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I am at the center of everything that happens to me

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joined 2022 September 04 22:25:41 UTC
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User ID: 214


I am at the center of everything that happens to me

0 followers   follows 21 users   joined 2022 September 04 22:25:41 UTC


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User ID: 214

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Usually 6 classes a semester, in addition to AP credits and 1-2 summer classes. I graduated in three years, which was bittersweet since college was a ton of fun and it took a while to get over missing that last year. On the other hand... tuition is expensive, and I'm glad to not have that year's worth of debt hanging over me.

It’s kind of sad yet hilarious that it was somewhat of a plot twist and subversion of the current zeitgeist that the handsome cocky blonde guy was actually a loyal, genre-savvy, and courageous ally to the protagonists all along.

That really stood out to me. I remember hoping he would show up to help at the end and was quite pleased at how it turned out. It was notable because that kind of character is usually made the villain.

I plan on it, but I'm waiting a year or two for the unofficial patches, DLC, and good mods to get established. I'm hoping I enjoy or can at least stand the game design and writing, because it will be a big portent for how the next Elder Scrolls will turn out.

Before going into Maverick I thought it would be a "legacy character passes the torch to the young, diverse successors" plot, as these sequels tend to be. The movie even teases this for a long time before surprising you with the opposite. One could say it... subverted expectations.

Tom Cruise movie trivia is always a hoot. In Mission Impossible: Fallout, he memorably broke his angle filming a stunt, but pushed through to finish the scene in absolute agony so as to not ruin the shot.

I'm certainly staying put even if they started taking recruits for the Mars colony tomorrow. But I don't mind taking the office job route you talked about, and I plan to get engaged soon. The pot is sweet enough in America that you can just coast if you're a certain type. That said:

all you need to do is study computer science and learn how to program (trivially easy) and you can make a comfortable living and essentially enjoy an easy and materially prosperous life. America is a place where trivial email jobs pay $100k a year. The young man doesn’t leave because, by being born an American, he has already won the lottery of life.

Come on. This is not trivially easy. It's easy if you have a high enough IQ and can put up with school and office life for 80% of your life. Even if we're talking about email jobs, that still selects for a certain level of agreeableness and conscientiousness. There are many people who simply lack the cognitive horsepower for this kind of work, and there's a large group of people for whom this is a living hell. I don't mind the work, but you must agree the modal office environment is very feminine.

My college friends are all capable of and okay with this route, but I have a lot of other friends from different backgrounds that this is not a viable path for. In any society, there will be people unhappy with the current order, but the rising trend in sexlessness and radicalism indicates that there are more unsatisfied people than normal right now. If there were a compelling alternative path, I think there'd be a lot less societal stress from men with unfulfilling lives.

Yeah that's a fantasy, and there are many good arguments for why space can't be the escape valve for those people, but my point was that such space aspirations were a frontier fantasy, not a utopian fantasy as OP was saying.

But very few Irish or German peasants in 1850 who emigrated to the US became wealthy or anything even close to it.

Their earnings potential was much better in America, no? That's why they came. They wouldn't die rich by the standards of landed European money, but they'd be wealthier than they ever would have been had they stayed in Europe. There was a legitimate reason to go, because there was a lot of "unclaimed" land and opportunity to die with some land and money, not a landless serf.

More to the point, we already have a beautiful planet with an atmosphere, water and abundant resources - shouldn't the utopian impulse make us redouble our efforts for poor old Earth, instead of giving the glad eye to some ugly red rock?

It seems reductive to call the desire for a space exploration age utopian. It's not a utopia people want, it's a frontier. Somewhere a young man with little social standing or assets can risk his life to make it big in new, unknown territory. The demographics of people who would sign up for a one-way Mars colonization trip are the same as the people who try to make it big gambling on stocks and crypto. Crypto is a sad excuse for a real frontier for many reasons, but it's the closest thing I can think of in the modern day.

People want more space to spread out and get away from the current social structure. A lot of the most disaffected or persecuted people in Europe were able to do this with the Americas, and right now we lack this kind of physical release valve. I think a lot of social problems would solve themselves if people who were unhappy with things could just go... somewhere else.

It's very possible that space travel looks nothing like that, and will only take highly skilled and educated individuals. Still, most frontiers are inherently dangerous, so I'd bet there is some place for those with everything to gain and nothing to lose to find their fortune.

Of course both are possible but you do have to wonder about distracting focus.

The space race generated/improved countless technologies that vastly improved quality of life back on Earth. A new wave of interest in space would almost certainly result in new material gains here. If asteroid mining is possible in the long term, it could solve a lot of resource problems and lead to an explosion in wealth gains like no other. If by utopia, you mean spiritual transcendence, then yeah this probably wouldn't help with that.

I just don't see the appeal to this idea, and the fetish around changing sex or being something other than what you are already. It seems like a dystopia to be so focused on the surface aspects of Self when we could imagine a world where your sex is less relevant.

My issue with transgenderism is the "point deer, make horse" of social pressure to affirm that someone who is clearly not a woman is a woman, and of pushing dangerous, irreversible medical interventions onto autistic and underage people. Philosophically, I'm not against the concept of changing your body and hormones to be the same as a woman's, were it possible to actually do so. I'm not willing to bet that medicine will ever figure this out 100%, but if it does, that's a good thing.

Sex change isn't your thing, but are you against other forms of bodily modification? Do you have no issues with your health or vanity that you'd be willing to medically fix/improve if it were cheap and easy enough?

I guess ultimately I might have a different definition of transhumanism than you. At its core, it seems like the concept of using technology to overcome failings of the body. We've been doing that since we first picked up a walking stick. If in the future, the cure for blindness is to install vat-grown eyes, I don't see that as much different than LASIK, or even from wearing glasses. In all examples, your genetics or life circumstances led to you having the bad hand of poor eyesight, and you're relying on an unnatural intervention to overcome that.

I admit it looks pretty silly when you look at Yud talking about Cryonics and living forever. I wouldn't recommending holding out for technology to fix everything as an excuse to ignore your physical fitness. I'm not holding my breath for space travel, extreme body modification, etc. But at the same time, if you were to tell a man with poor eyesight from 100 BC that in the future, we could fire lasers into his eye to reshape his cornea, he would probably dismiss that as magical thinking in the same way that you are with some of your examples. These things don't always pan out how we want them to. But sometimes they do.

I feel you. Covid saw my job switch from wasting two hours of my life a day in commute time to fully remote. I suddenly got 8-10 hours of my life a week back. I moved out of state and took advantage of the extremely cheap flights to hop around the country visiting my family, friends, and (at the time long-distance) girlfriend. I could skip town for a week at a time without needing to take time off, since simply bringing my laptop was enough to work uninterrupted.

I’m still remote, but looking for new work and a lot of the places want hybrid employees. It’s hard to give up…

I listen to most of my music through Youtube. It often shows me interesting new music in my recommended and in the automatically generated playlists.

Also, sometimes random other media will send you down a rabbit hole. I discovered They Might Be Giants when I was younger from them doing a partnered event with an MMO I played. The event’s story featured the band members and their music would play in the relevant zones.

Go figure. It's very noticeable for a lot of properties, like League of Legends, but I always wondered whether it was an unspoken thing or explicit rule in these companies to always be showing certain types front and center. I'm in a different field, but I have received explicit instruction in the past to request diversity from the graphics team when I have ad creatives made.

I suspect this is why you aren't allowed to change the race or sex of your character in Battlefield One. You're gonna have to swallow your pride and accept playing as a black woman fighting for Germany in WW1.

The movie is primarily aimed at nostalgic millennials, not the young girls the toys are made for. It markets to people who grew up with the toys, but is more interested in using the toy brand to sell a film, not the other way around. Movies made to sell toys look like the ones on this list this list. They are animated, have child-friendly ratings, feature the toys center stage, and have a point of view that is neither critical nor deconstructive of the product featured, unlike the 2023 film.

To say the themes of the movie are only there due to the director just making the motions downplays the intent and artistry of the director, Greta Gerwig. Gerwig is known as a feminist director and earned a fair amount of buzz for Ladybird back in 2017. Regardless of how you feel about her work, looking at the three major films that she wrote and directed shows she has a point of view. The themes of her movies are not incidental or accidental, regardless of whether or not they're attached to a Mattel product.

Barbie is especially interesting due to the casting of Ryan Gosling, a masculine icon of problematic young men, as Ken. This has led to the film having a crossover appeal to both women and the incel and sigma subcultures of young men, who are attempting (successfully IMO) to co-opt the film's themes into their own thing with all the Ken memes. There's a lot to see here, and dismissing the movie as a Mattel commercial is reductive. People are not wrong or misguided to analyze a cultural product like this.

I'm not sure about the programming side, but a tool like LOOT could help you detect those issues. If users report conflicts between mods, it will flag your load order to warn you about them. Of course, if you're just looking to get your feet wet with some technical work then there's nothing wrong with giving it a go yourself.

It's also worth learning how to use the Skyrim Creation Kit as well. I used it to spot patch a few mod conflicts that didn't have patches, for example removing a barrel placed by a city overhaul mod that a boatman was sitting in, or restoring some missing pieces of terrain like you've had issues with. If you're looking for an excuse to learn how modding works, it's a great tool. I would also use it to create custom modded companions and it taught me a lot.

This has set them up for the obvious counter from the Right: why are you so mad about a movie where a guy saves children? Child trafficking is bad... right?

The mainstream journalistic reaction to this movie is full of handwringing and non-arguments. But they're not doing it because they're secretly pedos or want to cover for them. Circling the wagons, even if purely on instinct, is natural when you sense that someone is attempting to build an ideological superweapon against you, which Scott described in Weak Men are Superweapons. The whole post is worth reading if you haven't; it's one of his best and quite brief. This passage is most relevant though:

I suggested imagining yourself in the shoes of a Jew in czarist Russia. The big news story is about a Jewish man who killed a Christian child. As far as you can tell the story is true. It’s just disappointing that everyone who tells it is describing it as “A Jew killed a Christian kid today”. You don’t want to make a big deal over this, because no one is saying anything objectionable like “And so all Jews are evil”. Besides you’d hate to inject identity politics into this obvious tragedy. It just sort of makes you uncomfortable.

The next day you hear that the local priest is giving a sermon on how the Jews killed Christ. This statement seems historically plausible, and it’s part of the Christian religion, and no one is implying it says anything about the Jews today. You’d hate to be the guy who barges in and tries to tell the Christians what Biblical facts they can and can’t include in their sermons just because they offend you. It would make you an annoying busybody. So again you just get uncomfortable.

The next day you hear people complain about the greedy Jewish bankers who are ruining the world economy. And really a disproportionate number of bankers are Jewish, and bankers really do seem to be the source of a lot of economic problems. It seems kind of pedantic to interrupt every conversation with “But also some bankers are Christian, or Muslim, and even though a disproportionate number of bankers are Jewish that doesn’t mean the Jewish bankers are disproportionately active in ruining the world economy compared to their numbers.” So again you stay uncomfortable.

Then the next day you hear people complain about Israeli atrocities in Palestine (what, you thought this was past czarist Russia? This is future czarist Russia, after Putin finally gets the guts to crown himself). You understand that the Israelis really do commit some terrible acts. On the other hand, when people start talking about “Jewish atrocities” and “the need to protect Gentiles from Jewish rapacity” and “laws to stop all this horrible stuff the Jews are doing”, you just feel worried, even though you personally are not doing any horrible stuff and maybe they even have good reasons for phrasing it that way.

Then the next day you get in a business dispute with your neighbor. Maybe you loaned him some money and he doesn’t feel like paying you back. He tells you you’d better just give up, admit he is in the right, and apologize to him – because if the conflict escalated everyone would take his side because he is a Christian and you are a Jew. And everyone knows that Jews victimize Christians and are basically child-murdering Christ-killing economy-ruining atrocity-committing scum.

You have been boxed in by a serious of individually harmless but collectively dangerous statements. None of them individually referred to you – you weren’t murdering children or killing Christ or owning a bank. But they ended up getting you in the end anyway.

Depending on how likely you think this is, this kind of forces Jews together, makes them become strange bedfellows. You might not like what the Jews in Israel are doing in Palestine. But if you think someone’s trying to build a superweapon against you, and you don’t think you can differentiate yourself from the Israelis reliably, it’s in your best interest to defend them anyway.

The whole situation is a big culture war W for the right because it's a bad look to get so upset at a movie about a guy fighting child trafficking. But most journalists pushing back against this movie aren't thinking "I'm going to try to suppress this because I'm secretly a pedophile." They're more likely thinking of all the posts on Twitter and Facebook they've seen about the Satantic pedophilic elite, the ones that argue they control most of society and salivate over filling them full of lead.

While most journalists would agree that pedophilia and sex trafficking are bad things, they definitely don't buy into the idea that vast portions of society are controlled by pedos. But they do know that the person who believes this considers journalists as a class, at best, complicit, and at worst, in on it. So when they see a movie about hunting down child traffickers that the kind of person who posts about Satanic pedophilic elites seems to like... The incentives are all there for journalists to use their narrative-setting power to slander it however they can.

I remember there being a similar, but obviously less widespread and institutionalized, uncomfortable reaction on the right to the game Wolfenstein's "Punch a Nazi" ad campaign. This led to a similarly easy gotcha — what's the matter? You don't think Nazis are good, do you?

This kind of statement puts you on bad footing, which of course is entirely the point. But you don't have to be pro-Nazi to notice that the person fantasizing about violence seems to have a much broader definition of the term than you do, and that their definition includes you. Staying silent while they attempt to normalize extra-legal action against you might be ill-advised.

I'll say that I despise the seemingly complete capture of journalism as a field by activists who see it as their duty and right to use their platform to set a progressive agenda. I know a few people in real life in and adjacent to the industry, and they have a genuine antipathy for middle-America, whiteness, religion, etc. The widespread loss of trust in the industry is well-deserved, in my opinion. But I think the "they're all pedos/covering for pedos" line of thinking is either dishonest or misinformed, and may prove to be dangerous down the line.

Everything since MAPPA took over making the show from WIT aka the “Final Season” which has pretty much been 3 seasons of content. Barring a few amazing scenes I really dislike what it did with the characters and themes of the story.

I finished Divinity 2 this week and quite liked it, though I’m not sure I would rank it among my favorite RPGs yet. I loved the Red Prince though, he was a great companion.

My favorites include New Vegas, Three Houses, VTMB, Mass Effect (ME1>ME3>>>>>ME2).

The Elder Scrolls series is my favorite though, with Skyrim being my favorite game of all time. For all their faults, no RPG really offers what the TES games do. Witcher 3 has reactive storytelling, but in exchange for that you will always play Geralt with a preset story. In Skyrim, if you turn left out of Helgen you can have a whole play through without ever becoming the Dragonborn.

Granted, I mod Skyrim to its absolute limit to fix all my issues with it and revamp the mechanics. Oblivion also needs mods to fix the horrible leveling and item scaling situation. Morrowind ironically is the most playable unmodded, all you really need is a visual overhaul and bugfixes to dig into it.

Attack on Titan, though I wish it had ended at the end of season 3 instead of turning into what it is now. Whenever I show it to someone, I tell them to stop watching before season 4.

Thoroughly recommend Matt. He used to post on the old site too. His New Epidemic, Enron, Opium War, and Aztec posts are some of my favorites.

LOTR is the exceedingly rare case where I prefer the movie adaptation over the book. I found the Hobbit and Fellowship books enjoyable, but the Frodo sections of Two Towers and ROTK were... difficult to push through. Movie Two Towers made the right decision to interweave Aragorn's story with Frodo's, instead of hitting you with it all in one uninterrupted block.

You're correct with regards to TikTok's content moderation. It's more willing to serve you extremist content than current-day YouTube, but much more moderated than Elon Musk's Twitter. The posts linked are possibly only still up because the algorithm and human moderators aren't looking at MrBeast content with as much scrutiny as they are at Little Dark Age Hyperborean edits.

Still, it's interesting to see the posts up with that many likes. Usually the ban threshold for content like that is tripped before a post or account gets too big. Maybe there weren't enough user reports to flag them?

Their content moderation team in the U.S. market is based in California and will promote and censor things in accordance with Californian values. I've followed conservative accounts on there that kept getting banned whenever they hit a certain follower threshold. On the other hand, their site recently highlighted several trans creators to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility.

From the second link:

Working with me and my team throughout this process will be an outstanding group from the global law firm K&L Gates LLP, including former Congressmen Bart Gordon and Jeff Denham, who bring excellent expertise in the technology sector. The external team that we've brought on for this project will collaborate with our internal US management team to work on several key initiatives:

-Create a committee of outside experts to advise on and review content moderation policies covering a wide range of topics, including child safety, hate speech, misinformation, bullying, and other potential issues.

In its domestic market China has a much tighter leash on what TikTok can show its users, of course, but in America TikTok's social positions are the standard progressivism you will see promoted by any other major American company. If China is putting its thumb on the scale for the U.S. moderation team to engineer American social discord, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the chaos created by Musk simply halting most censorship on Twitter.

Seeing TikToks with likes in the hundreds of thousands lamenting Chris' transition or gleefully noting MrBeast's obvious discomfort with his lifelong friend in their recent video is quite the vibe shift. I'm not sure what's more surprising to me — the reaction itself or it being allowed to exist on a big platform. The censorship of the last 5 years has become so normalized to me that I'm taken aback when I see genuine anti-trans posts break 100,000 impressions without being mopped.

As for the reaction, as others have noted, millions of zoomers have a strong parasocial relationship with this band of male friends. Chris' transition and the awkwardness it injects into their dynamic is palpable. These people may not be anti-trans, but they certainly don't like what transitioning has done to their favorite creator's content. For many people whose exposure to transgenderism has been filtered through sympathetic lenses — popular media or news about transgender oppression — this may be their first genuine glimpse at the uglier side of it.

Chris was a well-adjusted chad who had a wife and infant child, and broke it off to become this. Many 20-something men would literally kill to have half of what Chris had— looks, respect, wife, and child. If throwing those things away to start HRT and live as a woman is what makes Chris happy, then for many it may for the first time really call into question how far their preferences differ from the cultural values that produced this outcome.

I don't really buy into there being a corrective "pendulum" when it comes to most progressive positions, but with the trans stuff it really feels like people are getting sick of it. Recently it feels like every week there is some new story that comes off quite badly for transpeople. The shooter targeting Christian children highlighting the militant anger of many transpeople (no demo fedposts online harder than they do), Dylan Mulvaney going mainstream/being sponsored by an all-American beer brand, and now this.

If you're a normal person growing up in America your default social position is likely live and let live. The tales you grew up reading and watching promote understanding, tolerance, and not jumping to conclusions with regards to unfamiliar cultures or lifestyles. The villains in your childhood tales are the intolerant, traditional, and quick to judge. Many are inclined to apply this rule to transgender people, and it is easy to say at a distance. It's someone else's life, let them live it how they want since it doesn't' affect me.

This isn't a bad rule to live by compared to many others. But it doesn't always play out as well as in the stories and many are beginning to realize that. Many who are fine in theory with transgenderism don't want to see it pushed in their media, for example. Pushing it to children is a bridge too far for many. It wouldn't be so bad if it just meant that your daughter cut her hair like a boy and grew out of it in a few years, but that practice may lead her to being pushed towards a suite of medical interventions that you can't take back. If tolerance means letting activists evangelize irreversible chemical treatment to minors, to your kids, over platforms like discord that you may not fully understand?

At that point, you might be fine becoming the villain. As Huck Finn said:

"It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:"All right, then, I'll go to hell"- and tore it up."


That feels like where the post should end, but I said that I was surprised that the "MrBeast 6000" TikToks were allowed to stay up this long. I want to talk more about the platforms, but it feels like it belongs to a different post. Musk buying Twitter feels like a big narrative break. It's the wild west on there once again with accounts being restored and allowed to say things that would have been an instant ban anytime in the last 5 years. The Twitter Files show that much of the online consensus of the last five years was enforced from the top down by federal agents working closely with private institutions.

It makes me wonder what the cultural landscape would look like if not for the top-down smothering of right-wing content. What would Adult Swim look like had they not followed external pressure to cancel MDE's World Peace and Sam Hyde had been given access to that audience for years? Hell, what would Reddit look like if it hadn't nuked the growing far-right subreddit dedicated to the same show, or pulled out all the stops to block /r/theDonald's expansion?

If you look at the Twitch debate scene, it's almost all between varying shades of liberalism and leftism. This isn't necessarily due to these views being more popular, but by who has been allowed to grow their platform without interference. Hasan Piker is allowed to have sponsorships and remain on Twitch despite his views being as radical as Sam Hyde's. The smothering of right-leaning content is artificial and enforced by pulling levers from the top down. But there is a genuine market for it and the people who can articulate conservative thoughts in an interesting way, and it's been suppressed for years. If one side has corporate approval and the other side gets blocked from payment processors, of course there is going to be a disparity in whose ideas are currently more popular. There are many ideas that would sweep through the mainstream if they weren't constantly pulled out by the root.

Activists know this which is why the knives have been out for Musk since the purchase went through. Substack seems to be in the crosshairs as well now. I can't blame the activists for doing this; they understand how power works and are willing to use it to prevent competing power structures from taking hold. Who knows who will come out on top in the end? Smart money may be on Musk being forced to fold, but he seems quite sick of being told what to do by them and may stick to his ideals. If so, I wonder what things will look like 10 years from now.

This is the main thrust of it from Matt Taibbi from his statement to congress this month. I don't know why they released the leaks as tweets; it's impossible to find specific receipts for these statements when they're broken up between 20 threads over several accounts...

We saw the first hints in communications between Twitter executives before the 2020 election, where we read things like:

Hi team, can we get your opinion on this? This was flagged by DHS:


Please see attached report from the FBI for potential misinformation.

This would be attached to excel spreadsheet with a long list of names, whose accounts were often suspended shortly after.

We learned Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other companies developed a formal system for taking in moderation “requests” from every corner of government: the FBI, DHS, HHS, DOD, the Global Engagement Center at State, even the CIA. For every government agency scanning Twitter, there were perhaps 20 quasi-private entities doing the same, including Stanford’s Election Integrity Project, Newsguard, the Global Disinformation Index, and others, many taxpayer-funded.

A focus of this fast-growing network is making lists of people whose opinions, beliefs, associations, or sympathies are deemed “misinformation,” “disinformation,” or “malinformation.” The latter term is just a euphemism for “true but inconvenient.”

Ordinary Americans are not just being reported to Twitter for “deamplification” or de-platforming, but to firms like PayPal, digital advertisers like Xandr, and crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe. These companies can and do refuse service to law-abiding people and businesses whose only crime is falling afoul of a distant, faceless, unaccountable, algorithmic judge.

Another troubling aspect is the role of the press, which should be the people’s last line of defense.

But instead of investigating these groups, journalists partnered with them. If Twitter declined to remove an account right away, government agencies and NGOs would call reporters for the New York Times, Washington Post, and other outlets, who in turn would call Twitter demanding to know why action had not been taken.

By implied threat of regulation I mean the unsaid thing that would be on these companies' minds when they received a communication like this — what will they do to us if we refuse to comply? These requests weren't based off a legitimate court order, just the government saying "We'd really like it if you stopped this person from saying things we don't like." Right now they're doing the most they think they can get away with, ReportMaxxing and informal requests, so if given increased jurisdiction over content we have good reason to suspect what they'd immediately start doing with it.

Fair, I should have expanded on that point some more. The psyop potential isn't ideal, but you might have to pick your poison here. Under the proposed law, the loss in Chinese narrative control would just be replaced by unprecedented expansion of federal power to do the exact same thing. The Twitter Files made it clear that the feds found it in their interest to coerce social media platforms to enforce a narrative via implied threat of regulation. I'd rather not give them the power to ruin any tech company on their shitlist by having an unelected committee declare it to be a foreign asset.

I understand if you disagree on the value judgement here. I'm no CCP fan, but since I don't live there I'm less concerned about them than I am domestic government overreach. If your response is we should still ban TikTok, just not this way — how should we do that without massive increase in government power or curtailing our free speech?

I'm worried about this one. It has bipartisan support between (to my understanding) the pro-censorship wing of the left and the China hawk wing of the right. Both groups hold a lot of power in Washington. The powers the RESTRICT act grants are broad and vague and would extend far past simply banning TikTok were it to be passed.

There are four points generally put forward by proponents of banning the app. I'll try to address these as best as I can. If I'm missing or misrepresenting one, let me know. These points are:

  1. TikTok is should be banned because it harms the attention spans of young people and acts as a bad influence purely as a social media platform, independent of any Chinese interference.

  2. TikTok has the potential as Chinese social media to let the CCP use algorithms to promote harmful viewpoints among American users.

  3. TikTok gives the CCP unprecedented ability to spy on us and collect blackmail on future leaders through user data.

  4. The CCP is our (the USG's) enemy and we should block any gains in cultural, political, or material power they are making and with any means at our disposal.

To the first point. There's no accusation of poisoning our youth, ruining our attention spans, or breaking our minds you can level at TikTok that doesn't also apply to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, etc. All of them promote political extremism and use algorithms of varying complexity to feed users personalized content. TikTok is much better at creating a curated feed, but that's not for lack of trying on the part of its competitors.

An argument to ban TikTok for this reason is an argument to ban all of them. There are plenty of people who would YesChad at this, which is a fair position. I'm not on board with banning these sites for freedom of expression reasons, but they've caused a lot of genuine harm and are likely a net-negative on happiness overall. However, I don't think this is on the table regardless. The 1st Amendment will (rightfully) prevent the government from banning social media apps over this, and the RESTRICT act will only lead to a more regime-controlled version of them. Our lawmakers want to put social media more under government control, not ban it.

Also, if your politics are outside the American overton window, how exactly will you get your message out without social media? Would you believe the things you currently hold to be true if not for the narrative control the Internet has wrested from the government and legacy media? In the 20th century, there were only a few, tightly-controlled media companies that had any messaging power. Your worldview was constrained to what they, and the people around you, found acceptable.

Point two is the psyop potential we are giving the CCP. I'm not sure they have the competency to actually do anything meaningful to us, but it is a fair concern for the future. But what can they do to us that we haven't done to ourselves in the past 8 years, exactly? I believe this point is pushed disingenuously by censorious legislators to pass a law that will give them greater narrative control against their real enemy — domestic opposition, but I will go more into that further down.

Point three is that TikTok gives the CCP huge amounts of user data on Americans. This is a valid concern, and I can see the blackmail potential they would have on future leaders through leaking DMs, nudes, embarrassing old videos, etc. At the very least, I understand why we would want to block TikTok on the phones of anyone who works in the military or in a sensitive government position.

If your position is that no one should get to harvest our personal data, I support you and would like to see that privacy enshrined in law. If your position is that only China shouldn't get to do that… You may disagree with me on this, but as an entity, the CCP's ability to ruin my life seems much more... distant than the USG's. The current regime seems very interested in pointing the state at right-wingers. The linked press release describes the Biden administration's plans for dealing with domestic terrorism, with the outlined targets being white identity extremists and militia people. You may trust the Biden admin to fairly interpret the phrase "domestic terrorist," or trust our 3-letter agencies to not abuse their power or fabricate evidence, but the last few years have destroyed any trust I have in them.

Simply put, if I had to choose one state to get my data, I'd choose the CCP, simply because I'm a world away from them and have no power to break down my door should they desire to. They are not as much of a threat to my freedom or safety as the American government that views many of its citizens as domestic terror threats. I've no illusions about which country I'd actually want to live under, and the USG is not even in the same ballpark of political repression as the CCP, but that doesn't mean I trust my government with our data.

Point 4 is the China Hawk position many Republicans hold. The reasons for this are a combination of China's threat to U.S. hegemony, its desire to spread its politics and influence to client states, the desire to have a "common enemy" to reunite Americans on shared ground, and military-industrial complex-driven greed/warmongering.

This may be the position that gets the most pushback, but I just don't care about China. I don't want to spend more American money and lives on foreign conflicts when there is so much to work on domestically. I don't like the ideology and policies we are exporting to the rest of the world and don't want it to spread completely unopposed. I don't want to die in some "unifying" conflict across the world for a government that pushes domestic policies designed to economically and politically disenfranchise people who look like me. The USG has lost the Mandate of Heaven and it should focus on getting that back, rather than picking more fights abroad.

This is all before we get into what the RESTRICT act gives the government the power to do, which is a lot. It empowers the Secretary of Commerce and the President with the "authority to take any... action as necessary" against information and communications technology products and services that are deemed to be owned or controlled by foreign adversaries and present a national security act.

As I understand it, this would be a process that would require approval by committee, not congress, and lets the President or Secretary bypass 1st Amendment protections to move against any tech or social media company that they deemed to be foreign influenced. This would apply to social media, tech, crypto, etc., and gives these two individuals the power to go after any company they like at will after some procedural outcomes.

I've seen how freely the Russian Interference accusation is baselessly thrown around. It was used by our intelligence agencies to justify shutting down the Hunter Biden story in election time without any supporting evidence. I have no illusions about how this is going to be used, if the act is passed. It will give our government the power to do what it's wanted to for a long time: go after cryptocurrencies and enforce regime control on any platform it wants, free of the pesky constitutional freedoms that prevent it from doing so. It seems like a modern Patriot Act, or an updated Sedition Act of 1918.

I don't think the Taliban were exempt from bans in the pre-Musk era. There was a fairly popular account that sprung up in 2021 right after the pullout that was supposedly them, but it got nuked after about a month. By now most, though not all, of the conservative accounts banned under the old regime have been let back on. I think Signals is expressing uncertainty whether the Taliban PR account is genuinely them. I'm leaning towards thinking it's real due to the post informing people that Lord Miles is missing. But it's hard to tell anything these days honestly.

I was hooked since since he first posted Alex Jones Worsdsmith almost 4 years ago. Now he has the attention of people like Peterson and Scott Adams. I'm quite interested to see what kinds of ideas he will meme into the ether of right-wing twitter if he keeps this up.