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The Curse of Innovation?

07/20/2021

I know very little about Catholicism but was anxious to read the article in last weekend’s “Wall Street Journal” entitled “Is Pope Francis Leading the Church To a Schism?”

The word – schism – has great significance to that faith, as it recalls the division and the separateness created by Martin Luther in 1517.  Catholics seem to dread it.

Today’s Catholic Church is mired in controversary that could loosely be described as liberal versus conservative views on social issues and on procedural issues.  (The conservative wing is primarily based in Germany and Africa, of all places.)  Their ugly split is not entirely unlike the Great Divide in America.

The article notes that the cause of the Martin Luther schism was the invention of printing – think Gutenberg Bible.  It goes further saying “modern communications technology has facilitated controversy on a global basis.”  Interesting . . .

Do advances in technology cause conflict?  It reminds me of the current debate over the value/harm of social media.  How do you measure social good and social harm?  It is not a social good to publish how to make an atomic bomb, is it?

The CEO of Facebook fancies himself the Great Protector of the First Amendment, which justifies even the spread of dangerous misinformation about Covid.  In a moment of clarity, President Biden referred to social media companies as killers, and he is right.

Given their abuse of the First Amendment, as well as their 24/7 assault on privacy, social media companies are no better than cigarette companies, who have also been referred to as killers and should be regulated every bit as closely.

Since innovation creates controversy, the question becomes:  how do we manage the controversy created . . . when the First Amendment is already so abused?

 

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