Crisis of Truth, Crisis of Freedom

Without sounding like a radical conspiracist, we in the United States are dancing precariously on the edge of a knife.

The events that unfolded on January 6 at the Capitol in Washington have given the tech giants – Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple, and Google – the excuse they need to begin purging personalities and opinions that they deem to be harmful or dangerous.

The purge began with the banning of the President of the United States from Twitter and Facebook. Whatever you might think of Trump’s social media presence, the unilateral silencing of the President from one of the primary modes of communication in the modern world (a decision that ultimately would have been made by just two men – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey) is disconcerting, to say the least.

Neither Zuckerberg nor Dorsey are democratically-elected politicians. However, their capacity to severely limit the reach of the President of the United States suggests that the tech oligarchs possess a degree of power that, at least in some ways, rivals that of the most powerful politician on earth.

However, the banning of the President was only the beginning. In the days since, Twitter has purged tens of thousands of user accounts that they claim are linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Meanwhile, Amazon, Google, and Apple joined forces to shut down the alternative social media platform Parler – where many disgruntled conservatives have gone in recent years, to escape the growing censorship on the big platforms. Amazon yanked the servers on which Parler operated, while Google and Apple both banned the platform from their app stores.

Don’t Trust the Tech Oligarchs

To be clear, the QAnon conspiracy theory is deeply problematic. And there is no doubt that some of the accounts banned by Twitter or Facebook were posting problematic materials. However, you would have to be naïve in the extreme to think that the bans are just about stopping incitement to violence or the posting of demonstrably illegal material, or that the purge will stop here.

As noted in an article this week by Mike Solana, published by Pirate Wires, the purge reeks of a double standard:

Why has every [Chinese Communist Party] account and propaganda outlet not been permanently scrubbed from US social media platforms? Why has Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, a holocaust denier and violent dictator who has repeatedly threatened nuclear war on Twitter, not been removed from the platform? … What about every single media personality who just this summer said rioting, and political violence, was justified? Are Apple and Google executives at all concerned about the insanity pouring out of Twitter and Facebook, and are they considering removing these platforms from their app stores? If not, why not? Are Twitter and Facebook protected from such action for no other reason than Dorsey and Zuckerberg promised to try their best to censor the bad guys? Does it not matter that they’re failing, every single day, dramatically and obviously?

The headquarters of all the tech giants are in extremely liberal Silicon Valley, California. An overwhelming majority of their employees are on the liberal/progressive side of the political spectrum. What this means is that even when they think they are being “fair” or “reasonable,” they are almost certainly blinded by the progressive groupthink within Silicon Valley.

In recent years, we have seen how many mainstream conservative viewpoints are increasingly being labeled by radical progressives as inherently “violent” or “hateful.” Across the West, so-called “hate speech” laws are being introduced to ban things as basic as arguing that sex is biologically determined, or that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Did you know, for instance, that official Twitter policy bans so-called “deadnaming?” Deadnaming is an Orwellian neologism that means referring to a transgender person by his or her biological gender or “pre-transition” name. For instance, if you were to speak of the famous athlete and reality TV star Bruce Jenner – who now claims to be a woman by the name of Caitlyn – as a man, or “Bruce,” you have just violated official Twitter policy, and can be kicked off the platform.

There is already evidence that pro-abortion activists are taking advantage of the heated political atmosphere to agitate for pro-life speech to be banned from the social media platform.

On January 7, Lila Rose, the founder of the excellent pro-life group Live Action, posted on Twitter: “Abortion is violence.” In response, abortionist Leah Torres posted on Twitter: “This is violent rhetoric. It is objectively false and meant to incite others to commit crimes against clinics, patients, and health care providers. This is what domestic terrorism looks like.”

Get that? Point out the scientifically demonstrable fact that an abortion kills a unique human being, and you are a “domestic terrorist.” The irony, of course, is that Torres herself has, in the past, been quite blunt about the violence of abortion. You might remember her as the abortionist who posted on Twitter a while back, “You know fetuses can’t scream, right? I transect the cord 1st so there’s really no opportunity, if they’re even far enough along to have a larynx.”

The question for the tech giants is, by what standard are they judging various personalities or opinions to be “dangerous”? What are the criteria? And what legal recourse do the purged or silenced have to regain their voice?

Freedom in Truth; Truth in Freedom

I have been in many countries where there is limited ability to speak on fundamental issues impacting life and family. The danger this poses is incalculable, especially to those who dare to uphold Judeo-Christian values. If anyone, for example, contradicts laws, political viewpoints and ideology, or the held positions of those in power, that individual or group runs the serious risk of being arrested and charged with a crime. This inability to freely address critical topics as they relate to authentic human rights, which flow from the inherent dignity of the human person, is always detrimental, not only to individuals but also to society.

People need to take serious notice of the actions of big tech, governments, and their agents that are censoring groups and individuals they deem inappropriate. The threat to free speech is so important because it is a threat to the human person’s capacity to search for and come into contact with truth.

As the Vatican II document Dignitatis Humanae notes:

A sense of the dignity of the human person has been impressing itself more and more deeply on the consciousness of contemporary man, and the demand is increasingly made that men should act on their own judgment, enjoying and making use of a responsible freedom, not driven by coercion but motivated by a sense of duty. The demand is likewise made that constitutional limits should be set to the powers of government, in order that there may be no encroachment on the rightful freedom of the person and of associations. This demand for freedom in human society chiefly regards the quest for the values proper to the human spirit. It regards, in the first place, the free exercise of religion in society. (Dignitatis Humanae, no. 1)

As I have mentioned in the past, a crisis of truth has led to a crisis of freedom. The unmooring of moral principles did not happen independently of a rejection of truth and a desire to be “free.” As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to ‘the slavery of sin.’” (no. 1733)

In other words, to be free, we need the truth. But to find the truth, we need to be free to search for it.

Freedom does not achieve its full capacity, its dignity, until it makes choices that reach out to what reason perceives as objectively good and true. Contrary to modern-day thought, freedom, when exercised in truth and reason, is not diminished but is rather fulfilled when one employs it to bring about a genuine good.

I am reminded of Pope St. John Paul II’s words in Redemptor Hominis when he quotes Jesus: “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Continuing, he says,

These words contain both a fundamental requirement and a warning: the requirement of an honest relationship with regard to truth as a condition for authentic freedom, and the warning to avoid every kind of illusory freedom, every superficial unilateral freedom, every freedom that fails to enter into the whole truth about man and the world. Today also, even after two thousand years, we see Christ as the one who brings man freedom based on truth, frees man from what curtails, diminishes and as it were breaks off this freedom at its root, in man’s soul, his heart and his conscience. What a stupendous confirmation of this has been given and is still being given by those who, thanks to Christ and in Christ, have reached true freedom and have manifested it even in situations of external constraint! (no. 12)

Protect Truth, Protect Freedom of Speech

While Dignitatis Humanae only mentions the need to constrain the “power of governments,” in order to protect freedom, the language could easily be expanded to the big tech companies, which in many cases wield as much power as governmental authorities, if not more.

Some people make the argument that because these companies are privately owned, they can ban whomever they like. While this argument has a prima facie plausibility, it ignores the fact that these companies are not just one provider of a service among many. In many cases, they amount to monopolies exercised on the global scale.

These companies and platforms act as the gatekeepers of information, for billions of people. If they begin to flex their power, they can ensure that certain viewpoints are completely expunged from the public square.

My concern is that the pro-life and family movements pose a genuine threat to the power, desire for control, and ideological beliefs of the progressive elite who largely run these companies. Because of their opposition to liberal and modernist agendas and ideologies, pro-life and family leaders and their groups are prime targets for censorship. This is especially true with regard to the tenets of the sexual revolution that seek to normalize and enshrine sexual “freedom” – i.e. promiscuity and premarital sex, pornography, contraception and abortion, homosexuality and alternative forms of sexuality, and the destruction and redefinition of traditional marriage and the family – which these movements regularly confront.

In a great majority of cases, those endorsing the principles of liberalism and modernism are unable to respond to Judeo-Christian arguments, which are factual, scientific, and logical. So, they turn to bullying and vilification, censorship, threats of legal suits, confiscation of property and money, and imprisonment.

As history teaches, when the elites obtain too much power, they use their position of authority to shut down all truth against their false and ridiculous “arguments.” It is important that we make our voices heard now, before it is too late, courageously defending our right to be heard and the objective truth of the pro-life and pro-family viewpoints. It is also important to find creative ways to sidestep the tech monopolies as much as possible – using other search engines such as DuckDuckGo, trying to shop locally instead of at Amazon, and supporting alternative social media platforms where they are available.



About Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

Fr. Shenan J. Boquet has served as president of Human Life International since 2011. He was ordained in 1993 as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana. As HLI’s president, Fr. Boquet collaborates with fellow laborers in the pro-life and family movement in over 80 countries, offering the Sacraments, giving seminars and trainings, appearing on numerous media outlets, and encouraging people of all walks of life to live as faithful advocates for a Culture of Life and Love. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing hli@hli.org.

8 Comments

  1. Carol Stonelake on January 18, 2021 at 3:41 PM

    Thank you Fr Boquet for all that you and HLI have been doing for Life and the family. These are difficult times that we are living in and about to get even worse! God bless you, Carol Stonelake

  2. Catalina Donoso on January 18, 2021 at 3:44 PM

    Even with some truths in your comments, it is difficult to me how you do not see that a completely unhinged president can cause tremendous danger and pain with his rhetoric. I consider myself pro-life, a practicing cradle Catholic, that would love for abortions to end. How about working on helping the women seeking abortions? With emotional, spiritual, financial resources or whatever it is they believe is forcing them to have abortions? How about fighting for paid maternity leave, so women know they can take a few months to care securely for their newborn? How about if we start loving these women showing them compassion and charity? Let’s stop the finger pointing, all of us “self righteous” people, and act as the hands of Jesus and try to emulate His incomparable mercy.

  3. Gotthard Neeser on January 18, 2021 at 4:30 PM

    Thank you
    Do you have a good advis for alternatif media not controlled by big tech?I already use duck go as my search engine but what about emails?

  4. Taylor on January 18, 2021 at 6:29 PM

    Thank you for all that you and HLI have been doing for Life and the family. Interesting article and I agree with you all the way – 100%. We’re indeed living in the last days, and as a Christian – proud and firm believer of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, I’m spiritually preparing for the worse that is to come, because we’re living in the last days. The earth is weeping in pain like a mother in labor – Signs of the end of age (Matthew 24:1-51).

    I was very shocked and disappointed when I heard of what the elites (Tech companies) have done to Mr. Donald Trump. It’s disconcerting to see how far these elites have gone – nevertheless I shouldn’t have been surprise, but I still was.
    They will control everything in the future soon – Revelation 13:16 & 17

    The Tech Oligarchs are not to be trusted, they’re workers and agents of Satan. In the average eyes, they look like they are doing good but they are NOT!: They’re against everything that the bible teaches.

    Look at for example; Microsoft & the ID2020 Alliance. Universal digital identification. A global alliance whose goal is to create universal digital identities for everyone (WORLDWIDE). This chip will be embedded in your skin. What are the social, economic and ethical implications of such initiatives? Total dystopian – Revelation 13:16-17 (The mark of the beast)

    ID2020 Alliance: Although it all has not come into total fruition, it’s in the making for the agents of satan to control the world and manipulate us all. They will have complete control over everyone. If you do or say something that they don’t like, they will turn your chip off (Look at what they have done to Mr. Trump, Pastor Steven Anderson and Alex Jones from Infowars.com and many others), and this is only the beginning – starting from social media.

    With this digital ID, they will have your financial information such as bank account, your medical records. Just now it’s going to be so much more hard for Christians to walk on this earth, because they would want to punish you for standing up for your rights based on your beliefs system. Just imagine, they want to penalize you on social platforms because you’re addressing a man or woman a certain way. To be honest, if you’re born a male, I will still address you as a male, I don’t care if you look more womanly than me or transform to whatever sex change… point blank. It’s an abomination, God desist those type of acts and I make myself very clear – I will love you, I will treat you with respect and I will pray for you, but I will let you know – this is what the bible says and I stand by every word of God in the BIBLE.

    You can’t buy and sell, can’t get a job, travel on buses, planes or trains, you can not go to school or even get your passport, drivers license or visa to enter certain territory- if you don’t comply with certain vaccination along with a chip (Digital ID) and other things such as your freedom to speak and exercise your religious rights.

    Woman need to step up and take a stance – pro-life. We need more Anti-abortion movements. Do you know what the clinics/hospitals do with with aborted baby fetus? It’s big big big money for them. That’s why they will encourage woman to continue abortion or else they all will be out of business.

    Thank God for His word (The Bible) that has already warned us of such CHAOS that will take place in the last days. Don’t lose heart.

  5. Loretta Hoffman on January 18, 2021 at 6:55 PM

    This lady is missing the truth about the pro-life movement in many places which are constantly and charitably reaching out daily to assist with compassion the women who are contemplating and/or deciding to make an appointment to the abortion clinic and/or those who are post-abortive, too. They are far from being “self righteous” as Catalina Donoso has judged them to be. These good women are self sacrificing, compassionate and caring people, mostly Catholic or evangelical Christians, who give generously of their time, talent, and money to provide Pregnancy Centers all over the U.S.A. for the psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical needs of these women and girls. Many of these women who have been helped by these “angels of light and life” have given public testimonies about their decisions to keep their babies because of the generous support of the women who operate these Pregnancy Centers. As for fighting for paid maternity leaves, I, as a pro-life woman, agree; however, we need to speak with political leaders for that to happen. I wonder if this lady has contacted her representatives in the political world for this help for pregnant women or women with families. She should fight with them, not the pro-life people!

  6. John Grabert on January 19, 2021 at 5:54 PM

    Yes Catalina. By all means, MERCY. Great mercy for great injustice. Save the murder of Our Lord Himself, there is no greater injustice in the history of mankind than the worldwide state sanctioned wholesale slaughter of more than 1.6 BILLION unborn human babies. King Herod’s horrific killing of The Innocents in his fear of Jesus seem to have merely been satan’s practice run for the current holocaust. The trembling cry of justice for those thousands of children being slain daily is deafening, but still it continues. So please have MERCY upon us all Lord! Have mercy upon the abortionist/executioners who disgrace the name “doctor”. Have mercy on the “mothers” who bring their children to Moloch. Have mercy upon those who assist materially and monetarily in this evil. Have mercy on any and all who foster, promote, or condone the murder of your little ones. Have mercy Lord on our government executives, legislators, and judges who would deny a baby’s right to life in favor of fame, fortune, and power, especially those who pose as Catholics. Have mercy on those who continue to vote for these henchmen. Have mercy on the “good” men who do nothing. And mostly have mercy on me Lord, a sinner, for not saying, doing, or praying more to help end the infanticide.
    As for Fr Boquet, there are few people in this upside-down world, if any who are more sincere and concerned about the well-being of the individuals affected by abortion. He overflows with love and compassion for these women, and these abortionist, and these politicians. He fights 24-7-365 for them. That is all he does. That’s who he is. His “pointing of the finger” at the political repression of our God given rights and freedoms is his role and obligation as pastor of his flock. Most of our Church leaders forget their calling and are afraid to contradict the PC talking points, to call a spade a spade, to call a sin a sin, or a politician a tyrant. Thank you, Fr. Boquet for doing you job and doing it well. Hopefully, more of our pastors and elected officials will soon do the same. I have literally been at the end of Fr. Boquet’s pointing finger during many fine sermons, each seemly written just for me. And after each I knew much more clearly God’s will for me and was resolved to do it. I believe there is not nearly enough finger pointing in the world today. I mean genuine, loving, I’m here to help save your soul, finger pointing, supported by full throated unabashed orthodox Catholic teaching. Most Catholic sermons are platitudinous reiterations, almost word for word, of the just proclaimed Gospel, monotone and lethargic non-offensive call to imitate a sickly-sweet swell guy social worker. That fluff stuff may satisfy the conscience for an hour or two, but it won’t save souls. We need podium pounding preachers to tell us what to do. Please shepherd us. That’s your job. Catholic priest please stop being so bashful and ashamed of Catholic teaching. Jesus founded your “militant” organization and you knew you might be made a fool of when you signed up. And stop trying to be one of us. You are the Priest. We don’t need you to be one of us. We need you to help save our souls. Offend us and the whole world if you have to, but please help save us. Jesus is really the son of God and He really did call you and gave you the authority to point your finger at us, loving but firmly.
    You said Catalina that you “considered” yourself prolife? There is no gray area here. Your either live by the 6th Commandment or you do not. Politicians and pagans paint the murder of the unborn as complex issue with many nuanced points of view. That is a propaganda line straight from hell. Every man knows in his heart that a human child is what grew in his own mother’s womb, that abortion is indeed murder. It takes a whole hell of a lot of rationalization, self-absorption, and downright moral depravity to put aside this natural knowledge.
    As for being a cradle Catholic. I really don’t thing that is a plus. I am one myself and I have seen firsthand how inept the Church has become in teaching it’s own. I think there is a frog in the boiling water effect cradle Catholics are subject to. We too gradually if at all learn the wonders of the saints, the gospels, the sacraments, the Holy Mass. I think we often miss the Wow factor, the transcendence, the Glory that is the Catholic Church because we evolved from the inside, like we can’t see the forest through the trees. Anyway there sure seems to be a whole lot of converts genuinely on fire with the Holy Spirit.
    Donald Trump was never “My Guy” and when he first ran for president I was really worried he was not really conservative. Praise God he turned out to be more conservative than even Ronald Regan. Sometimes Trump has been a loose political cannon and I can’t defend every wild statement he’s made, but I will defend his honest aggressive efforts to protect the unborn. There is no more important political or social issue of our time and he is on the right side of the fight. His language is often arrogant, fifth-grade-ish, and rude, but unlike most politicians, with Donald Trump, what you see is what you get. He owes no one in DC anything. He can’t be bought because he is so rich. His un-presidential-ness at first erked me, but now I find it endearing, reassuring, so anti-Washington. “Unhinged” is exactly what he has become and so should we all be – at the unending daily assaults he has weathered and the manner in which this election has taken place. There has been a 4 year witch hunt that has turned up ZERO evidence of wrong doing. On the contrary, from day one he has been spied upon, lied upon, and slandered. If any of Donald Trumps words on January 6th had really incited violence, every media outlet would have run that video on loop 24-7. That didn’t happen. The real “danger and pain” we should worry about is the ones Fr. Boquet calls attention to in this article: the government restrictions on the freedom of the practice of our Faith and the freedom of free speech.

  7. Maria C Chaves on January 21, 2021 at 3:23 PM

    Disheartening to see that Argentina has chosen to make abortion legal. We need to encourage people to Pray and Fast for the conversion of souls and an end to abortions and euthanasia. Sr. Emmanuel has a powerful video on the Power of Prayer and Fasting on youtube.

  8. HLI Staff on January 21, 2021 at 3:31 PM

    John, Bravo! You make many excellent points! Thank you so much for your support.

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