Monday, December 05, 2005

On Selling The Internet to Chareidim

I had a short conversation with a friend last night. He's an IT pro who has a plan to get the Gedolim of the Yeshivish/Chareidi world to accept the Internet. Of course, all objectionable content would be filtered out. In this way, he reasons, situations such as the one in Lakewood (where, no doubt, some parents are clandestinely flouting the no-Internet edict) people could be above-board and open about their Internet use and have all the conveniences of the Internet.

My feeling on the matter is that it would never work. The reason, very simply, is that they have neither reason nor desire to permit it. Sure, it may be possible to filter out the objectionable content with a 100% guarantee. Sure, you may make it possible to only allow certain sites to be viewed. You could meet all the demands that they may put on you from a technical perspective, nonetheless, my feeling is that it will never work - at least not in the next ten years.

The official reason they may provide is that they have heard that no filter is 100% safe, and that even one possible viewed image is enough to corrupt. Never mind that you may be able to prove that it is 100% effective, they will still quote the line as if it were Halacha L'Moshe MiSinai - unalterable and immutable. And that will be the end of the discussion.

The *real reason* that it would never work is that they want Jews to not have access to information about the world around them. They'd rather live within their insulted and isolated communities and not have anything to do with the outside world. They'd rather return to a shtetl-type existence, where each community is self-sufficient and has no need of the outside world. Since communication with the outside world is, perhaps, the main benefit of the Internet, it goes without saying that they certainly don't want to accept it.

My friend pointed how ironic it is that, throughout history, Jews have never been always been at the forefront of accepting new technology; but now, we have become the Luddites.

The Wolf


M-n said...

"They'd rather live within their insulted and isolated communities"

Freudian typo? :-)

"My friend pointed how ironic it is that, throughout history, Jews have [...] always been at the forefront of accepting new technology; but now, we have become the Luddites."

That's because today's technology is IT: information technology, and the last 150+ years of information have been...let's just say unkind to Judaism's traditional claims.

BrooklynWolf said...

Sigh. Yep, that was a typo. I'll let you decide if it's Freudian. :)

The Wolf

topshadchan said...

Regardless of the ban, frum jews will use the internet.

Surreptisiouly or not.

Does that make them not frum or fakers? I dont think so.

Its the understanding that as with other chumros, its a good idea, but not everyone can be at that meidrega.

The ban is the same as the ban on tv.

Most parents agree that the internet and tv has some stuff children and adults shouldnt see.

As with everything else, most parents will use best judgement, ban or no ban.

Critically Observant Jew said...

Enigma4U: you meant shtetl, right? - is it a Freudian slip on your part?

Anonymous said...

happywithhislot: "Its the understanding that as with other chumros, its a good idea, but not everyone can be at that meidrega." I see, so this (and all of the "other chumros") is a "meidrega", and thus desirable and lofty behavior. I don't think so. This is a (low) meidreiga borne out of fear of ideas and the inability to deal with very real challenges to the chareidi philosophical approach to Yiddishkeit.

The Jewish Freak said...

You are absolutely right about the real reason for the ban!

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with wanting to live in an insulated community? If that's what they believe in, and everything they need and desire is found within that community, and they're happy with it, then kol hakavod! Don't you try and shelter your kids from violence, drugs, and other shmutz? So these guys take it one step further, and shelter their kids from outside thought. They're completely entitled to do so. (And don't start with how violence, drugs, and other shmutz are different than other modes of thought. To these people, they're equally poisonous. Right or wrong - I'm not saying. This is what they hold.) I don't understand why this bothers you. It's their community, and they have a right to dictate what is and isn't acceptable for their kids. If someone living in the community doesn't agree, then they can move out. Last I checked, there was no border police checkpoint at the Howell County Line.

Are there drawbacks to such an approach? Of course there are! But on a whole, it works for them. So leave them alone already. They leave you alone. They didn't say that you can't use the internet.

and so it shall be... said...

"They leave you alone. "

No they don't. This (lakewood) is a society that is increasingly dependent on outside donations. By spawning generations of close-minded, non-thinking boobs, they (current leadership) are actively causing an emergency situation where more and more people will become reliant on others and less and less able to sustain themselves.

Anonymous said...

If you support them and oppose their philosophy, whose the non-thinking boob?