For the first time in the life of this alternative opinion blog, the content of something I wrote was censored.
On Friday, a Barker’s View Angels & Assholes piece regarding the controversy surrounding Volusia School Superintendent Carmen Balgobin was unilaterally purged by the administrator of a local social media site ostensibly dedicated to our local school system.
“Your post was removed by admin.”
The reason? Language.
Now, I’m not sure the overseer of the site that touts itself as a “forum” – something classically defined as a public place for the free and open exchange, discussion, and debate of competing ideas – understands the concept, because just prior to deleting my post from her site, the administrator labeled it a “Monday morning quarterback” piece (which it was) before removing it from the site altogether in an apparent pique after I described Balgobin’s administration as a “shit show.”
Is there a better descriptor?
That bothered me.
Because it wasn’t the language, but the criticism, that offended.
I posted the piece on the site because it addressed a topical, and highly contentious, issue in Volusia County schools – and because the “forum” claimed that “Considerate and thoughtful discussion of ideas, thoughts, and concerns, regarding our schools, is welcome.”
Clearly critical thought isn’t welcome – but I’m not surprised.
After all, it’s hard to remain objective about the state of Volusia County Schools. . .
Suppression of free expression under the slippery, seductive, politically correct ruse that we be subjectively “kind and courteous” in thought and word is nothing more than velvet glove censorship – and it allows those in positions of appointed or elected power to run roughshod – as anyone who dares criticize them are marginalized and silenced by their shills.
So, I removed myself from what passes for an education “forum” in this foul year 2020, because I know there are competing ideas out there that will not be permitted to see the light of day – and that leaves only half the story being told.
In her 1906 biography The Friends of Voltaire, Evelyn Beatrice Hall summarized the French philosopher’s beliefs with the line, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
That infamously misapplied quote is returning to favor as those engaged in our current “cancel culture” seek to suppress free and open speech by limiting the exchange of views to only those messages which comport with their own.
Add to that the dangerous practice of social media monopolies attempting to bring censorship into the mainstream by sentencing those who engage in speech deemed offensive by some nameless/faceless “community standards team” to social media “jail” – blocking their ability to engage with others in an anti-discourse policy that essentially banishes anyone with a dissenting opinion to a purgatory of silence – an insidious suppression that, in my view, is slowly desensitizing the American people to the erosion of our God-given right to free speech.
In today’s world, if someone ventures an opinion that is counter to our own, rather than engage in the competition of spirited debate, we simply “report” that which we find offensive to those self-appointed persecutors who “monitor” content – or remove it from our so-called “forum” completely – so that others are not similarly butt-hurt by a contrary opinion.
As a result, the nation’s social, civic, and ideological rift widens – and, more disturbing, we begin shaping our thoughts to comport with those who hold the authority to affect our lives and livelihoods.
Those of us who vociferously exercise our right to be heard on the important issues of the day, slowly begin to reign ourselves in – adapting and modulating our voice – to avoid suppression or reprisal by those dictatorial martinets who police the thoughts and opinions of others.
This summer, a diverse group of academics, authors, and civic activists issued an open letter in Harper’s magazine espousing that “a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments” are “[weakening] norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity”.
“This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time. The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away.”
Look, I don’t expect everyone to agree with these hypercritical screeds.
They are not for everyone.
Because provoking higher thought can take people outside their comfort zone, you know, where real and lasting change begins.
My sincere hope is that these carping, critical, and faultfinding diatribes of mine help incite a larger discussion of the issues we collectively face here on Florida’s Fun Coast – a place where, for far too long, the influence of those with a chip in the game outweigh that of long-suffering taxpayers who are asked to pay the bills and suffer in silence.
Keep the light of free expression burning bright.
Read, write, comment, debate, let your voice be heard.
11 thoughts on “Velvet Glove Censorship”
I am not surprised that the C rated (they say it is a B rating) Volusia County School System censored your post. I have lived in many places in my life and I am aware of many school systems. By far, the Volusia School system is one of the poorest run and one of poorest performing I have ever seen.
It seems the unions run the school system. Talk about greed? By the by, teachers work around 185 days a year and they have just about every holiday known to mankind off. Just check the news, all you hear about is the union negotiating with the county.
Never in my life have I seen so many people so fixated with starting pay, sick days, paid leave, how leave is accrued, retirement amount. This is not only true of school system employees, but also with poilce, fire, and City County employees.
Whenever I communicate with any one in the school systems, seems most do not care. They do not return e mails, do not answer their phones and very seldom return calls. I have had a previous member of the school Board actually respond to my e mail in a rude way.
If i was up to me, I would make school 365 days per year. Change all to a 401K retirement system, no more defined benfite retirement.
Yes Mark. You have good points and here is the current grades for our Volusia’s schools to back you up. The schools are failing our children and making the colleges richer because the students heading there need remedial classes on Math, English, and basic writing skills. I no longer want to sugar coat it…..I blame the teachers. They want to blame it on them not being paid enough money. It’s all a sham right now and we will suffer for generations because of the ineffectiveness of education and the submission to politically correct material. Brace yourself.
Click to access VOLUSIA-COUNTY-HIGH-SCHOOLS-2019.pdf
Thanks for posting numbers, sure opened my eyes!
The truth hurts these people and they try to avoid and prevent others from hearing it .
Truth and open debate often lead to change. Why would any bloated bureaucracy want THAT??
Welcome to ‘Murica, where EVERYONE’S opinion matters! Unless of course you’re not one of the anointed ones, you know, one of those that does not have the political clout to set the approved narrative. Alas that you have the temerity to buck the “proper” way of thinking, to actually lift your voice in opposition to the politically established mindspeak that passes for forward thinking among those who exhibit lemming-like adherence to whomever wields the power over their paychecks and chances for advancement up the ladder to “success”.
We capable of independent thought hail your command of the knowledge of that dark netherworld that passes for political leadership and thank you for your insights. Your ability to parse the gobbledegook that is generated by our representatives to filter out the BS and give us insight into the real machinations of our public officials is valuable to us all, and we thank you for your time and effort.
As for Marks comment about the performance of our school system, do not think that is indicative of the competency of our teachers. Rather, it is largely a failure of our educational system as for the most part our teachers are trying to perform their jobs while figuratively having their hands tied behind their backs by administrators. And just because teachers are only in classes 185 days a year does not mean that they aren’t putting 2,000+ hours a year into that effort what with grading, continuing education, conferences, etc. The 401k is a good idea, however!
I have to somewhat dissagree with some of the comments. With the unions. I was the president of afscme for sometime. If the school board had theirvway we would work for nothing. So that is all we can bargain for. The real problem is upper management. The money they make is ridiculous. Some of that money should trickle down to the people that are the back bone of the school system. School bus drivers, cafeteria, teachers, maintenance, paras. They are the back bone. The intwrm superintendant 34% raise . whqt has she done to deserve that. Oh gee the board said” she has worked so hard” it’s a bunch of crap. Also if they don’t like you that’s it your done. As short as they are for bus drivers they have called retirees back. Not me they don’t want me back but i did my job and did it well. They are a sorry system the whole bunch of them.
You make points, but the teacher’s unions are not for excellence in education. The unions are for increased starting pay, increasing salaries created by salary compression issues, more sick time, less paying for health benefits, please, not all teachers work overtime, not all grade papers in their own time.
If you want to know whart a failure is, google starting pay and teachers pay for Connecticut, the number 1 highest teacher pay in the nation. Sit down first. Google how much City Mangers make in salary. Google how much senior city staff make.
Also, college professors, so highly paid and work 10-15 hours per week.
Now you may understand the growth of private K-12 schools.
Volusia schools are the worst especially Daytona schools that people refer to as the hood.I live in Ormond and pay for kids here to go that pos Mainland with a 3 out of 10 rating.Ask Randi Weingarten the head of the national teachers union where 95% of their donations go.Biden got it but teachers have no say about it.Lets talk about censuring.Mainstream media did ignore Trumps sucesses and Hunters lap top we have no media.Pure example is Pat Rice who I think closes his paper down on weekends.Vaccine given out today but CNN,MSNBC and NY Times will not give Trump the credit and even Cuomo watches his residendts get the shots today.Media died and Journalism is next.It is not what they report but what they dont tell you.We must also beware of social media and the Chinese.PS I am home with Covid but Advent swabbed for the flu and covid .
Yo Mr. Barker,
Nothing wrong with your muckraking. When you turn the light of truth on the VCSB and their shenanigans, they scurry like roaches. Keep the heat on them.
Anyone drive about a mile east of 95 on Granada and see a sign AVALON COMING SOON.?That is censuring as Beat Kahli plans on breaking ground in the second quarter with no input yet from Ormond.Dumbrick Henry is getting his suit pockets enlarged.Time to stop the censuring on this cluster and tell Partington to move his ass.They claim the overpass at Hand will go all the way to the river.Someone tell Kahli that Hand becomes 2 lanes at Nova with a 25 mph limit.Time to wake up Ormond Beach .Stop the censuring of the project.