Thursday, February 04, 2021

Biden to Appoint a "Truth Czar"?

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The New York Times pointed out this week that we have a "reality" crisis in America, quoting a number of "experts," and is calling on President Biden to form a group of intellectuals to help America rediscover "reality."

These steps, they say, "could prod more people to abandon the scourge of hoaxes and lies."

If this "prodding" sounds vaguely familiar, it is. George Orwell called this group the "Ministry of Truth" in his book "1984."

Be informed, not misled.

The Times begins with this: "Last month, millions of Americans watched as President Biden took the oath of office...and called for unity."

Continuing, the Times said: 

"But plenty of other Americans weren't paying attention to Mr. Biden's speech. They were too busy watching YouTube videos alleging that the inauguration was a prerecorded hoax that had been filmed on a Hollywood soundstage."

"Or," the Times continued, "they were melting down in QAon group chats...or maybe their TV's were tuned to OAN, where an anchor was floating the baseless theory that Mr. Biden wasn't actually elected by the people."

The Times notes that "70% of Republicans believe Mr. Trump legitimately won the election, and 40% of Americans---including plenty of Democrats---believe the baseless theory that COVID-19 was manufactured in a Chinese lab."

"In the past year alone," the Times says, "we have seen conspiracy theorists cause Covid-19 vaccine delays, sabotage a wildfire response, and engineer a false election fraud narrative."

The NYT says, "The experts agreed that before the Biden administration can tackle disinformation and extremism, it needs to understand the scope of the problem."

And the scope is extensive. In fact, the Times continues to cover a long list of  "untruths" that must be eradicated before the masses can be effectively "prodded" toward the truth. 

So, who are these experts?

William Braniff is a counter-terrorism expert and professor at the University of Maryland. He says we have to have a  "holistic understanding of what the spectrum of extremism looks like in the United States, and then allocate resources accordingly."

Is he suggesting that everyone is interviewed or studied to determine if their personal beliefs could possibly lead to some kind of disruption in the culture? And who would the interviewers be?

And what kinds of beliefs would qualify a citizen to, say, be "reprogrammed" or "reeducated" as some elites are already calling for in regard to conservatives.

Dr. Joan Donovan, research director at Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, is suggesting that President Biden could set up a "Truth Commission" similar to the 9/11 Commission, to investigate.

She says she's concerned that our society will be distracted and focus too much on these fringe groups "that came out to support Trump in droves."

She and the other "experts" are heartened by the fact that President Biden has already announced a "comprehensive threat assessment" of domestic extremism. 

And she warns that this "prodding" people toward the real truth as defined by the "Ministry of Truth"---or "Reality Czar"--- and his or her committee "could backfire" because today's domestic extremism crisis isn't typical.

The experts are suggesting using more narrow "labels" that can help identify each group of unenlightened people.

Her example: 

"A paranoid retiree who spends all day reading QAnon forums isn't the same as an armed militia leader, and we should delineate one from the other."

She says she's spent years studying this kind of thing. Her concern is that "if left unchecked, networked conspiracy theories and online disinformation campaigns can lead to violence."

Calling it a "national reality crisis," she says she fears "our parallel universes will only drift further apart.... and civic dysfunction will only grow."

A number of other "experts" are included in the Time's comprehensive story that provides a path to "unity."

Renee DiResta, a disinformation researcher at Stanford, notes that there are two prongs in the misinformed masses of America---one is related to false beliefs about the CDC and Covid-19, and the misinformation about election fraud.

She suggests the solution is, rather than create two parallel processes [of reeducation], creating a "centralized task force could co-ordinate a single, strategic response" headed by the Czar or Minster of Truth person.

The Times admits, "This sounds a little dystopian...But let's hear them out."

The "experts" continue offering their expertise which includes creating algorithms to which can open up what people are really thinking, so they can be "treated" and "enacting a 'social stimulus' to 'fix' people."

The takeaway.

Fortunately, there is considerable push back on this proposal, but push back has never stopped the secular radical left in our country from doing whatever it takes to advance their agenda, because the end always justifies the means.

The Spectator pushed back strongly, as did a number of other conservative publications, reminding their readers that this idea isn't new. Bill Clinton tried to create something like this a few years ago.

Also, a good number of conservatives have read Orwell's "1984." They have Orwell's predictions:

"The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, glittering---a world of steel and concrete, or monstrous machines and terrifying weapons---a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting---three hundred million people all with the same face."

This is the left's version of "unity."

Orwell also wrote, 

"Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past."

This is true.

More importantly in these perilous times, Christians must remember that God---not a "Party" controls everything---the past, the present, the future.

Paul's instruction looms large in these difficult days: 

"Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." 

And finally, there is only one "Minister of Truth." His name is Jesus Christ. Psalm 115:3 says:

"But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases."

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful.