Thursday, October 08, 2009

Every time you think they can't get any worse

Well, conservapedia, which I have no intention of linking to, has gone and done it. They've decided it's time to translate the Bible into a 'conservative' edition. Evidently, the Bible as currently translated has a bunch of hippy commy socialist propaganda contained inside, and needs to be updated to meet 10 criteria for conservative correctness. A description is here. Now it is true, IMO, that the Bible has been interpreted, and reinterpreted, many many times and that often the interpretations were done for political or social agendas. The King James Version of the Bible, I think, is a good example. And it is also true that translating the Bible doesn't really matter all that much, perhaps, to someone like me who isn't a Christian anyway. But what bugs me about it is, well, let me explain.

One of the things that always surprises me about things like this is that the people who come up with them are able to read and write. The other is that they have just incredible abilities to ignore their own hypocrisy. These are the same people who just hated political correctness. They cried out, yea loudly, in the wilderness: Why should you have to change what you say to match someone's sensibilities? What is this, the thought police? If that's what it says, leave it alone, and if someone doesn't like it, screw them. Ok, fine.

Enter conservapedia. An effort to come up with a conservative body of knowledge, because the current bodies of knowledge are tainted with liberal bias. Things like physics and, evidently, the Bible, that the commies have altered to diss hardworking Americans or whatever. Tree huggers have changed the definition of benzine on wikipedia and sissified the descriptions of hair follicles. Oh, and added that whole thing about the concentration camps - the bastards. This must be corrected! (Yeah, I know there are a LOT of cheap shots there, but I'm annoyed and besides, what is this, the thought police?)

So we've got to expunge the liberal bias. But what this translates to is this: conservative correctness. Whatever is said, or written, has to be said in a conservatively correct way. If it's not, we'll translate it into a conservatively correct form, such as conservapedia itself or the conservative bible.

So the hypocrisy is kind of apparent, right? Let me restate the position, only now applied to conservative correctness: What is this, the thought police? Why should you have to change what you say to match someone's sensibilities? If that's what it says, leave it alone, and if someone doesn't like it, screw them.

I imagine the argument they'll make, those who can read and write, is that "they started it!" Liberals have been changing things for decades, centuries even (how long ago was the King James Version of the bible written? By those pinko commies, right?). And so they're just going to change it back. And you know, they could make that argument if 1) they demonstrated convincingly that this liberal bias is as endemic as they shrilly proclaim it is and 2) they were changing it back instead of changing it into something new like say, a conservative edition of the Bible.

And let's get real. Even if the liberal bias is out there, it's relatively rare for a source of knowledge like, say, wikipedia or oh, the Bible, to be deliberately and openly established to espouse only one political viewpoint. At least wikipedia and translators of the Bible claim to try to be accurate. Even if there's bias, at least these sources pretend (and are thus somewhat accountable?) to seek truth. It's kind of like science - science comes up with bad ideas, even wrong ideas, all the time. But it is intended to reach right ideas, and it has procedures in place to help it do so. It does not have an agenda. If it had an agenda, it would be religion, not science. And that's what conservative correctness seems to become - a religion. Which is fine, but if it's a frigging religion, don't expect me to buy it as "the truth" any more than I'm going to buy any other that comes floating down the river. On the other hand, if it is a religion, I suppose it makes perfect sense it wants its own bible.

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