Tweet others as you would like to be tweeted

Listening to a symposium on social media and the 1st Amendment hosted by Georgetown University and the Knight First Amendment Institute I heard the above permutation of the ‘Golden Rule’. The entire hour and forty minute panel discussion was interesting but a short part of it near the end caught my attention. One of the panelists, Sarah Jeong of the New York Times, in describing the problems that social media companies encounter in trying to filter out prohibited ‘speech’ made the following observation:

There is something at the foundation of these companies that is quite poisonous, something that feeds off how much human beings love to hate each other. And limiting that instinct instead of promoting it, I think there is a tech solution in that sense. That said, I don’t know, there are bigger political, geopolitical things going on that I think we are all really afraid to talk about, and we would much rather talk about the tech stuff.

What could the “bigger political, geopolitical things” be that we are afraid to talk about?

Sin and human nature.

As the excerpt linked to above shows, Ms. Jeong’s comment was immediately responded to by another panelist with a reflection on the noble and benign intentions at the inception of what has become our digital wasteland that may be viewed as a bizarre and vain attempt at ‘whistling past the graveyard’.

Besides both subsuming and bursting ‘political/geopolitical’ concepts, it is likely such ideas would be unfamiliar to the panelists. However, as long as we avert our eyes from our fallen nature we will continue to be baffled by the perversity of human behavior and bedeviled by its pernicious and protean manifestations. Seeking technological solutions to spiritual problems may mitigate some aspects of human sinfulness but only the grace of confession and repentance available through Christ and his church will lead us out of the tangled webs we have woven. For our modern progressives, like those on the panel, sin and its entrenched place in the human heart is alien and retrograde.

Would that the heads of Silicon Valley social media companies, in lincolnesque fashion, publicly confess their complicity in abetting the darkest instincts of our nature. Where are our Prophets calling them out? Here is something that comes close…

Yonder Comes Sin

You wanna talk to me,
you got many things to say.
You want the spirit to be speaking through,
but your lust for comfort get in the way.
I can read it in your eyes, oh, what your
Heart will not reveal.
And that old evil burden has been draggin’ you down,
bound to grind you ‘neath the wheel.
Yonder comes sin.

(Walkin’ like a man, talkin’ like an angel)
Yonder comes sin.
(Proud like a peacock, swift like an eagle)
Look at your feet, see where they’ve been to.
Look at your hands, see what they been into.
Can’t you take it on the chin?
Yonder comes sin.

You see this woman standin’ next to me?
She’s foreign to your sight.
Well, her eyes may be a different color than mine,
but her blood is red and her bones are white.
You’ve been seeking them eternal, spiritual things,
but your fifty-dollar smile confirms
You’re still tryin’ to buy your way into the dreams of them
Whose bodies will be food for worms.
Yonder comes sin.

(Ready and steady, willing and able)
Yonder comes sin.
(Standin’ on the chair, standin’ on the table)
Look at your feet, see where they’ve been to
Look at your hands, see what they’ve been into.
Can’t you take it on the chin?
Yonder comes sin.

I say: See them six wild horses, honey.
You say: I don’t even see one.
You say: Point them out to me, love.
I say: Honey I got to run
My brother’s blood is crying from the grave
but you can’t hear the voice.
I stand in jeopardy every hour,
Wonderin’ what reason you have to rejoice.
Yonder comes sin.

(Down on your knees, down into the ditches)
Yonder comes sin.
(Vomiting up jewels, vomiting up riches)
Look at your feet see where they’ve been to.
Look at your hands, see what they’ve been into.
Enough to put you to tail-spin.
Yonder comes sin.

Jeremiah preached repentance
To those that would turn from hell.
But the critics all gave him such bad reviews
Put him down at the bottom of a well
kept on talking, anyway.
As the people were put into chains
Wasn’t nobody there to say “Bon voyage”
or shatter any bottles of champagne.
Yonder comes sin

(Cracking that whip, just like a feather)
Yonder comes sin.
(Put a knife in your back while talking about the weather)
Look at your feet see where they’ve been to.
Look at your hands, see what they’ve been into.
Can you take it on the chin.
Yonder comes sin

High cost of survival
Gets a little higher than you expect.
When you’re trying to get along with your enemies
And still maintain your self-respect.
As a child you knew all there was to know
It just couldn’t get expressed.
Now it scares me to see what you accept as good.
At one you wouldn’t have settled for less than the best.
Yonder comes sin.

(Way down deep and dirty, not a day under thirty)
Yonder comes sin.
(Tasting like peaches, hanging on like leaches)
Look at your feet see where they’ve been to.
Look at your hands, see what they’ve been into.
So masculine, so feminine.
Yonder comes sin.

You turn your back on the hard truth
Just to fatten up your purse.
Sings of an unrighteous world
Dare the same thing as a curse.
No kingdom made of human hands can stand.
Too bad about MacBeth.
In order to possess that corruptible crown
Gotta make a deal with Mr Death.
Yonder comes sin.

(Can you comprehend it, can you understand it)
Yonder comes sin.
(It rules the airways, it rules the planet)
Look at your feet see where they’ve been to.
Look at your hands, see what they’ve been into.
Take off that sheepish grin.
Yonder comes sin

There’s a place down in your soul
Where the law can never touch.
You do most likely what you please
And not think about too much.
I’ll be down the line when morning comes.
And that I pulled the hood up for you
So that you could see real good your uninvited guest.
Yonder comes sin.

(It’s a pleasure to meet ya, nice to have known ya)
Yonder comes sin.
(It wants to kill you, it wants to own you)
Look at your feet see where they’ve been to.
Look at your hands, see what they’ve been into.
Being pulled in all directions by the wind.
Yonder comes sin.

– Bob Dylan

(Like many old gospel songs this was based on a secular tune – Ma Rainey’s Yonder Comes the Blues)

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