What began as a way to defend free speech against attack from those who seek to trample alternative opinion quickly became what it previously held in contempt.
I have written before about the Twitter Gulag Defense Network, the online creation by American ‘simple country lawyer’ Todd Kincannon. Formed as a way to prevent the effectiveness of what’s known as ‘spam-block attacks’, a method of attack which results in the temporary (yet annoying) suspension of an account until the Twitter folks determine you are not spam, #TGDN quickly grew to include thousands.
Open to anyone, the ‘movement’ morphed into what can be better described as a conservative movement. It became a unifying force of all types who identify as being on the political right. And as is prone to happen, progressives reacted with the usual slander, ‘trolling’, personal attacks, etc. Typical stuff, really.
Perhaps as a result of TGDN’s rapid rise, the intent of the movement became blurred. Quickly forgotten by many in the mad scramble to follow everyone on the suggested lists was the ‘defense’ part. Instead of acting as a shield to protect long-battered free speech rights, some began using the group as a weapon of their own.
Calls to ‘spam-block’ certain individuals purely on the basis of disagreement started appear. Even as TGDN creator Kincannon specifically urged members to simply block ‘trolls’, the spam-blocking continued.
Also, a weird sort of group-think was starting to develop, mixed with a sort of cult-like following for Kincannon.
The optics were starting to go bad. A PayPal account was set up (I hear – I never did confirm). Then, Kincannon tweeted his ‘luck’ in winning a vacation. True or humor?
Given the success of the movement to that point, and that it appeared Kincannon was on top of things with regards to reminding folks of our purpose, I gave the benefit of the doubt and carried on, albeit with the eye of caution.
Then a few days ago, I jumped online late in the day and walked into the middle of chaos. It appeared that Kincannon and a few of the more…ahem…’devoted followers’ had engaged in an online melee with a few of my fellow Canadians – conservative Albertans, for the most part. Now, spats happen all the time within the conservative ranks. It’s what happens when you have a group of strong-minded individuals.
Then I read that someone had been spam-blocked into suspension. Not cool, and certainly not what I joined up for. It took a day or two of sporadic Twitter visits to understand what the story was. Of course, by this point the minute details were irrelevant. Although a spam-blocking wasn’t called for, the reality is that Todd Kincannon referenced a Canadian woman with a ‘FUCK HER’, and his minions swarmed en masse to suspend someone he had an issue with.
It was an attack on free speech.
Given the fact that Canada, seen by most Americans as a center-left socialist nation, has had a federal Conservative government running the show for over seven years now, you’d think some American right wingers would take notice. After all, common sense would dictate that a conservative movement successful enough to take control of a socialist country would be something to study, considering the U.S. is just about to begin its second Obama term.
Instead, at a time when Canadian and American conservatives are coming together in unity to battle the common foes of social progressivism, left-wing media, and radical special interest groups, we see American conservatives fulfilling their stereotypical image as a stubborn, arrogant bunch who seem more concerned with infighting than they are saving their country. To wit:
However, I refuse to be a part of a ‘free speech’ group that does not value mine for any reason, let alone geography. And I definitely won’t be part of a group that would engage in tactics meant to silence someone’s opinion, ‘jizzwhistle’ or not.