George Floyd and the Butterfly Effect
The Butterfly Effect, simply put, is the proposition that small events can trigger and lead to much larger and significant events. It is derived from the idea of a butterfly flapping its wings and causing a tornado elsewhere in the world.
On Wednesday of this week, the third day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, a store clerk by the name of Christopher Martin, who took the counterfeit twenty-dollar bill George Floyd was using to pay for a pack of cigarettes, testified that he almost paid for it with his own money before changing his mind. This one small decision had an effect on the world: it led to Floyd's arrest, which led to Chauvin putting his knee on Floyd, which led to a video that ended up on the internet, going viral, which led to protests, rioting, and looting, which led to a cultural revolution.
It's incredible to think how that one small and seemingly insignificant decision at a corner convenience store in Minneapolis, Minnesota is impacting the country in such a negative way. The cancel culture this event ignited is unleashing forces on the country never seen before. All of the most powerful institutions are in alignment, from the federal government to the media to the tech giants and other corporate behemoths. It is a dangerous moment because there is no longer a check on their power to put down dissent and opposing points of view.
The fact that Twitter and Facebook kicked a president, ostensibly the most powerful person on the planet, off their platforms demonstrates for all to see that they can literally do anything they want without fear of legal blowback. Big Tech and Big Business have in effect become an extra-legislative body, an unelected branch of government, that is dictating to the country what it now can and cannot say.
It is censorship, pure and simple, regardless of how hard the tech giants try to justify what they're doing. Just the other day, Facebook removed a video of Trump being interviewed by his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, from its two primary platforms, including Instagram. The canceling is occurring so fast and furious now that it's hard to keep up with it. The term "systemic racism" is really a bogus smokescreen to obscure the current movement of systemic censorship.
Big Tech and Big Business have been emboldened and don't appear to be backing down anytime soon. No longer restricted to the realm of commerce, they are flexing their power in politics and society as a whole in an extremely authoritarian way. Because the Democrats and progressives have always had authoritarian impulses, this makes them natural allies in today's culture wars. Where once they were antagonistic to each other, Big Business and Big Government are merging their interests in maximizing their power. Systemic censorship is a sign of an emerging corporate fascism that uses its incredible financial power to dictate a top-down form of policymaking for everyone whether we like it or not.
Christopher Martin, an average person in an average job in an average city, had no idea when he woke up on the morning of May 25, 2020 that he would make what would seem to be an average and innocuous decision not to pay for George Floyd's pack of cigarettes with his own money. It was the Butterfly Effect writ large.
Image via Pxhere.
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