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I would imagine that a certain segment of my readers don't use Facebook, so you might not be aware of something that it announced last week. Apparently, it is now banning certain users because it believes they are engaging in "hate speech."

Facebook has a quite lengthy policy defining what "hate speech" is and how someone can be removed from the site by violating the community standards. Needless to say, it is pretty broad and leaves a lot to someone's interpretation.

Of course, this is censorship but, in this case, Facebook is a private company and has every right to place standards and limits on who is allowed to use its platform. I can only imagine that it has a whole lot of "auto bots" scanning individual posts looking for certain "buzz words" that then alert a real live person if a certain word is used in the post.

Again, that is Facebook's right as a private company to limit free speech however it so decides. But, that being said, it is quickly becoming "the" way a lot of people get their news and interact with the world. I wonder how long it will be able to maintain the right to be judge, jury and executioner when it comes to censorship. It will be interesting to see this play out.

But really, Facebook is a snapshot of what is already happening around the country. Many institutions of "higher?" learning engage in censorship on a daily basis. Any kind of conservative speech is quickly labeled "hate speech" and the speaker is labeled racist at worst and intolerant at least.

Many in our tender-eared snowflake generation become so upset over hearing something besides liberal speech that many universities are setting aside "safe zones." The tender ones can go to these spaces to get away from speech that doesn't match their limited view of life and might cause them to become distraught and upset.

Not only is such limiting of speech happening on our university campuses but it is also occurring among politicians and in the liberal national media. Heaven forbid that a conservative raises a point that the liberal elite disagrees with. At that point, all the names come spewing forth and the person is ostracized and denigrated.

Don't tell me that you haven't seen this happening because it's pretty apparent to anyone who will be honest. And, it's getting worse rather than better. There is no longer any tolerance from many on the left for any deviation from their liberal agenda.

No doubt, there is speech that is abhorrent and despicable and some should probably be banned. But, I am not qualified to be the one to be the censor of someone's beliefs or what they say. And, I don't know anyone, self-anointed or otherwise, that is qualified -- save the Supreme Court of the United States.

Some out there will say that they know "hate speech" when they hear it, but who are they to assume the mantle of head censor? But that is exactly what is happening -- people are appointing themselves censors by attacking any speech that does not meet their strict belief system.

The Founding Fathers and those that framed our Constitution were brilliant when compared to today's "learned scholars." They had just lived through a fight for independence and had risked everything -- even their very lives -- to make a free America a reality.

Freedom of speech was the first amendment to the country's constitution because the writers knew that, without freedom of speech, our new nation would not survive. They knew that, without freedom of speech, nothing else truly mattered.

And for almost 250 years, this "new" nation has survived because people were willing to defend that right to free speech with their very lives -- something that far too many today seem to have forgotten.

In their zest to make this nation "politically correct," they have forgotten (or worse, ignored) why we fought for independence in the first place -- freedom. And now they would abridge that freedom and replace it with their limited doctrine of liberalism.

All speech that is "hateful" should be condemned but not all should be banned. The hallmark of a truly free nation is the right for people to say things that run counter to a "politically correct" society.

If we continue down this current path of banning speech that a vocal portion of society deems offensive, then where will we stop? Who is qualified to be the head censor? Are you? If any among you believe that you are, then you might want to reread the First Amendment.

As for me, I will condemn speech that I believe is abhorrent and wrong but, as a veteran, I will also defend a person's right to express those opinions. It's what the real America is all about.

Kevin Wilson is a former state representative who was born in Goodman and now lives in Neosho. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 05/09/2019

Print Headline: Who Decides What Is Appropriate Discourse?

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