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Tyralibs: A Taxonomy Of Cancel Culture
With censorship snuffing the intellectual life out of Britain, let us investigate the super-organism responsible.
Britain is now a country where censorship, canceling, de-platforming, muffling, and silencing are built into the architecture of everyday life. Indeed, Britain has become something of a laughing stock throughout the West. The field is crowded, but it is commonly held that Britain takes the gold in terms of being infested with obscenely intrusive speech regulation and petty bureaucrats terrorizing the natives. Everybody is kept in line, and a new line is always drawn for you to be nudged and cajoled into.
I secretly fancy myself something of a connoisseur of canceling and in recent weeks I’ve had the chance to meditate over the means, methods, and tactics deployed more often than usual. It would appear that the establishment is in the process of carrying out an autumn offensive against platforms and personalities it dislikes. That allows us a valuable opportunity to study the mechanisms, minions, and various moving parts — a sort of ‘‘Art of Cancellation’’. We shall take as a given Carl Schmitt’s Friend/Enemy distinction in politics. As such, we need not dwell on the justifications for the attacks and metaphorical kneecappings beyond the fact the establishment desires certain people to be destroyed because it views them as enemies.
Various voices in alternative media are fond of using metaphors when describing the system of censorship and canceling we suffer under. They will speak of the “woke” as an insatiable “mob” who, like sharks or piranhas, smell “blood in the water” before descending into a “frenzy”. Such descriptions are of course apt, however, my view after having studied the phenomenon, is that what we’re analysing is something akin to a hivemind or superorganism, like ants, wasps, or Tyranids from Warhammer 40K. Critics of the censorious nature of our discourse more often than not hone in on one particular tier or caste of the system rather than analyzing it for what it is — a bio-mass comprised of mutually-supporting castes and tiers that enforces a cultural status quo.
Let us, then, take a slightly whimsical overview of this censorious superorganism by beginning at the bottom of its hierarchy.
The primary function of journalists in the modern West is to tell lies on behalf of Power and hold the weak and powerless to account.
It is often said that journalists no longer seek truth or uncover scandals. This is not entirely true. There is no ancient social media post or speech infraction too minor or obscure for the journalist to uncover in their service to Power. The role of the “Scout-lib” is not particularly complex and can be filled by journalists and non-journalists alike. Since the Scout-lib is the bottom caste of the superorganism, the bar to entry is extremely low. Its task is to seek out enemy weaknesses in the form of politically incorrect statements or uncouth diatribes, lurid allegations (whether true or not is irrelevant), or the myriad ways in which the character of the target individual can be besmirched and befouled.
As the general public becomes somewhat numb to politically correct diktats and speech codes, a weariness has set in. The Scout-libs have adapted to this new reality to a degree by broadening the scope for what constitutes a faux pas. Recently this has taken the form of sexual misconduct or misogyny. The audience of the target is then pushed into defending ground they were not prepared for and upon which they feel less secure. The expected line of attack - free speech, for example - is then bypassed and another issue becomes the focus.
The Scout-libs crawl all over the personal histories and public profiles of enemy individuals. Most of the time their work goes unheeded and ignored but the sheer number of them deployed means that sooner or later one of them will get at least a morsel or something more substantial. Once the Scout-lib’s intuition tells it that something of value has been discovered they begin laying down a scent trail so that the main swarm can start making its way to the region of interest. Often, this will be immediate and at scale through an article in the news. On other occasions, the Scout-lib will carry the burden of increasing awareness through scent trails on social media.
The first arrivals of the swarm class of libs will initially behave hesitantly as if waiting for permission to go “all in” on the new thing. Approval comes to them via peer pressure so the incentive is to draw more attention to the event. This in turn leads still more members of the swarm to arrive at the scene and they too will be incentivised to draw more attention to what is rapidly being seen as a weakening target. Once a certain threshold has been crossed the sheer weight of numbers and mindless deafening chatter becomes its own justification. The swarm is here, therefore it is of interest, otherwise, the swarm would not be here.
At the individual level, each swarm-lib believes themselves to be an individual with agency. Indeed, they believe themselves to be the most insightful, witty, and independent thinker on earth. They do not see the swarm and their role in it objectively. They have “free will” and “discernment” and are using these to do exactly what every other creature in the swarm is doing.
Collectively, then, the swarm gets to work amplifying the story to a cacophonous hysteria that marginalizes every other event of the day, or even week. Everybody will be forced to take notice, whether they wish to or not, that the new sex scandal, racist remark, or comment about transsexuals is the most important event ever to have happened in the history of the universe. An incessant inescapable “buzz” will be generated that can suffocate the entire cultural ecosystem for weeks. On rare occasions such as the 2020 Summer of Floyd, COVID-19, or the attempted canceling of the country of Russia — we witness the rare and terrifying ‘‘Super-Convergence’’ in which the various liberal superorganisms across the West all merge into one single. overwhelming, libtard biomass.
Despite its usefulness in pushing trends and waging psychological wars of attrition on targeted enemies, the swarm is largely chaotic and disorganized. Its energy levels and attention spans will inevitably dwindle and peter out if not directed and organised. This is where the next class of the superorganism finds its role.
The Influencer Class of libs performs multiple roles within the superorganism but is primarily tasked with giving structure and direction to the swarm. The Influencer will be a high-status individual or institution with their own legion of swarm drones and immediate connections to other Influencers who will then work in tandem like shepherds. They will have a moderate degree of agency and independence which they will use to place issues within a framing or larger context for the swarm. Thus, the swarm will be given an ideological incentive and reasoning for its behaviour beyond the initial friend/enemy intuitive impulse. The Influencer is responsible for highlighting the importance of the current frenzy within the context of a belief system. Notice that this comes after the fact of the attack. Thus, destroying somebody’s career, reputation and life can be neatly slotted into a wider fight against racism, homophobia, misogyny, or simply the nondescript catch-all of “hate”.
The disorganized, roiling mass of the swarm also needs direction toward Power, and here too the Influencer will light the way. The swarm itself must be presented less as a mass or blob but as concerned individuals and aggrieved people who feel let down by institutions. They deserve better, we all deserve better. In this way, the Influencer will present themselves as a representative of “The People” who is heroically speaking truth to power on behalf of the downtrodden and powerless. What’s more, they’re helpfully directing good, decent morally-upstanding people to institutions (which we shall come to) that can regulate, censor, and financially destroy the
At this juncture on our trip through the various creatures that constitute the liberal superorganism and cancel culture, it behooves us to dwell for a time on another danger facing the soon-to-be-canceled — The Sleeper. In Britain, the Sleeper will usually be a Tory politician embedded within an organization or institution, or will simply present themselves as an ally. The Sleeper is a mimic-type creature that can spend years tacitly (though not explicitly) agreeing with your politics while simultaneously viewing you as scum who should and will, be purged from the public square in due course. They will seemingly turn a blind eye to your indiscretions and breaches of politically correct protocol, often nodding in agreement if not actively encouraging you. However, the consistent pattern of behaviour will, when studied in its entirety, reveal that their presence was always a softening influence on discourse. They will advocate that enemies be platformed in the name of free speech but be mysteriously silent when it comes to defending your free speech.
It is only when the swarm has gathered its full momentum externally that the Sleeper will metaphorically slit the throat of its erstwhile allies internally. Thus, at the crucial moment when the ranks should be closed within the organization along defensive lines, the Sleeper will sow division, demoralization, and doubt within.
While Tory politicians offer us a nigh-on perfect example of the treasonous and duplicitous nature of the Sleeper, it is common for supersized influencers such as Piers Morgan to perform the same role narratively. In a sense, the Sleeper is the anti-influencer. At the moment of decision, populist energy will be misdirected, countered, curtailed, and broken as the Sleeper’s true allegiances and colours are revealed, all the while appealing to “Classical Liberalism” and its soundbites to justify it.
Now, with the individual or institution suitably softened up both internally and externally we see the arrival of the Over-lib. The Over-lib has the capacity to deploy law, regulation, and policy as weapons of mass destruction on the target and will usually represent the final, terminal, stage of the cancellation and censorship campaign.
The Over-lib will adorn itself in the pomp and ceremony of objective and technocratic terminology in order to present itself as a neutral arbiter rather than just a method of narrative enforcement. The Over-lib is manifest in the NGOs, quangos, and politicians who draft policy. However, so great is the power on display that the rampant bias and obvious ideological interest are hidden behind a (somewhat tattered) cloak of impartiality.
The Over-lib wants to censor and destroy heretics, but it cannot be seen to want it. Therefore, the Influencer class will direct the main swarm to beg and implore the Over-lib to take the action it is designed to take anyway. This is so that the Over-lib has the pretense of responding to the will of the public. When the actual will of the public expresses itself incorrectly — complaining about BLM propaganda on a TV talent show for example — no action will be taken. However, far fewer people can express outrage over inquiries into vaccines and excess deaths and that will be dealt with immediately.
In true De Jouvenelian style, the Over-lib will seek forever to expand its remit and extend its institutional power, growing outwards and hooking its feelers into every facet of public opinion and discussion. The Influencers and Sleepers will ensure that its bloated form is kept well-nourished while also insisting it is an “Independent Body” and above petty political squabbles. This sanctifying of the Over-lib’s authority leads the hapless lumpen proles into the tragic situation of appealing to their enemy for help when they inevitably feel aggrieved or slighted - to absolutely no avail, of course.
The purpose of this article and its extended comparisons is to playfully illustrate the nature of the system that is throttling the life out of British discourse. In recent years I’ve attempted to dial back convoluted pop cultural metaphors in my content but in this case, it seems to be warranted. Recently Sky News anchor Adam Boulton referred to GB News as a disruptive force in Britain’s “broadcast ecology”. All I’ve done is slightly amend his statement and make the case that he is part of a superorganism of censorship and narrative control that is increasingly totalitarian in nature.
The situation in Britain is increasingly intolerable. We now have Tory politicians writing letters to tech platforms such as Rumble and Twitter X asking for personalities to be punished, and the passing of the “Online Safety Bill” means the punishment being dished out to GB News will soon be coming for content creators online. So much so that I simply do not know if I’ll be around a year from now.
At the same time, so many of the populist figures being censored fall back on lazy tropes of the “woke mob”, as if dumb leftists on social media have the regulatory power to shutter a TV station or the belief that Ofcom is a genuinely neutral institution.