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Friday, April 23, 2010

Super(natural)set

Today we're going to take a quick ride through the mind of the average Conservapeon, which of course means that you need to make sure your shots are up to date. I also want to warn you that there's going to be a bit of initial meandering, so just bear with me for a bit. Ready? Then let's begin.

Recently during one of my forays into the dark pit that is Conservapedia I found myself on the page for "Liberal values" which is, in a word, hilarious:



Or, to sum up my personal favorites in plain text:

failure to warn people, particularly youngsters, about the harm caused by a lack of conservative values

...

Excessive emphasis on awards and titles, especially those awarded by liberal institutions.

...

Contempt for authorities.


And how can you not just giggle at that? Liberals disagree with conservatives, at least about some things, so is it really all that surprising that they don't tell their kids how awesome conservatism is? Likewise, can one simultaneously have an "excessive emphasis on awards and titles," like, say, "Professor" and yet still maintain "Contempt for authorities"? What in the hell? Alas, this all makes sense to Schlafly, so I guess incoherence is a conservative value. But I digress.

One thing to note is that, like many wikis, articles on Conservapedia are often embedded in categories. Liberal values is no exception- its parent category is (as you might expect) Liberalism. And oh boy are there lots of entries:



In fact, this screen shot doesn't even cover the complete first page. And as you can see from the fine print, indicated below with boxes, this category has 8 subcategories and a total of 241 articles:



Wow! That's a lot of articles about liberalism!* This naturally raises the question of what other categories we might find on Conservapedia. Indeed, there are quite a few ranging from the mundane to the somewhat disquieting.** And yet none of these categories- not one- can provide the sort of insight into what it means to be a Conservapeon more than one that I only found a few days ago. I noticed this category after reading the article on Homo Sapiens which, as you might expect, is laughably incompetent. Now, as it turns out, this article is classed as part of the broader category: "Creations of God". And that really struck me, because given Schlafly's worldview, just about every f-ing article on Conservapedia should be a part of this category. Yet, I had never once noticed it. And if you take a look at the category, it's pretty obvious why:



You see, despite the obvious logical necessity for this category to be a sprawling superset containing virtually everything else on Conservapedia, it in fact contains only a single article, Homo Sapiens, a single picture, used in the article on Homo Sapiens, and has no subcategories. This is in contrast to the 241 articles in the category "Liberalism," the 177 articles in "Homosexuality," the 55 in "Sin", and the 174 in "Evolution". Hell, for that matter the category "Atheism" has 81 articles and 2 subcategories, beating the hell out of "Creations of God".*** And for the record, it isn't that this is a new category. It, in fact, appears to have been around since 2007:



And I think that all of this says something deeply interesting about the mindset of folks on Conservapedia. At the relatively trivial level, it really emphasizes that the goal of the project isn't to construct a "trustworthy encyclopedia" or even to advocate for their own views, but rather to denigrate, defame, and perhaps even libel and slander their opponents. Indeed, I have a hard time seeing what other conclusion one could reach given both the content of the sight and its insistence on being factual.

But beyond that, I think this one category, creations of god, tells us something as well. God, a figure who is supposed to be all-knowing and all-powerful is, here, only seen as important because he created humankind. And his use is only to make us feel special, even though by the logic of the creation myth, we're products of god just like leeches, malaria, and rocks. There's an intense egotism at the heart of Conservapedia, and this category lays it bare in a way that is simply perfect.

Some claim that god created man, most atheists believe that man created god, and that perspective gains considerable support from our good friends at Conservapedia.****


* Actually, in fairness, it's a lot of articles about what Schlafly thinks of liberalism. Don't confuse "opinion of" for "facts about."

** Please note that I am not referring to homosexuality as "somewhat disquieting" but, rather, some of Conservapedia's articles on this topic- for example, Homosexuality in Nazi Germany, which so abuses facts as to make me almost physically ill.

*** See? Even Conservapeons know that Atheism kicks Theism's ass!

**** Don't believe me? Hell, they're rewriting the bible so that it agrees with them. What more do you want?

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1 Comments:

Blogger Ken Houghton said...

Gosh, I don't teach my daughters the proper Conservative Value of wrapping yourself up in Saran Wrap and nothing else to greet your husband when he comes home.

Why, exactly, should I be ashamed of this? Because then the best I could hope for from any grandson would be that he would become editor of Conservapedia?

Friday, April 23, 2010 2:20:00 PM  

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