Decline And Fall, Informational Edition

     Every institution arises to serve a purpose. If the purpose is accorded good and worthy, and if the institution serves it well, it will flourish. But that’s not a permanent state of grace. An institution that ceases to serve its intended purpose, no matter how well it may have done so in the past, will fail. Sometimes its failure will rain consequences on other institutions as well.

     Not too difficult, eh? Yet it appears to be little respected by the large institutions of our time. Today I have in mind those institutions whose stated purpose is to inform. They did so reliably enough, for a while, but their star has fallen.

     On this subject, a piece from a Negro-oriented fashion Website is particularly ironic:

     In a world increasingly dominated by sensationalism and misinformation, conspiracy theories have found fertile ground to flourish. Dismissed by many as the ramblings of a paranoid few, these theories have long been relegated to the fringes of society. But the experts now warn that they are witnessing the emergence of a new threat vector: conspiracy theorists being proven right….the fact that a modern conspiracy theory could potentially hold elements of truth has raised alarm bells among guardians of democracy like journalists and experts.

     The unsigned piece cites opinion pieces from the New York Times and the Tulane News in support of its message. That message may be concisely stated thus: Just because we were wrong and they were right is no reason to distrust us!

     And of that I must say – girls, hold on to your boyfriends – it contains a germ of truth.

     We don’t withdraw our trust from an institution because it was once wrong. Trust, if built over a long period of demonstrated reliability, can withstand even a significant parade of errors. However, there’s a condition: when the erroneous institution is confronted with his error(s), it must admit its error(s) and show appropriate respect for those who were right. America’s informational institutions have failed to do this. In fact, those institutions have cast aspersions on those who were right when they were wrong, which speaks to a much larger and darker fault.

     “The ends determine the means. A hen is only an egg’s device for producing another egg.” – James Blish

     The major media which consistently and for years told us things we now know to be false weren’t innocently wrong. They weren’t misinformed; they were deliberately promulgating falsehoods. Moreover, even after they were demonstrated to be wrong, they maintained:

  1. That they were right;
  2. That those who were really right ought not to be trusted.

     This is reason to believe that they were serving a purpose other than the one for which they arose – and to withdraw our trust from them.

     We can trust the honestly mistaken man or institution. We cannot and must not trust the deceiver.


     “If you don’t read the newspapers, you’re uninformed. If you do, you’re misinformed.” – Originator unknown; most recently spoken by Denzel Washington

     The problem of misinformation deliberately spread by institutions that have long records of reliable and trustworthy service to the facts is central to our current crisis. For it is a crisis of trust. The “high-trust society” of pre-World War II America was founded, among other things, on the ease of access to reliable information and on the willingness of those who had misinformed us by mistake to admit their error. But the suspicion that our informational institutions had shed their original purpose for another has grown near to a certainty. We ask “What other purpose could they have?” We note the repeated conformity of those institutions with the emissions of another – the political Establishment – and we ask “Who’s paying whom, and for what?”

     The questions are unsettling. The possible answers are devastating.

     It’s unnecessary for me to unravel all the implications of these factors to an intelligent audience – and the Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch are an intelligent bunch. Trust is slowly and painfully amassed, but quickly lost. The informational institutions on which we relied will not regain our trust in an instant. They certainly can’t command us to trust them. In all probability, they will be replaced by others now making the slow, laborious climb to trustworthiness.

     That upsets certain other persons and institutions: those that have relied upon the existing media to proclaim “the official truth,” “the party line,” “the Narrative.” But no more than those media revealed as deceivers can they command us to accept lies once the facts have been unearthed, confirmed, and disseminated.

     For a final dollop of irony, here’s how that piece concludes:

     We must all come together to strengthen the fact checkers and counter narratives that exploit people’s fears, insecurities, and distrust. Our efforts should focus on rebuilding trust in institutions, amplifying marginalized voices, and ensuring that accurate information is priority-available to the common person in the street.

     How are a gaggle of deceivers, once revealed as such, to do that?

     But the fight against conspiracy theories goes beyond facts alone.

     Really? I leave it for my Gentle Readers to decide.


  1. And there are numerous institutions which never were honestly seeking to provide the service for which they claim to champion. E.g,, ACLU, Planned Parenthood.

    How was this possible to go unnoticed? Even Wikipedia is remarkably frank about a book by H. G. Wells laying it all out:

    The Open Conspiracy

    What is contemplated — “a scheme to thrust forward and establish a human control over the destinies of life and liberate it from its present dangers, uncertainties and miseries.” — is not a stable order, but rather a dynamic, changing state of affairs in which scientific research and creative activity become the chief preoccupations of a humanity that has solved the problems of subsistence, population control, and the suppression of war.

    Wells analyses anticipated sources of resistance to his Open Conspiracy in three lengthy chapters, and takes a hostile stance against the “false loyalties, false standards of honour, false religious associations” that are “vestiges of the ancient order” with which there can be no compromise.

    That is just for starters about what he proposed. The entry is quite informative.

    I must also pass along that it was he who convinced his paramour, Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, to use subterfuge to control population. Her frontal assault of forced sterilizations had run afoul of those “falsities” that are quoted above.

    You can read it yourselves. Try not to gag.

    • OneGuy on July 27, 2023 at 9:23 AM

    There are people and institutions in this world who want more control, more wealth and less opposition.  They will do whatever it takes to get those things, i.e. the climate crisis.  Truth or more correctly the freedom to speak and communicate truth is their kryptonite  and that must be controlled.  And… it will be, watch and see.

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