Lessons from Ancient Greece; The Social Media Panic

Here are two recent articles touching on the reality of the information war. First up is Robert Oscar Lopez taking a look at what Peracles dealt with in Greece about 2500 years ago. Second is another look at how Leftists have the political right out-gunned when it comes to infrastructure for the flow of information.

A Peloponnesian Pep Talk: Trump’s Hoplites Storm Washington
By Robert Oscar Lopez

Culture wars are wars. When I go on Twitter, I am going downrange. I approach my tweeting, retweeting, blocking, and replying as such.

This is still war even if (for now) the conflict is not an armed clash between us conservatives and our leftist nemeses. As I have elaborated in previous posts, Carl von Clausewitz noted that much of what we call “war” is mastering our thoughts, our troops’ thoughts, our allies’ thoughts, and our enemies’ thoughts. Of his nine principles of war, some, such as “objective” and “surprise” and “unity of command,” point as much to what goes on in all these players’ heads as to violent conflict.

Fortunately, in 2017, conservatives (though not all) came to understand that our political fight is not a roundtable symposium or a pie contest at the county fair. Hallelujah!

We face a leftist enemy who hates us and seeks to replace us with complacent gender-confused pajama boys shaking in fear that they may be shot through a biodegradable cannon by race-baiting rioters into a mob of lesbian sexual harassment lawyers. An astonishing swath of the right has rebuffed the NeverTrumps with their calls for civility. This signals that we aren’t crazy if we’ve been acting like troops in a kulturkampf for years.

Five years ago, when I described a certain political battle as “our Pharsalus” or defined certain tactics as “Carthaginian,” people bristled. “Oh, no, we are going to be civil!” I would hear. That’s changed lately.

Read more: American Thinker

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The Social-Media Panic
By Michael Brendan Dougherty

All that matters to the center-Left is whether Silicon Valley will keep them in power.

‘Make no mistake: 2016 will never happen again.” Historians are not always reliable predictors of the future, but Niall Ferguson’s analysis of how Silicon Valley and the center-Left would react to the successive and surprise victories of Brexit and Donald Trump is proving correct. Conservatives and populists will not be allowed to use the same tools as Democrats and liberals again, or at least not use them effectively.

Silicon Valley is working with its media and governmental critics to limit the damage to the center-Left going forward. You can see the dynamic in the way that the media generates a moral panic out of stories about how Brexit and the Trump election happened, and the way Silicon Valley responds. Fake news becomes a problem, and Silicon Valley responds by hiring progressive journalists as censors. I mean “fact-checkers.” You can see it in the demonetization of YouTube videos. Or in the new sets of regulation being imposed in European countries that deputize the social-media networks themselves as an all seeing social censor.

The latest moral panic is about Cambridge Analytica, a data and media consultancy run by the Mercer family that did a little work with the Trump campaign, after it had done work with the Ted Cruz campaign. A former employee came forward to reveal what the Guardian called “Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool.” The article explains that “Facebook was hijacked, repurposed to become a theatre of war,” that “it became a launchpad for what seems to be an extraordinary attack on the U.S.’s democratic process.” Chris Wylie, the whistleblower, said he “broke” Facebook.

Cambridge Analytica has been accused of misrepresenting the purpose of some of its data mining, which yielded something like 30 million Facebook profiles it could comb for data. It is alleged not to have deleted data on Facebook’s request. It was promptly kicked off Facebook after the Guardian and New York Times stories.

Read more: National Review

Image credit: Painting: Pericles’ Funeral Oration by Philipp Foltz 1877. Photographs of the same steps and view in 2009 by John Biver.