Other recent articles under: Censorship as of Mar 30, 2009
"Atlas Shrugged": Why has Wikipedia Removed Key Elements?
What happens when you combine 1984 and Atlas Shrugged? You get a Wikipedia entry that begins to redefine what the key elements are. Why is this occurring? by EJ Moosa
Monday, March 30, 2009
What happens when you combine "1984" by George Orwell and "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand? You get a Wikipedia entry that begins to redefine what the key elements are. You get a level of censorship that defies belief. Why is this occurring?
"Atlas Shrugged" is enjoying a resurgence of readership, and is one of the top selling fiction books at Amazon.com. I can only hope folks are reading this book, and not relying upon Wikipedia to understand the themes. There is a major theme that is missing: The Failure of Government.
Search for the "Anti Dog Eat Dog rule". Or for the "Equalization of Opportunity" bill. Your search results will show a reference to Wikipedia's page about Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. If you use Google or Yahoo for those search terms, you will see the Wikipedia page on "Atlas Shrugged" listed as a website that has that term.
Now search on that page for either of the above two search phrases. What do you find? Any references to them are gone from the Wikipedia entry. Search for any of the legislation passed to control private enterprise. It's no longer there.
What is the reason that the references to these failed government actions have been deleted from the Wikipedia page on "Atlas Shrugged"? I have my theories. I would like to hear yours.
Will the entry for "Atlas Shrugged" continue to be redefined slowly, eliminating the final references to failed government policies and actions, so that just becomes a fiction novel about anything but the failure of government?
The reason this book is popular is not because it is about railroads, sex, or futuristic engines. The book is popular because it is about the abject failure of a government when they try to pick the winners, share the wealth, and intervene where they do not understand how things really function.
In "1984" by George Orwell, the past is constantly being revised to control the future. Is this what is happening at Wikipedia? Are they attempting to control the content to shape the future? If so, they are off to a great start. You need to keep your ears and eyes open. This is only the start.
"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past".--from "1984" by George Orwell.
Who is controlling the present?
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It is wikipedia, you can find where the phrase was removed. you are also free to edit the page and put it back in and join in a discussion about why you did so. In fact this article is mentioned on the discussion page.
"Atlas Shrugged is a story about a future world in which the entire globe, with the exception of America, has fallen under the rule of various “People’s States” or dictatorships. America, the only country that is not yet fully socialized, is sliding rapidly in that direction, as it increasingly accepts the ideas that lead to dictatorship, ideas such as self-sacrifice is noble, self-interest is evil, and greedy producers and businessmen have a moral obligation to serve the “greater good” of society."
Posted By: Walt Thiessen
Date: 2009-03-30 14:21:57
Well, yes, I suppose you could choose to be scared. On the other hand, you could also choose to be encouraged. It just depends on how you look at it. What makes Wikipedia work is competition among different volunteer editors and contributors to make each article better. Sourcing is considered crucial, and I believe the Wikipedia articles tend to be better researched as a result than, say, Britannica. They are farther reaching, more comprehensive, and much, much more informative.
In fact, Wikipedia sourcing requirements influenced me to require columnists on this site to source their factual claims.
Try setting up a Wikipedia account and then adding the missing content back in. You'll find the missing stuff via the History and Discussion links at the top of each article.
Search for any of the discussion of Barack Obama's citizenship, and you will not find it on his Wikipedia page. Neither will you find any of the other controversial topics, such as ACORN, Bill Ayers, etc.
In fact, users who have attempted to document these issues have been banned from making modifications at Wikipedia.
Truth should not be a contest. It should not be subject to competition amongst organized users.If it is, it is basically subject to Mob-Rule.
Wikipedia has a core group of editors, many of whom have a strong Leftist/Environmentalist leaning. At least one of these regularly trawls through wikis pertaining to Global Warming, and removes arguments that show Anthropogenic Global Warming to be false.
Lawrence Solomon of Canada's National Post newspaper discovered this person's activity, and wrote a couple of articles about it, complete with the evidence.
The AGWers snarl apoplecticly at those who interpret the climate data more carefully, but their hate is nothing to the Leftists splenic hatred of Capitalists in general and Ayn Rand in particular.
I therefore suggest that the same sly censorship , as Solomon reported with anti-AGW ideas, takes place with Ayn Rand's ideas. Indeed there are blogs complaining that Rand should not even be listed on Wikipedia as a philosopher!
Some six to eight months ago a lot of people tried to insert a bunch of crap about Obama's birth status to Wikipedia and were asked to provide RELIABLE sources. Not "some website", not Rush Limbaugh, but reliable sources.
They were unable to do so. Now, I'm sure that people like you aren't ever going to listen to people like me -- whenever something happens that you don't agree with you simply ignore the evidence, and when someone ignores your evidence its leftism or a conspiracy or whatever, but if you honestly believe that in this racist, greed driven country filled with millions of people just hoping to find a reason that Obama shouldn't be President that NO one -- not one single person -- could find HARD evidence that he didn't meet the requirements, then you're flat out crazy.
I'm sure someone will post some link to God knows where, but reliable evidence is something people act on. If all the Republican Party lawyers couldn't find anything that would hold up in court, I seriously doubt the claims of some clown in Cowpatty, Arkansas is worth listening to, or reading on Wikipedia.
There simply isn't any reason to lie. Unless you have personally seen the birth certificate, even you cannot verify the nation of his birth. To sugar coat it. delete it, ignore it as if it has not happened----that is not the truth. It has happened. There are questions, and it is still not resolved.
You only have to read through the fourth paragraph of George W. Bush's entry to find mention of criticism. Do you really think we will see any criticisms of Obama survive the hour at Wikipedia?
Obama could have provided the birth certificate. He hasn't. He would rather have his folks fight the court cases. Why do you think this is? Is that logical?
What I do believe is that a charismatic leader that promises the moon can hoodwink a nation into believing that he can run General Motors better than anyone. That he can spend trillions of dollars and that there is no concern about how to pay it back.
Why is there not one controversial issue listed on Obama's page? Not one.
It's not that there is not one issue that can hold up in court. It's that the courts seem unwilling to do their jobs. And if you think that's crazy, then I ask you why do we have courts of appeal? Because they get the initial judgements WRONG.
The 'truth' is out there. As noted above, the history is always available. And here is the link to the 'View 500' and also to the specific 'before and after' portions which show the edits that removed it (happened in August 2008):
Even scarier, some real nuts are out there - here's one blurb that was removed (thank goodness):
Ayn Rand was a Illuminatist, and this book is a code book for members of the illuminati as a guide to world domination. Dont believe what you read on this page. Chances are that it was written and edited by members of the Illuminati who don't want you to know the truth. Please Google "John Todd", he is a former member that left and spilled secrets relating to their plan to bankrupt the world and enslave and/or murder the rest of us. This paragraph will be removed soon, so please get the information you need to help stop the madness. Read the book if you don't believe me.
Thanks for the feedback. Without a doubt there are real nuts out there.
Were all content at Wikipedia treated equally, there would not be much of an issue. I believe the notion that one has to search through the hitstory on Wikipedia to find references to something as the "anti dog eat dog rule", effectively is censoring the content.
It's not as if this rule was some editor's opinion. It's in the book, it was a important part of the legislation used by the government to limit competition in the story. Why should that disappear?
If this occurs and you are not familiar enough with the work to know this, I can only wonder how much other "content" at Wikipedia has been deleted and buried somewhere in the history. The question we all need to ask is why.
Seems to me that the issue is not that Wikipedia is an unrealiable source because of its editable nature, but that those doing the editing are either really inattentive readers or apparently trying purposely to obscure the THEME OF THE BOOK. (Hmm, possibly because it shines a bit of a spotlight on current events. You think?) Sure, our host could get himself in as an editor. But why should it be necessary? Does it make sense to say, "Yeah, so what if somebody took the engine out of this car? You could put it back, after all!"
What is marvelous about this entire mess is that people actually believe that consensus equals factual...or reality. Amazing. The left did their job well these past 50 years. They have corrupted our young so well that drivel such as Wikipedia is considered a source.
Sorry kids Wikipedia is not a source. Wikipedia is fools gold for idiots.
When I was a child, the Encyclopedia changed little from year to year. The focus was more on facts, and not neccessarily how you should interpret those facts. That was left to the reader
Today's media like to tell us what we just saw and what to think about it. Wikipedia is becoming an extension of this method of reporting. Today the reader is merely supposed to agree. If they do not, they should prepare to be attacked.
We can all do our part by posting a warning about Wikipedia on our blogs. I will make it a permanent part of mine as of today. A "feel good" idea like Wiki is always doomed to manipulation by the dishonest.
Wikipedia is a reliable information source when your topic has no timely or relevant political implications but it is utterly useless for things that do. They haven't figured out how to do quality control in those situations where editors are motivated to lie. Probably recently they didn't care enough about Atlas Shrugged to lie about it. Now they do.
I just tweeted about this - http://twitter.com/conservadick/status/1438513825 - with an idea about how to combat the problem. We should be linking to the Atlas Shrugged site to boost its search results above the Wikipedia entry.
Posted By: Charlie Domino
Date: 2009-04-02 07:26:43
Wikipedia has its own culture, and a high bar to participation thanks to a confusing bureaucracy and widespread use of very tricky command line prompts. ("Do I sign that with four tildes or five? How many brackets?" )
If you want another eye opener, read "Conservatism." Scroll to the bottom and you will find a section on the "Psychology of Conservatism" which contains a great deal of questionable research by "leading" authorities which holds that conservatives are Right Wing Authoritarians, having high Social Dominance Orientation. Until last month, the section was the longest of the article and the research of Altmeyer and Pratto, et.al. was presented as fact. Several Wikipedia rules regarding neutrality, format, and bias were violated. I discovered that people had been trying to get the section removed for two years, but any changes were always reverted by the same couple of editors. Over the course of several weeks, I was able to persuade them to clean up the most obnoxious of the violations, but the fundamental problem of this Lysenkoism still remains uncontested. Of course there are no similar articles on liberalism...
I simply don't have the expertiese to locate and add countervailing references that will qualify under Wikipedia rules. (You will find my comments in the discussion under the name Crimsonsplat).
But if you REALLY want to be sick, read the entries on Right Wing Authoritarianism and Social Dominance Orientation, then click on the "Discussion" tabs for each. It reads like DailyKos in there.
Charlie Domino, Secretary, American Conservative Party
Posted By: Steven Brockerman
Date: 2009-04-02 07:57:51
The theme of Atlas Shrugged is *not* about the failure of government. The theme of Atlas Shrugged, in the words of Ayn Rand, is: "The role of the mind in man's existence--AND as corollary, the demonstration of a new moral philosophy, the morality of rational self-interest." Any politcal references in AS are *dramatizations* of those themes.
Until and unless those now touting AS begin to grasp that the issues facing us today are issues of ethics, not politics, we will continue down the path of self-destruction--a noble end if one goes by the ethics of the day, which is based on the Judeo-Christian (& Kantian) morality of self-sacrifice. Or what I like to call the suicide morality.
This includes those sponsoring & attending the so called Tea Parties across the nation. At a recent one in southwest FL, a sign read, as justification for the protest: "Because everyone deserves _most_ of what you've worked for." Aside from the faulty grammar, this slogan contains the faulty reasoning that one can mix altruism & egoism.
The meaning of Atlas Shrugged will be fully grasped only when such signs read: "Because everyone deserves _all_ of what [they've] worked for."
The first American Revolution was one of politics. To properly complete it, the 2nd *must* be a moral revolution, with the overthrow of the ethics of self-immolation being the goal.
Anything less is all sound and fury signifying nothing.
This makes me think about a Stanford Alum who had participated in the honors program at that school. We were friends when we were young mothers and she noticed I was reading Atlas Shrugged. She was dumbfounded that I had just "picked up the book" and was reading it for pleasure without the supposed "aid" of a think tank/professor/class to tell me what it meant.
I told her it was one of my favorite books and I had read it for the first time when I was eighteen. She was absolutely incredulous and then said, "But it is just so intellectual". Sort of like, "You really can't understand it if you are not in a university setting and have some prof telling you how to think about it."
I thought to myself then that this is an interesting trick to keep we the sheeple from learning the facts for ourselves. Make it seem so intellectual, so deep, so impossible to understand that no one has the courage to pick it up and see for themselves what the fuss is all about.
This experience with my progressively intellectual friend convinced me then in 1994, and more so now that our leading institutions of learning have dumbed down our best and brightest so far that they just can't quite grasp what these themes really mean. But go to a local Tea Party and you will meet the Rand Readers and those who understand exactly what is at stake with the Collectivists taking over the government.
Thanks for sharing this, after having several things deleted from Wiki just about as soon as I typed them, I understand that the thought police are alive and well on that site.
Yes, if you select the discussion tab at the top of Wikipedia page you can see for yourself the article has been severely edited. You can also see for yourself it was edited by partisan editiors who troubled themselves to contrive legalistic objections and still sound credibly nonpartisan about it. Distressingly, you can see what sort of adjustments were made but you can not read the material that was removed. Vanished. Now, tell me that some crank isn't sitting at their computer pouncing on anything and everything that doesn't fit their own select narrative. It absolutely ruins Wikipedia for anything that activists believe important to them. I'm am unaffiliated politically and detest all political parties equally, but I do not see this same thing by activists on the right, and I do look for it. I wonder, does the right even have cranked-up activists, presumably living in the parents' basement with one screen continuously open to Wikipedia? Maybe it's time they get some. You can see too how the article is degraded by the way associated groups rate it -- high and top for importance, but C for quality. Shame that, Wikipedia is so very useful otherwise.
Posted By: Carl Henderson
Date: 2009-04-02 13:39:37
I find Wikipedia to be far more useful and trustworthy than traditional encylopedias or the mainstream media. Why? Because with a few clicks you can see the change history and discussion on any article, and quickly figure out the biases of the writers and editors.
Wikipedia is NOT a reference source-any source that can be edited AFTER being quoted or used is simply useless.
As for the comments about "You can sign up and edit it to correct the problem", I will simply point out that there should be no need to do this, and tilting at windmills is a useless waste of time. It is simpler to document the unreliable nature of Wikipedia, and then discount any arguments using it as a reference.
For an open forum to maintain any degree of validity, the participants must be honest, civil, and willing to argue sensibly.
Otherwise, you wind up with an internet poll naming part of the space station after Comedy Central's Colbert (I personally voted for Buddy, choice of Dave Barry's Blog). Or, as happened several years ago with Henry Nasiff, "Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf."
"In 1998, People magazine ran an online opinion poll to determine the most beautiful people in the world, where somebody facetiously entered Nasiff as a write-in candidate. Nasiff won the contest, receiving hundreds of thousands of votes."
I remember the situation (my son was keeping me posted). Howard Stern was an ardent supporter of Hank, and wanted people to vote for him.
(by the way -- the source of my pull quote is Wikipedia. Maybe not accurate, but great for a fast lookup of pop culture).
Wikipedia is a useful source of links to other references, especially for topics that are not "hot buttons" for groups of axe grinders with too much time on their hands. It should never be relied on in itself, because of the pervasive practice of "down the memory hole" by the ideologically blinkered denizens among its editors.
On environmental issues, I've locked horns with the wikicensors. The censorship does exist, but it is not as cartoonishly simple as some critics make it out to be.It far more often takes the form of defining "reliable sources" in ways that twist the rules into pretzels. Demand 2, 3, 4 RS if it's something you don't like but accept 1 RS if the edit fits in your narrative.
And as for looking for past edits, one can simply blank a page and create another with the same title without the inconvenient edit history. No, the only actual way to create continuity is a repository that catches the edits and stores them permanently outside the control of the editors.
There is a simple way to protect Atlas Shrugged and all the rest, create some communication method outside of Wikipedia and assemble a team of supportive editors on your own side. If the team is large enough, nominate and elect your own admins.
It seems like a lot of people are in hysterics about this. I think it's amazing that the book is so extensively detailed on wikipedia, actually, given that there is such a relatively small audience that genuinely considers Objectivism to be a sound and useful logical system worth giving much time to. Of course, the general population is still fairly superstitious and naive, but the most likely course an enduring and constructive civilization will take is probably some combination of pragmatic and analytical style of philosophy.
The kind of back-and-forth and ideological wrestling that sometimes occurs in wikipedia (has anyone checked out www.conservapedia.com?) is never going to be 100% extinct anywhere. Thankfully people are always on the watch for tyrants of any color.
Obviously there will be individual fans, but pure objectivism is unlikely to ever be widely accepted or practised by a general civilization except, ironically, by like-minded people who may wish to consciously form an objectivist commune.
Also, regarding government, it's just as silly to regard laisez-faire capitalism as different beast - does anyone really believe that a large business or corporation would not pull the same antics as a sophisticated democratic republic (not talking bolshevik madness that may have, ahem, traumatized anyone) if it benefited those in positions of power?
Brockerman, you missed the point of the Tea Parties entirely. You state, "The meaning of Atlas Shrugged will be fully grasped only when such signs read: "Because everyone deserves _all_ of what [they've] worked for." That's what everyone was saying at the protests: they do deserve all of they've worked for. They are protesting the government taking it away from them and giving it to someone else so things will be more "fair". Rational self interest is trampled upon by a government that prevents you from benefiting from actions that you rationally take in your own self interest. Capitalism is all about rational self interest. Don't try to confusing the issue by bringing up Judeo-Christian ethics. Capitalism is about business, self-sacrifice is about individual decisioins. Tyranny is about imposing, at the point of a gun, sacrifices on businesses and individuals that they wouldn't make themselves.