Skip to comments.REIGN OF TERROR: FREE REPUBLIC & REVOLUTIONARY FRANCE
Posted on 02/21/2005 12:16:21 AM PST by Jim Robinson
In 2001 yours truly was banned from the website Free Republic for posting material from the League of the South. The reasoning behind my banishment was "we're not a secessionist website." This coincided with the banning of material, not just from LOS' website www.dixienet.org., but also from sites like VDARE.com. Something else was happening at the premier conservative website and activist center on the internet that went beyond just banning one single poster.
Shortly thereafter, I wrote a piece for Chronicles on what I felt was a closing of the internet frontier, not just Free Republic's. It seemed as though the free wheeling nature of FR was coming to an end as it was on the rest of the web. The site's founder and director, Jim Robinson, was trying to make the place look more respectable for the donors needed to keep the non-profit site going. He also wanted members to abide by certain rules of conduct, decorum and "mainstream respectability" in the aftermath of a settled copyright lawsuit with the Washington Post and a public break with Matt Drudge and Lucianne Goldberg, who in 2000 took thousands of members from FR to start her own website as she and others complained about kooks, racists, liberal agent provocateurs` and conspiracy theorists who were a part of the atmosphere. Thus, Robinson became the U.S. marshal of Western lore with a "posse" of moderators to help clean up the frontier town.
"Freepers,"as they are known, will tell the banished if they dare complain of their predicament that Free Republic is a private site and that "JimRob" can do whatever the hell he wants with it. This includes banishing, exiling, excluding, deleting, attacking and the like. And to be fair to Robinson and FR, other websites that were set up by ex-Freepers in the wake up such banishments like Liberty Post, Liberty Forum and Freedom Underground, have all gone through the same problems in terms of moderators dealing with unruly posters, debate that degenerates into personal attack and articles from disreputable websites that have also led to banishments and rules of conduct on their part as well.
But with recent events on FR, what we have seen is Judge Roy Bean turned into Maximillen Robespierre and the "posse" becoming a Parisian mob. According to William Gheen, president of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC in a piece posted on Conservative Voice, JimRob and his moderators are purging people left and right in the Freeperville Reign of Terror. This has included long-time members from when the site was created back in 1996. Their "crime" is disagreeing with President Bush II's proposed amnesty plan for illegal immigrants who become "guest workers." Although Robinson claims not to support illegal immigration or open borders, his actions to silent such dissent in an effort to combat "racism" smack of the same radicalism employed by the Jacobins against their supposed enemies of the Revolution, even those who were a part of National Assembly when it declared itself on a tennis-court oath in 1789. Not even being on the ground floor when it all started isn't enough anymore, as it wasn't for Marat or Danton or even Trotsky or Zinoviev to use another revolutionary example.
It was said that "fear made the Parisian mob so ferocious." Such fear of their enemies, real and perceived, whether they are the Democrats, other leftists, terrorists, those on the hard right, libertarians, Nazis, members of the mainstream media, or things that go bump in the night, have led not to just a closing of the frontier at FR, but a closing of the mind and a closing of ranks. Given the fact there is a thread on FR set-up to worship Bush II as some sort of demi-god, anyone who dissents from his policies becomes part of the "enemy," the amorphous group whom they believe is out to destroy them. Given the fact FR is one of the most successful and most read political and ideological sites on the web and given their ability to conduct successful conservative activism over the years, it goes to show such paranoia about their prospects truly to be strange.
But then you realize that it is not so strange in the wake of articles from Lew Rockwell, Paul Craig Roberts, Justin Raimondo and now Scott McConnell at the American Conservative (The Hunger for Dictatorship, American Conservative Feb. 14, 2005) that point out the totalitarian strain that once affected the mindset of the Revolution during the Terror, has now entered the mindset of conservative villages like Freeperville just as it entered into the Parisian slums like St. Denis. The polarization of the electorate from 2000 election onward has polarized FR into an us or them mentality upon which dissent is not tolerated lest the unity of whole is destroyed. Some may call this fascism or communism or any kind of "ism," but it all traces itself back to those French revolutionaries who quickly assumed despotism far beyond that of the kings and princes and marquis they guillotined in order to keep their gang in power. And that power, or the Cult of Power, has replaced "conservatism" as the ideology of Free Republic. George Bush II favors amnesty because he thinks its good politics; it keeps the Republicans in power. Ergo, those who support Bush II must support amnesty because it keeps the Republicans in power. And do you think it is any coincidence that such a mentality is prevalent on FR when a Freeper named Joseph Steffen, an aide to Maryland Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich; reportedly used FR on state time to post scurrilous rumors that Baltimore Mayor and potential Maryland gubernatorial candidate Martin O'Malley had an out-of-wedlock child in an affair with a woman other than his wife? If Freeperville is becoming filled with Republican flunkies, it's because they've moved into the palaces while others take their cart rides to the public square for their executions.
The GOP may be riding high right now, but even figures as diverse as Rush Limbaugh, David Frum, and John Fund, have warned Republicans that the issue of immigration threatens to tear the party apart with internal conflict. If what's happening on Free Republic is any indication, the blood could be flowing in the streets.
Just like in Paris in 1794.
"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
Sean Scallon is a freelance writer and newspaper reporter who lives in Arkansaw, Wisconsin. His work has appeared in Chronicles: A magazine of American Culture. He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.
Sean Scallon can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the February 18, 2005 issue of Ether Zone. Copyright © 1997 - 2005 Ether Zone.
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Which one am I? Which one am I??
I thought President Bush was responsible for the French Revolution? /sarcasm
Seems to me this is pretty much how things have been from the Constitutional Convention through to today.
Fella sure can torture a metaphor, can't he? Was there a point to all of that?
Someone will be by to whack you with a wet noodle in a bit. Or not.
Oh my, another head drops in the basket.
Mon Dieu! Quel dommage..
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