Friday, November 16, 2007

Is conservapedia serious or a parody?

I've just been shown Conservapedia, the Trustworthy Encyclopedia, which seeks to provide a counterpoint to the alleged "liberal bias" of Wikipedia. i.e. a website full of counter bias.

But looking through this site I don't know if they're serious or if they set out to be a parody of the more extreme elements of what Americans call "conservatives". For instance the entry for "Liberal" starts:

A Liberal is a believer in many of the following political positions:

denial of inherent gender differences, leading to things such as allowing men and women to have the same jobs in the military (while quietly holding them to different standards)
taxpayer-funded abortion
same-sex marriage
support of affirmative action
support of political correctness [1]
censorship of prayer in classrooms
compelled taxpayer funding of government schools for nearly all ages
government-controlled medical care
labor unions
elimination of abstinence-only program funding [2]
income redistribution, usually through progressive taxation
a "living Constitution" that is reinterpreted rather than an unchanging Constitution as written
support for gun control
government programs to rehabilitate criminals
environmentalism [3]
disarmament treaties
opposition to a strong American foreign policy [4]
support of obscenity and pornography as a First Amendment right[5]
opposition to full private property rights[6]
limit conservative talk radio by reinstating the Fairness Doctrine
Only then does it mention the word's use in other parts of the world, as though the American term is the original and correct one. The playing up to the "America is the whole world" stereotype is one of the things that makes me wonder if this site is serious.

Then there's the entry on "Wikipedia" which tears into the alleged "liberal" bias, with some hilarious errors:

It has millions of entries on topics ranging from an explanation for "duh" to singles by obscure rock bands to arcane British royalty.[3]

[3] Part of the article about Henry Liddell, a 19th-century Vice-chancellor of Oxford University and author, includes that his grandfather was the youngest son of the 8th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and that his daughter was the child Alice in Wonderland was written for. (accessed April 1, 2007)
Since they don't know the difference between aristocracy and royalty one has to wonder what they do know. True the talk page hides behind some rubbish that Liddell, was a very distant relative of someone who married into the Royal Family but that doesn't make them an arcane royal. There's also comments there justifying the criticism as "Why should an American care about the aristocracy of nineteenth century Britain?" - again the "America is the whole world" stereotype.

The site doesn't pretend to be neutral, I'll give them that. But looking through this website reminds me that "conservatism" is a very broad term that has become refined differently in different countries. British Conservatism is most definitely not US Conservatism and historically the UK Conservative Party has rarely been influenced by conservative parties or parties claiming to be conservative in other countries, something that too many seem to forget in their desire to emulate the Bush Republicans.

1 comment:

Calvin M said...

i find you naivety endearing, but its true, people really are that bat shit insane, here in America. I personally live in the north (Wisconsin) where it isn't as bad as the South, but that's still really bad.


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