Controlling Truth

On the canary in the coalmine files, one headline declared that web traffic for the Daily Mail decreased by 50% after Google ‘tweaked’ its algorithm, an ominous sign of the totalitarian control over the flow of information that only seems to be getting worse. Google controls 92% of searches on the Internet, with YouTube (owned by Google), FaceBook, Instagram and a few others odds and ends taking up what little slack there is left over.

And the government is in the game, with Trudeau and his Liberals threatening to re-instantiate the so-called ‘Hate Crimes Bill’, with its kangaroo Stalin-esque, ironically-named ‘Human Rights’ court which, until its repeal in 2013, enjoyed a 100% conviction rate.

While on perfect hundreds, we may add to this the complete government-control over the education system and there you have a near-control over what everyone in Canada sees, hears, and learns. And if you don’t conform, down you go, doomed to the netherworld of Google’s algorithm, or to the netherworld of Canada’s pseudo-tribunals.

In Ray Bradbury’s 1953 dystopia Fahrenheit 451, future ‘firemen’ don’t put out fires, but rather burn all the books, so that the people – who watch wall-sized televisions for their ‘truth’ and entertainment – may be kept firmly under control. According to a coda of Bradbury’s, he visualized the novel taking place in 1999, which seems rather quaint, sort of like 2001: A Space Odyssey, with Man inventing interstellar travel (as an SF writer, you’ve got to really far into the future to be safe on these things) – until one considers that that was about the time the internet was becoming ubiquitous, soon to be iniquitous.

For why burn all the books, when so few are reading them? Home libraries, even small-ish personal versions, are a thing of the past, seen only on films, or perhaps in the odd homeschooling house here and there, insofar as that subversive activity is still legal.

To paraphrase the 1648 carpe diem poem of Robert Herrick (written, curiously, in the year the horrific Thirty Years War was ending) Gather ye books and their truth while ye may, for if we tarry, we may lose the chance. Set up that Benedict option, a haven of truth within your own castle, a trove of book-ly treasures over which you and your children may pore to your heart’s content, mediated only by your own mind, and worry not over the fleeting controversies of the day, which dissipate like a morning fog. For what matters are those eternal truths, of what has been and always will be, so that we may truly live free.

And I had better stop now before I wax too poetic, for it is but to doggerel to which this pen is prone. I will stick to the poetry of others, as I recommend to your, dear reader.