She first reared her head this morning when a friend, who is a struggling author, bemoaned the fact that Amazon had recently removed some of her five-star reviews. Apparently, this isn’t the first time Amazon has done this to her. As a new and struggling author, myself, as well as a relatively new reviewer, I was appalled. I vaguely remembered that Amazon had cracked down on fake reviews, such as reviews by authors vetting their own work through sock puppet accounts. But I certainly wouldn’t have suspected Amazon of deleting valid reviews. Wouldn’t that be counterproductive for a corporation that’s making money off book sales?
In typical fashion, I searched for answers. My cynical self was not surprised that this new and glorious Amazon regime had been spearheaded by a bunch of goody-goody, tattletale authors who had signed a petition calling for the crackdown. As per usual with authoritarians, their calling on the corporate Daddy to punish a few abusers caused—and is still causing—the oppression of the innocent, while the all-the-way-to-the-bank cackling of the worst offenders mysteriously continues. Aside from the tendency for totalitarian regimes to squash the innocent and reward evildoers, authoritarians who support regimes never do seem to understand the concept of a free market. For all the fake five-star reviews, if the work sucks, it’s going to merit actual negative reviews. If the book doesn’t suck, then who cares? All reviews are biased. Why resort to guesswork to determine the difference between good bias and bad? I get it; true Free Market is a pipe dream for libertarians. To the idealists on the right and left, corporatism is the hidden [in plain sight] foundation of both Marxism and Free Market, but they tend to point their fingers at the other.
This outrage I felt on behalf of my author friend was soon followed by a friend’s Facebook status update that indicated he supported at least some government surveillance because of the imminent threat of terrorism. While the update was met by mixed reactions, I’m always surprised at how many people agree with this ideal of upholding security over freedom. Despite my misanthropic cynicism, I try not to second-guess others’ beliefs. For this particular friend—a person whose opinion I respect—he feels that evil must be dealt with, even if that means surveilling the general population. I don’t agree with that, unless, of course, it’s done in a way that follows existing laws. Yet in the words of another man who responded, and whom I can’t respect–oh, well, I was going to quote the man directly but it seems he blocked me because he has a problem with standing up to dissenters and must run and hide, instead. To loosely quote him, terrorists are far worse than a little inconvenient, illegal government spying. And, besides, if you don’t have anything to hide, then you shouldn’t be afraid.
And then it was all compounded by the Christian Libertarian Facebook group, who tattled to the Facebook authorities about a Christian Libertarian man who used the dreaded “F” word in a comment thread. The man has since been blocked—not from the group—but from Facebook. Yes, he was blocked for using naughty language in a private group thread. When I called them on being authoritarian prick tattletales, they generally quoted the Bible at me and insisted that Christian Libertarians were not like other libertarians. Oh, okay, hmm. Christian Libertarians, apparently, are authoritarians in disguise, who will turn you in for using bad language. I can’t imagine what would happen if they caught somebody actually sinning or committing a bonafide crime. Perhaps they would drag out the guillotine at that point and hand it happily to the authorities while hinting loudly about their friends’ errors.
For a few moments there, I literally watched red spots appear before my eyes. I desired nothing more than to punch holes in the wall or punch faces, preferably those faces belonging to tattletale authoritarians who pretend to be libertarians. But then I ate some potatoes (I tend to go hours and hours without eating), and the subsequent rush of serotonin calmed me down…until somebody from the same group called me a crybaby. I’m a crybaby because I believe confronting somebody who’s violating a libertarian group’s [unwritten] rules is better than telling on him to Big Daddy Facebook?! This type of irony is just too much to take. Can I just disappear back to Wonderland, where the world makes more sense?
Social media is what it is; I get that. Why I persist on Facebook is beyond me. But withdrawing from social media won’t change this trend toward leaning on authorities to solve perceived threats from bad language, fake reviews, and terrorists. Neither will sticking my head in the sand about larger violations of this type. Trust me when I say that Amazon’s games are just a microcosm of the government’s. That is, ultimately, what disgusts me and causes the rage monster to rear her ugly head in my soul. Push her down; push her down. Take a deep breath. Sunshine and oxygen and flowers. Beautiful.