O, the Times!
We live in interesting times. We have a United States Senator, who is also a licensed doctor, temporarily banned from social media for spreading “misinformation”about face masks, even though the CDC has admitted that his offending claim is true. The President’s press secretary has boldly admitted that the administration is coordinating with large, powerful media entities such as Facebook to censor people who contradict the politically correct narrative concerning COVID. The totalitarian squelching of dissenting voices even goes beyond the reach of the media behemoths: a doctor in Maine has had her license suspended for prescribing ivermectin to COVID sufferers. Ivermectin has a decades-long safety record, and dozens of studies around the world have proven it to an extremely effective treatment for COVID, but it contradicts the favored narrative that only the barely year-old mRNA vaccine is an effective treatment for the Dread Disease from Wuhan (and if you dare to present any evidence casting doubt on the safety or efficacy of said vaccine, expect equally harsh consequences). One more thing: not only was the doctor’s license pulled: she was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation . . . just as they used to do to dissidents in the old Soviet Union. Apparently, only an insane person would believe the documented evidence and the evidence of her own eyes instead of the Official Narrative. Oh the times, oh the customs!
And what times they are. I find myself thinking of a scene from Robert Bolt’s dramatization of the life of St. Thomas More, A Man For All Seasons. More has just resigned the Office of Chancellor of England because he can’t in good conscience promote King Henry VIII’s efforts to procure an annulment for his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Ann Boleyn. At the same time, More is trying to protect himself and his family by not publicly opposing the king’s scheme. When his friend the Duke of Norfolk tries to pin down the former Chancellor about his real position on Henry’s marriage, the following scene ensues:
MORE (Looks at him, takes him aside; in a lowered voice) Have I your word that what we say here is between us two?
NORFOLK (Impatient) Very well.
MORE (Almost whispering) And if the King should command you to repeat what I may say?
NORFOLK I should keep my word to you!
MORE Then what has become of your oath of obedience to the King?
NORFOLK (Indignant) You lay traps for me!
MORE (Now grown calm) No, I show you the times.
The Truth v. The Narrative
St. Thomas More lived in a time when men and women had to choose between the Official Narrative and the Truth. Of course, the choice was starker in More’s day: St. Thomas was ultimately put to death for his refusal to give his public blessing to the King’s new marriage (and also the King’s new role as Pope of England). There are no beheadings so far in the current War on Reality, and pray God we never reach that point, but losing one’s livelihood and reputation is nevertheless a significant price to pay for the refusal to assent to a lie.
The current COVID regime is just an example, by the way, just one of the absurdities to which that the Keepers of The Narrative are demanding that we give our “amen!” And there were many more examples before our day. We might say that the whole thing goes back before the creation of this world to the rebellion of the Prince of Lies and his hench angels in Heaven, and to his sly promise to our first father and mother: “when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).
The recent American version goes back at least thirty-eight years, to January 22nd 1973, when the United States Supreme Court imposed an unrestricted abortion regime on this country. In its decision the court intoned that “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins.” But the question of when life begins was not difficult at all: no serious biologist would have asserted then, and would not now, that the human embryo was not alive. The question before the court was whether all human life is worthy of protection, or only some human lives, to which the court replied, in essence: the only worthy lives are those that The Narrative chooses to protect.
Disengaging From the Tech Tyrants
The creeping tyranny of The All Mighty Narrative is nothing new, then, but it has grown in alarming ways in recent years. The social media companies that have acquired a stranglehold over the transmission of information have become bolder in using their power, in conjunction with other financial and political interests, to shut down any dissent from The Narrative. That’s why I started this blog, one year ago today (January 19th, 2021). As I said in my introductory post:
This new blog grew out of my efforts to disengage from the giant communications companies that seem increasingly intent on squashing any voices that don’t submit to a certain secular and, increasingly, totalitarian social and political perspective (needless to say, traditional Christian belief and morality lie very much outside of that perspective).
I had two main ideas in mind: the first was to promote independent, dissenting voices outside the domain of the Tech Tyrants. The other was to stop feeding The Beast by avoiding its products whenever possible. Ideally, this could be done without any added expense. To that end my new blog was not on the Google acquisition Blogger (where I had published previously) but on WordPress.com, which provides a free blogging platform. I set out to post sacred music clips, one every week if possible, and none of them from the Google-acquired YouTube. Since I had forsworn Facebook and Twitter (and all their works and promises) I shared my posts on other social media outlets that did not consider themselves part of the Vanguard of the Woke Revolution (chiefly Gab and Mewe).
One Year Later
I’m still at it one year later. There have been some snags along the way. Wordpress.com places ads on free websites. I was under the impression that the ads were only for the hosting service itself. When I discovered otherwise, I checked in on my blog from a computer at work. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Spes In Domino, my faithful Catholic web site, was advertising contraceptives. I decided that as soon as possible I would move to a self-owned website, which I did as soon as another family member acquired a hosting package for an ecommerce site. It was well worth the $20 annual fee for the domain name.
Those are minor inconveniences, of course, and a small price to pay for the ability to speak the truth. Under the totalitarian communist regime in the Soviet Union dissidents intent on telling the truth used to evade the censorship and the distortions of the official press by distributing samizdat, which was no more than mimeographed pamphlets passed from hand to hand. We need to be as resourceful in fighting the creeping totalitarianism in our world today.
Granted, nobody in the United States is being sent to the Gulag just for opposing the favored Narrative . . . at least not yet. On the other hand, a recent Rasmussen Reports poll has found that “Nearly half (48%) of Democratic voters think federal and state governments should be able to fine or imprison individuals who publicly question the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines on social media, television, radio, or in online or digital publications.” That’s a frighteningly large chunk of the population who favor the security state over the free exchange of ideas. The Narrative is a jealous god indeed.
Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of truth. Our Lord tells us “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” (Luke 16:10) How can we hope to be faithful to Him Who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6) if we’re not faithful to the ordinary everyday truths? Christ further tells us that “the Truth will set you free”(John 8:32). There is no freedom without truth. Lord, give us the courage to face and to speak the truth!