1984: The Sequel
A Real World in Virtual Catacombs

Michael J. Matt
Editor, The Remnant

Big Brother is Watching...And Speaking

(Posted 05/22/09 http://www.RemnantNewspaper.com) If you still live here in America these days you’ll soon be visited by one of the 140,000 workers recently hired by the federal government to collect global positioning satellite (GPS) coordinates on your home. Over the next year or so every home in America will reportedly have its GPS coordinates logged in with Uncle Sam, right down to the front door. In other words, Big Brother will be watching you—literally.

This $700 million project funded by your tax dollars, of course, is part of a data collection program the government is running allegedly in preparation for the 2010 census. I might have wondered if the whole story weren’t some kind of hoax had an agent not recently dropped by my neighbor’s house.

“Is this your front door?” he asked.

“Yes, it is. Why do you ask?”

“The government needs to know if this is the working front door of your home.”

“Yes, but why?”, my neighbor repeated.

“It’s for the national census.”

“But the census isn’t to be taken until 2010.”

“You sure this is your front door?”

Kind of lends renewed significance to the whole All-Seeing Eye bit, no? For a nominal fee perhaps Rahm Emmanue might even turn the porch light on for us when we pull into our driveways. After all, we need the government to “keep us safe”, right?  Isn’t that what the Iraq war was all about? And there are plenty of things we can do to help Big Brother keep us safe.  We can “go green”, for  example, to make the planet safer for polar bears. We can quit smoking, take our shoes off at the airport, even set up Facebook accounts to keep our personal information updated on the Internet. That way our friends, affiliations, religious views and political opinions can easily be monitored by anyone, even the federal government, if need be—crucial if our safety is ever threatened. Of course, you must be specifically “friended” by me in order to access my personal information on Facebook, so there are no privacy issues to fret about. Right?   Riiiiight!

Paranoid? The government is spending $700 million to paint every front door in America with GPS tracking coordinates.  Let’s wake up, shall we? Our cell phones are pinging, our telephone conversations may be recorded, our web searches are logged, our whereabouts are tracked by the money we carry, the credit cards we use, the cars we drive, and a million cameras that record every move we make here in the “land of the free”. Freedom rocks!

We must just thank God there’s no Catholic Inquisition around these days to really meddle in our private lives!

I wonder if any people in the history of the world ever lived under more surveillance than we are at the moment. Who would they have been, I wonder— the  Aquariumites? The Nazis certainly didn’t have this kind of Luciferian technology by which to spy on their people, nor did the Soviets. And, for that matter, at least the German and Russian people had the good sense to know they were being spied upon… and to resent it. We, on the other hand, line up like starving unemployed outside a soup kitchen every time some privacy-pilfering piece of new technology goes on sale at Best Buy. 

It may not even be necessary for the government to force those RFID implants on all Americans in the future. Most of us will likely pay big bucks for subcutaneous chips capable of keeping our medical records handy in case of an emergency (making us even safer!) while allowing us to flip channels on our plasma TVs with a tiny remote built into out pinky fingers. How cool will that be!  

You just couldn’t make this stuff up! Orwell tried, of course, but we as a civilization are taking his Big Brother nightmare to places even he couldn’t have imagined. 

So, where do we go from here?  I can only comment on where my wife and I went some thirteen years ago when we decided to enter what we might call the virtual catacombs—the only place that can still be accurately described as the “real world”.  There is a growing consensus among many families these days that it’s going to take more than the Mass and homeschooling to get through this. What’s required is what St. Paul calls for in Second Corinthians. It’s time to “come out from among them”.  In other words, it’s time to reenter the real world and let the virtual one go back to hell where it came from.

How is this done? You start by cutting the umbilical cord to pop culture. Christian children have little need for those grossly antisocial iPods, for example. When it comes to surviving the culture war, the very last thing we need is our children running around with wires connected to their heads, conveying messages and music directly to their brains without any interference from anyone, including parents.  Yes, I know, little Johnny Trad uses his iPod only for that Palestrina fix he just can’t live without these days.  If you believe that I've got a bridge to sell you, too.  No, in the virtual catacombs children don't have iPods, cell phones or, God help us!, computers in their bedrooms.

My children have never even been online (not once!); they don’t send or receive email but rather write their pen pals in real ink and on actual stationery – imagine that! They do not do Google searches but rather are taught how to do actual searches with research material, books and trips to the library with their mother or father; they have never been inside a movie theater, never watch TV, and wouldn’t know Miley Cyrus from Motley Crew.  While their faces are inside open books an awful lot of the time, Facebook to them is a nonsensical word.

There is nothing pierced, no dyed hair, no skull-imprinted pajamas. There are no Bratz, Barbies or Star Wars. As Captain Blood, Errol Flynn (despite some historical laughers) is pirate extraordinaire while Johnny Depp might be a dead Confederate guy for all they know.  Pop technology which more than anything else today teaches children how to think and react in the modern mindset—whether moral, immoral or just plain innocuous—finds no place in the virtual catacomb.

That means no pop music is allowed, but neither is it requested. It doesn’t exist, in fact, except in grocery stores. But American, French, Scottish, Irish folk music can be heard way down the street whenever the garage needs cleaning. In the virtual catacomb, children play musical instruments—together; they sing, dance, and sometimes scrap like children are wont to do, only down here they stop scrapping the moment their mother gives them ‘the look’.  She doesn’t spank them; she doesn’t have to. Being ‘on the outs’ with her—their beloved teacher and constant companion—is punishment enough.

In this “village”, neighbors are not “Cindy and Bill” but rather “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. And while children of the virtual catacombs don’t play video games—EVER!—they do play SORRY!, Chess, cards, and shoot pool. I know one 7-year-old who thinks a PlayStation is where she must sit when the backgammon board comes out.

Young ladies knit, garden, and sew, yes; but they also love horses, volleyball, and are involved in Little Flowers, English Country Dance, and Feed My Starving Children. Down here in the virtual catacombs boys still build forts in the woods, play baseball (with homeschool dads for coaches), go hunting with their fathers and brothers, and love exploring the outdoors with their few (but cherished!) homeschooled friends. 

Like families did for a thousand years, they play, eat, pray, work, read, study, laugh and cry together, as a family. Even the family meal is a sort of ritual, complete with prayer, rubric and, yes, plenty of laughter and conversation; it in no way resembles an eating contest and, unless you’re sick, you’re at the table with mom and dad, sisters and brother, every night. And you eat what’s put in front of you.

There are no “headsets” in the house; so when baby cries or the 6-year-old’s violin scratches like fingernails on a chalkboard, everyone deals with it together, as a family—no one gets to opt out of the real world via computer or iPod.  No one would even think of it.  Children are an integral and vital part of the family home; they are not boarders in a rooming house.

In the virtual catacomb, parents and children eat the same foods, listen to the same music, even watch the same old movies—as a family.  A little Lone Ranger now and then, or some Roy Rogers; maybe an early John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart. But that’s about it and that’s plenty.

The Traditional Latin Mass is the only Mass down here, and praying the 15-decade family Rosary together is how every day comes to an end (five mysteries per day, of course, as this is a home not a monastery).

That’s life in the virtual catacomb—a very real sort of Shangri-La in the modern world that anyone can find provided he’s willing to look for it. It requires little or no money, lots of love and a willingness to be “different”. But families all across this country are discovering that it’s the only way to survive when civilization comes up against Antichrist and anti-Christians. Survival for the Catholic family, therefore, is possible only when Christ becomes King of our homes as He always was, down through the ages of Faith. We won’t find Him on the Internet and we won’t find Him in movies and pop music produced by folks who either hate Him or are utterly indifferent to Him. If we want to find Him—if we want to survive—there’s only one way, and that’s the way Sacred Scripture prescribes.

As a dark Angel of Death passes literally over our front doors just now, perhaps we’d better review the words of St. Paul and take them to heart:

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God saith: I will dwell in them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, go out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: And I will receive you; and I will be a Father to you; and you shall be my sons and daughters.

Christians today are at war whether they’re ready to admit it or not.  Our children, our souls, our very way of life is being bombed to hell a little bit more every day. Will we survive this spiritual Armageddon?  It’s entirely up to us.