One day after the London bridge terrorist attack on June 3, 2017, a Twitter user by the name of @markantro posted a video in which the American TV broadcaster CNN can be seen setting up a counter-terrorism protest by Muslims. I talked to Mark, the man behind the video.
— Mark (@markantro) June 4, 2017
“I walked my girlfriend to work on the day after the attack, because she was scared to use public transport in the light of the attacks. After dropping her off I took a walk around London, and stumbled completely randomly into the CNN recording.”
Mark had the right instincts by immediately recording the scene on his phone, sparking international news, including in the United States, where it was taken as another piece of evidence for the underlying bias of mainstream media.
CNN reacted by tweeting this:
This is nonsense. Police let demonstrators through the cordon to show their signs. CNN along with other media simply filmed them doing so.
— CNN International PR (@CNNPRUK) June 5, 2017
Whoever looks at the video that Mark posted, can draw his own conclusions about the situation. He adds himself:
“I don’t claim to know if the protesters were sincere or not. They might very well be. That doesn’t make the scene any less staged.”
Thousands of followers
As a result of his tweet, Mark gained tens of thousands of followers. Yet, instead of attempting to please his newly gained followers, he uses it to spread the ideas of liberty.
Not only the media landscape comes under fire on Mark’s Twitter. He regularly tweets quotes from famous pro-liberty personalities, and takes aim at the political left, which he sees as the most threatening to liberty.
“And I’m not saying that this excludes the traditional ‘right-wing’. Quite in contrary, when you look at british leader Theresa May today, you’ll see that throughout modern history she’ll count as one of the most interventionist leaders. The only reasons she maintains her image as a ‘heartless Tory’ is because she is up against opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is very much to the far-left of the political landscape.”
Getting sometimes called a privileged Tory online, makes him laugh:
“Not only do I come from a working-class family, I despise what the Tories stand for today. Look at my description on Twitter, it says ‘l-i-b-e-r-t-a-r-i-a-n’”.
Against the tide
What worries Mark in the libertarian movement is people such as podcaster Stefan Molyneux. As an voluntaryist himself, he believes that Molyneux had the right message years ago, but that as his audience changed, he adapted and shifted very far to the right.
“In a recent podcast of his that I listened to, he basically made the claim that we need a big government to keep the immigrants out, so that we can have liberty after that. How naive! When you advocate for big government, all you get is big government!”
He believes that Molyneux focusing on the symptoms, instead of the root cause.
And Mark’s tweets are catching on: his current reach is at up to 25 million impressions a month, which is way beyond of many or most libertarian activists online. Given the frequent use and effect of Twitter, it is fascinating how someone who doesn’t have a website, hasn’t written a book or doesn’t have a TV show, can suddenly become relevant to 37,000 followers.
True to itself
The comforting thing about Mark is not only his down-to-earth and pragmatic approach to pitching the idea of liberty, or that he has an immense outreach online, but that he is a part of a libertarian movement that remained true to itself. We need to reduce the scope and size of the government, without offroading into the left and right spectrum of daily politics.
The modern-day libertarian movement was born on the internet, during a time of economic crisis, and through figures such as Ron Paul. The mere fact that this generation of the liberty movement has evolved in viral twitter users who are aware of Hayek, Mises or Bastiat, is comforting thought.
Follow Mark on Twitter at @markantro.