Revisiting Internet secrecy and the depravity that flows from it
Jesus said that those who do evil hate the light, because their deeds are exposed.
When Mike Cernovich took a shot at Jordan Peterson for advocating against anonymous accounts, he framed it as Peterson being a "baby" instead of addressing the point. Twitter allows numerous troll accounts, and people can smear or attack others with no risk to their own reputations. Hiding behind a fake name brings out the worst behavior in many people.
The fact is that anonymity on the Internet is very often a license for depravity. This is why pornography has become much more popular as it has gotten more anonymous and easier to hide. First, the VCR took movies out of the seedy theaters and into living rooms. Then, the Internet made it so that no one had to leave home. Then, smartphones and tablets made hiding this wickedness even easier. Shame loves to hide in the shadows.
And this is the problem with anonymity on social media. People can shoot from the shadows, spreading lies, defaming and viciously attacking people without ever having to put their reputations on the line. It is not surprising that the worst racists and anti-Semites almost never use their real names. Facebook is right to require that users reveal their real names, though this rule could be better enforced. Twitter would be a much cleaner place if Elon Musk implemented that same policy.
I understand that "Cancel Culture" exists. There is probably more reason to be anonymous now than a decade ago, because online Twitter slacktivist mobs can be fired up and go after someone's livelihood in order to silence him or punish him for even the most innocuous opinions.
I do not believe that is enough of a justification for anonymity. Newspapers have required real names for decades and that did not stop many people from writing letters to the editor. (At least until the editorial pages started vanishing.) For Christians worried about being persecuted for speaking Biblical truth in the public square, remember that Jesus told us that we are not greater than our Master and that we would also be persecuted. We should have faith, rather than clinging to anonymity out of fear that is often not justified. Above all else, we should never use anonymity as an excuse to spread hate, libel or vulgarity.
Can anonymity be wise, or even righteous, in certain circumstances? We can all think of situations where the answer would be "yes." But the reality is that those cases are the exception that proves the rule. The vast majority of the time anonymity is used for nefarious or even evil purposes. Remember, the Lord Jesus Christ taught us in John 3:19-21 that men who do evil hate the light because their deeds are exposed. If you feel you "need" to be anonymous, is it so you can speak the truth or so you can hide from the consequences of your sin?
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