Matt Forney
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ten years

Ten Years of Fear

Today marks the ten-year anniversary of my writing career, or “content creation” career if you want to put it more broadly. On this day back in 2009, shortly after my 21st birthday, I published my first blog post at my old website In Mala Fide, beginning a (mostly) uninterrupted stream of articles, podcasts, videos, books, and more to the present day.

Five years ago, I published a triumphant post marking that anniversary, egomaniacally taking you through the ups and downs of my oeuvre. I don’t feel like doing that now for a bunch of reasons, chief being that I’m too old to care. The Internet is an ephemeral place, particularly now with the average user’s attention span having contracted to the size of a quark, so it’s a Big Deal for a writer or other content creator to reach the five- or ten-year mark without selling out and/or losing their mind, but why belabor the point? My work stands on its own merits and you can see it for yourself; it doesn’t need me cheerleading for it like a retard in heat.

But the other reason I don’t feel like arrogantly dragging you down Memory Lane is because the world is no longer the bright, sunny place it was for me five, four, or even three years ago. My five-year anniversary occurred during the waning days of the manosphere and the self-improvement circle jerk, when we were all banging edgy Internet nihilism in the main vein. Obama had won two terms, the social justice warriors had won the culture, and there was nothing for us to do but Enjoy the Decline.™ Hell, one week after my five-year anniversary, I was off to the Philippines to live the lecher life on the cheap, like every other digital nomad with an overpriced laptop and The 4-Hour Workweek committed to memory.

But mere weeks afterwards was when all hell broke loose. Zoë Quinn, bearer of the vagina that would launch a thousand flame wars, sparked off GamerGate, the first major blow against the left I’d seen in my lifetime. GamerGate mushroomed into a greater war against cultural leftist hegemony, and then Donald Trump showed up on the scene to further make the world safe for normality. Like everyone with a soul and a set of eyes, I pulled my head out of my ass long enough to join in the struggle to Make America Great Again.

My career, as well as that of every independent content creator, was predicated on the notion that we’d be able to keep making money online forever, that the platforms we used to ply our trade—Twitter, YouTube, Google, PayPal—would be forever available to us. That’s obviously no longer the case, as the edge providers that now hold a monopoly on Internet access have begun removing political dissidents from their spaces.

Everyone with a bit of fame has been hurt in some way by mass censorship, whether it be from mere social media bans to payment processor bans to bans from banks and domain registrar seizures. We keep saying how this aggression will not stand, man, and yet we continue to do nothing about it aside from self-censor out of fear of being evicted from our online fiefdoms. We mewl and whine online about how the God-Emperor won’t do anything for us, the little people who sacrificed everything to put him in office.

I’m hardly an exception to this. I’ve been banned from Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon Associates, I was nearly banned from YouTube, and I’ve also had to remove content from my YouTube channel and other platforms to avoid running afoul of these sites’ increasingly arbitrary terms of service. And yet, despite my hard work in making backups and moderating my language to avoid triggering censorious AI algorithms, I know that Judgment Day is inevitable and all my actions can do is postpone it.

My lack of triumphalism on this ten-year anniversary is also rooted in how online censorship has hurt my bottom line. Hard to believe, but I used to make a comfortable living from selling books, writing blog posts, and penning articles for websites like Return of Kings. But thanks to Google algorithms ruining my search traffic, I don’t even make enough to afford a shithole apartment in the ex-Soviet Union and have to work a day job to make ends meet.

Mind you, I’m not complaining: I’m making a decent living doing stuff that isn’t related to politics. I no longer have to pretend to like Richard Spencer and the other loathsome dipshits I had to clique up with in 2015-2016 in the name of the movement. I’m free to say what I really think about the dissident right, and I’m also free to pursue projects like Terror House Magazine that I’ve wanted to do all my life. In fact, I could theoretically delete my entire Internet presence and vanish into the night; spend the rest of my days working a 9-to-5 and not have to worry about being digitally gulaged for something I said or did years ago.

But at the same time, my ability to make content is diminished. After spending an entire day drawing up Central American travel brochures or crypto investment guides, my energy is too drained to write for this blog, which is why I spend more time doing live streams: they aren’t as taxing. Projects of mine that I’ve wanted to complete for a long time, such as my long-awaited hitchhiking memoir, get pushed into the future as my time is siphoned for more urgent matters.

At the end of the day, however, I know I’m not going anywhere. My writing career is Lindy, and I know that even if I were to try and ghost you all, I’d be back before long. The compulsion that led me to embark on this career-destroying journey ten years ago will carry me through to the point where I’m either dead or have been silenced via the Mark of the Beast. Writing isn’t a job; it’s a mental illness.

I can also take satisfaction that I’ve outlasted countless frauds like Spencer, Mike Enoch, Jim Goad, and other failures who’ve tried to bring me down. I never thought of my thick-skinned nature as being that special, with everyone from John Steele to Blonde in the Belly of the Beast commenting on my fearlessness, but in a world where people fly off the handle at the slightest criticism, I guess I really don’t give a fuck. I may not be rich or mega-popular, but I have one thing my enemies will never have: integrity.

I’d like to thank everyone who continues to read and enjoy my work. While I’m nowhere near as popular as I was 3-4 years ago, I’m happy that I have a core audience that gets value out of what I put out in the world, enough so that I can make some money doing it. It’s especially humbling that I have people who’ve been reading my work for close to a decade.

I’d say I’m in this for the long haul, but you already know that I am.

Read Next: Five Years Long, Five Years Strong