Letter From Facebook Jail: Day 9

The Excuse For Censorship

No matter how convinced I am of a narrative, I always take time to listen to reasoned opinions and uncomfortable facts that run contrary to my convictions. If I did not take the time to do so, I’m afraid I would fall back on lazy and/or emotional thinking. Let your emotions take control of your ability to reason and you are in serious danger of being manipulated by others who are only too willing to feed the narrative that speaks to your emotional needs.

I bring this up because I am going to discuss the reason, or should I say excuse, used to justify a sweeping tide of censorship. In truth, as corporations and those who use the military to further their interests overseas grow more powerful, and internet communication between ordinary citizens has grown more sophisticated, the need for censorship was inevitable. There was just no way that the powers that be could continue to make life more unmanageable for the average person while increasing average person’s ability to work with his fellow man/woman.

Those who control the narrative pushed it an amazingly long way through propaganda alone. By bringing out an articulate African American with style, they were able to extend the narrative for one last go round. In a lot of ways, simply knowing that we had elected a black president spoke to our beliefs in the innate goodness and unstoppable progress of our nation. Nobody else but Barack Obama could have pulled off eight years of Americans feeling good about themselves, while in real terms things were continuing to proceed in the way they had under George W. Bush. And Clinton. And Bush. And Reagan. The illusion of progress ended with Obama. With the narrative of progress played out, a new narrative of fear and outrage must be woven. And with fear and outrage would come the unfortunate but necessary call for censorship.

But first, an excuse would be required. 9/11 went a long way in forcing Americans to give up on ideas like privacy, but given that the Patriot Act was pushed by a Republican administration, a lot of Democrats were leery of assaults on our civil rights. And besides, freedom of speech had long been a main tenant of the liberal class, who fought against warning labels on music and proudly announced during National Banned Book Week that they were reading 1984 or Lolita. Something special would be required to have liberals cheering for censorship, something that would appeal to their fear and loathing rather than their intellect. Enter Donald Trump.

Donald Trump’s being elected president was not met with stoic acceptance by supporters of Hillary Clinton. Liberals were in no mood for self-reflection when it dawned on them that the American public, at least in the states that mattered, would rather reject the reliable running play up the middle and instead choose to try a Hail Mary pass to the receiver that was so incompetent that nobody bothered to guard him. When the bumbling oaf managed to hold onto the ball and take it over the goal line, nobody on the losing team was willing to accept that they lost fair and square.

Imagine it’s the Super Bowl, the other team comes from behind and scores at the last second, and you realize you will have to wait another year and go through all the agony of the season for you to even hope to get a chance to win the big game. You’re not exactly going to be in a rational state. Now imagine someone in the recall booth says the guy who caught the pass had his feet out of bounds. Does your heart not leap at the prospect?

Now imagine the anonymous guy in the replay booth tells you the guy’s feet were clearly out of bounds, and the only reason it was ruled a reception was that the guy who called it a touchdown was handed a big wad of cash from a Russian mobster. Are you going to call him a liar?

A lot of you people are going to want to believe, especially when The Fox Channel, who will be losing a lot of football fans now that the season is over, uncritically accepts what the guy in the booth is selling.

Never once will they show the replay, but that won’t matter to you. You know in your heart of hearts that you didn’t really lose that game, that you were too good and noble and the receiver was too incompetent to make that catch fair and square. And besides, The Fox Channel wouldn’t be bringing it up if it weren’t true. They have reporters there that met with the guy in the booth and they all swear that he saw what he said he saw. Even though they themselves didn’t see it. You just have to believe the guy in the booth. Americans would NEVER mess with the sacred game that is the Super Bowl, only the dastardly Russians, with wanton disregard of all that the Super Bowl entails — The Puppy Bowl and the Clydesdale Horses and the Halftime spectacle — would stoop so low.

And so the opportunity that the forces of censorship have been waiting for has arrived. People who care so much about their country that defeat has aroused their emotions at the expense of their better nature. In the heat of the battle, they’ve abandoned one of the very principles they were fighting to defend, the idea of free speech. The idea that truth, if allowed to battle it out on the playing field, will win out even over the best-crafted lies. The Left, which I had always considered the team that would fight for freedom of speech even when the Right was willing to make exceptions, is now — if not the driving force — at least the willing accomplice of the push for censorship. Of course, there’s a really good reason for it. There are always good reasons to be found when betraying sacred principles.

And by the way, it’s a stupid game, I hate the team that won, the guy’s an oaf that doesn’t belong on the field, but his feet were in bounds for once. Instead of complaining that the other team cheated, maybe you should ask why your team benched its star player.