Hipster Vigilantism and the New Populist Attack On Free Speech

by Eric Tazelaar

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"Anonymous" the self-styled cyber-vigilante group, widely recognized by its use of Guy Fawkes masks to conceal members' identities, yesterday launched another flurry of DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attacks to overload and thereby silence the websites of organizations which it identifies as "promoting paedophilia". Several of those organisations targeted were NAMBLA and Boychat which suffered temporary website outages. 

Yesterday, we were, once again, reminded of the self-righteous - if inchoate - rage which periodically bubbles to the surface in an effort to deny the rights of others to speak freely.

In the past, this atavistic fury would have taken the form of book burnings or, even earlier, the burning of people. Today, it is expressed through the sabotage of complex computer networks and requires a modest level of technical expertise that is itself worn as a badge of honor by those who imagine themselves serving a societal good in their concerted efforts to silence us.

A very public - and heroic - identification with that which is good and virtuous, as in every moral crusade of the past, is very much a driving force behind these contemporary mob rallies.

As the targets of these actions, we know, from years of experience, that those 'hipster vigilantes' responsible for these "take downs" are, invariably, almost studiously ignorant of our message and our mission as well as the actual danger our ideas pose to their mythological preconceptions.

Their representation of our views and our motives are as scurrilous and distorted as any claims made by tabloid journalists or government agencies. But, of course, they would be.

Considering that most of them are young and grew up in the age of hysteria -  in other words, since the 1970's - then we understand all too well why this is so.

As children and adolescents, they were spoon-fed a continuous diet of stranger danger, warnings of "bad touches", alerts of missing children, and continuous surveillance by qualified adults while their permitted range-of-movement within which to explore life, love and humanity, shrank.

Theirs was a childhood informed by a continuous stream of missing children on milk cartons, indoctrination sessions lead by alarmist teachers and earnest visiting policemen, hysterical t.v. news and the obsessive demands of parents that they remain within the ever-narrower boundaries which had come to define the limits of childhood and adolescence.

That all of these messages about strange men, in particular, were continuously delivered to them throughout their earliest years with an existential level of urgency makes it trivially easy to understand the levels of vehemence and intolerance our organizations - and our websites - now face. 

Angry, destructive bands of crusaders, along with ever more oppressive laws are the result of a more than thirty-five year campaign to systematically suppress dissenting voices and contradicting evidence in order to fundamentally re-engineer society along strictly partisan - and paranoid - lines. 

In this way morality, the perception of risk, and reality itself have all been gradually, but dramatically, shifted over several generations while society feverishly wrings its hands, seemingly oblivious to the ongoing experiment in which it plays a starring role.

So, when we asked ourselves, many years ago, what the long-term effects would be of the sudden and astounding efflorescence of paranoia we were then witnessing we now, finally, have our answer.

guy fawkes children

Eric Tazelaar is a frequent contributor to Nambla.org

 

 



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