Skip to comments.FREEREPUBLIC.com'S PRAGMATISM: A Recipe for Disappointment [The outsider view of FR?]
Posted on 11/29/2002 2:28:45 AM PST by Blood of Patriots and Tyrants
Chronicles magazine's December 2002 issue features a piece by Sean Scallon in its Cultural Revolutions section discussing the evolution of Free Republic, billed as "the largest conservative-oriented website in the world." Scallon heralds the closure of cyberspace as a frontier of freedom, citing as his evidence the degeneration of Free Republic into a discussion forum beset by heavy-handed moderators who compulsively censor out any posted material deemed detrimental to the GOP Establishment's reign in conservative circles. Scallon notes that as Free Republic grew in popularity, size, and cost, "it was only natural for...site administrators to want to look good for prospective donors." The question naturally arises: why would conservatives regularly donate to a website with a Stalinesque reputation for sanitizing their members' commentary?...
Many readers of Scallon's piece will be surprised to learn that the operation of the Free Republic website requires an estimated $240,000 in donations annually from readers. The Freepers donate that kind of money because they really are convinced and excited (read: deluded) that they are "piece of the action." They really believe that their online (and off-line) advocacy and organizing efforts are effecting political change. They like the idea that they are "part of the system" and on the side of a winning majority now that the GOP has re-taken the Senate and Bush sits in the Oval Office. To swipe a phrase from Jesse Jackson, it "keeps hope alive." And hope is the archetypal political opiate, rendering populations docile and leaving them unwilling to decisively act to change their circumstances. The Freepers feel as though they're connected and influential, but they don't seem to realize that this is largely an illusion. The GOP's hierarchy already has its marching orders, independent of the input of the GOP grassroots. The GOP's top brass merely pretends that it cares about the "regular folk" at Free Republic. The GOP is always glad to take their money and their votes, though, and is equally happy to use Free Republic as a distribution node for official party "talking points."
Some alert Freepers, however, sense that the GOP they work so hard to support is not very responsive to the conservative agenda. Many Freepers are concerned about the immigration problem in this country, for example, yet the consensus of the average posters is that they have to "wait" and not push the GOP so hard on this issue because they feel constrained by what they call "practical politics." They worry that they will be cast as "too extreme" on certain issues, so they are content to water down their positions so that they can maintain a veneer of relevance and influenceinfluence that they never had to begin with in the places that matter.
Free Republic's existence is a symbol of the continuing captivity and betrayal of the conservative base of the GOP. The widespread appeasement and accommodation of the GOP's hierarchy by these "conservatives" guarantees there never will be any decisive pro-conservative change within the party, since the party is permanently assured that its conservative base, ever fearful of the bogeyman of a Gore-style presidency, will never abandon it. In a sense, the "mainstream" conservatives are as captive an electorate as the Blacks in the Democratic Party. Just as the Blacks are under-served and taken for granted by the Democrats, so too are the conservatives jilted by the Republicans. True conservatives are kept in the basement, and are not allowed to speak at GOP national conventions anymore. Yet, these sycophantic conservatives shuffle around the plantation of "Massa GOP" hoping a bone will occasionally be thrown their way, looking as broken and pathetic as Pavlov's famed dogs. Cries of "tax cuts" take the place of the ringing of bells for these piddling dogs. The Freepers believe they live in an era of conservative victory, but fail to grasp that the price of that victory was the gradual transmutation of conservatism itself into a variant of the same liberalism that movement had long been fighting. The day enough Freeper types realize this terrible situation, and stage a revolt against their masters, is the day conservatism has a chance again in America.
This tactic of "mainstream conservatism" supposedly "overcoming" its liberal enemy by adopting the ideological attributes of liberalism is not confined merely to internal matters of political strategy. The same attitude, essentially defeatist, emerges in the context of more important issues, including the future demographic composition of the nation itself. For example, one Freeper exclaimed that he had no problem with fifty percent of the population of the United States becoming Latino, if only the Latinos immigrated legally to the United States. In essence, that particular Freeper believes America should handle the current "immivasion" from Mexico by turning the United States into Mexico.
Sadly, that poster is not alone in his willingness to allow the GOP to import a new electorate for itself and new cheap laborers for its corporate constituencyhitting two Mexicans with one taco, so to speak. On the other hand, Free Republic's rabidly pro-Zionist administrators would not take kindly to a poster suggesting that they had no problem with Palestinians becoming fifty percent of the Israeli population (with citizen-status). Indeed, judging from one member's post, Freepers who plan to counter-demonstrate at future anti-war protests intend to wave Israeli flags rather than American. And I'd thought the Freepers were arguing that war against Iraq was in the name of America's interests. Such are the quirks of Free Republic, and the priorities of the "mainstream" conservatism it represents are radically askew.
Scallon is right. Free Republic is a large institution, and as with most organs of the Establishment, it is also ideologically bankrupt. In a sense, there is an element of fraud at work as well, since Free Republic's methodology and approach cannot possibly deliver what it promises: conservative political change. The frontier of freedom in cyberspace isn't yet totally closed, thoughScallon could have listed additional alternative forum websites where paleoconservatives and Constitutionalists can gather and discuss the issues, such as Ether Zone (obviously) and Original Dissent. The Freepers are oblivious to the fact that they are the tail, not the dog. Their Reaganite mantra of sunny optimism they always point toward, and always out of context, functions as an effective tool of political control.
"Published originally at http://www.EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
< /sarcasm >
Now I've heard Daschle and Gore's tirades against "Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the Washington Times."
Does this mean FreeRepublic and all of us dupes here are being elevated into that lofty status worthy of national airtime attacks?
All I can say for sure is that success draws critisizm. And this gentlemans' article is full of stereotypes.
Can't argue with that. Hasn't Jim Robinson stated in the past that the problem of illegal immigration is just not one of his priorities?
This gentleman is Paul Fallavollita. He goes by the name of "Paleocon Avatar" on certain forums that feature a high swastika content :).
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"Outsider view of FR" is correct. I don't know about Fallavollita, but I do know that two other Etherzone writers are banned former freepers.
Which version of FR are you using, again?
Free Republic's existence is a symbol of the continuing captivity and betrayal of the conservative base of the GOP. The widespread appeasement and
accommodation of the GOP's hierarchy by these "conservatives" guarantees there never will be any decisive pro-conservative change within the party, since the party is permanently assured that its conservative base, ever fearful of the bogeyman of a Gore-style presidency, will never abandon it. In a sense, the "mainstream" conservatives are as captive an electorate as the Blacks in the Democratic Party. Just as the Blacks are under-served and taken for granted by the Democrats, so too are the conservatives jilted by the Republicans.
It would be easy to dismiss all of what this writer has to say, based on several glaring problems with his comments.
Number one, Free Republic is not a "defense of everything Jewish or Iraeli" web site. If Israel does something wrong, it can be and is discussed on this forum. When it reaches a point that Israel is blamed for the homicide attacks on it's people, yep the lunatic fringe are going to be chased off the site. The Jew-Baiting aspects of the article are reason enough to dismiss it. I'll grant you that.
Then there's the premise that the Republican party desminates it's party line through Free Republic. To a certain extent it might, but that is not the management's fault. Individual posters place their comments on the forum. The forum management doesn't place Republican press releases there. To the extent that other points of view are tolerated on the site, there are some pros and cons with regard to that. I would say that the internet provides almost limitless voices and views to be heard. If Free Republic doesn't wish to allow certain views to have voice on it's site, there are plenty of other sites around.
I have other problems with this article. I'm not going to waste my time discussing them further. I do believe the two excerpts I copied at the top of my comments are important. Even an idiot like this writer can stumble across truth from time to time. I am not going to state that he has hit the nail on the head in these two excerpts, but I believe he is close enough to the truth that reasoned people should at least contemplate what he has had to say in them. I believe he has touched on some issues that we need to constantly re-evaluate for ourselves with regard to the Republican party.
Other than that, most of this writer's comments are soiled.
Agreed. Although there are plenty of Israel apologists here, who don't question anything Israel does, and seem to place Israel's interests above all else including those of the U.S., there are also a lot of people who give them grief over it.
I suspect that this guy isn't happy that the truly virulent anti-Semitic rhetoric is "sadly lacking" on FR.
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