Don't make Nazis your business model

They're for punching, not for profit

Captain America is unconcerned about ‘the equality of the discourse’.

Substack, in case you’ve missed it, has been doing their best impression of Twitter.

An investigation (really, a bit of light poking) revealed that actual genuine by-gum Nazi newsletters are not only present on the platform, but thriving. Extremist groups are using the platform to organise, distribute propaganda and make money. This is awful, but also - to be pragmatic - how the internet works in 2023-4. It isn’t how you’re used by Nazis, but how you respond to being used by Nazis.

Substack’s response was a long time coming, and, in every way, terrible. They made it clear that although, yes, yes, this is a very bad thing, Substack makes money off of them, so they’re happy to keep the Nazis around.

All roads lead to money. The authors of the letter in defense of Substack’s inconsistent, flimsy policy on the monetization of hateful content are trying to make an argument rooted in free speech principles, as is Substack leadership itself. But this is an economic argument. Nazis make money for Substack, like they did for nearly every platform before it.

As we go into 2024, it’s clear that a lot of malignant actors are aligning themselves in an effort to take democracy away from us and strip us of our rights. Nazis on Substack may seem like a small part of the problem, but it’s all the same problem. Supporting Substack with money and/or content is part of that problem.

Personally? One of my resolutions for 2024 is to spend less time supporting the people who support the people who want to kill me. I’m getting a jump on this one early.

What’s that mean for me? 

This is not a monetised newsletter, but I don’t want to be on Substack any more.

I’m also cancelling all my subscriptions to Substack newsletters. That sucks for those (non-Nazi) writers. I’m sorry you’re caught in the fallout. But 10% of my subscription money currently goes to a service that has actively chosen to prioritise ‘people who want to kill me’ over ‘me’. I’m going to be similarly ruthless with my own choices.

I wish you well, and I look forward to supporting your work again if/when you move elsewhere.

What’s that mean for you? 

You probably won’t notice. I’ve already moved over to Beehiiv. Migration has been seamless so far.

In better and brighter news: I hope you had a warm and wonderful holiday season, and got to spend time sleeping, eating, reading, or hanging around with the people you love. See you in 2024. (Just not on Substack.)

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