The psalms were composed by King David, known to have been gifted with many talents and graced by divine inspiration. Aspects of the psalms reflect the firsthand experience of the King, as in this psalm:
Lord, thou hast proved me, and known me: Thou hast known my sitting down, and my rising up. Thou hast understood my thoughts afar off: my path and my line thou hast searched out. And thou hast foreseen all my ways…Whither shall I go from Thee? or whither shall I flee? I said: Perhaps darkness shall cover me: and night shall be my light in my pleasures. But darkness shall not be dark to thee, and night shall be light as day: the darkness thereof, and the light thereof are alike to thee. (Psalm 138, redacted version)
No doubt the King had in mind his lamentable moral failure early in his reign, which included adultery and then homicide to cover his sin. But nothing is hidden from the all-seeing divine eye, as David discovered:
Nathan said to David: Thou art the man! Thus saith the Lord the God of Israel: I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee from the hand of Saul, and gave thee thy master' s house and master' s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and Juda: and if these things be little, I shall add far greater things unto thee. Why therefore hast thou despised the word of the Lord, to do evil in my sight?
To his credit, the King repented and while there were consequences for his sins, he retained his throne.
Now imagine for a moment that instead of a benevolent God knowing all, it is a malevolent government. This is not hard to image, for as has now been exposed and confirmed, this is reality. Yes, with Google eyes and Verizon ears and countless other sources and snitches, the U.S. government is now observing and tracking nearly everything we say or do through electronic means or in public view. Frightening!
Even more alarming is that this data is collected and analyzed, both by software and human specialists, for the purpose of assessing us and even predicting our future behaviors. Much of it is already employed in the consumer industry, which is obvious to those who shop frequently online and find tailor chosen ads constantly popping up on their screens. Government has its own purposes, some no doubt quite sinister.
So what is a person to do, in light of recent revelations that every search on the web, every word on the phone, every text that is typed is captured, monitored and permanently stored? Lifelong Trads will say, “I told you so,” and they are right. It was predictable that technology would eventually advance to this point.
Nor should we assume that it stops here. The ability to see and hear what little is still hidden is on the horizon, with satellites and drones and x-ray vision that was formerly the fiction of Agent 007. If you doubt this, do a satellite map search on the web—if you dare—to see detailed images of your own home. Worse yet, all new appliances in your home have smart technology making them able to spy from within.
So is the solution to give up our phones, computers, appliances and wrap our homes with metal shielding and rarely step into the public domain? Good luck with that, though the Amish have given it their best. But seriously, the fact that at least potentially our words and actions are monitored should give us pause.
Those who have already resolved to remain as free as possible of technological intrusion into their personal lives and that of their families will be all the more committed to this course of action. Their children may be all the better for having grown up in a home without cell phones or iPads or Wii games. Others may want to join them by divesting themselves of at least some dependence upon these devices.
For others, technological asceticism is simply not practical and it could even be irresponsible for some. Case in point: it would be a practical impossibility to publish and distribute The Remnant you are now reading without the use of technology and it certainly would be impossible to post any articles on the web. The reality is, as with every area of human behavior, technology can be either a blessing or a curse. It can serve the cause of Christ the King or it can be used as a weapon against the Church and the faithful.
So for many if not most of us, assuming we cannot shield ourselves entirely from the eye of government, it is a matter of pressing on with life but allowing this unfortunate reality to inform our decisions. Anyone surfing the web for forbidden pleasures must be mindful that it’s not just God watching, but government. If the head of the CIA can be brought down for his affair via Gmail, no one should think himself immune.
But for the good that comes from using technology appropriately and morally, let us not be intimidated. We already know that the devils watch all that we do with the intent to destroy us, now add government. For those who have been avid readers of solid Catholic news and views on the web, keep at it. It may be that the web has been, ironically enough, one of the greatest modern means to advance the cause of Catholic Tradition. And if we are tracked as Enemies of the State, martyrdom may await us, but what glorious company we keep!