Does America even know what its political terms mean anymore? We use terms like liberal, conservative, Marxist, socialist and communist. Sadly, with some of the email I get regarding stories and such, I’m convinced that many people do not in fact understand what they mean when they use these terms.
I’ll give you a for instance. I received an email just yesterday from a reader on this site:
You are one pathetic disgrace for a human being. You write b******t articles with zero credibility and incorrect information to which people respond with valid points and information and you delete them?
That is blatant censorship and that makes you a communist.
First, let me say, I don’t profess to be a world class writer. I never have. Some of you may even agree with the writer when it comes to my writing. That’s fine. I accept that. I try and provide information to the best of my ability. I am human and can err. Of that, there is no doubt. The writer of the email neither cited a particular article, nor provided his name.
However, the writer clearly demonstrates what I’m talking about. He claims that I’m a communist because of censorship. OK let’s take this one step at a time, so that we are clear. He also demonstrates why some comments get deleted. (I censored what some would consider to be an offensive word. Our system would have removed such a comment.)
Communism can refer to a couple of things. In the first place what took place at the Jamestown colony could be referred to as communism. Before you get your dander up at that, hear me out. The people gathered there and gave consent that they would all work together to build the colony and they would all share in what they worked for. Notice however, that they volunteered to do this. They were not forced to. If someone didn’t pull their weight because they wanted to live off the welfare of others, they were sent packing to fend for themselves.
Eventually the plan was to last for such a time as was necessary to get the colony up and running. Once that took place, every person could pursue their own interests and in return, it would provide for their own livelihood and would also provide services for the other people who would be doing the same.
We have seen this in our own day. We often refer to “communes.” This is what these people choose to do. They volunteer to live among a people and contribute to the whole to sustain themselves.
However, when government seeks to implement this as policy, it always and inevitably turns to violence and dictatorship. Just read George Orwell’s Animal Farm for a lesson in what it ends up becoming.
When government takes for itself this philosophy and imposes it upon the people without their consent, it is Communism and it is wrong. In this instance it is completely mandatory by the government and not voluntary. People naturally rebel against it for it violates the natural property rights of people. In essence it is a violation of the eighth commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.”
The dictionary defines Communism in this manner as “a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party. ”
Now, take our emailer. He claims that the site is Communist for censoring his comments. I’ll tell you that we use the Disqus system for censoring comments. Usually comments are censored due to a couple of things: multiple hyperlinks or foul language. When we run across threats of violence or people report specifics of that, we remove the comment. That’s pretty simple.
Now what the emailer assumes is that his First Amendment has been violated. It hasn’t. This site is considered “private property.” As such, it is under the control of the owner, just like any other property. For instance, if the emailer had walked onto the property that I own and sought to enter my house with a gun demanding that he has a right to free speech on my property, it would be the last words he spoke. The reason for that would be the fact that it is my property and he issued a threat by bringing his gun onto my property.
Now in both situations the person has a right to freedom of speech. However there are also consequences to that speech. This site is not the federal government. Again, it’s private property. One cannot come on private property and do whatever they like, without consequences.
Differences of ideas, along with political and social perspective are welcome here. However, foul language, threats of violence and multiple links outside the site are not. That is pretty simple. But the emailer has a flawed view: That anyone who would dare remove a comment is somehow a Communist. This person does not understand “property rights.” In other words he thinks his rights supersede someone else’s rights.
My friends, censorship on a private website or a Facebook page or any private property is not Communism. Seeking to usurp private property rights is. Let’s be careful in our use of terms that we use them correctly.
As an end note, for the most part, I rarely delete items as Disqus usually handles things well. If you find something with obscene language in a comment section or threats of violence you can report that by clicking on the drop down menu beside the comment:) Most people know how to conduct themselves as adults and for that I’m thankful. Others have to learn the hard way.
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