Brian Niemeier’s new book is out now, and it’s a number one best seller:
Let’s address one 100 IQ level comeback I see frequently when talking about shutting your wallet to the mega-corporations who not only don’t give a shit about the franchises that you grew up with, but actively hate you and your culture and want it (and you) dead:
bUt yOu Use AMaZon/yOuTUbE/fAcEbOok/PAtreON
First, this isn’t an argument against the basic thesis at all, but an attempt to make an argument for behavioral consistency (otherwise known as the hypocrisy fallacy or “tu Quoque” – you can’t say something is bad if you do it too!). It’s a favorite among binary thinkers (which is most people depending on the camp). When a drug addict tells you not to get on meth, you should listen, not test their purity.
Second, it misses what underlies the arguments in Brian’s book – namely that you have options. Unfortunately, I don’t have options when it comes to publishing my book on Amazon, unless I would like to select the option of not having anyone read my books (which is the point of writing the books to be begin with). Amazon is the ultimate book hegemon, at near monopoly status it is virtually impossible to avoid working with them on some level, regardless of what one thinks of their business practices. The same goes for YouTube, or any other social media site.
A consumer has options when it comes to what books they read, though, and there are a myriad of other options in every conceivable book genre. So besides being a “Tu Quoque” fallacy, it’s also a fallacy in comparing things that are optional to those which are not optional. A prisoner need not refuse to eat in prison in order to say that the food is bad. If you are libertarian, you don’t have to refuse to drive on government roads, since that is all of them. You have no option but to use them.
Third, these sorts of arguments refuse to acknowledge something very real – that using a hostile platform against said hostile platform is not a moral contradiction. That’s an attempt to make a strategy into a universal law.
Lastly, objections against using popular, but hostile, platforms to make money are an attempt to create a binary from a field. It goes something like this: If giving me money also makes some money for people who hate you, then it is the same as some larger portion of the money going to people who hate you. Obviously, you should prefer less money in the hands of people who hate you. I’ve heard this used against charities of all things, because charities don’t use all of the money for the cause (they have things like administrative overhead, for example).
Perhaps I can sum it all up:
Don’t listen to people who demand you starve.
You can get my newest book, on completing your creative goals, now!
Suddenly, Rage Against the Machine’s “use the system to attack the system” idea, which I called “hypocrisy,” makes so much more sense.
I still can’t stand their music or their politics, but this makes sense. Maybe Lenin was right that the capitalist will sell you the rope you will use to hang him. We need to adopt this mentality.
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