is absurd. So, while I'm not fond of engaging in identity politics, I'm Jewish and a USA-Israeli dual citizen, but if I satirically, sarcastically, or facetiously use an anti-Semitic slur for example on camera or authenticated in some other way, regardless of context or intent, according to Patreon's "MOB" rules I'd be subject to removal from their platform? And they've now exercised this sort of protocol in a similar fashion against someone who, by any pragmatic and rational basis, is not some alt-right hatemonger, rather someone who used language in a slightly more sophisticated way than Twitter mobs care to understand or Patreon's "MOB" policy cares to recognize? And nuking him--that's what they're considering to be a rigorous, apolitical approach?

I stand with the Intellectual Dark Web guys on this one 100%. I have no strong opinions about Sargon one way or another, but we're well beyond "slippery slope" here. We're off the cliff.
There’s a lot to say generally on how companies are handling stuff online right now, but I might like to add that when you look at popular right wing YouTubers like the RalphRetort(now on stream.me) or Metokur or Andy Warsky, there’s been a deplatforming war going on for months now, where Akkad successfully deplatformed some right wingers, and they in turn made public a lot of his racist bullshit, trying to get UKIP to disavow him and I think patreon was quite a low hanging fruit.

This is right wing influencers infighting, nothing more.

Edit: to make my point more clear: I don’t think that Patreon or evil SJws or whatever are responsible for this. I rather think that kiwifarms and the „sweety squad“ and the Ralph Retort fanbase were probably bombarding them with Sargons „white niggers“ recording. I‘d advise everyone to search YouTube for Metokur and Killstream and Sargon, and you‘ll find hours of material that might open your eyes.
 
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guggnichso

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The worst part of this whole mob justice thing is that the mob usually consists of a handful of nobodies on twitter, yet multi-billion dollar companies bow down to them.
Those nobodies are most probably the most viewed right wingers on the net in this case :)
 

strange headache

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Patreon's aptly named "MOB" policy is absurd.
Manifest Observable Behavior is just another fancy way of saying 'empirical evidence'. It's eyewash for the masses to present them with some kind of miracle solution to a complex problem that would allow no simple solution. Even empirical data needs to be interpreted. As evidenced by this whole situation, this mostly comes down to the one who observes, so we're stuck with the same problem as beforehand. The only good thing that could be said about their approach is that they won't rely on hearsay and rumors, which should be a given in the first place.

Good to see Notch standing up to this:



Edit: to make my point more clear: I don’t think that Patreon or evil SJws or whatever are responsible for this.
How are Patreon not responsible? They were the ones handing out the ban, based on the evidence provided in the OP. Doesn't really matter who did the complaining, the underlying problem is still the same. If this was a mass flagging operation by the alt-right, it merely exemplifies that this is a problem on both sides and Patreon should not be giving in to these militant fools on social media.
 
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guggnichso

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Manifest Observable Behavior is just another fancy way of saying 'empirical evidence'. It's merely eyewash for the masses to present them with some kind of miracle solution to a complex problem that would allow no simple solution. Even empirical data need to be interpreted. As evidenced by this whole situation, this mostly comes down to the one who observes so we're stuck with the same problem really. The only good thing that could be said about their approach is that they won't rely on hearsay and rumors, which should be a given in the first place.



Good to see Notch standing up to this:





How are Patreon not responsible? They were the ones handing out the ban, based on the evidence provided in the OP. Doesn't really matter who did the complaining, the underlying problem is still the same. If this was a mass flagging operation by the alt-right, it merely exemplifies that this is a problem on both sides and Patreon should not be giving in to these militant fools on social media.
You’re right, bad wording on my account. I actually wanted to express, that I don’t think Patreon of their own account suddenly started to dig up year old videos of Soygon.
 
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It is deeply troubling to me since I support content makers in other gaming spaces, TCGs, on Patreon and now I am ready to pull the plug. I've spent hundreds of dollars with them.

Get politics out of products and services unless they are in the political markets.
 

MrTickles

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They're now going after alternative funding platforms that gave refuge to those patreon banned. Paypal has already pulled its service from subscribestar.



bu buh buh MaKe Ur OwN BeNk!
 
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They're now going after alternative funding platforms that gave refuge to those patreon banned. Paypal has already pulled its service from subscribestar.



bu buh buh MaKe Ur OwN BeNk!
What are you suggesting? Should the government (Which one?) seize Paypal and force them to do business as they see fit?
 

TheShadowLord

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All I'm going to suggest is they should get vocal about it. Like starting a march in Washington or something. Or bring it to the Supreme Court.
 
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What are you suggesting? Should the government (Which one?) seize Paypal and force them to do business as they see fit?
I think any corporation which impedes a person's right to free speech should lose their personhood and right to free speech themselves. That is, if Paypal ever wants to promote a politician through donations or publicity, or if they want to lobby the government, they can't. And I think they should be held legally liable for every post, advertisement, and user of their system. Free speech is an inalienable right for humans, not corporations. If corporations want it, they need to respect it in others.
 

MisterFalcon

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Limiting free speech is different from not allowing someone to use the money transfer system a business is running. There are plenty of ways to raise funds outside Paypal and Patreon, these Informal Value Transfer Sytems have existed for thousands of years. Surely Sargon's supporters would not mind a little extra effort to support him ?
 
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I think any corporation which impedes a person's right to free speech should lose their personhood and right to free speech themselves. That is, if Paypal ever wants to promote a politician through donations or publicity, or if they want to lobby the government, they can't. And I think they should be held legally liable for every post, advertisement, and user of their system. Free speech is an inalienable right for humans, not corporations. If corporations want it, they need to respect it in others.
So are you saying Paypal has no right to write and exercise their own TOS and rules?

Also how would you impose it? Should the government seize paypal? What about moderation?
 
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So are you saying Paypal has no right to write and exercise their own TOS and rules?

Also how would you impose it? Should the government seize paypal? What about moderation?
Seize PayPal? Nah. But maybe there should be some sort of third party arbitration for people who feel that PayPal has oppressed their right to free speech run by the government, so they must abide by constitutional protections. It would only be necessary for corporations with a near monopoly in their field - let’s say 70% market share or higher.
 

NahaNago

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Limiting free speech is different from not allowing someone to use the money transfer system a business is running. There are plenty of ways to raise funds outside Paypal and Patreon, these Informal Value Transfer Sytems have existed for thousands of years. Surely Sargon's supporters would not mind a little extra effort to support him ?
Another part of the problem is that even Visa and Mastercard are getting political as well. So your just kinda screwed financially if you lean right.
 
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Another part of the problem is that even Visa and Mastercard are getting political as well. So your just kinda screwed financially if you lean right.
Don't lean right then, problem solved. How is left wingers' problem if right wings are too incompetent to hold ANY service?
 
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NahaNago

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Don't lean right then, problem solved. How is left wingers' problem if right wings are too incompetent to hold ANY service?
I love how use hold instead of make since even if someone on the right did create a service, someone from the left would just hijack it again like they always do.
 
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