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Reflections on a Wandering Life.....
Thursday, July 08, 2021
This is the message I get when I try to post a link to my blog on Facebook.
Censorship. I have written about it before, because it is a big issue in China. The government considers itself responsible for watching what people should be allowed to see or hear. But every government does that much, I guess. Where it becomes an issue for Americans is when the government censors political opinions. That is considered an assault on freedom of speech. So it should be of interest that even though I live in China, my experience with censorship of my opinions came, not from China, but from the United States.
That’s not quite true. Blogspot is blocked in China. But the whole website is blocked. This is the first time that my blog in particular was censored because of something I said which, although completely true (I was not censored for saying something false), was nonetheless considered unsuitable for the average Facebook user.
Now some may question how I know that this is censorship, and not merely an enforcement of the rules. Perhaps the best thing I can do is just tell you the story and you can decide for yourself.
Back in February of 2020, I wrote a blog post that featured the Moody Science film, “Red River of Life.” This is an amazing science documentary that I first saw when I was in high school fifty years ago. Amazingly, that film is not outdated at all. You can see that some of the equipment is quite out of date. But the conclusions made in that film are every bit as accurate as they were when I saw it at Hillcrest Academy.
But why would Facebook censor me because of a science film? Well, because I made a comment about one of the Democratic candidates. Pete Buttigieg is from Indiana, and he had assumed that when he ran for president, Vice President Pence (who is also from Indiana) would lash out at him because he is a homosexual. Mayor Peter kept waiting and waiting for Pence to attack him. He even wrote a response to the anticipated attack. But the attack never came. So instead of dropping the issue, Buttigieg published his response to the attack that had never been made. It was a completely dishonest thing do to, but the media played right along with it. The ABC headline says “Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Vice President Mike Pence escalate feud over religion and sexuality.” Not true. Pence never said anything about it until he was asked, and his response was very professional. Read the article.
So I was irritated with Buttigieg’s creation of a false issue, responding to an attack that Pence never made. But if I wrote a blog post every time a politician said something dishonest, I wouldn’t have a life. So I found a very well written rebuttal of Mayor Pete’s dishonesty, posted it on Facebook, and let the matter go.
But later I saw something that I could not let pass. Mayor Pete said that the Bible associates life with breath, so since babies don’t breathe, it’s okay to kill them. That was simply beyond the pale and demanded a response.
His comment brought to mind a Moody science film I had seen more than fifty years ago when I was in high school. Believe it or not, I found it on YouTube. It’s called “Red River of Life.” When I was in high school, the debate at the time was not between heartbeat as an indication of life and breath as an indication of life. It was between heartbeat and brain wave. People were saying that a person should be considered dead if they had a flat brain wave, because then we could keep their heart beating, and harvest their organs. Without getting sidetracked by that debate, let me just say that the Bible is very clear on this issue. Leviticus 17:11 says, “The life of the flesh is in the blood…”
So the movie is not about abortion at all—it came out before Roe v. Wade. But it is a very good film and amazingly current even after fifty years. I used it because it directly addresses the issue of what constitutes life. But I am quite sure that the Facebook censors were not concerned about the movie. They were angered because I dared to criticize a prominent Democrat politician. But the issue I was addressing in my blog post was not his homosexuality. It was his dishonesty. If you did not know Mayor Pete, and read my article, you would not was not know he was a homosexual. I did not mention it in my blog post. I did address his lack of integrity, and I won’t back down from that. Pete Buttigieg is a deeply dishonest individual. Recently he was caught hauling his bicycle in a van to within a few blocks of his office so that he could be seen riding it to work.
But he’s a Democrat, and Facebook censors went ballistic. What happened next is the focus of today’s post. They blocked any reference to my blog from Facebook. Then they deleted all my Facebook posts that contained any link to my blog. Completely gone. No way to retrieve them. If you look above, you will see the notice I get if I try to link to my blog from Facebook. The notice says that my blog violates Facebook’s spam policy. So so let’s take a look at that policy. You can clearly see that merely linking to a different location does not constitute spam. If it did, then it would not be possible to link to other sources. In fact, years ago, Facebook had it set up so that I could have my blog posts automatically posted as a note on Facebook as soon as I submitted them.
What can I do? Can I sue them? Well, in a civil suit, you need to show damage. Technically, there was some damage, because they deleted a bunch of my Facebook posts. But every post they deleted was mainly just a link to my blog, and my blog was not affected, just the link to my blog in Facebook. I guess I could sue them for the inconvenience they created for me, but that would be tough too. You see, it’s not really more inconvenient for me, it’s just a little more cumbersome for Facebook readers. Facebook does not block links to Twitter at all. I can link to my Twitter account all I want. And Twitter does not block my blog. So now I have to put my blog link in Twitter and the Twitter link in Facebook. So Facebook readers have an extra mouse click, because they first have to go to the Twitter post, and then they can get to the blog post. It is a little inconvenient for those who come to my blog from Facebook, but it doesn’t really affect me that much, so I don’t know if there is any way to sue them. But I do think they should be denied immunity under Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Facebook is a private company, so they do have a right to restrict content that they do not agree with. They were not breaking the law when they deleted my posts. Editors do it all the time. Facebook is not required to be neutral. But then, in my opinion, they should not be entitled to the Section 230 provisions. And maybe someday nobody will be entitled to those provisions. Both Trump and Biden oppose 230 (although possibly for different reasons). What is really needed more than anything else is competition—the belief that both ideas should be allowed to be expressed, then debated, so that readers can decide for themselves which idea is most credible, and best substantiated by solid evidence and reasoning. I thought that’s what Facebook was. But recently, we have seen rogue staffers using Facebook rules falsely as a means of restricting content that does not comport with their left wing bias. If you slap an obscenity warning on something, it should be because that content actually contains obscenity, not because it contains truth that you find inconvenient. These people are not decent moral human beings. They are unprincipled scoundrels who hate anything that looks to them like holding up an absolute moral standard as a measure by which to judge society. But as Francis Schaeffer noted years ago in his ten-part series on Western civilization (How Shall We Then Live), “If there are no absolutes by which to judge society, the society is absolute.”