Mission Creep

Mission Creep May 8, 2019

So the other day, Facebook kicked a bunch of kooks out. Most of them were right wing kooks and one of them was Louis Farrakhan. The President of the United States, eternally ignorant of the Constitution which he swore an oath to protect immediately saw a chance to gin up a Right Wing Panic du Jour and tweeted:

Here’s the thing, Mr. President, the first amendment… Oh what the heck, here’s an explanation in a format digestible to you:

Free Speech

PS: The mouseover text on this cartoon adds: “I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.”

The people shown the door by Facebook are not having their free speech impinged in the slightest.  They can go find some seamy spot on Stormfront or elsewhere on the Dark Web and talk all they like.  But FB, Twitter and any other platform that doesn’t want Nazis, racists, and conspiracy theorists does not owe them a thing.

(I also, by the way, do not owe white supremacists and other liars a platform in my comboxes and their bootless cries of “censorship!” fall on my deaf ears and heart of stone.  Boo hoo.)

Now, I don’t expect a man as ignorant of and hostile to the Constitution as Donald Trump to have the faintest idea what the 1st amendment is about.  After all, this is the same man who, so far from using his office to defend the Constitution, has used it to make open and naked war on free speech when the people exercising free speech happen to be black “sons of bitches” and kneeling peacefully to protest people being murdered in cold blood for exercising their second amendment rights while wearing black skin–as Philando Castile was.  Trump’s interest in freedom of speech only extends to “very fine people” marching under the banner of the swastika, no further.  So I expect nothing from him but for him to go on being Trump.

However, one would expect those preening themselves as far better Catholics than the alleged heretic Holy Father himself to have some sense of sanity and prudence–not to mention some sense of what Catholics regard as “good” and “evil”.  And yet, Church Militant instead has opted to dance to the tune of this latest Panic du Jour and gin up the faithful with sympathetic puff pieces on Paul Joseph Watson, the operator of Prison Planet, who is one of the people given the heave-ho by Facebook.

For those unfamiliar with him, this is a man who, for years, ran a site that helped make life a living hell for the parents of Sandy Hook by giving oxygen to the lie that they faked their children’s deaths in order to persecute the Gun Cult. Alex Jones has been getting crushed in court with lawsuits from these parents for this obscene lie and I look forward to the day they utterly ruin him as a warning to the next Gun Cultist who victimizes shooting victims. I also fervently hope they crush Prison Planet too, seize every penny, and reduce Watson to abject poverty.

Meanwhile, Church Militant is defending the True Faith against evil Pope Francis by teaching its followers to feel persecuted by on behalf of the monster Watson.  Because that’s what real Catholic faith is all about.  Doing that is definitely not distracting from Real Catholic Faith, like saying “obey the Church’s social justice teaching” is.

And here’s the thing though.  It’s not just fringe rabble rousers like CM that are teaching the faithful to make common cause with a sadists like Watson who torture grieving parents, because such monsters happen to be useful to today Party of Trump Panic du Jour.

Here is First Things editor Mark Bauerlein mainstreaming this vicious kook for “normal” right wingers (sandwiched in between a ton of tweets quoting Saul Alinsky, the favorite Right Wing Conspiracy Theorist’s bogeyman). Time was when mention of Alinsky by right wingers used to be sign of paranoid kookery. Now mention of him is proof that you are part of the Pure Tribe of the Right who have divined the Hidden History of Our Time:

The Christian right in this country has lost its mind.

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