Cookie Schwaeber-Issan

Do You Want To Be Controlled?

Over two decades ago, someone let the toothpaste out of the tube, and now the very same people who were overjoyed to see the advent of the Internet are now trying to figure out how to get that substance back in its casing in order “to protect us all.”

As Dan Perry, in his JPost, 4/27/22 article entitled, “Trolls, Trump and a Twitter tale foretold,”  wrote, “Social media has done good by enabling high school chums to reconnect, hosting open and real-time debate on a global scale, and spawning a golden age of kitten images and cute baby portraits which add a version of good karma to the world.” He then goes on to depict the downside of the Internet by citing how damaging it has been for teens as it relates to body image issues and how it has also been a vehicle for “spreading misinformation, lies and fomenting conflict.”

Most of us hadn’t been born yet, but it was on December 5, 1933 that prohibition, (a barring of the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors) was overturned. The whole idea of prohibition, which extended from 1920-1933, was designed as a measure to reduce crime and corruption, among other considerations, but those were probably chief among the list. Yet, even with what appeared to be a highly moral aspiration, prohibition was said to have been a huge failure.

For one thing, it enabled organized crime to take over the forbidden industry, thereby, ironically, causing crime to flourish more than ever. It also prevented governmental financial gain, through taxation, something badly needed at a time called “The Great Depression” when poverty was rampant and human suffering was at a premium.

Proponents for prohibition voiced their objections to alcohol consumption, admonishing how demoralizing it was to the values of a Christian society majority. But, of course, in the end, everything can be overturned when it benefits a political agenda, and that’s exactly what happened in this case as the lofty ideal became just too expensive to support.

As with everything else in life that has its good and bad side, once the purchase of alcohol became legal, it was up to the individual to responsibly use it in a way that would not destroy them or the society in which they lived. That’s true with food consumption as well. The inability to clamp down on one’s intake of all the delectable varieties of food available to us in the marketplace, can result in serious consequences to one’s health and even contribute to an early demise through obesity.

So, it strikes me odd that given today’s climate, where certain groups are promoting the idea of censorship for the sake of banning “disinformation” in order to maintain a pure and unadulterated flow of information, that they would not also consider initiating food rationing in order to make sure everyone is prevented from purchasing too much food.

Does this type of rationale seem ludicrous? That’s because it is!

While most things in life have a downside when overindulging in them, there are some things which present a greater potential for misuse, danger and fallout. Those things generally involve the proclivity for addictive behavior such as drugs, alcohol and, in this case, Internet use. However, even good and desirable things can have their risks. One example is sex.

While, the act of sex was meant to be the culmination of the love shared between two people who married, we know that sex strayed very far from that intended place, even to the point of becoming a paid industry which enslaved people and one which, in many cases, turned into an obsession which often resulted in crime – thus the name, “Crimes of Passion.”

Yet, sex still remains the way we procreate our species, a warm and comforting expression of love and desire as well as an act which is still admired and looked upon as a great positive.

There is simply no end to the examples of abuses in every arena of life, so why single out social media which, just as anything else, has an upside and a downside, all in an attempt to limit what can freely be posted, read and disseminated?  Because if your food, drink or love-making preferences were being threatened with limits set by someone who determined that they knew what was best for you, there’s no doubt that you and everyone else would be screaming bloody murder!

So why is it any different when it comes to what you should be able to read, how you should be able to think and to what conclusions you should be permitted to arrive?  It all comes down to the desire to control and whether or not you are prepared to relinquish your freedom of access to someone who promises they have your best interests at heart as they claim to be doing it for your own good as well as the good of society as a whole.

While it all does center around someone else’s desire to control you, the ultimate goal cannot take place without your consent. Each one of us, as human beings who possess both great talents and great frailties, are equally capable of distinguishing good from evil, right from wrong and wisdom from foolishness. We are also capable of using our own brains to filter out erroneous information from proven fact, so why in the world would we place all of our faith and reliance upon other flawed individuals who have yet to attain perfection or immortality?

The opening of Pandora’s box may have, indeed, released a fair amount of plagues upon humanity, but it also released a great deal of convenience, benefit and blessing. The key is to know how to use it in order to enjoy those benefits rather than allowing it to be a vehicle for corrupt or nefarious purposes. The Internet is no different from the other minefields of life which are accompanied by their dangers.

But the temptation to, in this case, throw out the baby with the bathwater by saying that its potential for danger is greater than anything else is true folly. Because the moment you agree to its control and outsourcing to others, who believe have a better aptitude than the rest of us for recognizing the peril, is nothing more than granting consent for others to control you!

For now, it’s still your choice. Make the right one by thinking for yourself.

About the Author
A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.
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