Lessons to learn from Joe Rogan's apology spree
Consider the following social experiment.
There is a hall with 100 people seated within. Among them, only five individuals are given megaphones.
Next, you seat an audience at a distance such that the only sounds audible from the hall are those emanating from the megaphones.
The group then engages in a discussion about Citizen X, whose recent utterances have caused him to be embroiled in a controversy.
The five individuals in the hall with megaphones want X banned from public life forever.
The remaining 95 in the hall have varied opinions. Some want X to apologize and continue, some want him to continue without apologizing, some think X should refrain from "controversial topics," and some haven't heard of X.
The people with the megaphone interrupt and heckle anybody who supports X.
After the discussion is finished, you poll the audience about their conclusions from the discussion. A vast majority will tell you that almost everyone in the hall wants X canceled.
This is an allegory for the recent attacks on Joe Rogan.
The detractors are a minority whose voices are amplified by the media and various vested interests.
Rogan has been a target for quite some time for deviating from groupthink.
Back in 2019, Rogan had caused controversy by stating the obvious about Biden's rapidly declining cognitive abilities. Last October, Rogan exposed CNN for misrepresenting alternative COVID treatments.
Rogan is a liberal who supports Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama.
But the micro-mob wants total surrender.
They think the recent controversies will enable them to force Rogan out forever, labeling him a racist and anti-vaxxer whacko and damaging him to an extent that no other platform will accept him.
The goal is also to make an example out of Rogan and to deter other aspiring rebels.
How did Rogan and Spotify react?
Rogan has apologized twice. Spotify removed 113 previous podcasts featuring Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, Michael Malice, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, etc.
But apologies and capitulation only embolden the mob.
In the coming days, expect the mob to find misogynic, homophobic, xenophobic, transphobic content. Rogan has done 1,770 podcasts, most of which are 2–3 hours, so it isn't too difficult to extract clips and create montages that strip all context.
The micro-mob will compel a mass exodus of artists from Spotify, and Spotify will be left with no choice but to sack Rogan.
The lesson for all here is simple: you cannot appease an unruly irrational mob by groveling before it. The merciless micro-mob will not relent until they destroy their target; they can never be won over by kindness or begging for mercy. The only way to prevail is to take them on frontally, ridicule them, and continue to do exactly what you want.
The question remains: what is the future for contrarian voices such as Rogan?
They probably have to function independently and operate primarily on money coming from subscriptions. They will need an I.T. infrastructure not tied to Big Tech.
If the micro-mob come knocking, they cannot apply their usual tactics of targeting sponsors and compelling Big Tech to force them off their servers.
If there are many such voices, they can form a consortium that will guarantee free speech.
Beyond Rogan, this should hopefully convince the small section in the GOP who are skeptical about President Trump getting the nomination in 2024 owing to his "tone" and "temperament." They wonder if a better behaved nominee would be less prone to attacks from the mob.
The Rogan controversy proves that this isn't about tone or delivery; the micro-mob just wants to silence any differing perspective.
When establishment darlings such as John McCain or Mitt Romney ran for president, they were called racists and bigots, too. The difference is that they swallowed all the insults with an awkward smile.
Trump is a rarity in the GOP because he never allows the mob to get away with anything. He almost relished confronting his opponents and relentlessly mocking them. It helps that he does it will great humor. It is this rare fighting spirit he brings to the GOP that makes him so popular.
A "mild-mannered" candidate will probably grovel like Rogan and even surrender his agenda.
Image: Public Domain.