by Armando Simón
It seemed like a good idea at the time: have an online encyclopedia, open to the public, that would provide information to whoever wanted it on any topic at all, without charge.
Many, many decades ago, as a teenager my father bought me the very expensive Encyclopedia Britannica, which held an immense amount of information on seemingly any academic topic, and was absolutely reliable. It also saved me long trips to the library. If I remember right, it was comprised of 24 large volumes in small print and illustrations. There were other encyclopedias, but the Encyclopedia Britannica was the Lamborghini of encyclopedias. All this was before the days of personal computers and the world wide web with their instant access to unlimited information outside of a library.
The Wikipedia not only contains information on academic (historical, geographical, etc.) topics, but also on “lesser,” and transient topics, such as specific films, magazines, actors, a contemporary singer or sports figure, etc. It is also unique in that anyone can create a topic, or, can add or change details on any already existing topic, independent of who originated that topic.
And that is precisely its Achilles’ heel.
Out of curiosity, I recently looked up New English Review in Wikipedia. Its introduction goes like this: “The New English Review is an online monthly magazine of cultural criticism, published from Nashville, Tennessee since February 2006. Scholars note the magazine to have platformed a range of far-right Islamophobic discourse including conspiracy theories.” It goes on to mention several scholars who dedicate themselves to monitoring “far-right extremism” like NER on the one hand and mentioning others outside of NER who “fuel Islamophobia.”
Well, I thought this description of NER was unfair, narrow tunnel vision. True, some articles have been posted that are critical of Islam, particularly whenever some atrocity has been perpetrated by a Jihadist—which is far from rare (and which are suppressed by the legacy media, which tries to portray Muslims as “jes’ plain folks”). I myself have penned a couple of articles arguing that to be Islamophobic is a rational choice, a label that I readily own, considering the history of Islam, past and recent, and considering the crimes that the Koran openly encourages. I am unapologetic Islamophobic and any rational person should be too. But to give the impression that NER is solely focused on Islam is very wrong, so I changed it to the following: “The New English Review is an online monthly magazine of cultural criticism, publishing essays on a wide variety of topics, ranging from philosophy, literature, films, art, politics, and even physics, all expressing different points of view; short stories and poetry are also published; it is published from Nashville, Tennessee since February 2006.”
In less than an hour, it was back the way it was.
This illustrates the problem. Wikipedia is reliable if the subject matter is one that leftists have no interest in, such as the Hittite kingdom, the luna moth, or the Mt. Pinatubo eruption (incidentally, Wikipedia is always asking for donations, giving the impression that it is about to go under while in reality, it sits on a multimillion dollar war chest, and this has caused concern even among its supporters). However, if the topic is of ideological interest to them, they will do what they have done in schools, universities, the cinema, the media: they will warp it to support their worldview and will suppress important facts that jar their ideology. One of the goals of leftist totalitarians is to control every means of communication and of knowledge in order to advance their utopia and destroy their enemies and ultimately enforce total conformity of thought and deed. Lest I be accused of hyperbole, Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, had condemned it because it has ceased to be an objective, impartial venue for facts; he himself states that in reality it has become infiltrated by leftists, with the result that Wikipedia has become a means of propaganda on certain topics, such as the omission of atrocities committed by Communist countries (that censoring was too blatant even for Wikipedia, so it was scrapped—for now), and the contrasting emphasis for different presidents.
Here are some instances:
—Upon Jeffrey Epstein being arrested, and prior to his “suicide,” Wikipedia deleted Epstein’s links to Bill Clinton and added a link to Donald Trump.
—Wikipedia removed many of the controversies regarding CNN’s media mendacity, while simultaneously removing conservative sites.
—Peter O’Brien wrote a book, Bitter Harvest, countering the thesis of another book Dark Emu, which he felt was historically inaccurate. He inserted a one sentence addition to that effect in Dark emu’s entry. Within the hour it was removed and O’Brien was threatened (the exchange between the two is interesting). Furthermore, if one looks up Bitter Harvest in Wikipedia, there are several links to unrelated books, but not to his book.
—The Biden regime is wrecking the economy, but one way to deny responsibility, and reality, is to redefine what constitutes a recession. Wikipedia recently changed the definition of a recession to conform to the regime’s definition, then locked the site so no one can bring it back to reality.
—Mark Levin has been mischaracterized on purpose.
—Wikipedia now includes the temporary detention centers for immigrants entering the US illegally at the border as concentration camps, on an equal footing with Auschwitz and Kolyma.
—A student asked his non-leftist professor, T. Messer-Kruse, if there was, indeed, no evidence, then why did the trial of the Haymarket anarchists take so long. He decided to take a close look at the trial and it turned out that there was an overabundance of evidence, contrary to what had been traditionally handed down in academia. So he went to Wikipedia and made a correction. And the correction was deleted. And he did so again and it was deleted again and he was informed that he would be excluded from contributing to Wikipedia. He fought it and the correction remained. He detailed both the trial and the Wikipedia censorship in The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists: Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age.
—Wikipedia edit-projects are now common in the social justice sectors of academia. Feminists at Oberlin, Bucknell, and Temple University hosted Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon events during the 2016-2017 academic year. This endeavor eliminated statements in Wikipedia that leftists did not agree with, and they inserted propaganda in their stead. On some topics, Wikipedia has become Pravda.
—Wikipedia editors have blatantly falsified scientific research in the field of psychology to the point of including nonexistent sources to make the falsification appear valid. Shuichi Tezuka (a pseudonym to protect himself/herself from fanatics in academia) has documented this in a superb article in Quillette.
What has happened to Wikipedia is not an isolated case. One sees that almost every institution in the country, whether private or governmental has been infiltrated by totalitarian leftists. Ecologist Dr. Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace has echoed the same symptom of Wikipedia: leftists infiltrated Greenpeace, took control, hijacked it then steered the organization away from a scientific basis towards politics and a leftist ideology. Indeed, infiltration of organizations has been traditionally one of their strengths, although never to the extent as has occurred in these past few years. Once within an organization, they automatically burrow towards positions of power and, once entrenched, begin their purge of dissidents while replacing them with their clones.
It does not bode well for democracy.
Armando Simon is a native of Cuba, a retired psychologist and author of The Book of Many Books, Wichita Women and This That and The Other.