The Internet – amplifier of stupidity.
So, I woke up this morning to a controversy that has been building for a few days about which I had no clue. The California Assembly has passed a bill – AB2943 – carefully controlling psychological services, offered in exchange for compensation, to help persons change their sexual or gender orientation. Some people have apparently decided the bill could ban the sale of the Bible, which has caused all you-know-what to break loose in certain corners of the amplifier of stupidity. I looked into it because not even California could be that stupid. And they are not – even the bill’s sponsor says so. But that has not kept the internet outrage from spreading.
Look, this bill is rife with problems. For one thing, it limits religious services to a charitable basis only. That sounds like a pretty severe limitation on religious practice to me. Who says engaging in commerce is not a religious act? The language leaves lots of room for judges to play – always a problem. I have only scanned the bill, but I am sure there are more potential issues if I studied it hard enough.
But here is the real point, rather than focus on the real problems and trying to solve them, we are creating a firestorm where none currently exists and looking like fools in the process. We need to fight the real issues present, not generate fantasy issues.
Simply put, as Christians we lay claim to being the source of rationality – heck, it is not a claim – we are historically the source of rationality. But when we over-react in such an irrational fashion we undermine our claim and our history. This kind of behavior proves the point that so many liberals make about us so often. Stop it, just stop it.
And while we are being our own worst enemies, during his interview with Chuck Todd this morning (subscription required), in which the host and Todd discussed how social media is changing things Todd said that social media as “changed human behavior.” I could not disagree more. Social media has done two things. It has amplified voices and with that it has exposed behavior that people used to keep private. That’s all its done. If there is a constant in history it is human behavior – social media has laid that behavior naked, but it has not altered it fundamentally.
When I was a child TV changed how people spent their evenings, but on a fundamental level nothing changed. Watching TV is not that radically different from listening to radio which is not that fundamentally different from reading or listening to music. Technology changes the details of our behavior, but fundamentally we have not changed.
You may ask why it is important to make the distinction I just made. That’s a fair question for what I am doing may seem like nit-picking, moving from TV to social media is technically a behavioral change. The distinction I have made is important because people continue to think and have thought forever that the next technology will be the thing that fixes mankind. But in reality all the next technology does is lay bare our fundamental ugliness. Technology has continually exposed the fact that we really are our own worst enemies.
Only one thing in history has fundamentally changed human behavior, slowly, incrementally, beginning about 2000 years ago.