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Writing in his History of Protestantism, J.A. Wylie introduces his readers to a 12th century reformer by the name of Arnold of Brescia. According to Wylie,

Arnold took his stand in the streets of his native Brescia, and began to thunder forth his scheme of reform. His townsmen gathered around him. For spiritual Christianity, the men of that age had little value, but Arnold had touched a chord in their hearts…the suddenness and boldness of the assault seem to have stunned the ecclesiastical authorities; and it was not until the Bishop of Brescia found his entire flock, deserting the cathedral, and assembling daily in the marketplace, crowding round the eloquent preacher, and listening to his fierce sermons, that he bestirred himself to silence the courageous monk…Arnold was seized, sent to Rome under a strong escort, and burned alive (Except taken from Ryan Denton’s Christ in the Wild Facebook page).

For Protestants unfamiliar with Rome’s long history of torturing and murdering anyone who stands against the ambitions of its prelates, this quote probably comes as something a shock. But for Rome, its treatment of Arnold of Brecia was business as usual.

Now the reader may be asking himself why I’ve elected to begin this installment on the activities of the Tech Left with an historical account straight out of the middle ages. What has this account to do with our current day Silicon Valley censors?

Hopefully the connection between Rome’s actions against Arnold of Brescia and the activities of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Apple aren’t too hard to see. For both the medieval Roman Church-State and the current day tech masters of the universe have this in common: They both seek to enforce the existing political, economic and social order by snuffing out the voices of anyone who dares challenge received opinion.

In truth, there’s little difference between the medieval Church of Rome and our present day techno tyrants. Yes, what Rome did was worse in that they physically arrested Arnold and brutally murdered him. At least for now, the Tech Left merely deletes your YouTube channel and bans you from Twitter.

But while no one currently is being burned alive, at least in the West, for writing a blog post challenging the Establishment opinion, Arnold of Brescia’s brutal execution serves as a stark reminder of why the preservation of free speech is so important, of why the framers of our Constitution prohibited Congress from infringing upon this right in the First Amendment, and of what could happen in the future if Americans, and in particular Christians, look the other way and remain silent while the Deep State, through its Big Tech proxies, attacks the free speech rights of conservatives, libertarians, and even progressives, who challenge the worldview put forth by the corporate media.

In last week’s installment, I discussed what Christians should not do in response to the Big Tech crack down on free speech. We should not:

  1. Fear: God is in charge, even of the Deep State.
  2. Forget that the problems we face ultimately are a spiritual battle.
  3. Fall for the lie that the Tech Left’s attack on free speech is merely a matter of private companies doing what they want with their own property. The Deep State, the permanent government represented especially by America’s intelligence agencies, is the one running the show.
  4. Not attempt to solve Big Tech censorship by calling for government regulation of the internet. To do this is to call for even bigger government to solve a problem created by big government in the first place.

Today in what I intend to be the final installment of this series, I would like to discuss what Christians should do about the Deep State’s use of Big Tech to regain control of the narrative – when I speak of controlling the narrative, I mean by this the ability to provide the context that gives meaning to current events;  as John Robbins has noted, events do not explain themselves, but themselves must be explained; by its ability to provide the context, the interpretive framework, the narrative through which the public views political, social and economic issues, the mainstream media has proven to be a powerful tool in the hands of elite interests which they use to further their own agenda by controlling what people think. 

For probably the first time in my life, the mainstream media, and by extension the elite interests who run it, lost narrative control during the run up to the 2016 Presidential election.  The result was President Trump.  By seeking to shut down down independent journalists and pundits, especially those with large audiences who write and speak on the big social media platforms, the elite are attempting to regain control of the narrative, and thus their ability to control the public’s worldview.

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SMC_Facebook_2Twitter Permanently Bans Alex Jones After New Violations ran the headline in the Wall Street Journal. A quick scan through the article informs the reader that it was due to a video Jones posted of his confrontation with a CNN reporter. The ban on Jones extended to Periscope, Twitter’s wholly owned video streaming service.

What the account does not tell you is that the CNN reporter Jones confronted, Oliver Darcy, has spent months essentially playing the role of tattletale, urging social media companies to remove Jones from their platform by alerting them about statements made by Jones that, at least in Darcy’s judgment, constitute a violation of the various platforms’ terms of service agreements.

On Septermber 8, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple had pulled Infowars apps from its App Store for violations of the company’s app-developer guidelines. Apple noted that the guidelines precluded apps from delivering content that is “offensive, insensitive, upsetting…or in exceptionally poor taste.” The company noted content could be banned for “mean-spirited references or commentary” about religion, race, sexual orientation and gender.

BuzzFeed notes that Apple declined comment on its decision to pull the Infowars apps, pointing to its App Store Review Guidelines.

It’s hard to keep track of just how many sites Jones has been permanently banned from. To this writer’s knowledge, the list includes: iTunes, the Apple App Store, Spotify, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube, Facebook and MailChimp.

This past week, the New York Times ran an article which amounted to a victory lap, the headline gleefully announcing Alex Jones Said Bans Would Strengthen Him. He Was Wrong. This is what liberalism has come to, America’s “newspaper of record” now celebrates the shutting down of debate and free speech.

If anything exposes the rank hypocrisy and intellectual bankruptcy of the mainstream media and the liberal establishment whose interests it represents, this is it.

Now it was not my intention today to write about the ongoing travails of Alex Jones. It would seem that enough has been said on that subject already. But then again, it’s hard to overstate the remarkable evil represented by the campaign to shut him down.

As independent investigative journalist Lee Stranahan noted in a segment last week, the mainstream media (MSM) has spent months setting up Jones for a deplatforming, which now appears to be complete.

The treatment Jones has received should alarm any fair minded person, especially Christians. It matters not whether one likes Jones work, hates it, or is entirely indifferent to it.

When private companies such as Facebook join together with government sponsored organizations such as the Atlantic Council to strangle free speech, this represents a fascist – I use the term fascist in its technical sense here, which is the merger of state and corporate powers; the Deep State embedded in the US federal government is using Facebook and other social media outlets as front organizations to do what they cannot do openly, usurp the first amendment – threat to all.

And no one more so than those who profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who are commanded by Jesus himself to go and to make disciples, to baptize and to teach. For this to happen, Christians must be able to speak. And if we Christians remain silent while the MSM, the Tech Left and the Deep State silence Alex Jones, is there any reason to think our ability to evangelize and preach will be spared from some future crackdown?

With these things in mind, just how should Christians react? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But, as YouTuber and Christian journalist Greg Hunter likes to point out, God consistently tells believers in his Word to “fear not.”

As Christians, we are not to fear the power of the Deep State. Our task is to pray that God would give us understanding about what is happening in the world around us and get to work applying his Word to the challenges of the day.

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We are facing an unprecedented, coordinated campaign… of deplatforming, shadow banning, filtering and other foul means of putting dissenting voices into a digital gulag. While the mailed globe belongs to the tech giants and the executives, the hand inside is the government’s.

– Jim Jatras

SMC_Facebook_2Early Saturday morning while frequenting a favorite website, I came across a headline that read “Tech Tyranny: The Cries Are Becoming Screams From the Rooftops.”

Curious, I clicked on the link which took me to an article on big tech censorship. At the bottom of the article was an embedded video of Tucker Carlson’s program from Friday night. Carlson, as it happened, had dedicated his entire 8/31 show to big tech censorship.

Since Carlson is one of the few mainstream journalists who rises to the level of interesting, my curiosity was piqued. But when I went to play the video, instead of Tucker Carlson’s show, the only thing that appeared on my screen were the words “This video has been removed because its content violated YouTube’s Terms of Service.”

“How’s that for irony,” I said aloud to no one in particular. “YouTube just made Carlson’s point for him.”

In fairness, when I went back and checked today, Carlson’s video was back up. So, at least for now, the Silicon Valley Ministry of Truth has deigned to allow us minions to view the program.

Now in response to the increasingly aggressive censorship of conservative, libertarian and other dissenting voices, some people have argued that as private companies, the tech giants – and here I’m referring to companies such as Google (Google owns YouTube), Facebook, Twitter and Apple, all of which have had a hand in attempting to silence conservatives – have a right to police their own platforms and boot whomever they want.

As a staunch defender of property rights, I agree. If YouTube wants to ban Alex Jones, as a private company they have every right to do so.

But what if it’s not quite as simple as that? As John Robbins noted, events do not explain themselves, but must themselves be explained. The rise of the internet has allowed those who dissent from the official narrative.  What do I mean by narrative?  By this term I mean the context in which various world events are explained.  The power to explain events is the power to place them within a larger context, that is, within a larger narrative.

Mika Brzenziski of MSNBC famously let the cat out of the bag when she openly complained about Donald Trump’s challenging the mainstream media’s ability to control explanations. She was concerned that Trump had undermined the media’s messaging ability and that he was telling “people exactly what to think.” She continued, “That is our job [telling people exactly what to think].”

What if all the attacks on those who dissent from the official narrative as put forth by the government and the government’s willing accomplices in the press are not just a case of private firms using private means to police their platforms? What if this represents an attempt by the Deep State and by its establishment supporters to regain control of the narrative from independent online journalists by silencing them?

What if Jim Jatras is right and that the Tech Left’s, “unprecedented, coordinated campaign…of deplatforming, shadow banning, filtering and other foul means of putting dissenting voices into digital gulags,” is being done at the behest of powerful, vested interests in the government and the tech companies are merely the Deep State’s means of carrying out its attempt to regain narrative control?

If this is correct, then the deplatforming, shadow banning etc. we’ve seen over the past couple years, and especially the past few months, isn’t just a case of private companies behaving badly, but represents the merger of state and corporate powers – the merger of state and corporate powers is the classic definition of fascism – to control what people think.

It is the studied opinion of this author that this is precisely what is going on. Or as the quote from Jim Jatras at the top of this post reads, “While the mailed glove belongs to the tech giants and the executives, the hand inside is the government’s.”

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SMC_Facebook_2“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19).

These familiar words of Jesus commonly are known to Christians as the Great Commission. While not the only call for evangelism in the New Testament, they certainly are an important proof text supporting the call of Christians to evangelize the lost.

The Apostle Paul provides another proof text in his epistle to the Romans. In Chapter 10 he writes, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?’ (Romans 10:14, 15).

Now someone may ask what these passages have to do with the topic at hand, the tech left’s attack on free speech and why Christians, and especially Christians, should object to it.

It is my hope that a little thought would make the relationship between these two passages and the issue at hand clear. Christianity is a religion of the Word. And how to people hear that Word? From a preacher. If the Word cannot be spoken and written, if it cannot be communicated to unbelievers, they have no chance of coming to faith in Christ.

Further, Christ commands us to go, to make disciples and to teach all his commandments. To fulfill this commandment, Christians must use words. That is to say, they must be able both to speak and to write.

For any civil magistrate to prohibit or to attempt to prohibit Christians from speaking freely means to prohibit them from doing the very thing Christ himself commanded his disciples to do. This represents an enormous abuse of power by the civil authorities and is itself a great evil.

Someone may object to my reasoning here by saying that internet censorship is not being done by the civil authorities, but rather by private companies who have the right to regulate traffic on their websites. This may seem like a plausible argument, but as I hope to show next week, Big Tech as represented by companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter are not acting on their own when they deplatform conservative and libertarian political commentary. Rather, in this author’s opinion, these companies really are acting on behalf of Deep State to censor views it deems dangerous to its cause.

As some have put it, the Deep State has simply outsourced censorship, which in the United States cannot be done directly by government officials due to the First Amendment, to private corporations which are to a significant degree under the control of the Deep State.

As I noted last week, I hope to lay out the case that it’s the globalist Deep State that’s largely behind the push for social media censorship. Lord willing, I plan to make this case next week.

For this week’s installment, I’d like to continue with additional examples of deplatforming found in the Scriptures. Last seek we looked at deplatforming in the Old Testament. This week, our focus will be on deplatforming in the New Testament.

Deplatforming in the New Testament

Although the deplatformings recorded in the New Testament happened many hundreds of years after those we looked at last week in the Old Testament, the spirit, the purpose, behind them is the same. In both cases, it is the vested power interests attempting to quash any challenge to their authority.

The premier examples of deplatforming and attempted deplatforming in the New Testament can be found in the life of Jesus Christ himself. Throughout his earthly ministry, the Jewish religious authorities were Jesus greatest enemies and constantly sought out ways to silence him.

In one case, ordinary Synagogue members attempted to deplatform Christ by throwing him off a hill in Nazareth when they decided they didn’t like his sermon.

And in the end it was the combined efforts of the Jewish leaders, the Jewish people and the Roman civil authorities who joined forces to temporarily succeed in deplatforming Jesus when they brutally executed him on the cross.

Worth noting is the reason why the Jewish religious leaders and some of the Jewish people wanted Christ killed. It was not what Jesus did, but what Jesus said that drew their wrath.

Consider this passage from John’s Gospel. “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?’ The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God’ ” (John 10:31-33).

Note well that it was what Jesus said, not what he did, that so angered these people, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You…make Yourself God.”

Consider another example, this one recorded by Luke. Early in his ministry, Luke tells us that Jesus went into the synagogue in Nazareth and there read the Scriptures and preached.

Jesus’ hometown crowd was on his side at first, but quickly became hostile when he recounted how the prophet Elijah was sent outside the covenant to Zaraphath to help a widow suffering from the famine and how Naaman alone was cured of leprosy by Elisha.

Luke tells us these good church goers were “filled with wrath” and led Jesus outside the city where they planned to throw him off a cliff. That’s deplatforming with a vengeance.

Note that here, as with incident recorded by John, the impetus for the attempt of Jesus life was what he said, not what he did.

At Jesus trial before the elders of the people and the chief priests, once again we see Jesus words were what got him in trouble. Luke notes that Jesus interlocutors asked him if he were the Son of God. When Jesus told them, “You rightly say that I am,” they rested their case, saying, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

John the Baptist also was deplatformed for what he said. In John’s case, his speech got him imprisoned and beheaded.

As Matthew tells us, Herod had John thrown in prison, “Because John had said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her [Herodias, his brother Phillips wife].’ ” Matthew records that Herod would have killed John for his saying but for the fact that he feared the people, who regarded John as a prophet.

Peter and John are another example of deplatforming. They were arrested for their preaching (speech) in the temple and dragged before the Sanhedrin who “commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”

This is noteworthy, for Peter had just performed a miracle, healing a man who had been lame since birth. The Sanhedrin even admitted that “a notable miracle had been done” through the apostles. But the Sanhedrin did not order Peter and John not to perform miracles, they ordered them not to speak nor teach in the name of Jesus. It was the apostles’ speaking that concerned the Sanhedrin, not their miracle working.

Acts chapter 5 recounts how Peter and John were arrested and deplatformed a second time. On this occasion, there were not brought directly before the Sanhedrin, but were imprisoned. Scripture tells us that an angel of the Lord came and brought them out of prison, telling them, “God, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

Once again, we see the emphasis laid on the apostles preaching, their speaking, not on their miracle working. The angel did not tell them to go to the temple and heal people. He told them to preach.

The Biblical emphasis could not be more clear. Christianity is about words. It’s about understanding. It’s about belief. In order to understand and agree with the Gospel, one first has to hear the words of the Gospel. In order to hear and believe the Gospel, the information must be communicated in words.

The ministry experience of the Apostle Paul mirrors that of the examples above. Time and again Paul found himself in trouble, not for what he did, but for what he said.

Any number of examples could be brought forth to buttress this point. One example comes right after his conversion on the Damascus road. Acts chapter 9 records how Paul “Immediately…preached Christ in the synagogues,” and that he, “confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus was is the Christ.”

So how did the Jews in Damascus react to Paul’s preaching. Acts tells us they, “plotted to kill him.”

Another example of deplatforming can be seen in Paul’s speech to the crowd at the temple. Paul was addressing an already hostile crowd when he told of his commission by Christ to go to the Gentiles.

Acts notes that the crowd listed until Paul said “Gentiles” and then started to riot, crying out, tearing their clothes and throwing dust in the air. This resulted in Paul’s arrest, spending many years in jail, and being taken to Rome to appeal to Caesar. Paul was deplatformed because of what he said.

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So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “[There is] still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (1 Kings 22:8).

The First Amendment deals with the issues of free speech and the freedom of religion. It’s not an accident that these two concepts are linked. For Christianity, and it was Christianity that the framers of the Constitution had in mind, is a religion of the Word. “How can they hear without a preacher?” was Paul’s rhetorical question to the Romans. The obvious answer is that unless men are free to preach the Gospel, sinners never will hear of salvation by belief alone in Christ Jesus.

Christianity’s emphasis that salvation comes only by understanding, and agreeing with, the propositions of Scripture, requires that men be able to speak that truth freely. Hence it is every Christian’s concern that the liberty to speak and to discuss the Word of God not be inhibited by legal restrictions.

And because Christians are commanded to treat others as they themselves would like to be treated, one of the implications of Christianity is that all should enjoy to right to freely discuss their ideas without fear of legal sanction. In a Christian society, there are no such things as thought crimes. We leave that mistaken notion to the Marxists, the fascists, and other authoritarians.

Christianity is not, as the ACLU would like you to believe, hostile to free speech. Rather, it is it’s only source and guarantor.

Because free speech is both an implication of Christianity and necessary to its propagation, the maintenance of free and open discussion is of great importance to Christians. Likewise, when free speech is threatened, it is incumbent upon Christians to come to its defense. If, when the free speech comes under attack, Christians remain silent, we do so, not only to our shame, but to our own harm as well.

It is with these thoughts in mind that I undertook to write about the deplatforming of Alex Jones and other prominent conservative and libertarian thinkers last week, and it is why I’m writing about it again this week. Whatever one may think of Alex Jones, Mark Dice, Diamond and Silk, Daniel McAdams and Peter Van Buren – whether you love them, hate them, or never watch them, it matters not – the fact that these individuals and others have been the targets of an apparently coordinated attack by Big Tech is a matter of great concern.

If Christians stand by and say nothing while Apple, Spotify, Facebook, and Twitter deplatform Alex Jones simply because they don’t like what he says, they should not be surprised when these same organizations target them for deplatforming at some point in the future when it becomes politically expedient to do so.

Now, some may argue that these are private companies, and private companies have the right to regulate what is said on their own platforms. I agree. But that said, I am also of the opinion that there is more to this situation than private businesses simply running their social media platforms in the way they see fit.

A strong circumstantial case can be made that the deplatforming of conservative and libertarian voices – a deplatforming that has been going on for some time and one which has recently picked up steam – is really a joint venture of between privately owned social media enterprises and the Deep State, the permanent, unelected government that largely runs the country the way it wants to, regardless of what politicians happen to be in power.

Lord willing, I shall make that case in a future installment. But for today, I’d like to dig a bit deeper into the Scriptures to show just how strong the Biblical support for free speech is.

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We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to,” said then President Obama in Pittsburgh in October 2016.

The President continued, “There has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard, because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world.”

In the opinion of this author, those are some of the most chilling words any president has ever spoken. In all but name, Obama called for the government to establish a 1984 style ministry of truth. Perhaps more chilling, not many people took notice or seemed to care.

Perhaps the lack of attention could be chalked up to the timing of Obama’s remarks, made, as they were, less than a month before the most contentious presidential election in recent memory.

In light of the events of the last two years, and especially those of last week, a week that saw the coordinated takedown of Alex Jones by the biggest social media platforms, it’s this author’s contention that Obama’s statement ought to be seen as a declaration of war by the deep state on internet free speech.

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FacebookIn the wake of the simultaneous banning of Alex Jones from a number of major social media platforms, some professed conservatives have argued that this was not a violation of the first amendment.

Why is that? As David French argued in his recent New York Times editorial, “[T]here is not First Amendment violation when a private company chooses to boot anyone off a private platform.”

Many times in this space I have argued for the right of private companies to ban whom they wish for whatever reason they wish, for the simple reason that, quite literally, it’s their business.

But when it comes to social media giants such as YouTube (wholly owned by Google), Facebook and Twitter, are these organizations as private as they make themselves out to be.

Google has many known links to the CIA, for example.

And Facebook? It would seem that it’s not free from government influence as well.

For example, just this spring, Facebook excitedly announced a partnership with the Atlantic Council, which, “would help it [Facebook] better spot disinformation during upcoming world elections,” say, for example, the November mid-terms.

So just what is the Atlantic Council? Facebook’s announcement described it as a “Washington D.C. – based think tank.” This is true but inadequate.

There are lots of think tanks based in Washington D.C., but the Atlantic Council is a special kind of think tank. You see, the Atlantic Council is NATO’s think tank. And NATO is largely funded by the US government. It would even be fair to say that NATO is part of the globalist Deep State security industrial complex.

So what you have here is a private company partnering with a public institution. A merger of state and corporate powers, if you will.

And what is the name used to describe the merger of state and corporate powers?

The merger of state and corporate powers is the classic definition of fascism.

So was Facebook’s banning of Alex Jones just Mark Zuckerberg minding his own business in his own way, or was it the result of his new found partnership with the Deep State in the form of the Atlantic Council?

We can’t say for sure, but I don’t like the smell.


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