The Baptism of Mindaugas from 17th century painting. Author unknown
We may like to think that the worldâs elves are busy at the North Pole making lots of toys for children to enjoy during holiday season. But there is a new group of âElvesâ emerging throughout the Baltic regions, and soon coming to a community near you.
These people are among the outliers who are fighting for a freer future. They battle the âcyber trollsâ of the âBiggies,â sowers of misinformation and propaganda, meant to influence political outcomes. They specialize in creating alternate reality versions of life. All their work is meant to create civic chaos and channel power to the new oligarchs of the 21st century.
Writing for the Daily Beast, Michael Weiss writes, âNo one knows how many trolls are polluting the media, or how many are even actual human beings versus bots programmed with word algorithms that spew out permutations of the same anti or pro sentiment, or how many are single persons posing under different handles as multiple people, or how many are genuine provocateurs as opposed to salaried employees clocking in at one of many Russian troll farms, such as the well-reported Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg.â
I, dear reader, will tell you a secret. No one knows how many wonderful Citizen Cyber-Warriors are joining the ranks of the âRebellionâ against Big Tech, Big Media and Big Government oligarchs either.
HOW THE ELVES âRE-EMERGED FROM MIDDLE EARTHâ
Weiss reports about his meeting with the founder of the Elves movement: âMindaugas is an unassuming, 30-something advertising agency director by day, and a ferocious cyber-warrior by night. He started a phenomenon in Lithuania, of countering Kremlin propaganda and disinformation on the Internet. âWe needed to call our group something. What to name it? Well, we were fighting Trolls, so I said, âLetâs be Elves,ââ Mindaugus explained.
There were 20 or 30 at first, when the Trolls began a targeted campaign of leaving nasty comments about the Lithuanian government and society, usually pegged to a hatred of NATO, the European Union, and of course, the United States.
Since then, Elves have proliferated into the hundreds. Theyâre now scattered about neighboring Latvia and Estonia and have even been spotted as far north as Finland. The Elves pride themselves on clandestine activity and reclusiveness.â
Mindaugas (not his real name, but based on the first known Grand Duke of Lithuania and the only Christian King of Lithuania) says, âCrashing the Troll parties carries the predictable risk that the Elves are being watched and identified, for future harassmentâor worse. Fake reporters are filming, making photos of protesters from our side, placing those photos on the internet, and asking for peopleâs help to identify us. Anonymity is precious to the Elves.â
Mindaugas was the first known Grand Duke of Lithuania and the only Christian King of Lithuania. By en: Alexander Guagnini (1538-1614)
TROLLS IN AMERICA
Andy Kroll, writing for Mother Jones magazine says, âThere is a war underway. Iâm not talking about Washingtonâs bloody misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, but a war within our own borders. Itâs a war fought on the airwaves, on television and radio, and over the Internet, a war of words and images, of half-truths, innuendo, and raging lies. Iâm talking about a political war, pitting liberals against conservatives, Democrats against Republicans. Iâm talking about a spending war, fueled by stealthy front groups and deep-pocketed anonymous donors. Itâs a war thatâs poised to topple whatâs left of American democracy.â
Itâs a war that has deeply divided our country, broken friendships and families and opened anyone who has an independent opinion to vicious social media attacks on their character and their livelihood.
Elves are emerging in the United States to fight back. But the first line of offensive action must come from lawyers and representatives pushing anti-trust legislation to break up the behemoth companies that control the flow of information in this country. The problem is that Facebook, Twitter, and Google can filter alternative viewpoints into the farthest regions of cyberspace, never to be seen. In other words, you can send out your thoughts, but no one will see them.
OUTLIERS TO THE RESCUE
The gauntlet has been thrown down. It will be little Davids against big Goliaths.
Chris Hedges, writing for Commondreams.org says, âThe danger is that we end up with a one-party informational system. Thereâs going to be approved dialogue and unapproved dialogue that you can only get through certain fringe avenuesâŚ. We let these companies get this monopolistic share of the distribution system. Now theyâre exercising that powerâŚâ
Billionaire tech giant Peter Rex is stepping up. âWe need leadership that believes in people,â he said. âLeadership that believes especially in the working class, that wants to protect their freedom of speech, and trusts people to be able to discern the truth when given the opportunity to see various points of viewâŚ. We need to build an alternative power structure outside of Silicon Valley and SeattleâŚwhere freedom, faith and family are flourishing and are still held as sacred.â
Elvesâcitizen warriorsâemerge out of the universal yearning for freedom of thought and expression common to all people. They are ordinary people like you and me.
Hedges says, âTruth will endure. It will be heard by those who seek it out. It will expose the mendacity of the powerful, however hard it will be to obtainâŚâ (Pardon Julian Assange!!). ââŚDespots fear the truth. They know it is a mortal threat. If we remain determined to live in truth, no matter the cost, we have a chance.â
And, dear readers, in this fight, you will see the truth of an old adage, âPolitics makes strange bedfellows.â More on that next time!
Support the breakup of the Biggies! All we want is a good trust bust!