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Sunday, December 31, 2023

Techno-fascist Marc Andreessen's woman problem

I was struck by how much techno-fascist Marc Andreessen's manifesto sounds like it was taken from a speech from one of Ayn Rand's characters. Or, as Vice said: "like the ramblings of a college student who just finished his first reading of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. "

For example, from the "Enemies" section of Andreessen's rant:
Our enemy is the Precautionary Principle, which would have prevented virtually all progress since man first harnessed fire. The Precautionary Principle was invented to prevent the large-scale deployment of civilian nuclear power, perhaps the most catastrophic mistake in Western society in my lifetime. The Precautionary Principle continues to inflict enormous unnecessary suffering on our world today. It is deeply immoral, and we must jettison it with extreme prejudice.
Curiously, Andreessen never uses "human" or "people," he always uses "man" to indicate human beings. For someone who is so devoted to the future, that is an odd choice - an antiquated usage, a preference from before the last quarter of the 20th century. But maybe that tells you something about Andreessen's plans for women in his techno-fascist utopia.

Like so many "futurists," who are almost all white men, Andreessen ignores the impact that technological innovation - reliable birth control, jobs that don't depend on muscular strength - has had on women's lives, especially choices concerning child-bearing.

I think the reason for that is because these men carry an unexamined belief that childbearing decisions are a "woman's issue" and therefore not interesting and certainly not worth the consideration of the Important Thinkers they believe themselves to be. Women and their lives are the painted, dimly-lit background flats before which these Important Thinkers strut about in the spotlight, expounding their Deep Thoughts.

It's obvious in this passage from the Andreessen manifesto:
We believe our planet is dramatically underpopulated, compared to the population we could have with abundant intelligence, energy, and material goods.

We believe the global population can quite easily expand to 50 billion people or more, and then far beyond that as we ultimately settle other planets.
The fact that investment in women's well-being results in women having fewer children has completely escaped Andreessen's notice. 

But once Andreessen does notice it, what will be his response?

It seems likely to be enforced child-bearing. Crackpot Jordan Peterson advocated "enforced monogamy." Enforced child-bearing would seem to be the next step in putting women back into their pre-last quarter of the twentieth century place.

Marc Andreessen is apparently impressed by Jordan Peterson.

UPDATE - I just had to add this to demonstrate how stupid you have to be to be impressed by gullible dumbass Jordan Peterson. Good old Cody. Full-length video about the wackiness of Jordan Peterson.

But I shouldn't deny Andreessen credit for his own crackpottery - he believes that women having fewer children is caused by TikTok.

Women being steered wrong by technology is a problem for techno-fascists - unless you exclude women from the "progress of man."

It should be noted that Mr. and Mrs. Andreessen only have one offspring. His wife, in her early 50s, is unlikely to have more without a surrogate

Peter Thiel, another libertarian, said that giving women the vote was a problem for libertarianism, and as a recent Atlantic article noted, "He elaborated, after some backlash, that he did not literally oppose women’s suffrage, but neither did he affirm his support for it."

And speaking of crackpots, back to Ayn Rand. In Andreessen's infamous list of techno-fascist saints he includes the co-author of the Fascist Manifesto, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, but doesn't mention Ayn Rand.

Instead he includes Ayn Rand's hero, the horribly long-winded John Galt

Rand would not have had a problem with misogyny being the solution to the techno-fascist ideologues' woman problem - Rand was a misogynist herself.

And her creation, John Galt, was a terrorist - as Rational Wiki notes in its entry on "Going Galt" -

...the "hero" John Galt of Ayn Rand's Objectivist doorstopper, Atlas Shrugged, who destroys civilization to avoid paying taxes.[3] (Going Galters) apparently think this is a good idea, and hope to follow in his footsteps.

In the novel, John Galt declared his opposition to collectivism by starting a community called Galt's Gulch.[note 1][note 2] He expressed his opposition to organized labor by organizing (what else?) a strike; the original working title of the book, incredibly enough, was The Strike.

For those who somehow missed it when growing up, “Atlas Shrugged” is a fantasy in which the world’s productive people — the “job creators,” if you like — withdraw their services from an ungrateful society. The novel’s centerpiece is a 64-page speech by John Galt, the angry elite’s ringleader; even Friedrich Hayek admitted that he never made it through that part. Yet the book is a perennial favorite among adolescent boys. Most boys eventually outgrow it. Some, however, remain devotees for life.
Naturally Randroids and libertarians hate Krugman and compare him to Rand's villains. Andreessen also appears to hate Krugman.

John Galt's origin story is absurd - after Galt invents a magical perpetual motion machine, he becomes a terrorist when his bosses at the Twentieth Century Motor Company collectivize their own business. 

You know, because that's such a plausible scenario in the real world.

One of the self-collectivizing owners, Ivy Starns is a psycho-sadist, a typical two-dimensional Rand villain. Rand uses Starns to explain the motivation of Communism:
...if you ever want to see pure evil you should see the way her eyes glinted when she watched some man who'd talked back to her once... And when you saw it, you saw the real motive of any person who's ever preached 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
This is what passes for political insight among libertarians: Communism is caused by sadism.

More importantly, Andresseen likely believes that such a goofy cartoon villain is real:

Although it's an odd thing for Andreessen to quote with approval, that Rand's heroes are fake, since Rand's heroes are real enough to Andreessen for him to include one of them - and not its actual human (albeit woman) creator - as one of his "saints" of techno-fascism.

Here's how Ayn Rand treated her preposterous villains: she blows them up, along with their wives and children. 

Trains were more than just a magnificent obsession for Rand. They also served as a sort of avenging angel. By Atlas Shrugged’s seventh chapter, “The Moratorium on Brains” (no stickler for subtlety, was our Ms. Rand), so many of the great men have opted out of society that a working diesel engine cannot be found to run a revolutionary express train, the Comet, through an eight-mile tunnel in the Rockies. Nevertheless, one of the “looter” politicians ruining the world insists that the Comet — clearly modeled on the 20th Century, and probably one of the gorgeous new Zephyr trains of the time — make the trip anyway, so that he can make a campaign appearance in California. The spineless, government-appointed bureaucrats now running the railroad attach a coal-burning engine instead, even though they know it might asphyxiate everyone on board.

“It is said that catastrophes are a matter of pure chance, and there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet were not guilty or responsible for the thing that happened to them,” writes Rand, who then begs to differ, spending the next two pages ranting about sixteen unnamed individuals who will die aboard the Comet — and a good thing, too, as they embody all the sorts she most despises.

The doomed include everyone from a lawyer who feels he can “get along under any political system,” to “an elderly schoolteacher who had spent her life turning class after class of helpless children into miserable cowards” because they believed in the will of the majority; to “a sniveling little neurotic who wrote cheap little plays” that insulted businessmen, and finally a doting mother of two who would not denounce her husband because of his weaselly government job.

“These passengers were awake; there was not a man aboard the train who did not share one or more of their ideas,” she concludes with relish, presumably including in her condemnation the young tots the doting mother had just tucked into their bunks with visions of collectivism inculcated deep in their heads. To them, Rand adds a group of soldiers aboard a munitions train that runs into the Comet after it stalls in the tunnel, killing everyone in a spectacular explosion.

Rand later writes a scene in which, as the nation’s infrastructure is crumbling during what she terms a “strike” by the prime movers, a rail bridge falls apart and a Taggart Transcontinental train tumbles into the Mississippi River — one more vehicle crowded with thinkers of philosophically impure thoughts. And in yet another scene, Eddie Willers, the loyal aide to the book’s heroine, is aboard a train when it breaks down out in the Arizona desert. The other passengers and crew manage to be rescued by a passing wagon train(!), but Eddie refuses and pleads, “Don’t let it go!” while looking up helplessly at the locomotive. The others abandon the train and Eddie, almost certainly to his death.

It was such passages that led Whittaker Chambers, in his 1957 National Review takedown of Rand and her just-released book, to famously write, “From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding, ‘To the gas chambers — go!’ ” By then Rand had lingered so long on her screed that trains, the cutting edge of American technology and design when she began, were about to be all but eliminated by the prime movers.

But reading of her love for trains’ capacity to kill at least allows one to understand her appeal to the modern Republican right. Her extended descriptions of those who will die and why they deserve to die resemble nothing so much as the climactic passages of Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’s Left Behind series, in which, after another set of righteous people have been raptured out of harm’s way, the authors dwell in loving detail on the torments to be inflicted by the returning deity of the Apocalypse — in this case, not Jesus Christ, but John Galt. Different god, same gas chamber.
Marc Andreessen making saints of a Fascist Manifesto co-author and one of Ayn Rand's characters tells you everything you need to know about Marc Andreessen. 

That and the fact that he's funding Nazi-promoting Substack.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

The bigots of racist rag Quillette attack Southern Poverty Law Center

 But look! Quillette has a big mob of right-wing idiots on its side!!! (my emphases)

Colin Wright is a widely published writer (including at Quillette) with a PhD in evolutionary biology from UC Santa Barbara. (The SPLC’s claim that he is in a relationship with journalist Christina Buttons, who also writes about gender issues, is completely true. But the fact that the group saw fit to report this fact as if it were evidence of sinister machinations says far more about the report’s authors than it does about either Wright or Buttons.) FAIR, the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism, is a classically liberal group led by a Harvard Law School graduate named Monica Harris. Do any of these people or groups sound like extremists?


Colin Wright has published in racist, trans-hating Quillette and pals around with Republican fascist ghoul Christopher Rufo - Quillette uses a New Yorker piece from several years ago to attack SPLC - but get a look at what the New Yorker says about Quillette ally Christopher Rufo!

Any organization like Quillette which has taken money from racist, pro-apartheid fascist nut job Peter Thiel has zero moral authority.

And the reason Quillette knows the name Colin Wright is not because Wright has a PhD in evolutionary biology, it's because he's apparently decided to make a career as a right-wing political operative - possibly because his career as an evolutionary biologist was a failure.

And now I know the name Christina Buttons, another awful trans-hating obsessive undoubtedly on the payroll of one horrible right-wing plutocrat fascist or another. Pretending she's a liberal, as one does when one is trying to move the Overton window. That's an old Koch trick from way back.

And FAIR is a nest of right-wingers and wing nut welfare recipients and bigots of every stripe, supported by Bari Weiss's sugar daddy, Supreme Court corrupter Harlan Crow.

And Monica Harris? She's a darling of Fox News - and an anti-trans ghoul in league with Colin Wright. She's just as awful as all the rest of the FAIR and Quillette gang of wing nut welfare recipients and sugar babies.

I do appreciate Quillette bringing this dandy SPLC article to my attention - I really need to keep up with the SPLC better. The fact that the article has the racist and trans-hating ghouls at Quillette in a raging froth reminds me why I give money to SPLC every month. Now I'm thinking of increasing my monthly donation amount.

Thank you Southern Poverty Law Center!

Friday, December 29, 2023

Abraham Lincoln is spinning in his grave

Of course Lincoln has been spinning at least since Nixon adopted the Southern Strategy, but his gyrations got another boost recently from the idiot presidential candidate Nikki Haley:

In recent polls, Ms. Haley has surged into second place in New Hampshire, edging closer to striking distance of former President Donald J. Trump. To win the Granite State contest on Jan. 23, the first primary election of 2024, she will most likely need independent voters — and possibly Democrats who registered as independents. That is how Senator John McCain of Arizona upset George W. Bush in the state’s 2000 primary.

But the Civil War gaffe may have put a crimp in that strategy.

“I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run,” she said Wednesday night, “the freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do.”

The answer echoed a century’s argument from segregationists that the Civil War was fundamentally about states’ rights and economics, not about ending slavery.

Late Wednesday night, even Mr. Biden rebuked the answer: “It was about slavery,” he wrote on social media.

We should stick a cable into Lincoln's grave and take advantage of the energy source.

And speaking of the shame of the Republican Party - it happened again! HAHAHAHAH!

Maine Joins Colorado in Finding Trump Ineligible for Primary Ballot


In a written decision, Maine’s secretary of state said that Donald J. Trump did not qualify for the ballot because of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Substack, the right-wing scam (and Nazi bar)

One facet of the Subscam business model

Allan Stromfeldt Christensen of Filmers to Farmers writes

 According to a writer that goes by the name "Cow Girl" and whose publication Life at the Rodeo used to be on Substack but is now on Ghost, when they mentioned on Substack their plans to migrate one of their sites away from the platform "the subscribers started to pour in".

It's hard to prove that this occurrence was due to anything more than coincidence, but what can be more easily proven is the manner by which quite possibly all Substacks have highly inflated subscriber numbers. Because as many Substack writers have described it, their subscriber figures have become wildly inflated upon Substack having removed the option of requiring new signups to confirm their (free) subscription (also known as "double opt-in").

So Substack subscriber figures wildly inflated when Substack stopped making Substack account owners approve free subscribers.

Two years ago I speculated about another possible Substack scheme:

I mean, what do Razib Khan and Matthew Yglesias do for a living, other than express their unoriginal, monotonous, conservative opinions all day long?

The fact that they both have Substacks is one reason why I suspect Substack is an astroturfing scam, similar to the money-laundering scheme that Saul Goodman created for Walter White in "Breaking Bad."

If you saw "Breaking Bad" you know what I'm talking about: Walt's son created a crowdfunding web site savewalterwhite.com and a little later Goodman got a hacker to create thousands of fake accounts to make it look like regular people all over the world were sending money in. But it was coming from one very rich guy.

That the right-wing racist plutocrats who fund Substack are funneling money through fake accounts to their favorite courtier Substackers has never been proven. But I've never seen anything yet to indicate that they could not do that - and if there's a dirty trick available to the Right, I doubt they think twice before using it. As far as I know, paid Substack accounts have never been audited.

But as Christensen makes clear, paid-up subscribers are not the only subscribers of value to Substack authors or the Substack Nazi Bar:

For those unaware of what that term means, double opt-in implies that in one way or another a user must confirm that they did in fact subscribe and/or sign up to whatever it is you're offering. Those confirmation emails asking you to "click here" to confirm your subscription or email address or what have you? That's double opt-in, and that's what Substack jettisoned sometime in late-2022. What that means is that by discarding double opt-in functionality bots are readily able to carry out fake signups, regardless of what the motivation of the creators of those bots may be. Moreover, it's not even too hard to prove.

Because while subscriber numbers is one metric, another metric, which makes the first metric arguably meaningless on its own, is open rates. Open rates, which is self-explanatory enough, is a measurement of the percentage of interactions, which in this case means how many emails were opened. And according to several accounts, those email open rates on Substack have been plummeting.

Although current Substack writers brought to my attention – that had cratering open rates and of which a vast majority of their subscribers driven by Substack were said to be "garbage" – were said to not want to speak publicly about it all (reasoning explained in a moment), one former – and prominent – Substack writer who also didn't want to be named stated that they were getting hundreds of fake signups, often in blocks of 50-100 at a time. Although they couldn't be sure, they estimated that a third of their signups were fake. Regardless, they certainly aren't the only one whose Substack has been receiving hundreds of fake signups.

In regards to why current Substack writers/publications wouldn't want to speak about their deteriorating open rates – and certainly not to cull their subscriber lists of fake accounts – is for the simple reason of optics. Yes, your open rate may be an abysmal 20%. But if you've got 10,000 subscribers (a metric which Substack prominently displays on the splash page one sees upon visiting a Substack for subscribing purposes) and a similarly-oriented publication also has 10,000 subscribers, even though your open rate of 20% may lead you to believe that you could quite safely cull 50% of your email list due to them being bot signups, doing so would drastically reduce your public-facing subscriber numbers to 5,000, half of what your competitor has (who also has 5,000 subscribers they could probably cull but similarly won't due to optics). As a result, everybody involved is incentivised to keep up the charade...
...Meanwhile, using the existence of the so-called "Substack ecosystem" to claim ownership over subscriber numbers that may have otherwise eventuated is another easy way of creating that facade. Uri Bram, publisher of The Browser (which doubled Substack's paid subscriber base overnight when it became one of Substack's first publications, which was at one time Substack's second-biggest customer before it moved to Ghost, and which then spent years trying to recoup improperly charged fees after Substack kept charging The Browser – and wouldn't pay it back – after it had left the platform), described one way in which this might work earlier this year...

...So yes, go ahead and sign up to Substack where you can attain subscriber numbers beyond your wildest dreams and where Substack will tell you just how much your success is supposedly due to them, but don't pay any attention to the non-existence of that double opt-in, the possibility that your actual readership is nowhere near as large as you think it is, and that the genuine subscribers you do have aren't so much due to Substack itself as much as they're due to the efforts you've put in yourself. 

I may not have been right about exact (proven) scam tactics of Substack two years ago, but I was right that Substack is, fundamentally, a right-wing scam.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Ted Gioia is not a moral authority on anything

I had to laugh when I saw Substack stooge Hamish McKenzie citing Ted Gioia as some kind of moral authority in his response to the very valid concerns of Substack authors that Substack has become a Nazi bar. 

Via Mike Masnick at Techdirt:

Eventually, the Substack founders had to respond. They couldn’t stare off into the distance like Best did during the Nilay Patel interview in April. So another founder, Hamish McKenzie, finally published a Note saying “yes, we allow Nazis and we’re not going to stop.” Of course, as is too often the case on these things, he tried to couch it as a principled stance:

I just want to make it clear that we don’t like Nazis either—we wish no-one held those views. But some people do hold those and other extreme views. Given that, we don’t think that censorship (including through demonetizing publications) makes the problem go away—in fact, it makes it worse.

We believe that supporting individual rights and civil liberties while subjecting ideas to open discourse is the best way to strip bad ideas of their power. We are committed to upholding and protecting freedom of expression, even when it hurts. As @Ted Gioia has noted, history shows that censorship is most potently used by the powerful to silence the powerless. (Ted’s note: substack.com/profile/4937458-ted-gioia/…) 

Ted Gioia was published in racist Quillette; by the intensely evil and right-wing Koch-funded City Journal; and by the queen of the right-wing grifters Bari Weiss.

Either Ted Gioia agrees with the racism of Quillette and the right-wing extremist positions of City Journal and the grifting sugar baby views of Bari Weiss, or he's such a feckless stooge he doesn't care if he publishes in evil media as long as they pay.

Either way Ted Gioia is not a moral authority on anything

But I guess he's the best that the Nazi-promoting freaks at Substack have.

The Masnick piece is very good - it ends like this:

Substack has every right to make the choices it has made, but it shouldn’t pretend that it’s standing up for civil rights or freedoms, because it’s not. It’s making value judgments that everyone can see, and its value judgment is “Nazis are welcome, sex workers aren’t.”

Your reputation is what you allow. Substack has hung out its shingle saying “Nazis welcome.”

Everyone else who uses the platform now gets to decide whether or not they wish to support the site that facilitates the funding of Nazis. Some will. Some will find the tradeoffs acceptable. But others won’t. I’ve already seen a few prominent Substack writers announce that they have moved or that they’re intending to do so.

These are all free speech decisions as well. Substack has made its decision. Substack has declared what its reputation is going to be. I support the company’s free speech rights to make that choice. But that does not mean I need to support the platform personally.

Your reputation is what you allow and Substack has chosen to support Nazis.

I think Masnick is missing something of the bigger picture though - although he focuses on feckless stooges Hamish McKenzie and Chris Best, they are not calling the shots, it's their funders like techno-fascist Marc Andreessen who are. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Substack, the Nazi Bar

...what Substack is doing is not merely allowing Nazis to sit at their bar - they are giving them free drinks and telling other bar patrons that Nazis are "up-and-comers."

Back in February 2022 I noted the connection between Substack spokeswoman Lulu Cheng Merservey and the race pseudoscience gang:

The fact that Lulu Cheng Meservey, the vice president of communications for Substack is a member of Razib Khan's clubhouse as well as a member of the clubhouse of the anti-CRT grifting, IDW-riddled, far-right leaning FAIR, does not help dissuade me from the suspicion that Substack is simply a high-tech Donor's Trust.

Jonathan Katz provides additional info about Meservey in his November 29, 2023 The Racket post:

The arrival of the new right-wing Substackers was accompanied by an influx of new staff from Andreessen Horowitz. The combined company also hired its first full-time spokeswoman: Lulu Cheng Merservey, a noted fan of one of Substack's leading eugenics bloggers and the wife of a Heritage Foundation wonk.

I hadn't realized the Heritage Foundation connection in February 2022. 

But the line "a noted fan of one of Substack's leading eugenics blogger" links to an article from 2015 about Razib Khan being dropped from the New York Times, although Katz doesn't mention Khan by name in the text of his post. As far as I can tell, I'm the only one who has explicitly noted Meservey's fandom of Razib Khan, but maybe Katz has other sources who are not picked up by Google search.

Meservey's Heritage Foundation wonk husband is Joshua Meservey, although the Heritage website says he is no longer on staff. He's now at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank. Which receives money via Donors Trust.

As the Hudson Institute's website says:

With rare and very few exceptions for gifts whose donors prefer to remain anonymous, Hudson Institute publicly identifies the sources and levels of all outside revenue received each calendar year in its annual reports.

But of course we have to trust the Institute that the anonymous donors are rare and very few.

Meservey apparently left Substack for Activision and in October 2022 was profiled as a union buster and accused of pushing right-wing talking points:

Lulu Cheng Meservey has been on the job for less than a month and the Activision executive has already antagonized employees at the center of a long-overdue unionization push within the games industry. After over a dozen Blizzard quality assurance testers won the right to hold a union vote in November, Meservey warned staff via Slack that organizing could lead to lower raises and tough clashes with management. A screengrab of the comment reached Twitter, someone accused Meservey of pushing right-wing talking points, and she’s been posting through it ever since.

So yeah, Meservey is the kind of person you'd expect to be hired by a company with far-right leanings - like Substack.

Meservey is apparently leaving Activision now

It's important to note that Substack isn't merely allowing Nazis and other varieties of racists to exist on its platform, and allowing Nazis to monetize content on its platform, Substack has actively promoted Nazis and racists, as Katz notes in his Atlantic article:

In June, McKenzie hosted the Substack writer Richard Hanania on the platform’s flagship podcast, The Active Voice. On Twitter the previous month, Hanania, a political scientist with a law degree from the University of Chicago, had described Black people as “animals” who should be subject to “more policing, incarceration, and surveillance.”

Soon after Hanania’s appearance on the podcast, HuffPost outed him as having written under a pen name in the early 2010s for several white-nationalist outlets, including Richard Spencer’s AlternativeRight.com. In some of his older posts, Hanania called for the forced sterilization of those with “low IQ”—a group that he argued included most Black and Latino people. Hanania responded to the exposé with a Substack post in which he disavowed his past views, but in terms that raised significant doubts about his sincerity. “The reason I’m the target of a cancellation effort,” he declared in the post, “is because left-wing journalists dislike anyone acknowledging statistical differences between races.”
Nevertheless, Chris Best, who is also Substack’s CEO, hailed Hanania’s non-apology as “an honest post on a difficult subject.” Within weeks, Substack was promoting Hanania yet again, trumpeting in one of its newsletters that his new book, The Origins of Woke—in which he calls for gutting the Civil Rights Act—“is in hot demand from reviewers,” and providing a link to preorder it. (One of those reviewers, writing for The Atlantic, observed: “Put plainly, Richard Hanania remains a white supremacist. A real one.”) 
In McKenzie’s recent post about “leaning into politics,” the Substack co-founder enthusiastically and prominently recommended a lesser-known Substacker, Darryl Cooper, as among the “up-and-comers” in political writing. Cooper’s podcast featured a complimentary interview with the white-nationalist magazine editor Greg Johnson—who, incidentally, published some of Hanania’s pseudonymous, more explicitly racist writings. Cooper has also used his personal Twitter account to claim that “FDR chose the wrong side in WW2.” (That tweet and the interview with Johnson were subsequently deleted.)

There's no reason to promote racists and Nazis unless you have no problem with racist and Nazi ideology. 

This is what Substack is, and what it was always intended to be, or as Katz quoted Hanania: "Substack itself was created to explicitly push back against leftist suppression of speech"

I'm glad to see that Allan Stromfeldt Christensen of "Filmers to Farmers"  has the same basic analysis:

...while Katz himself stated on Substack that "I, for the moment, am staying", and that "I was here before the Nazis, and I think they should leave, not me", who was there first ultimately matters less than what the platform's co-founders and investors (originally?) had in store for the platform.

Because yes, the notion of Substack's "hands-off ... moderation stance" ostensibly being part of a 10-15 year Andreessen-aligned covert plan can be a bit too conspiratorial to swallow, but it nonetheless turns out that there's nothing covert at all about Substack's extremist machinations, and it's getting harder and harder to not admit that Substack is increasingly turning into something rather similar to what Musk has transformed his Twitter/X platform into.

And boy howdy is Twitter a shit show now - I just went there and I was hit with a solid wall of right-wing pro-Trump sludge - it's just relentless.

In his epic post, Christensen makes the connection between Twitter, Substack and Nazi bars by quoting a tweet thread, originally posted here.

The thread's point is that if you let one polite Nazi frequent your bar, they will bring their friends and they'll scare away non-Nazis and eventually you will have a Nazi bar.

Except what Substack is doing is not merely allowing Nazis to sit at their bar - they are giving them free drinks and telling other bar patrons that Nazis are "up-and-comers."

If you do that, you are, objectively, pro-Nazi.

Christensen has information about Substack's bot-driven membership inflation scheme, which I'll talk about soon.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Meet techno-fascist Marc Andreessen

Techno-fascist Marc Andreessen and his Substack stooge Razib Khan
Like Thiel and Musk, Andreessen can easily afford thousands
of courtiers like Khan, ready to say whatever their liege desires 


I have ignored Marc Andreessen on this blog for far too long. 

Mostly because the connections between Elon Musk and Peter Thiel and the Intellectual Dark Web and race pseudoscience have been much more obvious for much longer. 

Thiel especially, has been a player in right-wing politics since he was in college. And it has been credibly claimed he "secretly" funded the admittedly hereditarian, racist rag Quillette. 

Steven Pinker is a big fan of Quillette, even writing for Quillette, which completes the third component of the race pseudoscience - Intellectual Dark Web - Steven Pinker Dark Triad.

So I've made a big deal about possible connections between Peter Thiel and Substack while ignoring the indisputable connection between Andreessen and Substack

And now, here from last week is Andreessen promoting a tweet by racist Razib Khan, whose career has been promoted by Steven Pinker for decades.

And like Peter Thiel, the indisputable fascist, Andreessen has a friendly relationship with infamous white supremacist Richard Hanania.

Andreessen is a libertarian megalomaniac, which has been public knowledge for at least the last decade, but recently that's been made more obvious by his famously unhinged rant, which the Washington Post called "a self-serving cry for help." And:

The venture capitalist’s grievances are many, as are his out-there pronouncements. Universal basic income “would turn people into zoo animals to be farmed by the state.” Global population “easily” could grow to 50 billion (from about 8 billion today)— “and then far beyond that as we ultimately settle other planets.” And he has a Fox News-ish fear of a grab-bag of hobgoblins: “the ivory tower, the know-it-all credentialed expert worldview, indulging in abstract theories, luxury beliefs, social engineering, disconnected from the real world, delusional, unelected, and unaccountable — playing God with everyone else’s lives, with total insulation from the consequences.”

Andreessen also calls out Filippo Tommaso Marinetti as one of his patron saints. Marinetti is not only the author of the technology- and destruction-worshipping Futurist Manifesto from 1909, but also one of the architects of Italian fascism. Marinetti co-authored the Fascist Manifesto in 1919 and founded a futurist political party that merged with Mussolini's fascists. Other futurist thinkers and artists exist. To call Marinetti in particular a "saint" is a choice. 

You can't be more obviously in love with fascism than that - to call a Mussolini-era fascist a "saint." To those of you unfamiliar with history, Mussolini was an ally of Hitler.

So should we really be surprised that Substack, a platform that Andreessen has heavily invested in, is not only platforming Nazis and profiting from Nazis, but unashamedly promoting Nazis?

A software developer on Github compared Andreessen to Karl Marx and Ted Kazinsky (the "Unabomber") - 

In the vein of Ted Kazinsky, Karl Marx, and others before him, Marc Andreessen has proudly penned a manifesto, The Techno-Optimist Manifesto . Or more properly, “a rant.”

I chose the word “rant” with care. He’s ranting against something, but it’s a terrible essay riddled with citations from racist writers (whom he admires), straw men, false dilemmas, and reads like a high school sophomore barely squeaked out a passing grade in a macroeconomics course.

Lucas Roper in Gizmodo, in an article entitled Marc Andreessen Is Wrong About Everything writes:

Here’s the bottom line: The techno-optimist tribe gives off the distinct impression of people who have been so ridiculously rich for so long that they’ve just completely lost the plot about how the real world works. To be fair, this is an apt description of most of Silicon Valley. These days, if you’re not vampirically using your teenage son’s blood to regenerate your own aging body, or torturing monkeys to death in the hopes of creating the Matrix, or trying to get a belligerent reality TV star elected president, you’re just not winning. The tech industry is fueled by people with bad ideas, and Jezos, Andreessen, and company are just some among many. What makes this crowd somewhat different (and a little more dangerous) is that they’re now writing Unabomber-style manifestos that give some pretense of intellectual legitimacy to their terrible ideas. They’re then using that legitimacy to push for a totally unregulated tech industry that stands to “disrupt” (i.e., potentially destabilize) large parts of society.

This makes it all the more ironic that Andreessen names as one of his so-called “enemies” those who are “disconnected from the real world, delusional, unelected, and unaccountable – playing God with everyone else’s lives, with total insulation from the consequences.” Frankly, there’s no better description of the “techno-optimist” crowd—a gaggle of out-of-touch tech bros who think their wealth gives them license to chart a future nobody else wants.

It should be obvious to all by now that the United States - and the world - has a deadly-serious billionaire techno-fascist problem.

Now I want to take a moment to mention the epic post about Substack shenanigans by Allan Stromfeldt Christensen of the curiously named "Filmers to Farmers" website. This is the first time I've seen someone else discuss some of the issues about Substack that I have raised in the past couple of years. I will have more to say about this epic post soon, but for now I just want to quote this bit:

Because yes, the notion of Substack's "hands-off ... moderation stance" ostensibly being part of a 10-15 year Andreessen-aligned covert plan can be a bit too conspiratorial to swallow, but it nonetheless turns out that there's nothing covert at all about Substack's extremist machinations, and it's getting harder and harder to not admit that Substack is increasingly turning into something rather similar to what Musk has transformed his Twitter/X platform into.

As I said back in July:

With all the racists it is platforming (Hanania, Kirkegaard, Bo Winegard, Razib Khan, Indian Bronson - undoubtedly many more, those are just off the top of my head) and now promoting, it sure looks like Substack is going the way of Twitter - and if it's less obvious than with Twitter, that's probably because Peter Thiel is stealthier than Elon Musk.

Of course I should have said Marc Andreessen - but don't count Thiel out yet - he does indeed like to do things secretly.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Meet the ghouls, grifters, goons and stooges who support Nazi-platforming Substack

The three Nazi-platforming stooges
 So the other day I predicted:

Now Katz has drafted an open letter to the Substack ghouls, entitled Substackers against Nazis that I doubt will impress the Substack ghouls and their bosses...

Today I see in the NYTimes:

Substack Says It Will Not Ban Nazis or Extremist Speech

When are people like Jonathan Katz going to admit that the entire purpose of Substack is to platform racist ghouls!

That's what all the racist freaks are talking about when they talk about "moving the Overton window."

Or as it says in the NYTimes article:

While Substack says it does not allow users to call for violence, even that distinction can be murky, Professor Braddock said, because racists and extremists can walk up to the line without overtly doing that. But their rhetoric can still inspire others to violence, he said.

Allowing Nazi rhetoric on a platform also normalizes it, he said.

“The more they use the kind of rhetoric that dehumanizes or demonizes a certain population,” Professor Braddock said, “the more it becomes OK for the general population to follow.”


Don't believe me - believe the white supremacist, Richard Hanania, who has been promoted by Hamish McKenzie on Substack - according to Katz:

(Hanania has said that “Substack itself was created to explicitly push back against leftist suppression of speech” — another comment I’d like McKenzie to weigh in on.)

The Koch-funded, racist-supporting (they go waaaay back with Charles MurrayReason Magazine of course supports Substack. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some Koch money invested in Substack too.

Katz responds to Matt Taibbi here - unfortunately Katz is still on Substack so I am not going to resubscribe so I can read all the content. But I will have to quote from the piece because it's so perfect - Taibbi is even more contemptible than Freddie deBoer, which is saying a lot:

And look, I don’t blame Matt. If I were a hack post-leftist overwriter who peaked during Occupy Wall Street and responded to sexual-harassment allegations by worming his way under the sweaty wings of Ted Cruz and Elon Musk—only to get hoodwinked into pushing neocon Sinophobic talking points that blew up on arrival—I might make up a strawman on a Tuesday night and torch him too. Certainly easier than engaging with anything I’ve ever actually said.

Business Insider makes a good point - it isn't just that Substack is platforming Nazis, it's that Substack has a profitable business arrangement with Nazis!

The Katz letter was bound to be countered by a letter from a bunch of right-wingers and stupid feckless stooges of the right. 

As I just recently said, signing this kind of letter is how the right does "virtue signaling."

Some of the people on this list are harmless nobodies who dabble in the arts or like to promote their religions or hobbies online, but there are many on this list who are rightwing ghouls, goons, and grifters. Just awful - and very much not harmless - people. Quite a few Quillette authors, anti-vax wackos, anti-trans fanatics and wingnut welfare recipients. At least one of them is a public Nazi sympathizer.

To my amazement, Steven Pinker is not on this list - but his influence is apparent...

  1. Elle Griffin, author of The Elysian - a fan of Steven Pinker - OF COURSE! ~ enthusiastic supporter of her plutocratic paymasters
  2. Alex Kruger, author of Garden of Anxiety
  3. Alexander Hellene, author of A. Hellene Author  - misogynist idiot
  4. a. natasha joukovsky, author of quite useless - management consultant/conservative idiot
  5. Angela Nagle, author of Angela Nagle - darling of Fox News
  6. Abigail Shrier, author of The Truth Fairy - rabidly anti-trans crusader and Quillette author
  7. Alberto Romero, author of The Algorithmic Bridge
  8. Bari Weiss, author of The Free Press - OF COURSE the sugar baby of Harlan Crow, and very, very likely, Peter Thiel - and an absolutely contemptible human being supports Substack - I've no doubt she gets paid by the same people who support Substack - she also signed this letter
  9. Ben Dreyfuss, author of Calm Down - rightwing idiot gloats about Substack platforming Nazis
  10. Bowen Dwelle, author of An Ordinary Disaster
  11. Bridget Phetasy, author of Beyond Parody - rightwing idiot, Quillette author
  12. Cameron M. Bailey, author of Emeth - obsessed with being a Freemason
  13. Charles Eisenstein, author of Charles Eisenstein - anti-vaxxer idiot
  14. Christin Balan, author of Writer in Progress 
  15. C.L. Steiner, author of Not Complaining - wants to ridicule Nazis, but not deny them a big mainstream audience
  16. Colin Wright, author of Reality’s Last Stand - in a five-way tie with Bari Weiss, Matt Taibbi, Konstantin Kisin and Michael Shermer for the most contemptible right-wing ghoul on this list - not only a former Quillette staffer, but an anti-trans obsessive and pal of right-wing uber-ghoul Christopher Rufo
  17. Connor O’Brien, author of Regions
  18. Contarini, author of Contarini’s Attic 
  19. Damon Linker, author of Notes from the Middleground - dictator-appeasing idiot
  20. Darryl Cooper, author of MartyrMade - Trump apologist idiot and Nazi-symp who reportedly used his personal Twitter account to claim that “FDR chose the wrong side in WW2.”
  21. david roberts, author of Sparks from Culture  
  22. Dee Rambeau, author of Of a Sober Mind - conservative dummy, cites hereditarian Jonathan Haidt as an expert
  23. Doomberg, author of Doomberg - idiot: "As a general rule, Doomberg has stayed clear of the direct debate over whether anthropogenic carbon emissions are warming the planet and whether such a trend represents an existential threat..."
  24. DuVay Knox, author of Hard Knox Life
  25. Dwarkesh Patel, host of Dwarkesh Podcast - promoter of racist idiot Razib Khan
  26. Edward Snowden, author of Continuing Ed - Russian, traitor to the United States of America
  27. Erik Hoel, author of The Intrinsic Perspective - OK I have to admit, he got off a pretty good slam on Steven Pinker: "I now must remind myself to be like Steven Pinker: expectant, assured, confident in the work my twenty busy bees of Harvard-educated research assistants have done"
  28. Ethan Strauss, author of House of Strauss - creepy rightwinger
  29. Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR), author of FAIR Substack - LOL - nest of race pseudoscience promoters and wingnut welfare recipients, supported by Supreme Court corrupter Harlan Crow
  30. Freddie deBoer, author of Freddie deBoer - former leftist, promoter of race pseudoscience, called Nazi freak Richard Hanania an "interesting thinker" - Jeet Heer had a great response to deBoer's friendship with Hanania - deBoer is so utterly pathetic - does anybody except racists and Nazis like him?
  31. Freya India, author of GIRLS - internalized misogyny idiot, recommends Freddie deBoer AND Putinbot Konstantin Kisin AND racist Quillette author Rob Henderson on her Substack 
  32. Glenn Loury, author of The Glenn Show - right-wing idiot, signed this letter too
  33. Greg Lukianoff, author of The Eternally Radical Idea - works for Koch via FIRE
  34. Gurwinder, author of The Prism
  35. Heather Heying, author of Natural Selections - named member of the Intellectual Dark Web, evolutionary psychology idiot who promoted Ivermectin for Covid - big fan of game theory - also signed this letter
  36. Jason Crawford, author of The Roots of Progress - idiot fan of Steven Pinker
  37. Jay Bhattacharya, author of The Illusion of Consensus  - anti-vax idiot, "old college pal of Peter Thiel" also signed this letter
  38. Jennifer Sey, author of Sey Everything - rightwing idiot, recommends Bari Weiss on her Substack
  39. Jessica Reed Kraus, author of House Inhabit - supporter of crackpot RFK Jr.
  40. Jimmy Doom, author of Jimmy Doom’s Roulette Weal 
  41. Julie Bindel, author of Julie Bindel - anti-trans fanatic
  42. Julie Gabrielli, author of Building Hope
  43. Katherine Brodsky, author of Random Minds - rightwing idiot, ally of racist Razib Khan
  44. Katherine Dee, author of Default Wisdom  - absolute asshole - calls Jonathan Katz' concerns a "temper tantrum"
  45. Kathleen Sykes, author of The Charrette - declares herself a "deep thinker" so of course she recommends rightwing idiot grifters like anti-trans fanatic Jesse Singal (twice!) and anti-feminist Meghan Daum
  46. Kent Peterson, author of Kent’s Substack
  47. Konstantin Kisin, author of Konstantin Kisin’s Newsletter - Putinbot - signed this letter too
  48. Lawrence M. Krauss, author of Critical Mass - utterly contemptible individual, author (of course) at Quillette
  49. Lee Fang, author of Lee Fang  - ally of Glenn Greenwald, also signed this letter
  50. Leighton Woodhouse, co-founder of Public - Publishes a bunch of grifters like Michael Shellenberger and Zaid Jilani
  51. Li Kentgen, author of The 3 C’s of Belonging 
  52. Lisa Kuznak, author of Mechanical Pulp
  53. Luke Burgis, author of Anti-Mimetic - and author at racist Quillette
  54. Lyle McKeany, author of Just Enough to Get Me in Trouble
  55. Malcolm Cochran, author of Antheros - author at racist Quillette
  56. Matt Taibbi, author of Racket News - awful, signed this letter too
  57. Maurissa, author of RissaJean: Field Notes on Love, Life, and Loss 
  58. Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable with Meghan Daum anti-feminist, author at racist Quillette
  59. M. E. Rothwell, author of Cosmographia
  60. Michaela McKuen, author of McKuen Musings
  61. Michael C. Moynihan, host of The Fifth Column - racist idiot Andrew Sullivan considers him an "old friend"
  62. Michael Mohr, author of Sincere American Writing - fake leftist who counts himself among a pack of right-wing idiots and Quillette authors:  "This, in turn, allowed many of us—including some very prominent writers, such as Ted Gioia, Glenn Loury, Freddie DeBoer, Ben Dreyfus, Bridget Phetasy, Matthew Taibbi, Richard Dawkins, and others—the opportunity to sign a pro-free speech letter written by Elle Griffin."
  63. Michael Nayna, author of The Process - far-right promoter of Putinbot ghoul Konstantin Kisin
  64. Michael Shellenberger author of Public - rightwing ghoul, also signed this letter
  65. Michael Shermer, author of Skeptic magazine - blatant racist and Pinker's pal also signed this letter
  66. Nellie Bowles, author of Chosen by Choice idiot wife of the contemptible Bari Weiss, also signed this letter
  67. Nikita Petrov, author of Psychopolitica - apparently a Koch employee, works for the far-right Manhattan Institute's Glenn Loury
  68. N.S. Lyons, author of The Upheaval - anti-feminist asshole
  69. Paul Kingsnorth, author of The Abbey of Misrule - religious fanatic and anti-vaxxer nut job
  70. Paul L Jordan III, author of The Taproot 
  71. Peter Boghossian, author of Peter Boghossian - utterly contemptible, part of the Harlan Crow-funded FAIR grift. Signed this letter too.
  72. Peter Clayborne, author of Anarchy Unfolds  - signed both the pro and anti-Nazi letters - JFC
  73. Phisto Sobanii, author of The Partisan - aaaasshole who cites the ghoulish Matt Taibbi as a voice  of reason
  74. Rachel Haywire, author of The Cultural Futurist 
  75. Rav Arora, author of The Illusion of Consensus - right-wing anti-vaxxer
  76. Razib Khan, author of Unsupervised Learning - racist idiot
  77. Richard Dawkins, author of The Poetry of Reality - cranky old bigot, also signed this letter
  78. Rob Henderson, author of Rob Henderson’s Newsletter rightwing idiot, author at racist Quillette
  79. Ruth Gaskovski, author of School of the Unconformed  - Luddite
  80. Sam Kahn, author of Castalia - aaaaaasshole - author at the asshole-infested Persuasion, another bunch of reactionary letter-signers
  81. Samuel Lopez-Barrantes, author of if not, Paris
  82. Sarah Haider, author of Hold That Thought - rightwing idiot also signed this letter
  83. Sasha Latypova, author of Due Diligence and Art - anti-vaxxer nut job
  84. Scott D, author of Moderately Offline
  85. Dr Sharon Blackie, author of The Art of Enchantment 
  86. Slavoj Žižek, author of ŽIŽEK GOADS AND PRODS - anti-trans reactionary also signed this letter
  87. Tabitha Blair, author of Rudegal Tab Rants - anti-vaxxer nut job
  88. Taylor Foreman, author of The Creativity Gap - idiot
  89. Ted Gioia, author of The Honest Broker - author at racist Quillette, City Journal and Bari Weiss's Substack
  90. Tomas Pueyo, author of Uncharted Territories - gender essentialist creep
  91. Walter Kirn, author of Unbound - ally of the ghoulish Matt Taibbi and the even more ghoulish Christopher Rufo - also signed this letter
  92. Zachary Davis, author of Wayfare

Thursday, December 21, 2023

I knew it back in February 2022: Substack is racist, Nazi-platforming trash

As I wrote on Pinkerite in February 2022:
The fact that Lulu Cheng Meservey, the vice president of communications for Substack is a member of Razib Khan's clubhouse as well as a member of the clubhouse of the anti-CRT grifting, IDW-riddled, far-right leaning FAIR, (update: and as I know now, FAIR was dreamed up by Bari Weiss and her IDW stooges and funded by Harlan Crow) does not help dissuade me from the suspicion that Substack is simply a high-tech Donor's Trust. 
Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie has a Thiel connection. Thiel was an investor in PandoDaily, which McKenzie worked for.

Another Substack co-founder, Chris Best, appeared on a podcast for the race pseudoscience promoting, Thiel-funded Quillette. According to a description of the interview on Padverb, "Tech entrepreneur Chris Best talks about Substack, his self-publishing platform that is attracting journalists like Andrew Sullivan, Jesse Singal and Jen Gerson."
The Substack gang apparently has no problem with promoters of race pseudoscience, at the very least.

The fact that Substack founders had so many connections to right-wing hawkers of race pseudoscience was a huge red flag.

Then in July of this year Jonathan Katz wrote about Substack promoting Richard Hanania and I wrote:
With all the racists (Substack) is platforming (Hanania, Kirkegaard, Bo Winegard, Razib Khan, Indian Bronson - undoubtedly many more, those are just off the top of my head) and now promoting, it sure looks like Substack is going the way of Twitter - and if it's less obvious than with Twitter, that's probably because Peter Thiel is stealthier than Elon Musk.
It's certainly no stretch at all to connect the "Intellectual Dark Web" (Peter Thiel is alleged to fund the IDW mouthpiece Quillette) with the far-right racism of Richard Hanania - Steven Pinker, identified by Bari Weiss as the most mainstream of those associated with the IDW is a firm supporter of white supremacist Richard Hanania. And of course Peter Thiel blurbed Hanania's book with the most blatantly fascist statement this side of Donald Trump.

In (Hamish) McKenzie’s recent post about “leaning into politics,” the Substack co-founder enthusiastically and prominently recommended a lesser-known Substacker, Darryl Cooper, as among the “up-and-comers” in political writing. Cooper’s podcast featured a complimentary interview with the white-nationalist magazine editor Greg Johnson—who, incidentally, published some of Hanania’s pseudonymous, more explicitly racist writings. Cooper has also used his personal Twitter account to claim that “FDR chose the wrong side in WW2.” (That tweet and the interview with Johnson were subsequently deleted.)

Substack's founders are race pseudoscience-loving Nazi-platforming ghouls. 

I guessed it almost two years ago.

I also guessed in July that Katz would eventually get sick of Substack. Now in this Atlantic article he writes:
The question is what kind of community Substack is actually cultivating. How long will writers such as Bari Weiss, Patti Smith, and George Saunders—and, for that matter, me—be willing to stake our reputations on, and share a cut of our revenue with, a company that can’t decide if Nazi blogs count as hate speech?
Although I find it bizarre that he thinks that Bari "Harlan Crow is my sugar daddy" Weiss would ever have any moral qualms about anything.

Now Katz has drafted an open letter to the Substack ghouls, entitled Substackers against Nazis that I doubt will impress the Substack ghouls and their bosses, a category that I am willing to bet includes Peter Thiel.

Just quit Substack already, Jonathan Katz - months ago I guessed you were going to do it, sooner or later.

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