Billionaire dystopia dreams; Substack's Nazi Problem

And another exciting FrameLab reader poll

Billionaire dystopia dreams; Substack's Nazi Problem

Here’s a FrameLab update for Thursday. Please pay attention to the important reader poll about Substack’s Nazi problem.

We’ll be back soon with the next installment of Moral Warfare 101.

1. Billionaire Dystopias

For decades, the Republican Party has sought to strip public resources and privatize government. Shrinking the common good — and putting government power in the hands of the wealthy — is one of their key goals.

In the 21st century, some tech billionaires are taking this idea to new extremes with an idea called the “network state.”

In The New Republic, FrameLab co-founder Gil Duran writes about how a group of tech zillionaires is trying to build a new tech “utopia” in Northern California. And he outlines the ways in which the project — called “California Forever” — resembles efforts by wealthy tech figures to build new privately-governed enclaves around the world:

In a world of intensifying crises like climate change and economic inequality, some billionaires have a novel solution: high-tech secession.

You can read the entire piece by clicking here: “The People of Solano County Versus the Next Tech-Billionaire Dystopia.

Over at The Daily Beast, Emily Shugerman goes deeper into the strategy behind this effort to create new “colonies of tech bros.” Click here to read “The VC plan that surely won’t backfire: tech bro colonies.”

FrameLab is free to read, but paid subscriptions make our work possible. Please join hundreds of fellow readers in becoming a paid subscriber.

2. Substack flip-flops against *some* Nazis

The presence of overtly antisemitic and Nazi accounts on Substack has been an ongoing problem. Last year, we wrote about how a virulently antisemitic Substack account had engaged in harassment against FrameLab’s readers.

Yet Substack has steadfastly refused to remove such accounts. In fact, it allows some of them to make money through subscriptions.

It’s one thing to say Nazis deserve free speech. But Substack appears to think Nazis deserve paid speech.

That may be changing. As Casey Newton of Platformer reports, Substack now says it will now remove *some* Nazi accounts. This development comes after hundreds of writers signed an open letter to Substack management, and after intense behind-the-scenes pressure from Newton and others. For more information read “Substack has a Nazi problem” in The Atlantic.)

It’s not enough for Substack to remove a handful of Nazi and white supremacist accounts, but it is a crack in Substack’s resistance and, perhaps, a sign that more progress is possible.

Some of our readers have asked us whether we plan to stay on Substack. To be honest, we are actively researching other sites and thinking about the future. Yet Substack has a huge network of readers, including you. That might be hard to replicate elsewhere.

It’s troubling to participate with a company that boosts (and pays) Nazis, disinformation artists and anti-trans agitators. The Nazi question was settled — for most people — in World War Two.

It might be easier to leave Substack. But there is also a good case to be made for staying and fighting and refusing to cede the most powerful newsletter platform to the Nazis and their ilk.

So, here’s another reader poll:

And here’s a follow up question:

3. Reader Poll Results

Our first-ever reader poll yielded informative results. We asked you how many times a week you care to receive FrameLab.

The majority of FrameLab readers (54%) would be happy receiving only one post a week. In second place, 33% of readers would be happy receiving two or more posts a week.

And 11% of heroic FrameLab readers say they’d be happy with unlimited FrameLab posts in their inbox (thanks!). That means 54% prefer once a week while a combined 44% are good with three or more posts.

We’ll try to find a golden mean as we ramp up for 2024. We won’t pack your inbox with daily spam, but we’ll never hesitate when there’s something important to say.

Apologies to the 2% of readers who felt that “less than once a week” was optimal.

dystopian city

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