I have a love-hate relationship with Zerohedge. On the one hand, it’s the place where I cut my teeth many years ago as a progressive activist, seeing it as the perfect place to educate misguided libertarians about the benefits of bailouts, monetary and fiscal stimulus, minimum wages, central planning and central banking. I even developed much as a progressive there, arguing with right wingers about every topic under the sun, and even coming to adopt some conservative views like the need for strong foreign policy in the Middle East and strong drug prohibition laws. Day after day, we duked it out over the need for robust welfare programs and generous compensation packages for government employees, as well as the dangers of fringe political candidates like Ron Paul. After a few years of trying to convince these bigots of what seemed to be self-evident truths, I became jaded, and decided to take my activism to a new level by founding the Accredited Times, my very own accredited news site, intended to mirror the views of the accredited media, and reach a wider audience.
To my dismay, the site was immediately swamped by right wing bigots from Zerohedge, who were quick to dismiss my writing as “satire” or “trolling”. But over time, as I and our growing number of other accredited writers continued to post, week after week, day after day, people began to realize that we mean business here at the AT, and we weren’t just going to disappear like they wanted us to.
Over time we have developed our own small but growing group of loyal readers, and many of us rarely spend time on Zerohedge anymore. Some, like Trav777 have been banned for being racist, but have since checked their privilege and become progressives. Every now and then though, I mosey on down to ZH to educate some of their readers, and every time I do I’m shocked to see how their comments section has degenerated. Maybe it’s because they lack my moderating presence, maybe it’s because of Donald Trump, but the caliber of commentary has rapidly deteriorated since the golden days. Years ago, most comments were well-thought-out but deeply misguided musings on financial and political concepts – comments that would really make you think, and open the subject to debate for progressive academics like myself. But today, the average comment looks as if it was written by a 15 year old kid with a temper, consisting of nothing more than snarky quips and reactionary soundbites. There is very little discussion of concepts now, and mostly just witty remarks about current affairs and day to day events. As they say, great minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about events, and small minds talk about people.
It’s sad to see ZH degenerate so much, as I want nothing more than to educate the readers there and show them the light of progressivism. But unfortunately most of them are now lost causes with little ability to think and consider new ideas. They have a reactionary response to everything, such as “false flag!”, “time to round up these (insert political enemy) and hang them high in the streets!” or “go collect another Soros paycheck, troll!”. One can only imagine that the majority of these ZH newbies have very little going on in their lives and get some kind of sick satisfaction from spewing hatred and vitriol on right wing websites. I hope for the sake of the old ZH readers, that Tyler bans these pathetic low lives en masse, and creates a calm, peaceful environment once again, where well-meaning progressives such as myself feel welcome and are able to engage conservatives in a debate of ideas.