27 June 2007

Seal of approval

The Conservapedia has been around for several months now, but the homeschool-safe version of Wikipedia has yet to cease functioning as an article of amusement. Like everything else in the world of Christian Conservatism, it exists because of the perceived "anti-Christian" bias in its predecessor, which, since every other institute in society suffers from the same malady, makes me wonder if reality itself doesn't have some kind of inveterate left-wing inclination.

Fred at slacktivist had this to say last Friday

The stupid on display here is a source of endless amusement. But while smarter monkeys might have made for a less laughably embarrassing site, I've come to believe that the whole enterprise was conceptually doomed. C-pedia's "About page suggests it is intended as a conservative alternative to Google and Wikipedia. That's just not possible.

The cooperative, democratic, open-source ethos of Google and Wiki is antithetical to the supposedly conservative values espoused by the C-pedia's contributors. The original is based on the idea that all of us, together, know more than any of us individually does. The "alternative" is based on the idea that some ideas are forbidden and must be censored. The model for the Conservapedia's form of collaboration isn't so much Wikipedia as it is one of those totalitarian youth clubs in which children are commissioned to report subversive comments by parents or teachers.

This is an ongoing problem with the cultural false-populism that has been de rigeur in right-wing circles in recent years. Rhetorically, they tell us ordinary Americans don't need highfalutin pointy-headed academics giving us lectures about science, art, or what-have-you, but in practice they routinely engage in the same tactic (witness the blackout on Al Jazeera English from a few posts ago as an example). We are apparently capable of having our own beliefs vis a vis evolution but not in deciding what cultural fare is fit for our consumption.

Given their basic authoritarian nature, it's surprising they would attempt to engage in any kind of populism at all, with how quickly and easily their own actions would betray it.

Lastly, this post wouldn't be complete without having a bit of fun with the Conservapedia myself. Thanks to Jos in comments in the slacktivist thread, I discovered the entry on the Netherlands, where we can see the real priority After an aimless, disjointed introductory paragraph, three of the next four graphs invoke, in sequence, God, a connection to the United States, and a description of the country's major corporations and financial institutions. Nothing to be found on its early history, or any of its rich cultural and artistic history. Or Orange.

And then there is the entry on soccer, which begins with this line;

The most popular sport in the world and a form of football,
Frankly, I'm a little disappointed. I was expecting at least a mention of soccer diabolically undermining the Christian principle of supply-side economics.