I recently offered a very short post, encouraging readers to watch Jonathan Pageau’s treatment of a speech given by Apple CEO Tim Cook to the ADL: The Apple CEO, 666, and The Garden of Eden. I did not add any comments in my post, strongly preferring that Pageau’s work would be best served by standing on its own.
I still believe this to be the case, but I will now expand on why I found such value and meaning in Pageau’s work. Unfortunately, to do this I must say something about his video – which comments were most meaningful to me (almost all of them). After this, I will offer my thoughts on how I see Cook’s speech and Pageau’s treatment of it fitting in to the larger ongoing discussion. If you don’t want a review of Pageau’s video, skip down to the line-break below.
Pageau notes: the speech had a moralistic, crusading tone; it was extremely aggressive; Cook spoke with a moral certainty. He is presenting his moral vision. This should be kept in mind when considering his speech. Also, keep in mind two other thoughts: Cook’s comments are often met with rousing applause by his audience; Cook’s comments are often met with laughter by Pageau.
Cook offers: This year we have seen anti-Semitism, violence, and hate. Further he states that despair is unethical. In other words – as Pageau puts it – the breakdown of meaning (which is resulting in despair) is unethical. We must find meaning solely in Cook’s ethical system.
Cook is offering a vision of the desired ethic: the only values that matter are 1) inclusion, and 2) don’t oppose the system – including the system of inclusion. It is a problem if you oppose yourself to this. It is unethical to be outside of this desired ethic.
Cook firmly states: do not be indifferent to the suffering of your fellow man. This is a wonderful ethic, but how does he expand on it? He identifies this as a teaching of Judaism and Islam. Pageau notes: what is missing from this list?
Pageau comments, it is OK to exclude Christians because what is important is the inclusion of those on the margins – the center must include the marginal; the marginal need not return the favor. Cook doesn’t want to affirm or even acknowledge the center; he wants to include and acknowledge only the margins.
Cook offers two examples of the suffering fellow man that we must not be indifferent to: immigrants and the LGBTQ community. Pageau asks: why these two examples: why not the millions in China’s concentration camps, or the slave trade in Muslim countries. But Cook doesn’t mention these. (He also doesn’t mention the Palestinians, but this would really be a bridge too far given the audience).
Cook has only one message for those who seek to push hate and violence: you have no place on our platform. Pageau says – hey, we could cheer this. But is Cook getting rid of songs about rape and killing children, rap music about killing a girlfriend or daughter, movies with murder, rape, torture?
No, not this at all. It is about exclusion: Cook points only to white supremacy and violent conspiracy theory – this is the only hate and violence that concerns Cook. Pageau summarizes: Cook is after pounding out exclusion (by the so-called white supremacists) and questioning the government (via those promoting so-called conspiracy theories).
Cook will leave “Cannibal Corpse” (whatever that is) on Apple’s platforms, but will exclude Alex Jones. He then offers that these “curation decisions” reflect Apple’s values. “If we can’t be clear on moral questions like these, we have big problems.” Consider Apple’s values while considering Pageau’s comments. Pageau compares Cook to an inquisitor.
Technology should be used to build a better, more inclusive and more hopeful world: include the margins and exclude despair (in other words, don’t question meaning). Pageau compares this exactly to China – which might explain why Cook doesn’t question China’s imprisonment of those who question its conspiracy theories.
Pageau then considers the symbolism: Apple chose an “Apple” with a bite out of it as its symbol: the knowledge of good and evil; and Cook sees Apple as the divine – the god with the knowledge of good and evil. Those who believe this of themselves will have no fear of external action: Cook doesn’t question himself; all of the hate and violence is on the outside, none of it is in him.
His system will have perfect inclusion; you cannot question his system. The only sin is to not accept his system. This is the 666 notion: you cannot question his system, else you can be fully excluded from the public space – including the ability to buy and sell.
If you do not accept their sign, then you will not be able to participate in society. It captures the symbolism of 666.
There is this “thing” referred to as the Intellectual Dark Web. It is made up of people like Jordan Peterson, John Vervaeke, Bret Weinstein, Eric Weinstein, Paul VanderKlay, Sam Harris, Ben Shapiro. All of them are – in different ways – examining the meaning crisis that is engulfing western civilization. All of them (except, nominally, one) can be characterized as coming from what is today considered to be left-of-center politically.
Many of them have been banished from today’s left – a radical and even violent left. The two most well-known cases from the above list would be that of Jordan Peterson and Bret Weinstein. Peterson because he voiced his opposition to compelled speech, and Weinstein because he was at the center of the Evergreen University controversy. In other words, both of them have been banished for taking positions that just a few short years ago would have been considered mainstream, down-the-middle, left-wing positions.
Today’s left – at least the vocal left – is explained by Tim Cook: we will control speech; we will disallow criticism of the government. Today’s left fits what most people used to describe as fascism.
Cook’s controlled speech is the act of the weak. Truth does not need the force of law to be victorious. It just needs truth. To get at truth, speech must be left free – without threat of violence from the state. The more laws one sees outlawing speech, the more one can be certain that what is being defended by law is a lie.
Consider the laws in place that are intended to control or limit speech. What are the topics that are being limited either in part or totally? It is behind these topics where you can be certain that the curtain of law hides the truth.
Cook’s fight against conspiracy theories is the act of a gatekeeper. In a world where none of the establishment narratives make any sense, what does Cook expect? For people to just shut up and take it? Apparently, yes.
Here is my list of hundreds of lies that we were brought up to believe – lies stretching thousands of years. Here is a listing from just the last few decades – just off the top of my head, certainly not exhaustive:
· Kennedy (both of them)
· Malcolm X
· September 11
· Saudi Arabia
· Russian collusion
· Man-made global warming / climate change
Each one of these has multiple sub-bullets below it.
Question any of these, and Cook, apparently, will banish you from his platforms.
Now, let’s speak of Trump. Well, not Trump exactly, but the reasons people voted for him as opposed to Clinton. Trump spoke to the working class, something the left has abandoned; Trump spoke against war, something the left has abandoned; Trump spoke against a police state; something the left has abandoned; Trump spoke against central banking and money-power, something the left has abandoned; Trump called the criminals out; something the left has abandoned.
Look, I am not saying Trump acted on any of these. My point is that the left – the Clinton left, the angry, violent left, the left that banishes those like Peterson and Weinstein – no longer gives any of these topics lip service; in fact, they are vocally supportive of the opposite of each of these.
Since the time of Trump’s candidacy, I felt that the rational left would vote for Trump – or at least not vote for the violent left of Clinton. This happened. This movement will only increase.
Tim Cook, in this speech, represents the non-rational left. His speech would have gone over well in Nazi Germany, to say nothing of the Soviet Union.
Look back at the list of those I have identified as part of the Intellectual Dark Web. While I disagree with positions held by some of them (in a couple of cases, quite significantly), in all cases they are at least speaking about this lack of a meaningful center in society, and the costs to society and the individuals in it due to the hollow, dark center.
Tim Cook’s radical left will fall apart, as it must. All such fascistic / totalitarian regimes do – some faster than others, some more peacefully than others. But they will not hold because they cannot hold. When the center of a movement is hollow – even dark – it has no future.
These are the values that Cook, via Apple, is defending. These are the values of today’s radical, violent left. This is why I appreciated Pageau’s treatment: the rational left is making its voice known. I do not consider myself on the left in any commonsense understanding of the term, yet I can agree fully with Pageau’s comments.
What of Pageau’s reference of 666, end-times prophecies, etc.? I appreciate his treatment. I have decided that trying to understand such things is beyond both my ability and desire – I do not find these relevant to my Christianity. I fail enough at that which I understand; why complicate things further?
The one interpretation of so-called end-times prophecy that I cannot accept is the one that has swept the United States since the time of Darby and Scofield: today’s modern state of Israel must be supported and defended at all costs. This is total and complete heresy, the most non-Christian position a Christian can take on the matter.
Even worse, such Christians are the ultimate anti-Semites: you know what happens at the end of this narrative? Israel is wiped off the map by a two-hundred-million-man army. To my understanding (which is not very deep), it is this, ultimately, that today’s Israel-worshipping Christians are praying for.
Hagee advocating for Israel’s doom. The truth is, the more such positions are taken, the more likely such a result will come to pass.
They all deserve each other. In eternity.