My 28th birthday is coming up, and with it, my yearly progress review. I debrief wins & losses, and plan for the following year. I’ve had a lot of success on a personal level, but the professional side has left me unsatisfied.
Things have been good, I’ve made solid money, but there’s a critical element lacking: I haven’t felt passionate about a cause for which I can fully use my technical skills. Unfortunately, I can’t give a 100% of focus and energy to something I’m not passionate about to the point of obsession.
This has gotten me thinking for the past few days. What am I passionate about? What am I constantly focusing on, reacting strongly about, and criticizing?
Events in the past few weeks gave me the answer to this question.
Identity politics, censorship, and tech
For the past few years, the state of free-speech has been degrading at an alarming rate. Chronological news feeds on social media platforms have slowly turned into meticulously curated mixes of propaganda and harmless items. Identity politics have taken over relevance as criterion for a voice’s right to be displayed, remunerated, or even exist.
This crisis reached a fever pitch around the 2016 U.S. election, and has kept getting worse ever since. It now clearly appears that the censorship machine leans dangerously to the left, with a staggering number of conservative voices muted, shadow-banned, no-platformed, doxxed and personally put in danger.
The giants of tech, helped by (or coerced, or both) governments, have taken upon themselves to categorize what bits of information are real, fake news, or hate speech. This incredibly imposing responsibility should not be in the hands of people and corporations that so obviously display a dangerous lack of objectivity, and inject their socio-political agenda in everything they touch.
It shouldn’t actually be in anyone’s hands, except the reader. Every major website gives its users the tools to hide what they don’t want to see. Their censorship has become rampant on the web. It is a gross overreach, and an odious insult to the fundamental liberties our modern societies, and the web itself, were built upon.
The Internet, which used to be a space for debate, and mostly healthy exchange of ideas, has become a barren wasteland of “curated” content, ads, propaganda and disinformation.
Free market to the rescue
While I believe the situation to be dire, it isn’t the first time. When a product or a corporation becomes too dysfunctional, corrupted or inefficient, the market reacts with a new contender.
In recent years, I’ve seen competition rise up and succeed, based on the principle of free speech, in reaction to major websites completely squandering it.
- Voat: alternative to Reddit, rose in popularity at the time where its predecessor started purging “non advertiser-friendly” forums.
- Gab: was born to escape the brutal culling of conservative, and also “non advertiser-friendly” voices on Twitter.
They’re not the only ones right now, and they certainly won’t be in the coming months. For every business that succumbs to the insanity of identity politics, censorship, and political agenda-driven governance, a replacement will rise.
Joining the fight
The document known as “Google Manifesto“, internally published recently by a Google employee frustrated by the company’s unhealthy obsession with diversity and speech policing over merit and individual qualities. It has come as a striking reminder that this disease has infected nearly every major tech company.
As far as I a concerned, it’s the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. I fully intend to be part of the reaction to the corruption of values in the worldwide tech industry.
For too long have I been paying to use websites that don’t value fundamental civil liberties. Who won’t show what little courage and integrity they need to let opposing opinions stand on the debate podium.
I strongly intend to give one of those companies a run for their money and anti-depressants. I want to offer a much needed choice to users who refuse to contribute to censorship and identity politics.
Thanks for reading, and may you have a productive and successful year. If you have found a cause to be passionate about, I wish you the best of strength and resolve.