I’ve joined a growing number of conservatives who have been censored under Facebook’s community standards.

It is unclear what my crime was. My weekly column for DaTechGuy.com included an analysis that the Mueller investigation was not similar to Watergate—a constant refrain from the media. Here it is: http://datechguyblog.com/2018/08/28/it-aint-watergate/

“We have people in 11 offices around the world, including subject matter experts on issues such as hate speech, child safety, and terrorism. Many of us have worked on the issues of expression and safety long before coming to Facebook,” wrote Monika Bickert, vice president of Global Product Management wrote earlier this year in a post that accompanied the release of FB’s “27 pages of community standards. “I worked on everything from child safety to counter terrorism during my years as a criminal prosecutor, and other team members include a former rape crisis counselor, an academic who has spent her career studying hate organizations, a human rights lawyer, and a teacher.”

The standards are broken up into sections dealing with violence and criminal behavior, user safety, “objectionable content,” integrity and authenticity, copyright material, and content-related requests.

The only possible explanation for the censorship of my column was under the objectionable content standard. It apparently was objectionable because it was conservative. That’s awfully scary when you realize that FB is the largest provider of information in the world.

Facebook says it has censors working 24/7, including powerful algorithms, to make sure your feed is “safe.”

I’ve hardly the first one to note the chilling thought of these 1984 trolls pulling down material that people really should see.

But there’s more. A few days ago, a senior FB engineer posted a message on the company’s internal message board. Titled “We Have a Problem With Political Diversity,” it quickly took off inside the social network.

“We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views,” Brian Amerige, wrote in the post. “We claim to welcome all perspectives but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”

Since the post went up, more than 100 Facebook employees have joined Amerige to form an online group called FB’ers for Political Diversity. The aim of the initiative, according to Amerige’s memo, is to create a space for ideological diversity within the company.

For the moment that diversity doesn’t seem like it will come any time soon. I’m still waiting for a decision on my appeal of the censorship.

First they came for Alex Jones and his Info Wars and so many stayed silent, including too many on the political right.  When the same social media organizations come to silence their next right wing website will so may remain silent, or will it be too late?  Once censorship like this begins, there is usually no way to stop it.  The same forces that are silencing Alex Jones have been gunning for Drudge and Breitbart for years.  I fear that it will not be long before those two, and many others receive the same treatment.  The best and only time to resist censorship is immediately, when it begins, and to resist it as forcefully as possible.  Everyone should condemn this shameful treatment of Alex Jones and his Info Wars, no matter if you agree with what he has to say or not.

I firmly believe censorship, of any nature, is always wrong.  I firmly believe everyone has a right to say whatever they want to say, and everyone has a right to listen to whatever they want to listen to.  The most common justification for silencing someone is to label what they have to say as hate speech.  What exactly is hate speech. you might be wondering?  That question is impossible to answer because the concept is way too subjective.  Far too often, any ideas espoused by those on the political right are labeled hate speech by those on the political left, and then those ideas are banned.

This Breitbart Article describes why the silencing of Info Wars happened.

Big tech’s coordinated purge of InfoWars — which was hit by bans from Apple, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube in rapid succession — did not occur in a vacuum. On this issue, Silicon Valley bowed to CNN journalists and Democrat politicians who ceaselessly lobbied for the site to be censored.

It’s a sign of how the concentration of power in America has shifted from big government to big tech that politicians are now lobbying tech companies rather than the other way round, but that’s exactly what happened over the course of the past few months, as Democrats applied relentless pressure on Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants to censor InfoWars.

It is unsociable that members of the Democratic Party would lobby for censoring InfoWars, or anyone else.  This attack of Alex Jones’ freedom of speech was politically motivated.

As you can see in this article by the AP, cries of hate speech were the justification for this purge.

Major tech companies have begun to ban right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their services, reflecting a more aggressive enforcement of policies against hate speech following protests on social media.

Facebook has taken down four pages belonging to Jones, including two featuring his “InfoWars” show, for violating its hate speech and bullying policies. Over the past several days, Apple, YouTube and Spotify have also removed material published by Jones. Twitter, which hasn’t banned Jones, has also faced similar calls.

Does Alex Jones or InfoWars engage in anything that can reasonably be called hate speech?  On this I am no expert.  Before this story broke I had never been to InfoWars, or viewed any of his videos.  This is only because I already have a dozen or so websites I visit daily for my news and political information.  I did not have time for another.  Based on what I’ve seen in the past two days, I have not seen any evidence, on just InfoWars, of what could be called hate speech.  Even if the site was nothing but “hate speech” I would still decry the silencing of his sites as forcefully as possible.

Brent Bozell of News Busters has similar opinions on this.  Here is what he had to say in this article:

I don’t support Alex Jones and what InfoWars produces. He’s not a conservative. However, banning him and his outlet is wrong. It’s not just a slippery slope, it’s a dangerous cliff that these social media companies are jumping off to satisfy CNN and other liberal outlets….Social media sites are supposedly neutral platforms, but they are increasingly becoming opportunities for the left and major media to censor any content that they don’t like.

Conservatives are increasingly concerned that InfoWars is not the end point for those who want to ban speech. It’s just the beginning. We are rapidly approaching a point where censorship of opposing voices is the norm. That’s dangerous.

Ben Shapiro, who is no fan of Alex Jones, is quoted in this Daily Wire Article as saying:

Trust in social media is declining nearly as fast as trust in media overall. There’s a reason for that. And it’s not because social media tolerates voices like Jones. It’s because they don’t tolerate voices like Jones while tolerating voices who are just as bad on the political Left – and they show no signs of limiting their censorship to Alex Jones.

Some Democrats are reported to be working on a plan that would very heavily regulate the internet.  The main objective of that would be to completely strangle all forms of communication from the political right.  Here are the details.  Censorship of conservatives by social media is a major problem but government intervention is not the solution.  Government intervention will only make this problem far worse, just like government intervention always does.  Government intervention is not called for in this case.  These companies are private companies.  They have every right to run their companies any way they want to, including censoring others.  I have every tight to speak out against this censorship, and all censorship, as loudly as I wish to, and I’m imploring others to do so as well.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I abhor censorship, especially when it comes to books and things like banned books lists and instances where people who deem themselves more forward thinking than all the rest of us in their decisions to “protect” us from offensive material.

You will have no doubt heard by now about the decision to strip Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a prestigious book award title:

A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove the name of Laura Ingalls Wilder from a major children’s book award, over concerns about how the author portrayed African Americans and Native Americans.

The board of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) made the unanimous decision to change the name on Saturday, at a meeting in New Orleans. The name of the prize was changed from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.

The association said Wilder “includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values”.

The first award was given to Wilder in 1954. The ALSC said Wilder’s work continued to be published and read but her “legacy is complex” and “not universally embraced.”

So this is my question:  why must something be “universally embraced” for it to be acceptable?

As a child I read every one of the Little House on the Prairie books; I loved them.  They transported me to that frontier era and taught me a lot about how those early settlers survived.  I was fascinated by them.

I never read the books as a child and thought, “Well, my goodness, that’s an awfully racist way to depict Indians.”

The Association for Library Service to Children has the right to make decisions about their own award, certainly.  What concerns me, and always has when it comes to things like this, is where does it stop?  Are we now to go back and revise every piece of literature that mentions Indian violence on the frontier?

What else in our American literary canon might offend someone?  The list could be pretty extensive.

This is so closely related to those people who want to ban To Kill a Mockingbird or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from reading lists and libraries because they contain language we no longer use today.

Somebody cue Guy Montag…he can handle this.

 

 

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.  She is the author of Cane River Bohemia (Oct. ’18).  Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter.

When Milton Friedman famously wrote “I think the government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem and very often makes the problem worse” in his work An Economist’s Protest, back in 1975, that statement was a fundamental truth.  Today there is no doubt that the government solution to any problem is always far worse than the original problem.  Fake news and censorship of conservatives on social media platforms are both very serious problems.  Different federal government branches are investigating ways of solving these two problems.  You may me wondering, what could possibly go wrong.  Based on the track record of the federal government, the possibilities are too horrific to speculate on, but speculate I will.

Thanks to an overwhelmingly liberal media, fake news has turned into a major problem.  The liberal bias of their reporting is meant to sway elections.  Ever since President Trump announced he was running, he railed against fake news, and has continued railing after winning the presidency.  The liberal media labeled these verbal jibes as a direct violation of the Freedom of the Free Press clause of the First Amendment and labeled President as one of the worst practitioners of press suppression.  Neither of these characterizations of his fake news statements claims is true.  He is merely exercising his freedom speech.  Even if President Trump’s accusations were incorrect, his verbal attacks are perfectly fine.

An article with the title “Homeland Security to compile database of journalists and ‘media influencers’” appeared in the Chicago Sun Times.  According to this article:

The Department of Homeland Security wants to track the comings and going of journalists, bloggers and other “media influencers” through a database.

The DHS’s “Media Monitoring” plan, which was first reported by FedBizOpps.gov, would give the contracting company “24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.” in order to “identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.”

The database would be designed to monitor the public activities of media members and influencers by “location, beat and influencers,” the document says.

This monitoring plan would be a direct attack on the Freedom of the Press clause because it would be an attempt to intimidate the media into reporting only what the Trump administration approves of.  It would also be a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections.  Is this article accurate or is it fake news?  If is up to every one of us to decide for ourselves and ignore it if we believe it is fake.  That is the only solution to the fake news plague.  Any government solution would lead to the type of tyranny exhibited by this proposal, or even worse tyranny.

Censorship of conservatives and other individuals on the political right by Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube is an issue I constantly rage against on Facebook and Twitter.  Censorship of any individual or group is the issue I most passionately fight against.  I appose censorship of anyone even if I vehemently oppose what they have to say.  Even the most vile and disgusting individuals and groups have a right to say whatever they want to say.

Different congressional committees called the head of Facebook into hearings in order to answer questions about Facebook’s censorship and data mishandling issues.  Facebook is a private company.  The federal government has no business questioning anyone at the company about how they do anything.  The same holds true for any company.  The Constitution never granted the federal government the power to regulate any private company.  It wasn’t until 1943 and the FDR Supreme Court stacking crisis that the federal government granted itself this extra constitutional power.  Regulations placed on business only waste billions of dollars every year, stifle competition, and generate far worse problems then they were meant to solve. Would regulating Facebook to stop the censorship be any different?  According to this article, the elected officials doing the questioning proved they know nothing about how internet businesses, or any businesses, work. Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube would be destroyed the regulations placed on them to solve this problem and no one would try and rebuild them.

There are two solutions to this problem.  The first is for individuals to stop using these platforms and tell them why.  The second is for individuals to create alternatives.  Freedom and competition are the only solutions to problems caused by private companies.

Apparently George Orwell’s Classic Animal Farm is hitting too close to home for the new Communist Dictator in China:

The Chinese government has banned George Orwell’s dystopian satirical novella Animal Farm and the letter ‘N’ in a wide-ranging online censorship crackdown.

Experts believe the increased levels of suppression – which come just days after the Chinese Communist Party announced presidential term limits would be abolished – are a sign Xi Jinping hopes to become a dictator for life.

Because nothing hits closer to home to an aspiring dictator for life then George Orwell which is why 1984 is banned along with Animal Farm.

This is part of a long list of speech China is banning online under Xi to keep dissent down, the China Times notes several other examples, a few:

  • Another 500 Years for Heaven (向天再借五百年) — Theme song for the CCTV series Kangxi Dynasty (康熙王朝), often used by netizens to mock leaders who grasp for power, particularly the line “I really want to live another 500 years” (我真的还想再活五百年).
  • I’m willing to be a vegetarian for the rest of my life (信女愿一生吃素) — Allusion to a meme inspired by the popular historical drama Empresses in the Palace (甄嬛传). A screenshot of this line, being said by an empress as she makes the Buddhist pledge for lifelong vegetarianism in return for the imminent death of the emperor, has been shared online.
  • Winnie the Pooh (小熊维尼) — Images of Winnie the Pooh have been used to mock Xi Jinpingsince as early as 2013. The animated bear continues to be sensitive in China users shared a post from Disney’s official account that showed Pooh hugging a large pot of honey along with the caption “find the thing you love and stick with it.”

The list even briefly included the letter “N” which reminded PJ Media of the Classic Steve Martin Sketch “Hostages” from his album Comedy is not Pretty where he proposed banning the letter “M”

I’m sure Thomas Freedman heart is going pitter patter but it’s funny how our friends on the left constantly see Trump as a dictator a censor or a Hitler but never seem to have an issue with actual dictators doing actual censorship on a national scale affecting almost a full fifth of the world’s population.

I suspect that it’s because or leftist / Marxist / Progressive students and administrators understand Xi’s efforts and identify with them. I suspect the students who shouted down Christina Hoff Summers at Lewis and Clark University or the Antifa Mob that shut down Yaron Brook in London identify with Xi’s efforts. After all we should not think of this as a repressive regime trying to stifle dissent on a national scale to allow a ruthless dictator to obtain power for life, we should think about it as a person who is being “triggered” by words and phrases meant as Microaggressions against his government.

Of course when you have one of the largest armies in the world to enforce your censorship the words “trigger warning” take on a whole new meaning.

Closing thought, do not think for one moment that these Leftist/Marxist/Progressives would enforce “trigger warning” the same way Xi will in China if they weren’t held back by the 1st Amendment backed up by the 2nd.


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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

The Boss is at CPAC, along with Stacy McCain, so be sure to scroll around the homepage here for exciting posts and videos, and of course you will also find some great posts from the other fabulous writers here too!

It is good to be back here at Da Tech Guy Blog and it is even better that Peter got his blog back online after GoDaddy shut him down (BTW, Peter could use some help moving this site to a better server so please hit his tip jar if you can).

There has been a whole lot of shutting down of right leaning people online lately, from the Twitter shadow bans and purges to the even longer running shenanigans from Facebook, to the creepy Google antics , and now Medium’s joining the ban the right bandwagon (banned wagon?), and again this year CPAC shut out Pamela Geller at the last minute because her panel on Free Speech was to include Jim Hoft of The Gateway Pundit. To add insult to injury, CPAC then stole Pamela’s work, claimed it for their own, and ran their version of a “Free Speech” panel, after banning some of the biggest advocates for the freedom of speech that we have.

Image from The Geller Report

Robert Spencer has a lot to say about this disgusting turn of events (and the years of hostility from CPAC to people who tell the truth about islamic supremacism and the jihad threat):

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has never been much interested in hosting honest discussion of the jihad terror threat. I was on a panel there in 2003, and in 2007 debated both Dinesh d’Souza and “moderator” Suhail Khan on Islam and the jihad threat (partial video here). I was on various AFDI panels while we were still able to have them there, but I haven’t been back since Suhail Khan flew into a hysterical rage at CPAC 2012 when I challenged him to debate, except for an appearance on Breitbart’s “Uninvited” panel in 2013.

Not only has CPAC consistently dissembled about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, but it has also shown a disturbing tendency to dance to the tune of the Left. Saul Alinsky’s 13th Rule for Radicals is “‘Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.” The Left consistently does this; in the case of counter-jihadis (including me), it presents our statements, however correct and demonstrable, as egregious and individual to us — that’s freezing and personalizing the target. Then Leftists move to “cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy,” demanding that others on the Right disavow and condemn, or at very least shun, the target. And establishment conservatives have always willingly played along, allowing their associations and allies to be dictated by their enemies.

I’ve been the recipient of both the Alinsky treatment and the shunning from caitiffs on the Right, including CPAC, for years, but I’ve never seen a more nauseating example of CPAC’s cravenness, cowardliness and dishonesty than what has played out with my colleague Pamela Geller over the last ten days. Since last September, Geller has been trying to get a room at CPAC for an AFDI event, even offering to pay sponsorship fees, which are pricey, since sponsoring organizations are given a room in which they can hold an event. CPAC stonewalled and ran out the clock. Finally on February 14, she submitted a proposal for a panel discussion entitled “Suppression of Conservative Views on Social Media: A First Amendment Issue.” She added a list of proposed speakers, including James Damore, Google whistleblower; Harmeet K. Dhillon, renowned free speech attorney; Dan Gainor, Vice President for Business and Culture, Media Research Center; Jim Hoft, Editor-in-Chief, Gateway Pundit; James O’Keefe, Project Veritas; and Marlene Jaeckel, Tech Entrepreneur. I know this because I consulted with Pamela Geller at the time about the focus of this panel and who the speakers should be, before she submitted this proposal to CPAC.

CPAC’s Dan Schneider and Matt Schlapp approved this panel, but would not let it be an AFDI event. Schneider and Schlapp insisted that the panel be sponsored by the American Principles Project (APP), which neither Geller nor I had ever heard of. Otherwise, however, they made no changes — until shortly thereafter, when Hoft enraged the Leftist establishment by noting what has been likewise observed by many people — that the pro-gun control students speaking out in the wake of the Florida school shooting appeared coached. As condemnations rained down on Hoft from the likes of Chelsea Clinton and Paul Krugman, CPAC again rushed to do the Left’s bidding. APP top dog Terry Schilling, a board member of the American Conservative Union (ACU), which hosts CPAC, demanded that Hoft be dropped from the panel. Geller refused to play lapdog for the Left, and so Schilling and CPAC canceled the panel.

And then they stole it.

Today at CPAC there is a panel entitled “Suppression of Conservative Views on Social Media: A First Amendment Issue” and featuring Damore, Dhillon, Gainor, O’Keefe, and Jaeckel. Hmmm, where did they get the idea for such an event? CPAC claims that it was all their idea. CPAC officials issued CPAC staffers talking points on various issues, so that they would march in lockstep in the media (very conservative, that). One of these talking points stated: “CPAC sponsor APP is hosting a panel discussion on conservative voices being silenced on the internet. APP invited Pamela Geller to participate on the panel. She initially accepted but she then made her participation contingent on APP including another person who was obviously a poor choice. Pamela is actively promoting a version of events that are intentionally inaccurate designed to mislead and mischaracterize the construction of this presentation. She is no longer a participant, her claims that the panel is cancelled are false and the panel will move forward as intended.”

This is, to put it politely, a pack of lies. APP did not originate this panel. It did not invite Geller to participate. She did not make her participation contingent on anyone else being included. She is not promoting a false version of event; they are. In reality, Geller originated the panel. APP was added on by CPAC. Hoft was on the panel from the beginning, with CPAC’s agreement. When CPAC insisted that Hoft be dropped because the Left was angry with him, Geller refused, whereupon CPAC canceled the panel. I know all this because I have been involved with this imbroglio at every step of the way.  (MORE)

CPAC may still be a big opportunity for conservatives to meet with like minded people and to hear speeches from important leaders on the right, and for bloggers to snag great interviews, but it is becoming increasingly tainted by its hostility to the counterjihad movement, to Trump supporters, and its habitual folding to the whims of leftism and leftism’s enablers who claim to be on the right. Remember, even our current (and fantastic) President refused to play their game just two years ago.

It might not seem like a big deal to some people, the way Pamela Geller and others who fight for free speech and freedom from islamic totalitarianism tyranny get jerked around by CPAC, but as more organizations are shutting down access for right minded people to get their messages out to the public, we need to realize that an attack on one of us is an attack on us all. Whoever the left unjustifiably howls about next is likely to be the next to be shut out by the establishment right. It is getting harder to hear voices of those who need to be heard the most. The voices we need to hear the most are always the ones that will be silenced first, so that you will never hear the warnings they tried to give you until it is too late.

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – In a move that should be a surprise to no one at this point, the Orpheum Theater in Memphis has pulled the 1939 film, Gone with the Wind, from its annual summer screening after 34 years, citing complaints from offended citizens.

In a statement to the New York Times:

Brett Batterson, president of the Orpheum Theater Group, said … “The Orpheum carefully reviewed all of them. As an organization whose stated mission is to ‘entertain, educate and enlighten the communities it serves,’ the Orpheum cannot show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population.”

The slippery slope is now in our rear view mirror, folks.  We’re done here.

We can’t screen certain films because they are “insensitive to a large segment” of the local population?  Just imagine where this will now lead.  Let your mind wander and just imagine the films that could be offensive to any large group of people.  The list could be staggering.

I expect we won’t be seeing To Kill a Mockingbird on television or in libraries anymore, or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or even Harry Potter, because certainly people might be offended.

Let me guess – these are probably the same people walking around in their Che Guevara t-shirts.

The merits of the film are long established and don’t need my small voice to vouch for it; it won ten Oscars including one for Hattie McDaniel who was the first black woman to win an Oscar.

Margaret Mitchell once said that the theme of her novel is survival.  “What quality is it that makes some people able to survive catastrophes and others, apparently just as brave and strong, go under?”

I’m not sure the history of our nation will survive censorship.

The point is less the film itself but that our selective outrage has moved from statues to film.  We truly are in Ray Bradbury’s world.  When will the book burnings begin?

As for The Orpheum I would have applauded them had they had the nerve to stand up to intimidation and rejected censorship.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

I’d like to say I was shocked at this story at real clear politics:

In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Attorney General Loretta Lynch says that on Monday, the FBI will release edited transcripts of the 911 calls made by the Orlando nightclub shooter to the police during his rampage.

“What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda,” Lynch said. “We are not going to hear him make his assertions of allegiance [to the Islamic State].”

Or to rephrase it: We are going to censor any information that is not consistent with the approved narrative of the Democrat party in particular and the White House in particular.

When I read this the first thing that came to mind was something I saw at the National Press Club last week.

On a big screen when you come in there is a statement concerning Donald Trump’s decision to remove the credentials from the Washington Post meaning that while they can cover his events they don’t have the access that other members of the press do.

It was presented with the self righteousness of a group that does not hint that they can still cover the events and report on them, only on Trump assault on free speech, or that there is a reason why the press is often described as “Democrats with bylines”.

Now while one can debate this move by the Trump campaign maybe it’s just me but I’d say the suppression of the record on the 2nd most successful Islamic Terror attack on the United States homeland is something that the national press club might find objectionable.

So my question is this: Will the National Press Club put up a display objecting just as strongly to the censoring of the public record by this Administration on the 2nd most successful Islamic Terror attack on the US for all Americans as they will Donald Trump?

I suspect to ask the question is to answer it.

By: Pat Austincen

general-beauregard-statue-removed
P.G.T. Beauregard monument

SHREVEPORT – I wrote in this space a few weeks ago about the controversy surrounding the removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans.  To recap briefly, Mayor Mitch Landrieu (brother of “Katrina Mary” Landrieu) has organized the removal of monuments commemorating P.G.T. Beauregard, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Liberty Monument. The Times-Picayune has photos and descriptions of each monument here. In the place of the Jefferson Davis monument, Mayor Landrieu would also like to rename Jefferson Davis Parkway in honor of a retired Xavier University president.

The City Council voted 6-1 in support of the monument removal despite public outcry from a majority of the NOLA citizens and local preservationists.  Immediately after the Council’s vote, a federal lawsuit was filed to prevent removal despite the fact that Mayor Landrieu already had contractors in place to begin removal immediately.

So where are we today? The case is garnering national attention and has been covered by The New York Times, the New York Post, and The Atlantic as well as attracting the attention of bloggers throughout the country.

Last week preservationists made their case in court:

During the two hour and 30-minute hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier heard arguments after several plaintiffs, including the Monumental Task Force, went to court to block the city’s plan to remove four Confederate monuments.

Preservationists are looking for an injunction, stopping the city from removing the statues of Robert E. Lee, P.T.G. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis and the Liberty Place monument, which city attorneys called “monuments to white supremacy” during the hearing.

“It looked to me like the city was on stronger ground,” said Donald “Chick” Foret, WWL-TV legal analyst. “The preservationists are on very weak ground. They don’t have any law, they don’t have any evidence. The judge was searching trying to find some jurisdiction. To get into this building, you’ve got to have federal jurisdiction, some federal law that applies, and the judge said he just didn’t see it.”

If the judge does in fact toss the lawsuit, the only recourse preservationists will have will be in state court, an avenue they will certainly pursue.  Meanwhile, Landrieu’s crews are out taking measurements and preparing to go ahead with removal once the injunction preventing that is lifted.

Landrieu will have to find a new company to do the removal, however, as the first crew he hired has walked off the job after having received death threats.

Yesterday, a small group of protestors was at the Beauregard statue making their case; photographers and tourists are snapping photos of the monuments in their rightful setting before they are removed.

My question is this: where does this stop? On a national level, where does this stop?  If the case is, as the city attorney says, that these are “monuments to white supremacy,” are the old plantations next?

I’m really trying to see both sides of this but as a student of history I just can’t see it in this case; I find it extremely difficult to believe that someone walked by the statue of Beauregard one day and said, “Damn, I’m really offended by that.”  Someone, at some point, decided we should all be offended and so here we are.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed an amicus brief in support of the monument removal, again citing the white supremacy argument. The SPLC is an organization that preaches tolerance, something they seem to be short on in this case.

Perhaps we need these statues to remember what happens to a country when differing opinions and perceptions tear us apart.

Perhaps we all need to practice a little tolerance.

It’s always important to follow the money. Landrieu has said that the city of NOLA will not be paying for the removal, that this won’t cost the city one dime, however, the identity of his benefactor is a secret.  Who is paying for this?

An anonymous donor has agreed to foot the bill for the removal of four Confederate-related statues, the city announced in a letter this week to the New Orleans City Council.

It will cost an estimated $144,000 to remove and transport the statues of Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis, as well as a monument to the Battle of Liberty Place, according to the letter. The donor agreed to pay for the entire operation.

The slippery-slope aspect of the whole operation concerns me. Just because some aspects of our history are ugly and unpleasant, we can’t erase them. We are to learn from them; we are to honor the sacrifices of our ancestors whatever they were, and we are to always remember. If we sanitize and attempt to erase history we are greatly diminishing our ability to learn from it.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  History will remember us as the generation that was offended by everything.

Where will it end?

A couple of news stories caught my eye this week: the first was that the Sons of Confederate Veterans are filing suit against the City of Natchitoches after being forbidden to march in their annual Christmas parade; the SCV group has marched in the parade for the past twenty-five years, but now we are offended by their flag so they can’t march.  In a statement, the mayor of Natchitoches explained that he is not banning the display of the flag in the city but simply not allowing it on display in the parade.  The Natchitoches Christmas festival and parade is huge in these parts and attracts over 100,000 visitors each year.

The other story that raised my hackles was the perpetual offended-by-Huck-Finn story that in its latest conception has a private school in Philadelphia banning the book from the classroom (although it will still be in their library).  A group of students said the book “made them uncomfortable” and so out it goes.  Perhaps the school should look at how the book is taught rather than condemn the book.  Perhaps there is something about love and tolerance that could be learned there in the hands of the right teacher.  What will these students do when they are “uncomfortable” in the real world, post-graduation?  What will we ban from the classroom next?

Perhaps the most ridiculous group to be offended recently would be those who were offended by the red Starbucks cup.  I would be difficult to imagine a controversy any more ludicrous.

The logic of it all is absurd. Some individuals and some groups are offended by the Confederate flag so we must eliminate it.  Some groups are offended by Christian nativity scenes, so we must eliminate them; this is happening across the country. We are even offended by yoga, for crying out loud. We are offended by how you sit when on a subway.  We are offended by the Washington REDSKINS.

The list is endless.

The fact is that political correctness and elementary-school-everyone-wins-coddling has turned us into a society of crybabies.  Yes, there are things in our society that are offensive sometimes but it’s time to man-up, if you’ll pardon that sexist phrase, and get over it.

The whole “I’m offended” culture offends me.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.