Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Terms of Service

"The terms, the terms, he doth accept the terms. He looks not smart..."

When essentially every motion of modern life involves a "corporation" then corporate "Terms of Service" (TOS) become the governing principle that overrides the Bill of Rights. This TOS Override has far reaching implications in the 21st century. If Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can say, "We're private. You can't say that on our private platform," then where does it end? If this precept is valid and consistently applied, then internet service providers can deny you web access and telecoms can deny you phone service for the very same reason. Indeed, every bank, insurance company, and health care provider can deny you service on the same basis as well. 

We've all clicked the "Agree" button on the "Terms of Service" from numerous corporations without reading them as the initiation ritual for gaining access to some application or software. It has catechized us on the principle that, "reading the fine print is unimportant, all that matters is our immediate, short-term desire." We're seeing the first, real, fine-print harvest laid up in bushels before us. God controls the weather. Let's pray for a crop failure. What's more, let's take steps to plow the field under by eliminating our entanglements with corporations who use TOS to oppose constitutional liberty. 

PS. The picture for this blog post comes from The Court Jester - a film that my family and I have enjoyed for many years. I have often described it as, "a perfect movie." I highly recommend it for a delightful, family-friendly respite from current events.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Social Media - I Shall Consider It

"I shall consider it."

In the increasingly fractured information maelstrom to which we seem inevitably consigned, I have two recommendations for Christian disciples as they interact with information:

1. Assess information from a variety of alternative sources with different perspectives in order to make well-reasoned inferences to approach the truth of some current event. We should afford people the liberty to share what they find with one another, to discuss it, and to consider one another's opinions alongside what scripture has to say on the matter (Proverbs 11:14), so that they may, "Prove all things: hold fast that which is good." (I Thessalonians 5:21). This may take some time given the sheer volume of information that surrounds us and the inconsistent or unreliable nature of many sources. 

2. Temper any zealous urge to quickly declare a new discovery"good." To credibly endorse something as "good" requires some measure of due diligence on our part to ensure we're not putting our stamp of approval on milk that's well past its expiration date and, worse still, offering it to others for a hearty swig. I've seen people reverse Paul's admonition to the Thessalonians by insisting, "Here's something GOOD!" long before they've proven any such thing. When encountering some idea on social media we should mimic Spock's measured response to Kirk in Mirror, Mirror: "I shall consider it." 




Monday, January 4, 2021

"Coronavirus" is Well-Named

By Elder David Pyles


Considering Coronavirus Alongside Other World Statistics

According to statistics at www.worldometers.com, 1.264 million people in the world have died of coronavirus as of this writing (11/9/2020). To put this number into perspective, consider some other world statistics published at the same site. Thus far this year: