Friday, April 3, 2009

The Message Has Been Disintermediated

Daniel Hannan, the straight-talking MEP whose video chastising the British prime minister has gone viral, has a terrific blog post up today talking about the liberal fury at their loss of control of the media--and thus the message:

Peter Wilby thinks I'm "a fool". According to the former editor of the New Statesman: "The online success of Daniel Hannan's speech about Gordon Brown to the European Parliament - it reached the top of YouTube's 'Most Viewed' list and has 'gone viral' - proves what we knew: the internet lacks quality control."

Yup. That's the thing about the internet: it turns the quality filters off. Until very recently, few of us could get political news direct from source. It had to be interpreted for us by a BBC man with a microphone or a newspaper's political correspondent. Now, though, people can make their own minds up. The message has been disintermediated.

It is striking that those who seem most upset by the development - pundits such as Mr Wilby and The Guardian's Michael White - tend to be on the Left. Perhaps they sense that the Left has the most to lose. What Mr Wilby seems to mean when he complains that the internet "lacks quality control" is not that my speech was ungrammatical or shoddily constructed, but that its content was disagreeable. The quality filters he evidently has in mind would screen out points of view that he considers unacceptable: that taxes are too high, that present borrowing levels are unsustainable, that Britain would flourish outside the EU, that we could do more to repatriate illicit migrants.

I love the sentence "The message has been disintermediated." What a pithy way to sum up the situation today, when people can access news and information that goes far, far beyond the predictable slant of most newspaper and television news.

This is, of course, why some members of Congress here in America periodically talk about reinstating the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." The president is not in favor of that, though, so unless the Democrats try to sneak legislation of this variety in under some other name, chances are that the "Fairness Doctrine" will stay on the shelf--for now.

But I can imagine that as the new mandate to redefine marriage sweeps through more liberal judiciaries, more than a few liberals, especially those in Congress, are going to wish that the Fairness Doctrine were still in force. It's going to be pretty hard to indoctrinate the people into laying down their religious freedoms and clapping for Jack and Jim, or for Jill and Jane; the people are probably going to complain, and a lot of that complaining is going to be via the new media sources: websites, blogs, video-sharing sites, and the like.

Meanwhile, the solemn pontificators of the liberal party line are teetering; even the New York Times is fearful of its survival. These liberal voices won't, of course, examine the possibility that maybe the people are tired of being spoon-fed mindless liberal mush explaining why gay marriage is super-terrific but Christians who homeschool are a shady bunch, much to be feared; no, the decline in circulation is because too many uppity pajama-clad citizens think they can offer news and opinions without a deferential nod in the direction of the Gray Lady, and the absence of enforced fairness means the Times just can't compete amateurs who do this sort of thing for fun.

Because, fret the major news organizations, the Internet writers lack "quality control." Or just plain control, as Hannan says.


Irenaeus said...

I like this guy.

I also hope the NYT fails and rots.

Rich said...

Without wading into this issue too much, I would be curious to know why you feel that legalizing gay marriage equates to forcing people to lay down their religious freedoms?

Irenaeus said...

I suspect, Rich, she'll say it does so because in point of fact it's started to. Already in Canada people who articulate pro-family, anti-homosexualist positions are facing fines, being dragged before "Human Rights Commissions". New Mexico has such a thing already. When gay rights become protected by law, free speech for religious folk will be imperiled.

Here's another example near and dear to me: when gay rights, including gay marriage, become normative and defended by state and federal law, Christian schools with statements of faith such as the one at which I teach will find themselves severely constrained and threatened in terms of student access to financial aid and accreditation. We won't be allowed, since the government has its hands in everything to an unseemly degree, to order our common life as we would like.

The long and the short of it is that gay rights have already shown themselves to be a threat to free speech and free exercise.

Irenaeus said...

Or try this one: what happens when a lesbian couple approaches a practicing Catholic OB-GYN for in vitro, something which Catholic moral theology forbids? If the doctor doesn't do it, she'll lose her license for discrimination or something or other.

Or another: schooling. What happens when I want to teach my kids that the heterosexual family is normative, but, because the government sanctions the impossibility called gay marriage, the public school, which the government and society through subtle economic and cultural pressure impels me to send my kids to, teaches them otherwise?

Religion isn't a private matter that concerns, say, private devotions in our homes or once-weekly worship before kickoff on Sunday. Religion concerns how we interact with others and with society in our professions, in schooling, . As citizens Christian and non-Christian we're all connected; individualism is a myth.

Red Cardigan said...

Irenaeus has pretty well covered this for me, Rich!

But I'll add some other examples:

-Christian marriage counselors who don't believe gay "marriages" are valid, yet who must counsel such couples or lose their licenses;

-Textbooks being rewritten to highlight gay "families" in pictures and stories, which even private schools are expected to buy and use;

-Government "anti-discrimination" programs which consistently equate opposition to gay marriage to bigotry and hate, thus defining Catholicism and other traditional faiths as bigotry and hate;

-Societal acceptance and approval of those "Catholics" (or others in traditional religions) who openly defy Church teaching on gay marriage and spread the lie that it's possible to be a believing Christian/Catholic while accepting and approving of the evil that is gay marriage,

and so on.

The only reason gay activists want marriage "rights" is because they want to stifle and destroy any opposition to their sinful lifestyles. Having already achieved the right to live openly as actively gay people, there's no reason to clamor for marriage *except* because some people refuse to celebrate their depravity, instead calling it what it is--sin. The push for marriage is a push to make it socially unacceptable and even illegal to criticize gay relationships and gay sex at all, and anyone who thinks the churches won't be affected by this is being rather optimistic, all things considered.