“You hear me when I call. You are my morning song. Though darkness fills the night it cannot hide the light. Whom shall I fear?”
Progressivism can’t succeed unless it corrals everyone into agreement. Meaning, it can never succeed. We have too many freedoms, too many voices, there are too many paths to choose among, too much data, too much signal, certainly too much noise.
Progressivism has thus been forced into becoming our global, all-encroaching nannybot.
It must shut down speech, shut down ideas, stop thoughts, prevent tweets, restrict shares, else our individual truths be exposed.
No mattter how well meaning, how certain of the rightness of your views, and your faith that it will make all, or at least all deserving, better, nobler, purer, trying to shut down speech reveals a profound weakness in your ideas. Progressives — so-called — are our prudes, our puritans, promoting the puerile in the culture while nanny-like expressing outrage when anyone ever dares to even consider veering from sanctified norms.
They have no choice. Shut it down or allow for a free-for-all, and the established order can never ever tolerate a free-for-all. Thus, YouTube is demonetizing those who espouse discomforting thoughts, Facebook is shutting down accounts, Twitter is zealously policing bots which promote half of America’s views while ignoring bots which promote the other half. They are openly calling for limits on speech.
Humans are a social species, equipped with few defenses against the natural world beyond our ability to acquire knowledge and stay in groups that work together. We are particularly susceptible to glimmers of novelty, messages of affirmation and belonging, and messages of outrage toward perceived enemies. These kinds of messages are to human community what salt, sugar, and fat are to the human appetite.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but all of this invalidates much of what we think about free speech—conceptually, legally, and ethically.
They’re scared, and they are right to be scared. The world is changing, fast, not all for the good, and even those who define themselves as “progressive” aren’t entirely sure they are, because the truth is we aren’t sure anymore what progres is, or why it’s necessarily good, and maybe we should limit it.
Stand up, they shut you down. They seek to use algorithms and control of digital platforms to marginalize your thoughts, your concerns, your hopes, your preferences, your values.
This effort will fail, but the failure will take time, and you might get swept up in its nets.
Abandon the very waters they thrive in.
Step out and forge your own path.
For only the second time in the last century, the number of farmers age 25 to 34 is increasing, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s latest Census of Agriculture. In some states, including California, Nebraska, and South Dakota, the number of new farmers has grown by 20% or more since 2007. Approximately 69% of these young farmers have college degrees — a figure that’s more than double when looking at the general US population.
We are, second by second, bombarded with words, numbers, sites, sounds, posts, shares, faves, likes, red badges, yellow pages, blue checks, black flag but never the whites of their eyes, those are always staring into the screen.
But you think you can deny your child the screen?
You can’t deny yourself!
If you can’t, they won’t. What parents know, children know, and what parents know is that life inside the screen beckons, comforts, ensnares, all hours, all days. Parents — adults — take their eyes off the screen only when forced or on those very rare occasions when there’s actually something more interesting taking place beyond. Asking a child to not behave like their own parents is almost always doomed to failure. Children know.
You refuse because you are weak, afraid.
So you demand An Other usurp your role.
Apple should make its devices so they don’t encourage screen time!
Apple’s entire business model is screen time!
Apple offers you an enticing screen for every waking moment. At work, on the toilet, seated in your favorite chair, standing in line for coffee, in your bed. A Mac, a Watch, an iPad, an iPhone, Apple TV. Always a screen within eye’s reach, like Coke makes it so there’s always a pop within arm’s reach.
If too much screen time is bad for children then it’s bad for adults.
If you are strong enough to restrict your child’s screen time be bold enough to restrict yours.
Probably, you won’t. You won’t for the same reason you consume too much food, too much junk, spend too much time seated, get not enough exercise, avoid getting involved, hope your parents don’t call. Because the omniscient now of the screen convinces you there is more pleasure within than without.
But it’s not just what’s inside the screen that lies to you, but the screen itself, its physical manifestations, its tactile calling. These beguile you. These convince you that a touch or tap or call will alight not only the screen, but your self. They will liberate your talents, unlock your creativity, unleash your productivity, spread your abilities across the world, shower you with riches — release your magic.
This is a lie.
If you possess magic — and you do — it resides within you and about you and does not need a device or screen or object to be made real.
“And you may ask yourself, what is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself, where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself, am I right? Am I wrong?
And you may say yourself, “My God! What have I done?”
Man’s ontological uncertainty is clear and present, a palpable longing and a fearing knowing. Why are we here, what should we do, what have we done?
Talking Heads drilled into this essence in music and lyric perhaps better than has ever been done before or since and now, nearly 40 years later, the artifice is cracked, the facade has fallen, no one can deny, and the entirety of the past shall no longer serve us.