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Best Friends: Abortion and the Age of Google

Best Friends Abortion and the Age of Google West McGowan

West McGowan

Stephen Herreid - published on 05/08/14 - updated on 06/07/17

If you’re scared of offending others, you’re a part of the problem.

Last week, we heard reports that Google caved under pressure from NARAL pro-abortion activists and announced that it would no longer publish ads for pro-life crisis pregnancy centers. According to NARAL, since these pro-life ads show up when you Google “abortion clinic,” they must be a trick by “anti-choice” clinics, a ploy to keep young girls from making the decision to abort their children. The ads were “misleading, inaccurate … deceitful” and not “factually supportable,” and NARAL demanded that Google ban them. What’s more, NARAL claimed that Google did removed the pro-life ads.

It was only later that reports came out that this story of pro-choice victory was a fabrication. Google never acknowledged that these ads were “deceptive.” Nor did Google obediently agree to ban the ads. The story was a lie, designed to gin up support for NARAL by depicting the group as far more influential than it is.

Nevertheless, I did some digging into Google’s ad policies and discovered that the web giant had already caved to the pressure of the dominant Left before the NARAL propaganda campaign. Google doesn’t mind running ads that suggest the human fetus isn’t human, that murder is a “brave decision” which low-level bureaucrats should urge panicked teenage girls to make, and that the “right” to torture infants to death is sacred. Of course it stands to reason that Google will not, on the other hand, allow filthy ads that use, and I quote, “violent language” like “abortion is murder.” Don’t believe me? Read their policy.

I was raised in what is called the “Age of Google.” That this age is an age of friendliness is undeniable. The average “millennial” has dozens more “friends” than his parents ever had—just ask the next under-30 you meet how many friends he has on Facebook, or how many numbers he has saved in his cell phone.

The fact that this is also the bloodiest age in history (yes, bloodier by far than the World Wars and Communism’s mass starvations) is ignored. Why? Because, as I said, this is an age of friendliness, and it would be disagreeable to use the “violent language” of cultural war. After all, we’re entertaining friends, and wouldn’t want to spoil their appetites with talk of Heaven, Hell and infanticide.

Not all of this is new. Human beings have always had a natural desire to be agreeable. We’re concerned with our own safety and peace of mind, and would rather let a confrontation slide than risk the wrath of others, especially when we find ourselves outnumbered. But if our desire to be agreeable is natural, it’s also fallen—as any Christian ought to know. Even when the pagan Aristotle wrote that we are a “political animal” naturally inclined to form communities, he was quick to add that our communities will end in chaos and corruption if the individuals within them don’t deliberately strive to be men and women of principle.

When Christ came, He warned against our tendency to collaborate. He said we are a Body, but parts of the Body should be lopped off if they become corrupt. Against the temptation to mob morality (see Golden Calf), he brought the “sword,” instructing us to “hate” even our own brethren if they turn against Him. In the work I’ve done with young people, I’ve met few who would strongly disagree with friends on principle, and many who disagree with principles for the sake of friends. By the standards of the Age of Google, I don’t have many friends. That’s partly because I strive to be more principled than I am friendly.

But even those millennials who have inherited the now half-empty names of Christian and Conservative are adopting friendliness as their new ideology, and prefer to lie agreeably than to disagreeably speak the truth. If you won’t smile and drink the millennial Kool-Aid, then you’ll be cast into the outer darkness to wail and gnash your teeth with hasbeens like
Whittaker Chambers. As one young conservative acquaintance of mine recently threatened, “Talk Millennial. You’ll last longer.”

“Rugged individualism,” when it becomes hedonistic and self-centered, can wreak havoc on society, dissolving the social glues of common moral custom and the Rule of Law. But while our culture may have all the hedonism and selfishness of the worst individualism, it also has all the infantile fussiness of a “no boys allowed” tree house party. Rejecting strong, moral language is not even a matter of morality for many of my peers—they fear and hate the Truth with nothing more profound than the fastidiousness of little girls who fear and hate boy-cooties. But when it comes to matters of morality, their decisions have moral implications. As I’ve written elsewhere:

They don’t want to be independent even to the degree that the Church would require. To be a true “individualist,” in the worst, most selfish sense, is to be willing to sacrifice responsibility for the sake of dependency. We are political animals, yes, but this is why Pope Francis compares those who opt out of engaging in politics — that complex and often cynical practice — to Pontius Pilate. Pilate was an individualist who washed his hands of the pressing dilemmas he faced. He was also willing to pass off his own responsibility to judge for himself — and perhaps this was the graver fault. He passed that responsibility off to the “community”: to ecclesiastics, civil authorities, and a mob drummed up by demagoguery.

If our entire culture is a culture of peer pressure and collaboration, and we allow that culture to infect the Body of Christ that is the Church, how can we be surprised when Christianity becomes a thing of the past? It’s rare for individual members of the world wide web culture to stand up against their peers, to risk the outer darkness into which Christianity has all but completely retreated. If we give in to the friendly, murderous Age of Google, how can we complain when Google itself does the same?

Stephen Herreid is currently a Fellow at the John Jay Institute (Philadelphia) and the arts editor for Humane Pursuits. He has been a Contributing Editor to The Intercollegiate Review Online and has contributed several chapters to the latest edition of ISI’s Choosing the Right College.

Tags:
AbortionPro-life
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