When and Why Did Conservatism Become Extremism?

Social Media App Parler Returns

Today’s announcement about the unshuttering of controversial conservative social media platform Parler has raised some fairly profound social questions. The first question being how on earth can you write ‘conservative’ immediately after ‘controversial’. The app, which was thrown out of Google and Apple Online stores, became a megaphone for everything wrong with society. Racism, nazism, white supremacy, misinformation, hate speech and any other form of extremism you can imagine.

Ten years ago, you could be forgiven for being confused. A platform touted as leaning towards conservative points of view has become a rather dirty soapbox. From which anyone could spit outraged rhetoric.  Not today. The word conservatism leaps off the screen evoking revolutionary change, physical confrontation, crime in the name of the masses etc. etc. So gone are the images of thoughtful reflection on traditional values needing to be aligned to modern realities. Cautious steps forward have been replaced by a boot knocking down the front door of anyone who raises concerns about insurrection. Perhaps you could say that conservatism changed its profile when the wrong glue was used to fix a broken system. Any suggestion I’m covertly referring to Trump will be met with an emphatic nod of the head.

Yes is the New No

Conservatism, once the moderator, the balancing scale between left and right wings, no longer reflects the definitions found in the once trustworthy pages of the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries.

Parler played a major role in redefining conservatism by a compete lack of content moderation and hence, became the public toilet where the January 6th Capitol Hill event was planned.

It distanced itself from that date by closing up shop. But now we’re told it that come January, the doors will open and Parler will resume its vision of being a “marketplace of ideas open to everyone”. The announcement comes on the very day that Colorado tells the media it’s taking Trump’s name off the allot sheet. Either the new owners of Parler have a shocking sense of timing, or a perfect sense of it.

I favour the latter. A “marketplace of ideas open to everyone” is the social media equivalent of throwing a ton of chum overboard to attract sharks.

As to the accurate timing of when the ‘C’ word became the inverse of itself? it would be difficult to pinpoint. But with the advent of social media, the world didn’t want to be in the audience anymore. It wanted to be on the stage.

And that’s when the fight started…

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