Many years ago (in 1974) there was a book by Christopher Ewans named “Cults of Unreason”. Of course, this was before the internet age, so while Ewans had a handle on the Scientologists, cults living in compounds and all manner of crazed bozo-herders, electronic compounds like the one belonging to Jim Robinson of Freerepublic.com might have seemed strange to him. Or perhaps not. He died too young, in 1979, but was remarkably prescient in his science career.
Anyhow, Freerepublic represents something that has all the elements of a cult. It wasn’t always as bad as now, of course, but while it was quite new I had some very clear pointers of what was cooking. More on that later.
Thing is, an electronic compound with a strongly enforced echo-chamber structure and a führer-philosophy can be just as physically harmful as a bagful of rabid kittehs and bearded mohammeds (“kitteh” is “freeperlanguage”; not only the homosexual movement has its own speech code). As for the führer-mentality, anyone can just open up a thread on the board featuring postings by Jim Robinson, and see half the posts consisting of “Yes Boss”, “Thank you for all you do, Jim”, “I agree, Boss”, “Absolutely right, Mr. Robinson”, and of course “Thank you for having us in Your House, Boss”.
So FR is in many ways a compound and the argument could probably be made legally that the owner is responsible for what the inhabitants do, not just in terms of “hate-speech” which is a senseless term anyway, but in terms of the abuses heaped on the hapless individuals drawn into the cultmaster’s orbit by people anonymous but obviously directed by Robinson (even the site moderators are kept anonymous, just as the venture’s more unsavory links are kept secret).
Here is one such effort. It’s a kind of tribal dance performed when the hunters of deviant thought have felled another mammoth or tiger or sloth or other thing with a bunghole. I, for one, find it rather suspicious that a group so hostile to homosexuals would have such a laser focus – almost Obamalike – on anuses.
Enough for now. I think that Robinson has pulled stunts on his subjects that places him in the class of August Kreis, sort of. But later it’ll be time for a look at what started on FR. For example: the troofer movement existed on one board in France, the day after 9.11. But from there it was spread by one particular Freeper, followed by a central islamist Freeper (Ankaboot AKA “The Sheik of Springdale”). And the rest, as they say, is history.