I did something this week that I never thought possible. I was booted and blocked from Newt Gingrich’s Facebook page. Seriously. Now, if you’re familiar with political figures’ Facebook pages, you know that all of them have proponents and opponents posting and commenting on them. People are always debating the candidates and the issues on those pages. It’s just the way it is. But today, a friend on Facebook had commented on something on Gingrich’s page and I had never seen it come up in my news feed. I went to the page and, sure enough, I couldn’t comment on any posts. I tried to “re-like” it and when I did I could only read the posts, not comment on them.
Now there are still tons of people who oppose Gingrich still posting on on his wall. Sure, a lot of people talk about his affairs and divorces and the timing of the second divorce/third wife, but that’s not really of concern to me. (Nor is is apparently a concern to tons of Republican “values voters” who hated Bill Clinton. Some values.) Gingrich’s positions on the issues should be enough to disqualify him from consideration from conservatives, especially the “Tea Party” types. Instead, in South Carolina, Gingrich scored about 45% of the vote of people who support the “Tea Party” movement. Issues like the health care mandate, TARP, foreign policy, and the drug war are debated, discussed and cussed ad nauseam, mostly because we like to harp on them all. So what on earth would get me kicked off of Gingrich’s page?
My most recent activity included linking this video (or at least one of the various other videos like it), which is apparently nearly kryptonite for Gingrich in his quest to dupe conservatives into thinking he is one of them:
Off all of the issues on the table and of all the history there is to observe with Gingrich’s time in various offices and as an influence peddler, it’s a video that points out Gingrich’s Progressivism that gets me booted and blocked. I’m not the biggest Glenn Beck fan–oftentimes he’s been looking way too much for black helicopters–but as far as “conservatives” and “tea party” supporters go, this video should be reason enough for any true conservative to seek elsewhere for a nominee. It’s obviously a sore spot for the Gingrich campaign.
I wouldn’t support a racist and wouldn’t expect intelligent and thoughtful people to either. However, lot’s of proverbial ink has been spilt over the alleged racism of Ron Paul. No facts, only misguided opinion has indicted Paul as a racist. The most recent drivel I’ve come across is a CNN Political Ticker blog post (entitled “In early book, Rep. Ron Paul criticized AIDS patients, minority rights and sexual harassment victims”) I saw posted on Facebook. I don’t think I’ll ever cease to be amazed at the pervasiveness of ignorance regarding individual rights and collective “rights.” Also, I wonder if CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby got past the first chapter of Paul’s book since everything he quotes comes from the first section of the first chapter. Maybe it was a little to heavy for him to proceed any further into the book. In any case, you can read the book itself for free here…and I suggest you do just that. But don’t stop at the first section like Hamby, read (or at least skim closely) the whole thing.
Interestingly, anyone who understands the foundations of modern-day libertarianism will readily understand Dr. Paul’s stance as being consistent with supporting “liberty and justice for all” as the (socialist) pledge of allegiance states. While there are racist groups that espouse some degree of libertarianism, their very racism belies their libertarian claims. Liberals and neo-cons can cry “racist” all they want but their own support of affirmative action, quotas, and collective “rights” bestowed by the state only serve to foment further tensions among the races. (In the event that someone produced actual evidence that Dr. Paul is a racist and not the circumstantial mumbo-jumbo that has “surfaced” thus far, I will be the first to renounce my support for Dr. Paul, not because he will have been proved a racist, which would be reprehensible, but because he will have betrayed the libertarian principles he espouses of individual liberty and freedom.)
To top it off, no direct statement of any kind (unless you count Hamby’s ridiculous assertions) implicates Dr. Paul as being racist in any degree whatsoever. However, I did have a challenge for those holier-than-thou moralists who are more than willing to accuse Dr. Paul of racism based secondary and tertiary connections. Would you support a politician for President if he said the following–from his own mouth?
I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of [African Americans], nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people. I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.
Be careful how you answer. You’re judging the words of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. And the official version of history would never accuse the “Great Emancipator” of ever being a racist.
So, I’ve decided to take a Facebook hiatus (starting Monday at midnight). While its timing corresponds to Facebook’s most recent changes, my hiatus has nothing to do with those changes (although, the mini-newsfeed thing on the right side is a pain because it lets me know every stupid little thing everybody does on everybody’s profile…even people I don’t know and don’t know me).
Even though I don’t waste my time playing Farmtownville or some stupid game like that (although, I do enjoy playing Words with Friends), it has still turned into a huge waste of time. I like reading articles posted by people and groups I follow, like the Cato Institute, Reason, Lew Rockwell, Tom Woods, and by friends who post interesting things. I have to sift through everything everybody posts because, no matter what they think, Facebook is not as intuitive as Mark Zuckerberg thinks and does a horrible job posting “top stories” I might be interested in and that just takes too much time. (I realize many people may not share my interest in the things I post and find them boring or irrelevant and hate having to sift through what I post. That’s fine. At least you feel my pain.)
Once I find an article or something of interest, I also enjoy commenting on and discussing it. Some of the comments sections are entertaining, insightful, and intelligent. Unfortunately, many are equally boring, banal and downright stupid. It’s hard to tell the difference until you actually read them. In addition, until reading the comments, it’s impossible to tell if commenters are genuinely interested in discussing ideas or if they’re know-it-alls who have found a virtually captive audience (in large part, again thanks to Facebook’s Facebook-within-Facebook). (It used to be you had to be a preacher or a politician to get that kind of audience. The internet made everyone an expert at everything, but at least other websites, like blogs, aren’t pushed in my face like the information on Facebook…maybe it should be “In-Your-Face-Book”. I digress.)
I’m no Luddite. It’s not the technology of Facebook that bugs me. I intend to return to Facebook in a more limited fashion later. And I will be staying on Twitter because I can still get my news without the extraneous commentary and will still post things to Facebook from Twitter. If you need me, contact me some other way besides Facebook…for now.