Special Opinion by Charles Landis.
On Thanksgiving eve, I received a notice from FaceBook that their independent fact-checker, Politifact, has determined that I posted a quotation of Patrick Henry that was partly false as to his position on limited government. Specifically, I posted a picture of Patrick Henry upon which was written the famous quote “give me liberty or give me death.” Also was written. “Not give me free college, free healthcare, free housing, and make my neighbors pay for it.” My crime, apparently, was thinking Patrick Henry would not be supportive of giving a lot of free stuff or, worse, was not a Socialist Democrat.
The famous quote of Henry was reported as given in a speech he gave at the Second Virginia Convention in 1775 . Historians have said there is no record of Henry actually saying “Give me liberty give me death.” However, there has never been any dispute that Henry spoke about the tyranny of England and that he would fight and die for freedom. A distinction without a difference.
All of this is only an assumption because Face Book did not tell me what was false or partly false, or why. It is a kind of Mao Tse-Tung thing when he ruled Communist China and said “let a thousand thoughts contend as a thousand flowers bloom”; he then established re-education camps to ensure correct thinking. A refugee from one of these camps explained it to me this way: In the dead of night she was arrested and taken from her home in Beijing and confined in a “re-education” camp in a remote rural area. She was not charged with a crime other than she had been reported as having false thoughts. That is, thinking as one would as in the old cultural norms of China; not in accordance with the truthful and correct thinking of the cultural revolution.
In the camp, with others, she was re- educated in how to think correctly. There was no sentence for a certain period of time. To be released, you had to convince your leader that you understood what your false thinking was and what the correct thinking was. Eventually she was released, escaped to Hong Kong, and became an exchange student at a university in Washington.. Another day, the rest of the story.
Being educated in politically correct thinking is not only in communist/socialist countries; we have, for example the NY Times 1619 Project which rewrites all of our history since the founding. Also, schools from elementary to college level teach revisionist history with abandon. Even here on the Eastern Shore there are those who think my book “An Introduction to the History of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. A collection of Essays on Important Persons and Events”, was “fake” history. (As opined by a social justice warrior).[CL1] . They do not say what was fake or false, but I have otherwise learned that they believe the “real” history of the Shore was of social injustice and economic oppression of Black people. Here again I was left to figure out what crime of false or incorrect thinking I was guilty of.
In the final banality and commonality of it all, Face Book, Mao, and the social justice warriors on the Shore assert I am guilty of false or incorrect thinking, I must figure out what my crime is, confess, and do penance for redemption.
Note. In links provided by FB fact checkers, I am informed both “mechanical and human” means are used to determine whether a post is true or false. It appears that both are programmed to identify and link certain words to flag as untrue or false. In my case, Patrick Henry (patriot) linked with free stuff (limited government) alarmed/alerted the fact t checker people/thing and thus decided false or not true. Insidious. Perfidious.