Google and Facebook Abuses Offer Glimpse of Dangerous Future
Why I will never switch to an exclusively Internet-based newsletter, and why you should join the Natural Life Movement and subscribe to my real-world alternative.
There a certain irony – or perhaps intentional dark humor – in the original name for the virtual world that is slowly but surely ensnaring all of humanity in its “World Wide Web.” Who can deny the amazing benefits of the Internet? But as with any human-controlled technology there are two sides of the coin: one benign and one malignant. The maxim that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” speaks to an underlying truth relevant to every form of technology.
It all comes down to who’s in control of it, and the virtual world is firmly in the control of the very elites who hate Biblical Christianity. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, etc, are the millennial-generation equivalent to the Dutch East India Company, the Hudson’s Bay Company or the Robber Barons of the early U.S.: they are faceless monopolistic corporate leviathans with the defacto powers of government within their spheres of influence but without the restrictions by which actual governments are bound. And they are so powerful that they can often bend government to their will.
For example, the power to censor views based on ideology was recently exercised by Google when it “demonetized” the YouTube videos of conservative organizations but not liberal ones. Since Google is a private company it isn’t bound by the First Amendment, even though the “private” virtual territory it controls is in every relevant way equivalent to the public spaces in the real world governed by equal access laws regarding free speech.
Likewise, the inherent power to steer opinion (and presumably conduct) of the general public – or more chillingly, specific groups – was recently revealed in reports about advancements in Facebook’s algorithms that identify an individual’s tastes and interests and select news stories for them to read and websites to visit. Such technology gives brave new meaning to the phrase “leading people by the nose.” A carefully chosen series of articles, perhaps custom-tweaked by a clever manipulator, could, for example, incite certain highly ideological groups to “direct action” against selected targets. I think that’s already happening, on both the left and the right, by the same puppet-masters: political hyper polarization and emotionalism is the perfect climate for social engineering through propaganda.
Many of the great old science fiction movies of the 1950s shared a common element: a human foil who feared technology and scientific advancement. He was always cast as a bad guy in these stories, the enemy of science. But a couple of generations later came The Matrix, in which the enemy was artificial intelligence itself – the ultimate product of science, and enslaver of mankind. Those 50’s monster movies were almost pure fantasy, but The Matrix bespeaks a current metaphorical truth about growing human dependence on AI, and the human hands behind it.
There’s a certain schizophrenia in the way we’re expected to respond to technology today. On the one hand, we’re cast as ignorant bigots for opposing dehumanizing “advancements” like embryonic stem cell research, but on the other we’re warned that artificial intelligence and robotics will eventually make natural human life obsolete.
There’s a clear spiritual admonition from Jesus in John 17 that is commonly paraphrased “Be in the world, but not of the world.” I think that guidance – so beautifully helpful for negotiating our way though the physical world – also foresaw the challenge to Christians of the virtual world and how we should respond to it.
I think Christians have a duty to resist the efforts of the secular humanist elites to subsume the real world created by God within the artificial world created by human beings and I think it falls within the purview of the pro-life and pro-family movement to lead the way on this front.
We are not enemies of technology, but we must be enemies of the malignant abuse of technology that subjects humanity to manipulation and control by the “elites.”
Exactly a year ago at a seminar in Maine I laid out the concept for a project titled The Natural Life Movement, and shortly thereafter launched it in Bishkek, Kyrgzstan with a Declaration on the Natural Life Movement (below).
Recently, Google changed its spam filters so that my ministry’s Internet alerts went directly to spam. I suspect it was a system-wide change targeting conservatives, but even it it was innocent, it reminded me of the importance of starting the Natural Life Movement. If you’ve read this far in this article, you probably implicitly recognize its importance also.
I’m going to make two promises today.
First, I promise never to stop publishing my real-world paper newsletter, that I’m currently putting out twice per month by first class mail at just $25 per year. I strongly urge you to subscribe to that today by sending a donation by mail to Abiding Truth Ministries, PO Box 2373, Springfield, MA 01101, or online here http://www.defendthefamily.com/help/donate.php . You’ll be automatically added to the mailing list.
Second, I promise to make the Natural Life Movement a prominent feature of my newsletter from this day forward, and work diligently for the rest of my life to educate and equip pro-family conservatives to defend the real world from being supplanted by the virtual world – that includes opposing the normalization of LGBT counterfeit “families,” but so much more.
There needs to be a Christian-driven movement to insist that people be allowed to live in the real world and not the virtual world if they choose to, and that systems and processes based on actual, tangible objects, like paper records and currency must be preserved. The contrast of the God created natural world and the world of artificial alternatives made by human hands must remain central to human awareness, and a balance maintained between that real world and the artificial.
I’m asking you to be a part of that movement. Subscribe to my newsletter today. Forward this message to your lists. Begin to talk and write about the Natural Life Movement in your daily conversations in the real world and online.
May God bless your support for these ideas and my ministry.
Dr. Scott Lively
Declaration of the Natural Life Movement
1. The universal values of all humanity are grounded in the natural order of Creation.
2. The foundation of civilization is the natural family: a man and a woman created to join together as one flesh to bear and raise children together with mutual love and nurturing.
3. The true strength of a healthy nation is a network of natural families organized into natural communities which create stability and economic independence through mutual cooperation.
4. The community which sets the best interest of its children as its highest priority guarantees the highest level of security, prosperity and happiness for everyone.
5. A child’s best interest is to be raised in harmony with the natural world and respect for the God who created it.
6. The natural-life society allows for beliefs and practices that do not conform to majority views, and practices tolerance for those who respect the mainstream culture but choose to live outside of it. It also recognizes the value of technology that compliments the natural order without doing harm to it.
7. The natural lifestyle simply prefers the natural to the artificial as a general, flexible principle:
Ÿ Natural foods as contrasted to artificial, genetically modified, or pesticide tainted foods,
Ÿ Natural healing as contrasted with artificial chemicals and processes,
Ÿ Natural persons as contrasted with “legal persons” such as corporations, robots, and “transhumans.”
Ÿ Natural families as contrasted with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or polyamorous groupings,
Ÿ Natural communities made of independent, self-sufficient families as contrasted with forced urbanization and dependence on government.
It is the goal and purpose of the Natural Life Movement to improve the lives of all the people by promoting this Natural Life perspective as model for our society, its government and our neighbors across the world.
Drafted by Dr. Scott Lively, President, Defend the Family International, October 14, 2016, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.