Info Wars And Stars Wars: The Unintended Consequences Of Silencing Offense
The recent decision by YouTube, and other social media sites, to remove material from Alex Jones’ Info Wars’ website has created quite a stir. The claim is that his content is akin to hate speech and thus violates the social media sites’ “Terms of Service”. They also claim that their sites are private, thus freedom of speech rights do not apply. Supporters on the right are claiming political bias and free speech violations.
I recently had the opportunity to fly in a private plane from Dallas to Florida to play golf over a long weekend. In route we stopped at a small airstrip in Mississippi to refuel and grab some lunch. While there, a Navy jet landed, and we ran into the pilot in the hallway. Hanging on to a dream, I asked, “Can you give us a ride?” To which he replied, “I can do anything once. You will need to write a check to cover my lost pension when I get kicked out of the service.”
This experience reminded me of advice I give my kids, “You can make any decision you want, but you cannot control the consequences of your decisions.” Like the Info Wars story, You Tube can decide what content they allow on their sites, but there are unintended consequences.
The problem the left faces with the unintended consequence of claiming victory over Info Wars, is that they have lost the battle over Stars Wars. The situation is the same – an NFL team is a private entity which carries its own “Terms of Service”. Team owners are free to put in place any work policies if they do not violate federal laws, or their collective bargaining agreement. Football players are employees and are subject to team rules when they step into the locker room on Sunday. This is not a violation of their right to free speech – they are free to say what they want on their own time – but not at work.
To illustrate the point, imagine showing up to work wearing a shirt that reads, “I hate immigrants”. It is your right to say and believe this, but I doubt you will be wearing the shirt after meeting your boss in the hallway. Why? It is offensive to many people and is likely a violation of your company’s dress code. Kneeling during the anthem is the same, and now violates the team laws of every NFL franchise.
Jesus said in Mark 12:31, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself..” While possessing the right to free speech, we need to be aware of Jesus’ exhortation to not use our rights to offend another person. Info Wars and Stars Wars have other options to spread their message that is not offensive to others. Offending others to get our point across, usually means we do not get our point across!
Originally published on Townhall Finance.
Prior to establishing Insight Wealth Partners in 2010, Wayne spent 16 years as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and Senior Financial Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services. During his distinguished career he earned many awards including being selected by his peers as Advisor of the Year. His areas of expertise include comprehensive financial planning and investment management. Prior to becoming a wealth manager, Wayne spent 10 years in the manufacturing industry where he achieved ever-increasing levels of responsibility in manufacturing management and plant engineering at the best-in-class organizations, Frito-Lay, Inc. and Ecolab Inc.
Wayne graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. A member of the Financial Planning Association, Kingdom Advisors and Crown Financial Ministries, Wayne has also traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia teaching Biblical financial principles to business and church leaders and individuals.
Wayne lives with his wife, Julie, and two children in Allen, Texas where he enjoys golf, sailing, scuba diving and the study of stewardship. His stewardship blog can be found at www.amusingsteward.com