Social Media, Loneliness, and Isolation

Two recent articles in the Federalist are related to this blog’s theme of “relationships, power, and freedom.”  Both articles are packed with insights and I highly recommend you click on the links below and read them.

The Loneliness of Not Knowing Ourselves by D.C. McAllister and What Abortion Selfies Tell us about American Community, by Ben Domenech explore how social media seem to have made people more isolated, not less.  Ironically, social media can provide only a faint illusion of connection with others.  For too many, it’s become little more than veil for loneliness, making it even worse.  One danger is that as  people become more alienated and isolated, they become more susceptible to manipulation and control.

Without the real connection of being in the physical presence of others, McAllister, notes, we cannot really be known either to ourselves or someone else.   We can’t really share.  She adds:  “And that is what we want. That is what human connection is all about. It’s being known. This is one of the great themes (and great comforts) of Scripture. We are known by God. Before we were born, he knew us (Jer. 1:5), he knows us better than we know ourselves (Rom. 8:27), the Shepherd knows his sheep (John 10:14), our Creator has searched us and knows us—and still loves us (Psalm 139).

Earlier this month, Ben Domenech reflected upon the decision of an abortion counselor to film her own surgical abortion and try to put a positive spin on it by posting the video to the internet:

“The concept of the abortion selfie is in some ways an inevitable consequence of an increasingly atomized culture. Consider instead the lure that would motivate one to seek to share this moment, and then to share in the reaction to this moment from social media, and then to share again in the reaction to that reaction in the pages of Cosmo. This is an individual seeking out the affirmation and attention of others – for good or ill, it is an attempt to find a community, a grasping for a sense of belonging.”

And I believe he is exactly right.  Her act was not only destructive of life and so much else, but it was also an act motivated by an urge for attention and validation, a craving for community. My hope is that as we better understand this motivation in human beings, we might learn how to breach the walls and overcome the forces that separate us.

 

How Personal Relationships Threaten the Power of the State

Have you noticed a recent push to keep single people single?  It’s out there.  Click here for my latest essay at The Federalist:  “How Personal Relationships Threaten the Power of the State.”  It  examines advice given across the board to all single working class mothers:  “Don’t get married.”  Specifically, a recent article at Slate, co-authored by two feminist legal scholars, states that single mothers should “Just say no” to marriage.

So what’s with that?  Of course marriage is a choice and it’s impossible to discern whether or not the choice is a good one without knowing all of the  details and circumstances in any given case.  But the Slate piece comes down almost as a manifesto claiming that these moms ( never mind their children) are better off going it alone.

But if we step back, we can see a bigger picture emerging.  It’s as though individuals in our society are being nudged today towards isolation, away from human companionship that is autonomous and real — and pushed into a sterile form of “community” in which the state calls all of the shots in our lives.  Perhaps that’s why it seems those pushing big government agendas seem unfriendly — and even hostile — towards strong personal relationships.

Here’s an excerpt from the Federalist piece:

Strong relationships are about teamwork:  real communication, real cooperation, real trust, and real fellowship.  How might individuals seek to cultivate these things?  They can, you know, if government gets out of the way.  And teamwork is about self-sacrifice, which is a dirty word these days.  Yes, strong relationships may be difficult to produce.  But that’s what makes them strong.  The blacksmith analogy is apt:  the tempering of the iron in the fire – as with a relationship through trials — will give it shape and strength.

But the really dirty little secret statists would rather you not know is this:  strong relationships of mutual self-sacrifice yield the greatest prosperity of every kind – spiritual, emotional, and material – for everyone.

The hunger for strong family relationships will persist.  Social engineers can only offer weak “communitarian” relationships as cheap imitations for the real thing, which, in the end, is real, human love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Doctor-Patient Relationship IS the Practice of Medicine”

I was so pleased when a friend sent my way  this Wall Street Journal op-ed written by a physician who spells it out:   Obamacare is essentially all about meddling in the doctor-patient relationship.

Here are some excerpts from the fantastic essay by Daniel F. Craviotto, Jr., an orthopedic surgeon from Santa Barbara, California:

“In my 23 years as a practicing physician, I’ve learned that the only thing that matters is the doctor-patient relationship. How we interact and treat our patients is the practice of medicine. . . . So when do we say damn the mandates and requirements from bureaucrats who are not in the healing profession? When do we stand up and say we are not going to take it any more?

I don’t know about other physicians but I am tired—tired of the mandates, tired of outside interference, tired of anything that unnecessarily interferes with the way I practice medicine. No other profession would put up with this kind of scrutiny and coercion from outside forces. The legal profession would not. The labor unions would not. We as physicians continue to plod along and take care of our patients while those on the outside continue to intrude and interfere with the practice of medicine.

We could change the paradigm. . . . “

Thank you and Bravo Dr. Craviotto!

The doctor-patient relationship is just one of many personal relationships under attack today by power elites.  All big government programs aim to meddle in personal relationships.  They have the teacher-student relationship in their crosshairs, the parent-child relationship, the merchant-customer relationship, the neighbor-to-neighbor relationship.  Every personal relationship you experience.  That’s what dictators from time immemorial have sought to control.  That’s why they silence you through the dictates of “political correctness” which is just another word for coercive persuasion.

By meddling in relationships the cliques that run the bureaucracies usurp our personal power and freedom in order to bloat themselves.  In the meantime, they demand we support their habit of getting drunk on power.

All of us need to change the paradigm.  We need to “stand up and say we are not going to take it anymore,” as Dr. Craviotto urges his fellow physicians.  This means not allowing political thugs and bureaucrats to meddle and interfere with our personal relationships — our relationships with our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, our classmates, our doctors, or anyone else in our personal lives.

Freedom of association is  under attack as never before.  Preserving it is probably the first — and last — line of defense for all of our other freedoms.