Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Why I'm Glad I Don't Do Facebook

Mostly I just can't be bothered.  I don't care to tell people my "status." But considering how Facebook is being used against us, I find it as interesting as the use of passenger jets against buildings on 9/11.  As Wendell Berry put it then:

VI. The paramount doctrine of the economic and technological euphoria of recent decades has been that everything depends on innovation. It was understood as desirable, and even necessary, that we should go on and on from one technological innovation to the next, which would cause the economy to "grow" and make everything better and better. This of course implied at every point a hatred of the past, of all things inherited and free. All things superceded in our progress of innovations, whatever their value might have been, were discounted as of no value at all.

VII. We did not anticipate anything like what has now happened. We did not foresee that all our sequence of innovations might be at once overridden by a greater one: the invention of a new kind of war that would turn our previous innovations against us, discovering and exploiting the debits and the dangers that we had ignored. We never considered the possibility that we might be trapped in the webwork of communication and transport that was supposed to make us free.

VIII. Nor did we foresee that the weaponry and the war science that we marketed and taught to the world would become available, not just to recognized national governments, which possess so uncannily the power to legitimate large-scale violence, but also to "rogue nations," dissident or fanatical groups and individuals--whose violence, though never worse than that of nations, is judged by the nations to be illegitimate.

IX. We had accepted uncritically the belief that technology is only good; that it cannot serve evil as well as good; that it cannot serve our enemies as well as ourselves; that it cannot be used to destroy what is good, including our homeland and our lives.
Wendell Berry, "Thoughts in the Presence of Fear," In the Presence of Fear, Three Essays for a Changed World, The Orion Society, 2001, pp. 1-3.

Granted, it's violence of a new form, the violence of lies and deceit rather than the violence of death and destruction, but the aim is the same:  to terrify us and undermine our society.  It's odd how applicable Berry's words are, when Facebook didn't come along until 2004.  Interesting, too, how much didn't really fundamentally change after 9/11.  Will it change now?

And it's not an abstract consideration:

Which apparently reaches people like this:

How much of Trump's propaganda on Facebook plays into the propaganda of China, Russia, and Iran?

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