Facebook canceled the Abbeville Institute. I was notified on June 10 that the Abbeville Institute Facebook page had been unpublished due to “repeated community standards violations.” Our offenses? We used the image of the Confederate Battle Flag for one post in July 2020 which earned the Institute our first strike. A purely American image that had been the recognized symbol of the South for decades is now considered “hate speech” by our wise progressive overlords. Then, we published a critical article on the Ku Klux Klan in March 2020 titled, “A Skeleton in the Yankee Progressive Closet.”
To highlight the fact that the Klan typically avoided using Confederate symbols during the height of its influence in the 1920s, we selected the image below, a cover for the sheet music of the tune, “We Are All Loyal Klansman,” published in 1923. This image can be easily found online and can even be purchased at a leading online image repository.
We included the image when we linked to the article on our Facebook page. Notice that it took over a year for Facebook to object to the image in question, perhaps because no reasonable person would object to a scholarly article on a historical subject that in no way defended the Klan, either then or now. Clearly, some gentle soul objected to the image and reported our offense to Facebook. The Facebook Oversight Board (comprised of mostly foreign progressives) decided to both remove the post and unpublish our page, even after I protested a decision that clearly violates their own published standards:
“We recognize that people sometimes share content that includes someone else’s hate speech to condemn it or raise awareness. In other cases, speech that might otherwise violate our standards can be used self-referentially or in an empowering way. Our policies are designed to allow room for these types of speech, but we require people to clearly indicate their intent. If the intention is unclear, we may remove content.”
Facebook has removed any option for challenging the Oversight Board. Big Tech now has a nearly complete monopoly on speech in America. If Facebook and Twitter can ban the sitting President of the United States without recourse and limit his ability to communicate with the American public, small non-profit organizations like the Abbeville Institute are powerless to stop these Silicon Valley tyrants.
We understand that it only a matter of time before the social media dictators took down our page. Neither Facebook nor Twitter are guardians of free speech, and because much of our content is “controversial” according to modern presentist woke narratives, maintaining mainstream social media accounts will be a troubling hurdle moving forward.
The irony, of course, is that the article which led to our ban in some ways echoes a recent push by the progressive left to cancel the United States flag. Singer Macy Gray suggested in a June opinion piece that the time has come to redesign Old Glory. Trump supporters have tarnished the image and, in her mind, have reduced it to a modern incarnation of the Confederate Battle Flag. It has become a symbol of division, racism, imperialism, and oppression.
There is some truth in this. Southerners refused to fly the United States flag for years after the War. July 4th celebrations were banned in Vicksburg, Mississippi for decades. To many Southerners, the United States flag represented division, imperialism, and oppression. The fact that the 1920s Ku Klux Klan proudly waved the Stars and Stripes in every major rally and march, including their famous parade in Washington D.C. in 1926, attests to its use by racist organizations. Anyone terrorized by the Klan during this period stared down Uncle Sam, not Johnny Reb. And since 1898, the United States has been an imperial power with American boots on the ground in over one hundred (mostly non-white, non-European) countries today. Who can forget that future President William H. Taft called the Filipino people his “little brown brothers” while urging continued American occupation of the region?
Flag supporters, mostly conservatives, insist that they reject this view of Old Glory. To them, the United States Flag represents freedom, justice, and independence. They argue groups like the Klan have stolen the image and co-opted its meaning. After all, it was the United States that freed the slaves, made the world safe for democracy, and defeated the Nazis. The fact that some people misuse the symbol should not be a reason to remove it, burn it, desecrate it, or reject it.
These arguments sound similar to those used by Confederate Battle Flag supporters. Perhaps these conservatives should have resisted calls to take down Confederate symbols for the same reasons they are now forced to defend Old Glory. We at the Abbeville Institute knew the progressive left (even with their skeletons) would not stop with the Confederacy.
Real Americans understand that Big Tech censorship and progressive attempts to remake America are only beginning. If they truly respected diversity, they would allow for a free exchange of ideas, including those that challenge the mainstream narrative of American history. Facebook did not silence Macy Gray for her outrageous proposal—nor should they—and they should not ban conservatives, libertarians, or intellectually curious people for publishing material that stimulates discussion, even if it might offend someone. Free speech is always offensive speech to someone, but America would not exist without it.
Now, who’s on to Gab?