Dear Conservatives: Pick Better Martyrs

June 6, 2019

By Joel Sawyer – Follow Joel on Twitter

Deplatforming, the latest cause célèbre for conservative pundits and politicians alike, has claimed another “victim.”

Steven Crowder, the host of something on the internet called Louder with Crowder (it’s pithy because it rhymes!), was deprived by YouTube of his ability to make money on the video platform, hence the insidious-sounding word, “deplatforming.” His channel, his content, and his subscribers remain, but YouTube will no longer allow him to monetize ad content on his show.

YouTube took this step after a sustained campaign from a Vox writer named Carlos Maza, after Crowder repeatedly called Maza a “lispy queer,” a “Mexican,” an “anchor baby” and more in multiple videos over the course of many months.

Before this, I had never heard of Maza and was only peripherally aware of Steven Crowder. From what I can tell, Crowder is basically a dime-store Howard Stern pedaling MAGA populism for the purpose of “owning libs” with “sick burns.” He sells a shirt in his online store that says “Socialism is for Fags.” To further demonstrate how clever he isn’t, one of his favorite insults for Maza was “sprite,” which is a type of fairy. Because Maza is a homosexual, you see. 

I know, I know…rapier wit on that Crowder fellow.

Now, I’m old enough to remember when more conservatives actually believed in the free market, and would have approached this situation with a collective, “Who cares?” YouTube, part of Google, isn’t the government. There is no 1st Amendment or Free Speech issue at play. It’s a privately-run company (albeit publicly traded), and they can decide who can and can’t be on their platform. And the great thing about capitalism is that if enough people decide that YouTube is too terrible and restrictive, they can create another platform for hosting as many hateful, grade-school insults as they want.

Unfortunately, actual conservatism has given way to snowflake conservatism, an ideology based on the same exploitation of victimhood for which conservatives pilloried liberals for years.

It works like this – you say something bigoted on the internet about another human being or group of human beings. Then, when that internet platform bans you for saying things that would have a similar consequence in real life, great wailing and gnashing of teeth over so-called “censorship” and “deplatforming” begins. The tech companies, the trope goes, aren’t banning you because your behavior wouldn’t be tolerated in literally ANY other public square, they’re banning you because of all that conservative stuff you said and they hate conservatives.

In reality, it’s a pretty tough case to make. Just ask Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, who was roundly criticized after she included an actual white supremacist, Paul Nehlen, in a recent list of poor, pitiful souls who have been “silenced” by the liberal tech companies. I’m not going to waste electrons detailing all of the rests’ behavior that got them temporarily or permanently banned. Her list included Alex Jones, for God’s sake. But I think it’s fair to say that in each case (with the possible exception of Candace Owens, whose ban Facebook called a mistake, and quickly reversed), each of the people listed said some pretty wretched things that if we’re going by the “what would happen if it weren’t the internet” standard, their speech would have resulted in personal or professional consequences.

Steven Crowder’s speech would have gotten him fired at most workplaces. He’d have been asked to leave a restaurant or a grocery store. He would’ve been asked to sit down at a town hall meeting. Why is YouTube being held to a different standard?

He isn’t a martyr. He’s an asshole. 

So anyone who believes we are indeed facing a “slippery slope” of big tech censorship against conservatives, you’d be well-served to look for examples of people silenced for actual conservative ideas rather than people who’ve joyfully engaged in bigoted name calling, doxxing, or low-rent shock-jocking. 

In the meantime…get Crowder off the cross. We need the wood. 

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