By James Fite
Facebook’s leftist bias should come as no surprise to anyone with half a brain, but any lingering doubts can now be comfortably laid to rest. In the days before the Fourth of July, the folks at the Liberty County, Texas newspaper, The Vindicator, challenged their Facebook followers to read the Declaration of Independence. To make it easier, they posted it in sections over the course of many days.
Being the bastion of free expression it is, the social media giant flagged this as hate speech.
The Banned Passage
The first nine posts went up as scheduled with no issues. Number 10, however, was flagged and removed. It read:
“He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
“He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
“He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
“He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
“He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”
Facebook didn’t explain which part of this caused the issue, or why. However, it seems fairly evident that it isn’t the general complaints about the King they took issue with, but the description of Native Americans as “merciless Indian Savages.”
As Casey Stinnett, managing editor for The Vindicator, wrote, “Perhaps had Thomas Jefferson written it as ‘Native Americans at a challenging stage of cultural development’ that would have been better. Unfortunately, Jefferson, like most British colonists of his day, did not hold an entirely friendly view of Native Americans.”
Is It Hate Speech?
As hateful as it sounds – and it’s quite likely that it was intended exactly as it sounds – there’s more to this particular word choice than mere racism. While examining the ridiculous idea of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day, Liberty Nation’s Leesa K. Donner gave numerous examples of the behavior of the so-called peaceful natives. Sure, the Europeans weren’t saints, but the folks they met here weren’t all sitting around holding hands and singing Kumbaya either.
They murdered and scalped European settlers seemingly at random – men, women, and children. They didn’t necessarily make a clean kill first; they often scalped their victims live, then left them for dead.
Leesa quoted one historical document that told of a massacre in which several women and small children were killed. Some were scalped and cut to pieces; others were “tomahawked very inhumanly.” And the infants? They were tossed into the fire.
There are a few words that come to mind that accurately describe a person who goes about scalping random folk and leaving them for dead and who burns babies to death, of which, savage seems rather tame.
Regardless of how it may look today, “merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions” isn’t just a racist rant. It’s a fairly accurate description of at least some of the people the colonists encountered – and it almost certainly applied to the ones the King incited against them.
Leftism Summed Up
This particular case might seem like an almost excusable occurrence – not, perhaps, the best example of Facebook’s leftist bias. But the words themselves aren’t the problem. It wasn’t even a person who flagged this – it was picked up by a hate speech detecting software employed by the social media service. Facebook apologized and reinstated the post, but the apology must be questioned, as they only did this after The Vindicator ran a story about it.
The problem is that such a filter software exists to begin with. When Facebook began, it was supposed to be this great forum for free speech and connections between people – that’s the idea behind the entire social media trend.
However, as The Vindicator’s Casey Stinnett explained, Facebook, as a company, isn’t the government and therefore isn’t beholden to the First Amendment. The editor also points out that the paper uses Facebook for free, and so can’t really complain about the company’s policies – other than just for the silliness of them.
This is the attitude of a well-informed citizen, the sort who would be familiar with the Declaration of Independence in the first place. Contrast that to the mindset of the leftists of Facebook who want to stifle free speech – whether it’s legitimately hateful or just doesn’t line up with their opinions. The irony of the situation perfectly sums up the leftist ideology when it comes to individual liberty. As Stinnett wrote:
“This is frustrating, but your editor is a historian, and to enjoy the study of history, a person must love irony. It is a very great irony that the words of Thomas Jefferson should now be censored in America.”