Culturally, we’ve always been a people up to something in our garages that was none of your business. As the world’s great hothouse for growing crazy people, America produced masses of harmless quacks, surrounded on the edges by a few world-changing geniuses and a fair number also of Mansons, Meteskys, and Starkweathers. With the exception of the occasional Anti-Saloon League or Un-American Affairs Committee, the freedom of spirit at the heart of this equation has for most of our history been celebrated more or less uncontroversially as a core American value.
Usually, a majority figured the odd Scientologist or laetrile dealer was worth tolerating if we also got flying machines, the telephone, and Star Wars out of the bargain.
That dynamic is changing, and the remote unsupervised farm is fast being replaced by a vast, searchable electronic grid. Before, if you wanted to gobble mushrooms and invent Mormonism, who could stop you?
Now we’ve got a class of experts who think even enlightened self-abuse can’t be tolerated on their watch.
“That’s the other crazy thing,” Josiah says. “I have a PhD in this stuff from the University of Chicago. So it’s really weird when people point and say, the experts don’t like this. Technically, am I not one of the experts? Don’t I get a say?”
More from Zayner:
Matt Taibbi: Is the problem in your case one of companies intentionally targeting you because you’ve been in the news and controversial, or are you just repeatedly falling afoul of algorithmic censors?
Josiah Zayner: I don’t think necessarily anybody’s out there trying to be deliberately take me down, or is out to get me. Sometimes it feels that way, especially when my payment processors all go away at once, boom, boom, boom. I thought, who’s reporting it? How do you even find out if there’s coordination?
I think it’s just the system is designed so poorly that people are just getting caught up in a net, one that’s taking away completely legitimate stuff, and they don’t care because they would rather just take out as much of the bad as possible. It’s like the fraud detection for the banks. It’s terrible… They call and say, “You charged this thing for getting gas!” I’m like, ‘I get gas like once a week. How is that fraud?’
MT: You’re in a position where there are lots of videos about you on platforms like YouTube, and those are allowed, but the primary source is not. What’s that like?
Josiah Zayner: The information is totally being controlled. That’s what it is. It’s not even about politics. It’s just the information we are all experiencing is totally being manipulated and controlled. It’s hard for me. If I can’t even post something about my own life, everybody is only getting a weird, distorted filtered view from the media. They can’t even hear my own account. That’s really weird.