On April 19, The Cato Institute vice president of research Brink Lindsey tweeted his dislike for former congressman Ron Paul for his “hideous corruption of libertarian ideas.” Accusing the most important member of the Libertarian movement of spreading ideas that “[put] his movement in the Trumpism family tree,” the Cato scholar accused both the president and the former presidential candidate of being xenophobic.
Ron Paul's xenophobia was a hideous corruption of libertarian ideas and puts his movement in the Trumpism family tree
— Brink Lindsey (@lindsey_brink) April 19, 2017
But to Paul supporters who have been paying attention to the Texas obstetrician and his decades of anti-collectivist activism, the idea that one of the most peace-oriented free marketers in recent history is anything close to xenophobic didn’t sit well.
It was with that sentiment in mind that author Alex Witoslawski wrote a piece denouncing Lindsey and highlighting his “long history of promoting views at odds with the grassroots libertarians.” Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, pointed to an October 2002 Reason piece by Lindsey entitled “No more 9/11s: The case for invading Iraq.”
But as soon as Witoslawski’s article went live on April 21st, something went incredibly wrong as countless Facebook users reported being momentarily blocked from making certain posts once they shared Witoslawski’s piece on the social media network.
Some of those who agreed to speak to Big League Politics about this ordeal were clearly upset. Was Lindsey or those who felt sympathetic to his complaints behind a campaign to stifle Witoslawski’s right to have his voice heard by reporting his article? Or was Facebook itself using its “fake news” witch hunt as a means to punish libertarian-leaning organizations?
Some of the most prominent figures to have their accounts temporarily flagged included Jeff Deist, the president of the Mises Institute, an educational organization focused in researching and teaching the Austrian School of economics and laissez-faire political economy.
In his post, Deist criticized Lindsey’s impulse to “impose a cultural component upon libertarianism.” Deist added that by attacking Paul’s supporters, all the Cato scholar proved was that he seems unwilling to have the humility to put himself in other people’s shoes.
Even the widely popular page Liberty Memes was temporarily flagged after sharing Witoslawski’s article.
In a conversation with Big League Politics, one of Liberty Memes’ administrators said that as soon as he noticed that particular link had been targeted, he “immediately thought of the way our page was treated last year.” He asked to remain anonymous.
In 2016, Liberty Memes saw images mocking then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton being suddenly deleted from its page. As administrators were suspended from Facebook, they were left with no way to appeal the company’s decision but to go to the media.
“Don’t get me wrong,” one of the administrators explained, “Facebook is a private company that has every right to treat its users any way that it wants.” However, “a vital market function is consumer feedback, and if [Facebook] wants to please its users, it will listen when they complain about having their views silenced.”
Seeing Liberty Conservative as a publication that keeps “libertarians and conservatives intellectually honest,” the administrator added that it’s “an absolute shame to see them silenced with the threat of punishment on users who share their material.”
To Witoslawski, this issue must be cleared as soon as possible, as Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has “said he wants Facebook to be treated as a public utility.”
In a statement to Big League Politics, Witoslawski said that while Facebook has the right to censor what it sees fit, if that is the case, the company should refrain from spending “more than a million dollars each month on lobbying for favoritism and special deals from the government.” After all, if they are “seeking to use the power of the state in order to monopolize the social media market,” then they “have no right to censor any news or opinion website based solely on its content, which is what Facebook is doing by blocking my latest article for the Liberty Conservative.”
Calling this targeted campaign an “out-of-control assault on our First Amendment rights,” Witoslawski is concerned that leaving this issue unaddressed would lead to a “purge” of right-wing views from social media platforms.
Big League Politics contacted Facebook’s conservative outreach team, providing them with links to pages that were punished for sharing Witoslawski’s story. While we have reason to believe they will get back to us soon with a statement or more information on why this particular link was targeted, we have yet to receive anything back.
This story will be updated.
HOAX: Police Report Alleges Texas A&M Student Faked Racist Letters on Car Dashboard
The suspected hoaxster stopped cooperating with police after being confronted with video evidence.
Texas A&M University police are describing an incident in which a black student claimed racist and anti-Black Lives Matter messages were left on his car windshield as a hate hoax, after investigating Isaih Martin’s claims that he was targeted with the messages.
Martin had claimed that three pieces of paper stating “All Lives Matter,” “You Don’t Belong Here,” and a racial slur were placed on his car windshield when his vehicle was placed in the parking lot of an on-campus apartments. His claims elicited an outpouring of sympathy from the university community, with Texas A&M’s official Twitter even consoling the supposed victim without waiting for any verification of his dubious claims.
However, shortly after police began investigating the incident, Martin’s claim began to unravel. The Texas A&M University police obtained footage from a pool camera revealing that while a few individuals walked within several yards of his car, none of them stopped at the vehicle long enough to place the three piece of paper under the windshield wipers. Instead, Martin was the only individual who interacted with the vehicle long enough to place the notes.
“Martin immediately walks to the passenger side of his vehicle, but does not open any doors. Martin is seen toward the front of his vehicle. A brief white speck is seen from about mid-torso of Martin moving toward his vehicle. Another white speck is seen near his chest area. Martin is then seen stepping back and onto the sidewalk in front of his vehicle, most likely taking photos and videos. He then approaches his vehicle again on the passenger side and remains there for a few moments. He is then seen walking around the front of his vehicle. Martin then enters the driver`s door and drives away a few moments later. The total time spent at his vehicle is 1 minute, 15 seconds.”
An investigating officer accused Martin of placing the notes on his windshield himself, confronting him with video evidence revealing that he was the only person close enough to his vehicle to place them there. Martin stopped cooperating with police on the investigation shortly after an officer confronted him on the video footage. The university senior won’t be charged because he didn’t file a formal police report on the matter.
Martin made his Twitter account private in the hours after the police report became public knowledge.
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