“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”
“And what is truth?” said Pilot, shortly before turning Jesus over to the mob. He might have done well to wonder. Truth is all too often buried by censorship which serves the powers that be more than it serves the masses. It’s the old joke about being treated like a mushroom, kept in the dark and fed s*.
All of this makes me curious about Facebook - a place for your latest party pictures, but hardly a medium for truth. If Facebook was about important things, it would not be hosting videos of your Grandma’s cat. Facebook is in the news because it lifted a ban on claims that COVID-19 might be man-made. If you thought so, you were not allowed to say. They also have injunctions against statements denying climate change. Facebook does not want you to have the “wrong” opinions. My question is, why does Facebook think it has the inside track on truth, and why do they want to limit what you can see and say?
Censorship is not new, but to be denied rational enquiry by Facebook is very strange indeed. Critical thinking and sound judgement are a prized legacy from the enlightenment. Back in the “olden days”, Galileo was tried by Ecclesial courts and excommunicated for claiming the earth was round. His science did not matter. Today’s forays into truth bear a remarkable resemblance to those times because they insist on a certain orthodoxy decided by higher powers. I was recently reading about a Mennonite woman whose thumbs and legs were crushed before she was drowned in a bag, for claiming that infant baptism did not have the power to save someone’s soul. The Church was the vehicle for that persecution. It wanted the corner on Truth, and who got to say. Apart from the thumb-crushing bit, we seem to be back in those kind of dark ages, where certain people tell you what is officially true, and you are not allowed to disagree.
No, they won’t get out the thumb screws, but they will come for you in other ways. I was recently dismayed when I commented on a Critical Race Theory course offered on Linked In. I noted that I was unsure how borrowing the USA’s race issues will make things better here… that perhaps we are creating problems by talking about race too much. I was sent a terse note from moderators who removed my comment as “hate speech”. My kids were apoplectic that I would venture an opinion that was upstream of the current orthodoxy, but I care about truth.
That my kids are so afraid to voice any opinions outside of the current bumpers concerns me, and it makes me wonder if their education has gone for naught. Critical thinking is the hallmark of a well educated man or woman. You examine the world, and sift for the truth based on what can be proven. For this to happen, you need open enquiry which allows for things to be properly scrutinized.
There is in all of this, a decline in democracy. I am not sure why the state broadcaster is interested in squashing stories that might suggest that COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, or why Facebook cares if I think climate science is up to scratch, or if I believe a boy can be a girl as a matter of profession when your chromosomes say otherwise. Indeed we live in strange times, and I am concerned.
There is truth, and there there are ideologies. Ideology is the official position insisted upon by a group. The litmus test; you are not allowed to question an ideology. The why behind all this is curious. Someone out there wants to suggest that open dialogue is dangerous, and ideology is somehow better.
Jesus famously stated that the truth will set you free. John’s gospel also states that those who lived in darkness did not love the light because their deeds were evil. People who do not want truth, have a purpose in promoting falsehood. Their self-serving agenda is indefensible, which is why they want to shut down debate.
I am still an individual last time I checked. The ability to have my own opinions is important to me. It concerns me that the state is increasingly becoming involved in what I can, and cannot say. Tinfoil hats anyone? But first maybe Facebook can explain why they care so much what I think about the world that they want to shut down my ability to express it. To me, that is truly dangerous.