Advanced Censorship


OPINION — Back in 2002 a movie came out called Minority Report. It was a futuristic cop show in which Tom Cruise played the part of a, I guess you’d call him more of a crime preventer than a crime fighter. The gubmint had figured out a way to tell, with a high degree of probability, exactly when someone was going to commit a capital crime. And when the algorithm predicted that Joe Citizen was fixing to do a Romper Room No-No, like murder his wife for infidelity, they’d send Ol’ Tom by to arrest Joe ahead of time. And if Joe managed to get himself shot dead in the process of not actually doing anything wrong, well, that was just too bad.

The idea, of course, was that such preventative intervention would make the world a better place, save lives, and provide peace of mind. The problem was that the crystal ball isn’t always right. People change their minds, for one thing, but the big issue was that, when gubmint is in charge of something, gubmint will use it for its own ends. Altruism only exists on the grass roots level. It’s like Abe Lincoln once declared on Twitter: ‘Anyone can handle diversity. If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.’

OK, Lincoln never tweeted that. He posted it on Facebook, just before Mark der Fuhrer Zuckerberg closed down his account, the way he closed mine down last week. And to be clear, I did’n do nuttin’ wrong. But then, I guess that’s what they all say.

Mark Zuckerburg and Data from Star Trek NG

Mark Zuckerburg and Data from Star Trek NG

In fairness, my Facebook account isn’t exactly closed down, I’m just locked out of it. I’m told others can still see it, and post on it, and what not, just not me. They locked me out of my own imaginary playground. It’s kinda like when Gavin der Fuhrer Newsom decided to close down beaches and playgrounds and skate parks in California during Covid, even though the threat of getting Covid from going to one of those places was almost as remote as that of getting bitten by a shark while riding a bicycle with Elvis in Des Moines. But hey, safety first. Or at least meaningless authoritative governmental overreach first. Who cares how many lives are ruined as long as Gavin appears to care, right?

Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom

But then, Hitlers gonna Hitler, I guess. And it’s not like I wasn’t warned. I started getting notices about six weeks ago, telling me my FB account would be frozen if I didn’t put on the Sam Browne belt and swastika armband. The actual wording was, ‘You have (so many) days left to turn on Advanced Protection.’ I thought it was a scam, some kind of phishing thing, some Nigerian prince who needed my help to get his money out of the country, and he was going to give me five million bucks, or something. So I ignored all the notices. Who needs $5 million, anyway?

Then, last Monday morning I tried to open FB, and all I got was a page that said, ‘We told you so.’ I realized Mark was serious. He was really going to take his ball and go home, and crying to Mama wasn’t going to help. It’s his ball.

So I went back and read the fine print on the notices I had wisely saved, to find out what my specific crime had been, and see if I needed to call my lawyer. Or someone else’s lawyer, since I don’t actually have one. I just like to say that.

The wording, you’ll notice, specifically makes it sound as if Mark cares so much about my safety that he’s doing this for my own good. ‘Turn on Advanced Protection.’ Like I’m in danger. The rest of it said, ‘Kendal, your account has the potential to reach a lot of people, so it requires stronger security. Advanced Protection helps defend accounts like yours.’ Mark, I’m touched. There was also something about my agreeing to advanced scrutiny, which I thought rather macabre, which is why I declined Mark’s generous offer to allow me to keep refilling my bowl from his gruel pot.

But last I checked I had maybe 400 followers on FB. I wouldn’t call that a lot of people, but I guess you have to consider the ripple effect, too. Still, I ain’t exactly Elon Musk. Besides all that, all I post on FB is silly memes, and a Christian message once in a while. I’m not calling for the overthrow of Starbucks, or anything. I’m hardly a threat to anyone, near as I can tell.

The gun control crowd uses the same mind games, calling gun control ‘gun safety,’ as if safety were even possible. I don’t think anyone but me should be allowed to decide how much security I need. I figured Mark’s Facebook Protection was a protection racket. Toe the leftist line, or we’ll take away your tiny little bullhorn, just because we can.

The problem is that FB is not a private company, and I think arbitrary censorship violates the 1A. And if gubmint is supposed to do anything, it’s supposed to protect the constitution. Gagging someone because they might say something you don’t like is the precursor to Minority Report.

Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a FB ban. Maybe Mark really does care about protecting my free speech. And maybe the Pope plays Twister with Kanye East and Mr. Bean every Saturday.

Tom Cruise in "Minority Report" the movie

Tom Cruise in "Minority Report" the movie

So far I haven’t decided whether I’ll capitulate and learn the Nazi salute. I lived most of my life without FB. I can probably survive without it now. That’s immaterial. I’m more concerned that, in a year or two, I’ll be writing a column that begins with, ‘First they came for the people who didn’t wear masks, and I didn’t speak up because I wore a mask. Then they came for the people who wouldn’t get vaccinated, and I didn’t speak up because I was vaccinated. Then they came for the people who refused to sign up for Advanced Protection on FB, and I didn’t speak up because I signed up for it. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up.’

George Washington posted that on FB, by the way . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and minister who doesn’t want Commander Data providing him with advanced protection, thanks all the same. Write to him at [email protected]

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