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"Spoiler Alert"

July 21, 2021

Leadership Notes

You know when you read something about a television series or a movie and they lead with *Spoiler Alert*? Something is about to be revealed about the plot or outcome that, if you haven't watched it yet, will ruin the ending or twist for you.

I'm issuing an alert for what I'm writing about today. This Leadership Note isn't primarily about the Bible, theology, or church life. It is political, the theme of which can be reasonably argued to include the Bible, theology, and church life as a subset. Proceed with caution!

As I remember it, back in March of 2020, we all {almost all} agreed to certain restrictions/protocols in order to flatten the Covid-19 curve. Not to eradicate it but to slow it down. It's transmission and lethality among certain segments of the population was a given. The goal was to not overrun health care systems and long-term care facilities. Sacrifices were made. Businesses suffered. Children were short-changed a decent education. Deaths in other areas increased because of these restrictions.

Some people drove in their cars, alone, with masks on. Others wore masks to walk down to their mailboxes. Did people think Covid-19 death was lurking around every corner, waiting to pounce? Fear is a heck of a motivator.

Once a little bit of freedom is willingly given up, political/bureaucratic controllers will reach for more. It's not long before the general human proclivity toward statism finds greater footing. We are sinful, fallen people, after all. And a lot of people, it seems, when the stakes are high and the threats looming, prefer more safety and security and less freedom. It's almost like a reasonable trade-off.

Because fascism carries too much baggage, I prefer statism as a better description of the authoritarian nature of governmental rule we are slowly creeping toward. Like the proverbial frog in the kettle, it's something we shouldn't ignore, at our peril.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald writes, "The Biden administration is telling Facebook which posts it regards as 'problematic' so that Facebook can remove them. This is the union of corporate and state power -- one of the classic hallmarks of fascism -- that the people who spent 5 years babbling about fascism support."

This is a fact. Over the weekend, while the President jumbled his administration's message, the point was clear. They are in regular touch with social media platforms about Covid-19-related misinformation in order to flag problematic posts for Facebook.

Interesting question is, who is making those decisions and by what criteria do they decide? The answer seems to be those elected politicians and appointed bureaucrats who are our betters will decide, thank you very much, now go back about your business.

Again, Greenwald, continues, "If you don't find it deeply disturbing that the White House is 'flagging' internet content that they deem 'problematic' to their Facebook allies for removal, then you are definitionally an authoritarian. No other information is needed about you to know that."

How much of this is being reported on by the mainstream media? How many of us are concerned about these trends? These kinds of erosions of our freedoms tend to happen incrementally, attached to good intentions. You don't want problematic posts on Facebook to be monitored? Then you must want grandma to die!

Anytime someone comes along to change the way things are, they almost always underestimate how deeply ingrained authoritarianism is in the government bureaucracy, whose primary goal is to maintain the status quo. Hidden in that maintenance is the cost in freedom.

I saw a car in our church parking lot with the "Don't Tread on Me" motto on the license plate frame. I love it. As people endowed by God with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, I pray we never take them for granted. We have been created by God to be a free people. We must remain ever vigilant in freedom's cause.

With Much Love and Affection,


P.S. While there's no Spurgeon this week, here's something from Albert Camus:

"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants."

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