Carlos Maza, a prominent political video personality at Vox, is suggesting that YouTube shut down Steven Crowder’s channel because he makes incredibly popular videos debunking Maza’s Vox Strikethrough videos and teasing his identity. In a tweet, he stated to supporters, “Anyway, If you want to help, I guess you can go to this dude’s videos and flag them?” BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions movement) strikes again.
I have refined the definition of fascism that Merriam Webster provides by using Webster’s definition of terms within the fascism definition.
A political philosophy or movement that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized despotic (autocratic) government exercising absolute power in a brutal or oppressive way headed by an oppressive or arrogantly overbearing, dictatorial, leader, along with rigid economic and societal organization for the sake of control (severe regimentation), and forcible suppression of opposition.
Anyone who has watched any of Carlos Maza’s Strikethrough videos understands he is a strong proponent of a movement that uses government to complete his ideas. Do any of the other characteristics of fascism also show?
Madeline Albright on Fascism
In an interview with Vox to review her own book, Fascism: A Warning, Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State under President Clinton, was asked many questions trying to get her to define conservatives or populists as fascist. Steven Crowder has made a video about fascism and Trump.
Albright herself has a family history of fleeing her birth country of Czechoslovakia to England to escape Nazis. After a short return, she left Czechoslovakia again to escape the Communist Party. She has a Jewish family history, but the family may have converted to Catholicism as they escaped politics in Czechoslovakia. So, she has experience and knowledge to discuss political elements from socialism to fascism.
Albright says that fascists do not look for problem-solving, but dividing. She states that they do not desire a free press. Carlos Maza does not want a free exchange of ideas. It does not follow the definition of freedom of the press. In fact, Crowder did a rebuttal video in October 2017 discussing a Maza video, on Vox, wanting to censor “right wing” YouTubers. One thing Crowder pointed out is that Maza discussed many things in his video against the other video creators he disagrees with, never mentioning the topic of truth in the discussions.
Fascism as Bullying
Albright has moreover stated that fascism endorses violence. “It’s a bully with an army, really.” Maza works for a media giant compared to Crowder’s Mug Club. Even with his videos on BlazeTV, he pales in comparison to Vox. NBC Universal has invested $200 million in Vox Media, which may have an overall value of $1 billion. By price tags, this is a David and Goliath story. Albright defines fascism not as an “ideology” but a struggle to obtain power. Interestingly, bullying is also linked to the desire for power. Bullies need to quiet critics, as Maza does.
Crowder’s videos have millions of views, but YouTube has demonetized many of them. The platform has shut his channel down repeatedly. Since then, he has released several videos explaining the process to reverse these YouTube decisions. The main complaint from Crowder is that the YouTube rules are fluid. He asks to have the rules set, even if very stringent, so users can universally follow them. Many share this complaint about Twitter and YouTube.
Psychological bullying within schools, a workplace, or society will not work if there are no cohorts willing to ostracize or take part in the act. Carlos Maza suggesting followers purposely “flag” Crowder’s videos seems to use the BDS playbook, which is working on many right-leaning media accounts.
The Violence of Fascism
Albright, answering questions for Vox about populism and reactionary conservatism, said, “I think what differentiates fascism from other ideological movements is the use of violence and anger to achieve political ends. What you almost always see in fascist regimes is propaganda being used to set people against each other without any potential solutions to any of the problems”. Again, I point to Maza’s own videos and Twitter account.
Vox, in August of 2017, did an article outlining that Antifa violence will backfire. In that article, Vox also admitted that the Tea Party’s peaceful gatherings strengthened a new conservative movement. Surely, the peaceful original grassroots Tea Party gatherings were one catalyst for the revolution of Ron Paul, who fights hard for peace and against wars. Steven Crowder is likewise an advocate for peace; he specifically travels to locations of people who have stated they would like to see a violent act against him or others. He does this peacefully and to prove his points.
Carlos Maza, in October 2017, emphasized not caring about any Antifa violence but asked people to understand the bias against outlier or fringe groups. The message or meaning behind their groups is more important than any violence. This is another video Crowder made a rebuttal to. Crowder also did a video infiltrating Antifa.
The Battle of Ideas
In discussing with Vox what citizens can do, Albright recommends, “Talk to people with whom you disagree. We have to reengage with each other and our democracy, and that means having civilized discussions with our fellow citizens.”
In the 1995 movie, An American President, written by left-leaning Aaron Sorkin and directed by liberal Rob Reiner, President Andrew Shepard, played by Democrat Michael Douglas, gives a press conference in which the delivery can please both left and right liberty-lovers.
America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad. Because it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say “you want free speech”? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.
Sadly, it has taken less than 25 years for Vox and Carlos Maza to throw all of this out.
Madeline Albright has stated she is “troubled” by the use of the term fascist because presently it is used to define another who disagrees with you. Whoever controls the narrative, wins. Fascism has always required this.
The Battle of Identity
I use Carlos Maza as an example; how he chooses to fight is more fascistic in style than it is libertarian. In an Atlantic article directing the left to use better political means to reach the desired end, a particular point stuck:
Last summer, DeRay Mckesson, the civil-rights activist best known for his work with Black Lives Matter, worried that “there is a noticeable absence of grace in the movement space,” that “some people are more addicted to fighting than winning,” and that the personal backgrounds of organizers are too often treated as if they are a proxy for their effectiveness. “We have started to police people’s authenticity by their proximity to trauma, not their proximity to the work,” he said. “Both my parents were drug addicts. My father raised us. My mother left. I know what it’s like to sleep on the floor when they shoot too close to the house. That doesn’t make me a better organizer. It could actually just make me more traumatized. How do we stop thinking about proximity to trauma as the thing that makes you the best organizer?”
As from The American President, I have wondered why the videos and articles of Carlos Maza and Vox can be so angry and why they are always just shouting at the unfairness against particularly identified victims without solutions for all. Did they not get it? Did they just not understand the American people – all stripes and colors of them? But that was not it. It was that Vox and Carlos Maza just can’t sell it.
Carlos Maza: More Identity than Ideas
In entertainment, comedian Don Rickles typically used stereotypes about race or sexuality to roast fellow celebrities or even audiences. Saturday Night Live has survived making fun of mannerisms and appearances; they have even gone after a veteran losing an eye while serving his country. Everybody understood he was the target for political reasons. Most victims of SNL have purposely put themselves into the public spotlight as Maza or Crowder have.
Maza’s Twitter handle is @gaywonk. His description is a Marxist pig and Tucker Carlson is a white supremacist. He describes himself and YouTube creators he is defending as “queer creators”. Maza has set up his own identity as a prominent badge to give street credibility on political discussions. Throwing gay slurs at Ellen Degeneres or Rosie O’Donnell is homophobic. They do not rely on identity badges for credibility. I watched the original Queer Eye for Straight Guy and described some things queer in an endearing way for many years. Crowder routinely makes fun of identity politics and nicknames guests by identities such as his half-Asian lawyer, Bill. This did not start with Maza. That is Crowder’s context.
Media Circling the Wagons for the Narrative
Vox Media was able to get Newsweek to do a story about Maza’s anti-Crowder crusade. Interestingly, as kids are told with bullies or co-workers are told by human resources to confront conflicts person to person first, never in the Newsweek article was any discussion made about Carlos Maza doing a video or reaching out to Steven Crowder asking him to stop using specific terms about him. Isn’t this what Madeline Albright said is missing?
But fascism is not about dialogue, as Madeline Albright has alluded to. Crowder may think using specific terms are for entertainment or comedy. However, they do not add to the credibility of the rebuttal videos and are not necessary. I can critique Crowder much better than Maza on Crowder’s messaging. But, Newsweek is not doing this article because of any direction by Crowder of violence against Maza. It is a political tactic: not to overturn a school board project, but to control a narrative in strengthening a centralized government.
A Need for Dissent
People need a wide berth in discussing opposing views. To complain about criticism is human. Standing up for anyone against the use of violence or bullying is necessary. But Carlos Maza has used his videos to brush off violence from groups whose ideas he supports.
His videos describe a rigid economic and societal organization. He admittedly flagged another creator’s videos and now suggests others help him force YouTube to shut down another creator’s criticism of his own videos. He has made videos for Vox supporting forcible suppression of opposition. For what? To advance liberty? No, to advance his movement supporting absolute power over others. This all by definition is closer to fascism.
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