My accelerating disappointment with my progressive brethren and sisteren would most certainly indicate that’s the case. To add insult to injury, the icing on that hypocritical cake is, the only person who seems to see eye-to-eye with me on the most basic truths these days, is my rather conservative friend, Bill Wright.
“Geez Jeff! Not another bleepin’ anti-liberal rant. Aren’t you getting tired of bitching about why progressives suddenly suck? I thought you were one of ‘em!”
Actually, I am on both counts, but having called out so many conservatives and Christians for applying the standards they love only to everyone else, it would be beyond disingenuous for me to let liberals slide, especially when the hypocrisy is this egregious.
But before we continue, let me make it clear that I do not support, condone, or follow Infowars or Alex Jones in any way, shape, or form. That bleep makes me long for the days of the Fox News Glenn Beck.
For the uninitiated, Jones and his Infowars website spew some of the stupidest bullshit I’ve ever seen, including, but nearly not limited to, a conspiracy theory claiming the Sandy Hook school shooting never happened. In the end, he’s just another garden variety fearmonger who preys on old white people who believe black folks are coming to steal their garden gnomes.
As a result of some erudite individuals calling Facebook out for removing seemingly innocuous posts while giving Jones and his ilk free rein, a majority of social media sites just banned Infowars and similar way-out-on-the-bell-curve political groups.
Though I want to be clear that Facebook and all the other sites have every right to refuse service to anyone for any reason, I think it’s a huge mistake for four really good reasons.
1. Prohibition never works
Anytime we ban anything, alcohol, drugs, books, or music, it only serves to make the item more alluring. When Tipper Gore led the fight to put warning labels on music, it backfired to the point where kids sent sales of suspect CDs through the roof. And that wasn’t even an outright embargo!
To wit, Jones still has his website which will inevitably become more popular than ever.
2. Banning Jones gives him credence
I don’t care what anyone says, the best course of action in these cases is to let stupid people talk and remove all doubt. Believe it or not, I have (just) enough faith in my fellowman to believe that most of them will eventually see bullshit for what it is.
But when you censor Jones, those fence-sitting folks start thinking, “What could possibly be so dangerous that liberals don’t want me to hear what he has to say?” And they go to his webpage to find out.
When Shaquille O’Neal says the world is flat, I don’t argue with him or push the censorship button, I laugh and walk away.
3. The basket of deplorables isn’t going anywhere
This one completely kills me. Liberals seem to think that banning Jones is going to make the people most susceptible to that stupid shit magically disappear. I hate to tell you folks, but they’re not going anywhere.
Hillary Clinton correctly called them out in her 2016 campaign, but then she ignored their vast economic dissatisfaction and contempt for government as usual to the point where a buffoon like Donald Trump kicked her ass.
It’s just like the Geneva Police Department’s refusal to attend area gang summits. To do so would mean admitting Geneva gangs actually exist. The joke among local law enforcement agencies is that gang members dematerialize upon entering the city and rematerialize on their way out.
4. The standard is impossible to apply
This is the real problem. How can any company possibly apply a social media standard to billions of users across this vast globe? It can’t be done.
I still can’t figure out why Facebook removed a What’s Happening in Batavia post that explained why Batavia has such absurd electric rates. (The moderators did not remove it.) My guess is taking Mayor Jeff Schielke to task for that failure did the trick, but no one is sure. (And I’m convinced Schielke was the one who went to Facebook, too).
If a post that mild was removed for “violating social standards,” asking why Infowars was allowed to roam free is a very good question. But Facebook’s response should’ve been to relax the standard, not to tighten it and make it worse.
A simpler and more reasonable set of rules would be far easier to objectively enforce.
Take hate speech. It’s such a situational morality that it’s virtually impossible to define. Generally, if a white person uses the N-word that’s unacceptable. But what if they’re talking about the word itself or repeating rap lyrics? What if two black folks are using the word as a term of endearment? So, how do you effectively apply the standard?
And if one word can cause that many problems…
Look! If there is a Christian God, I can’t wait until Jones comes face-to-face with Her. And I fervently hope she’s a black woman along the lines of Leslie Jones. But the fact that I fail to agree with anything that falls out of his fetid mouth doesn’t mean I won’t defend Jones’ right to spew stupid shit to my death. Because if you start shutting folks down for spewing stupid shit, Bill and I will be the last two Facebook users left.
And I’m not sure how far conversations on grilled pork chops and craft beer can go.
What really frost my flakes is, liberals are supposed to be the guardians of truth, justice, and the American way, especially when it comes to freedom of speech. For them to stomp their feet with glee at this ominous turn of social media events makes them every bit as hypocritical as the Trump supporters they love to loathe.
If you’re offended by someone or some thing, then don’t read their stuff. But don’t abrogate my right to read it – and dismiss it for the BS it clearly is.
If you could legislate, ban or beat stupidity and bullshit into submission, I’d be the first on board. But you can’t. And any attempt to do so always makes it worse. I’ll say it one more time, let stupid people talk because they always hang themselves.