I would like to think that our often maligned, but still boisterous, hybrid of libertarian Catholics have managed to make one huge step towards legitimacy in pro-liberty circles. Unfortunately we have also taken a huge step backwards in our efforts to offer a fresh message that combines libertarian ideas and orthodox Catholic epistemology for our followers.
You see, our page, The Libertarian Catholic, was “Zucked” recently for what Facebook considered hate speech. A once-meaningful phrase that suggested one form of bigotry or another, hate speech has come to represent the sin of thought crime in our increasingly-progressive leaning political climate.
We were shut down specifically because we posted a meme to our page that alerted a large community of “Bernie Bros” to our existence and, since reason and math offer a check on their utopian sensibilities, they lashed out by running to daddy Zuckerberg and begged him to intervene.
Aside from the deeply-problematic position of supporting an authoritarian economic system that both denies the inherent dignity and natural rights of the individual, our interactions with these droves of democratic socialists have been revealing.
For one, it seems we are dealing with angry young adults who are bitter at the world for the theft of their adolescence.
A quick look at any random profile that accused The Libertarian Catholic of “hating the poor” or “disappointing Jesus” consistently revealed an almost fetishistic nostalgia of childhood memories. We all love to wax poetic about the times long past, but as the Apostle Paul explained about adulthood, “When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became an adult, I put aside childish things”. (1 Cor. 13:11)
Growing pains come with the great burden of self-actualization. It comes with the hardship of learning self-control and living your life deliberately and meaningfully. It also means seeking gainful employment and taking responsibility for one’s own small corner of the universe.
I venture to guess this is the allure of socialism to those stricken with the psychological baggage of Peter Pan complex. It relieves the grown up child of the duty to earn, create, or respect the rights of his fellow citizens, and in exchange, offers a fantastical lens through which to perceive the world.
We also encountered some interesting views on property that intended to make a distinction between personal goods and private ones. The problem is, for every socialist who had infiltrated our page there was a uniquely Orwellian distinction of the two.
As my colleague wrote, “Based on these varied and contradictory definitions it was clear that all the self-congratulatory laughing and commie back-slapping was really a mask for the fact that no one understands the distinction between personal and private property—at least to the extent that the principle can be agreed on with other sentient humans. It is a completely arbitrary distinction.”
The consensus eventually became something along the lines of, “you tell us what your property is and we will decide which category it falls under.”
Ultimately, the need for this dichotomy occurs precisely because they wish to take from certain groups to keep for themselves. So they are only socialist insofar as you have something that they want. Indeed, they have learned from the best.
The final accusation which we had encountered on our site repeatedly, and still encounter often from within the church as well as from outside, is some version of the belief in the incongruousness of being both a libertarian and a catholic.
Straw men abound when leftward leaning ideologues begin to conjecture on fundamental human rights.
In the minds of these critics, there has only been one libertarian to ever live and that was Ayn Rand (despite the several reasons this is patently false). Her Objectivist philosophy is much easier to denounce when proclaiming the gospel of statism than Murray Rothbard or even Thomas Aquinas.
This line of thinking also abjectly fails to consider Vatican II’s declaration “that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.”
It ignores Pope Leo XIII’s unequivocal support for the right to own private property according to the dignity of man being made in the image of God.
Furthermore it fails to account for the way free markets have allowed individuals and communities to escape poverty, time and again, in ways that have never before been experienced throughout human history.
These critics are thus never challenged on the way the non-aggression principle fits well within Christian ontology, the well-developed theories of spontaneous order, the seriousness on which we take the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Steal,” or the fact that leftist ideologies have a terrible history of making idols of the state. Instead they yell, “Jesus was a socialist!” (wrong) and “libertarians hate the poor!” (patently false)
In summary, our page was shut down over an inability to encounter ideas at odds with the preconceived notions of several thousand basement dwellers that live as children in perpetuity.
We were shut down because, in an effort to establish equality and fairness, Facebook acquiesced to the pleas of those grown up children and unfairly deemed our well-reasoned—though against the social grain—beliefs to be hate speech.
We were singled out for providing a different view than our critics cared to hear and thus had our page thrown onto the metaphorical fire to burn like a forbidden book.
The American experiment has always been about ideas.
The freedom of expression had, for so long, created an unrivaled prosperity throughout the history of mankind. I will not venture to declare our first amendment rights are officially dead, but I am deeply troubled at the prospect that Facebook would rather appease the obnoxious than support those of us willing to breathe new life into old concepts.
I am terribly bothered by the fact that one “brony” can run to daddy Zuck and declare our reasoning “thought crimes,” and worse, have them shut down the fruits of our labor without any opportunity to explain our position.
We are currently appealing their decision, and are hopeful that our pessimism will be proven wrong.
For now, we are in limbo awaiting Facebook to consider our appeal to republish the page. We are hopeful they will grant it; but woe to us all if only socialists are reporting pages for thought crimes and only socialists are expressing ideas free from coercion.
That world will, as John Milton famously wrote, “Make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven.”
* Michael Morris is a husband and dad from Denton, Texas. His essays have appeared in The Federalist, Aleteia, and Church Pop. He also helps manage the online publication TheLibertarianCatholic.com and can be followed on Twitter @laffyjaphy.