Recently, someone on Facebook shared this graphic:
Usually, I ignore these things, but this time I decided to do a quick Google search and determine if there was any validity to the implied claim of bias. Well, it turns out that Brown and Byrum not only were not barred from the Senate; they aren’t even in the Senate. They are Michigan state representatives, and they were barred from participating in a debate in the Michigan state House of Representatives (supposedly for speaking out of turn, although there is disagreement on the exact reason). As for Cheney, while he did tell Senator Patrick Leahy to go fuck himself, and he was on the Senate floor at the time, Cheney was not speaking during a Senate session, so it would be impossible for the Senate to “bar” him from debate, as the Michigan House did to Brown and Byrum. I pointed out these discrepancies to my Facebook friend, and her response was “My point stands.” In other words, lies are OK as long as they advance my point of view.
Of course, as a libertarian-leaning conservative, it’s tempting for me to pick apart the inaccuracies of my liberal friends’ posts while letting those of my conservative friends slide. But for the most part, I think I’m pretty fair. I have what amounts to a zero-tolerance policies for lies on Facebook; if someone shares something that is blatantly false, I hide their posts (avoiding the drama of unfriending them). In some cases (as in the case of the graphic above), I point out the inaccuracy, giving the poster a chance to correct their mistake. If they refuse to do so, then I hide them. Such people aren’t worth my time.
My policy has a positive side as well. If I read something on Facebook that communicates an important truth, whether or not it coincides with my own personal ideology, I tend to share it. For example, today I shared this:
I’m sure some of my fellow conservative/libertarian/Christian friends felt betrayed by this (particularly since the original poster is a pro-Obama group). One of them called it “snarky bullshit.” But to me, that’s missing the point. With something like this, you can either focus on the intentions of the poster (getting a jab in against conservative Christians, presumably), or you can focus on the message itself. Is there some truth to it? I tend to think there is.
If I were only to share pro-Christian, pro-libertarian propaganda, then I’m being as dishonest as my friend who posted blatant lies in support of her own ideology. Yes, I have strong opinions on political and theological matters, but none of those opinions takes precedence over the truth. Once you value your own opinion over the truth, you’ve become an ideologue, for whom lies are acceptable as long as they are in service to a greater “truth.”
Yes, I’m a libertarian conservative and a Christian, but only to the extent that I think that those beliefs represent valuable truths. I’m sure some of the things I believe are false, and I hope that I can figure out which ones are and correct them. I’m not on the “side” of the Christians against the non-Christians or the conservatives against the liberals. I am, hopefully, on the side of truth against self-serving falsehoods.
Anyway, that’s the way I see it. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.