Sunday, April 22, 2018

Bad Money Drives Out Good Money

Bad money drives out good money is called the Gresham's law. Gresham T. (1519~1569) was not the first to acknowledge this truth: if a shilling is made of pure silver and other coins are made from silver and cooper the pure silver will disappear and the cooper-silver will remain.

This is generally applied to the economic sector but a columnist in the Catholic Peace Weekly reminds us that this is true also in everyday life. Examples: bad rumors spread much faster than the good ones, wrong words, bad deeds, gossip, slander are more prevalent. A good story impresses but the influence and impact of a bad story is greater.

A common example is fake news and malicious comments that are plentiful on the Internet. The influence of fake news spreading in real time goes way beyond what we can imagine. Recently the '#Me Too' movement spread widely in society— victims who confessed suffered harm from their words. According to a survey 72 percent who spoke out about abuse had to quit their jobs due to bullying.

Fake news is not something that happened yesterday but is a fact of life. Jesus, though the times and situations are different also suffered fake news that caused his death. Jesus testified to the truth, proclaimed justice, taught mercy and love and showed this in his life but the fake news caused his death.

Evil comments and replies will not disappear but we know the evil that has resulted from the bullying and lack of wisdom in the use of comments in SNS. A movement to bring positive comments to cyberspace has been in existence for 12 years, they have an aim of 10 million positive comments and a million students involved.

When we have some extraordinary event in society the number of evil comments far exceed the good comments and are faster to appear.

In the 'Church and Internet' a document that came out in 2002 the Church presents some virtues to practice: Prudence is necessary in order clearly to see the implications—the potential for good and evil—in this new medium and to respond to its challenges and opportunities. Justice is needed, especially justice in working to close the digital divide—the gap between the information-rich and the information-poor in today's world. This requires a commitment to the international common good. Fortitude is necessary standing up for truth in the face of religious and moral relativism, for altruism and generosity in the face of individualist consumerism and decency in the face of sensuality. Temperance is needed and self discipline to use this remarkable technology and use it only for good.
To overcome the evil effects of fake news and disparaging comments we need the above virtues in our lives. We need to participate in movements to renew the media that has become infested with so much negativity—not necessary, and hurtful to many.