Revipedia: how to defeat the US government, reprise

As usual there are many excellent comments, some quite critical, on the last post. (I am particularly impressed with Lugo’s criticisms, although it’s a little unfair because Lugo is whacking me on a subject I punted on—but the observations on the US military are dead right. And TGGP, we love you, but I’m afraid that may have been a typo for “post-sucking moron.” I’m still not quite sure what this means, but draw your own conclusions.)

Reading the comments, however, I don’t think I was clear enough in describing the information warfare project I proposed. People described it as a “think tank.” This is nowhere near what I meant. So let me break the every-Thursday schedule, and put up next week’s post today.

Think tanks (such as Cato or LvMI) are all very well. Perhaps we can see them as replacements for the sclerotic university system. It is an unfortunate consequence of the post-1945 Bushian Gleischaltung of the American university that think tanks cannot actually train students, and this is by no means their only defect. However, the thinkiverse does supply a small, but quite useful, dose of intellectual variety to today’s Wal-Mart of ideas.

However, a think tank is not actually a project. A think tank sponsors thinkers. It hires them because it thinks they are smart and knowledgeable, and their interests and perspectives coincide with their goals. What it does not do, in general, is tell them what to do. Its work is not designed to produce anything like a product. Or if it is, the product is simply the set of all the papers produced by all the thinkers. This may be useful, but it cannot be coherent.

The administrators of a think tank are not in any sense project managers. They are support staff. All they do is give the thinkers a place to think. (And, presumably, write said thoughts down.) And a think tank does not have an objective. It has a mission—quite a different thing.

Take LvMI, for instance. I’m sure most of the folks at LvMI would be quite delighted to see the last of old Washcorp. However, is defeating the US government the objective of LvMI? Not at all. It has no objective. Rather, its mission is to sponsor Austrian economists and libertarian philosophers, who get a chilly reception in the normal groves, either because they are cranks and whiners, or because they are in possession of inconvenient truths. (Mises and Rothbard spent most of their careers in the academic equivalent of broom closets.)

Perhaps, like me, you are a software engineer. I have never worked at Microsoft, but I have a pretty good idea of how Microsoft works. If I were to be hired at Microsoft, I would be hired in one of two very different departments. One is product development, which gives us glorious gazillion-line cathedrals of code such as Windows and Word. The other is MS Research, which is basically the CS equivalent of a think tank. I.e., it hires PhDs who don’t want to teach or can’t get a good teaching job, and sponsors their research.

MS Research employs a lot of smart people and I’m sure it’s produced something useful, although I can’t think of any examples offhand. (Okay, I know one—ClearType—though subpixel rendering is hardly Edison’s lightbulb.) If the lack of a PhD did not clinch it, I’m sure that after reading this MS Research would not touch me with a ten-foot pole. Since I would not touch MS product development with a ten-foot pole, I don’t think there is a fit. But I digress.

In any case, what I’m imagining is squarely on the product side. It demands not just sagely thought, but actual management. We are not used to thinking of sages as people who can work as part of a team. I’m afraid most sages are not used to thinking this way, either. But I have seen it done and I know it can be done. And if you don’t trust me, trust the Manhattan Project.

Let’s call the product Revipedia. The purpose of Revipedia is to be like Wikipedia, except that it serves as a reliable source on all topics, no matter how technical or controversial, and no matter how detached from reality the centrist mainstream may be.

If Revipedia can be built, there are two possibilities. Either (a) it will confirm that the centrist mainstream is significantly detached from reality, or (b) it will confirm that it is not. Washcorp, by actively supporting that mainstream, not to mention deprecating and ridiculing its competition, has staked its legitimacy on (b). So (a), if accepted by a sufficient subset of Washcorp’s subjects, is sufficient to defeat it.

In other words, (a) by definition convicts USG of the crime of Lysenkoism: propagating a fallacious interpretation of reality as a mechanism of political control.

This is a capital offense. There is no way for a government, or any institution for that matter, to excuse or apologize for Lysenkoism. Like cancer, it must be excised completely. When in doubt, throw it out. There is no good reason for an official monopoly whose modus operandi includes the propagation of misperceptions to continue to exist. If the institution performs other functions which are indeed useful or even essential, it is still probably easiest to liquidate it, and build a replacement from scratch.

Replacing organizations is simple. Purging individuals or subunits from existing ones is impossibly time-consuming, tendentious and pointless. If you wanted to convert Tony Soprano’s mob into an actual, legitimate waste management company, what would you do, start by replacing Paulie Walnuts with some guy from McKinsey? When in doubt, throw it out.

Note the difference between institutional mendacity and its far more benign political cousin. Ebola and the common cold are both viruses. There the analogy ends.

Politics is modular by definition. If LBJ or Nixon or Bush or any other democratic politician lies to the American people and gets caught, the latter have a straightforward mechanism by which to replace him with some other lying jackass. This is not a perfect cure for political mendacity, but at least keeps the problem under control. When we combine this with the fact that the entire system greatly exaggerates the power of politicians to affect actual policy, we can see that political lies are little more than a cosmetic defect.

But if the New York Times and the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, every other serious newspaper, every TV station, every public school and every major university, and of course every department of Washcorp proper, choose to present their subjects with bogus information, we have a much more serious problem. Because there is no way you can go to your little voting booth and register your disapproval of these fine institutions. D’oh!

Moreover, if this is the case, we should not expect these institutions to correct themselves. Since any detection of Lysenkoism is delegitimizing, since it is grounds for not merely “reforming” but in fact liquidating the institutions responsible, no one has any conceivable incentive to own up. The optimal strategy is stonewalling—simply because no one can gain anything by defecting, and joining the cranks, whiners and malcontents.

If you believe that this can’t happen, or that if it does happen any appearance of the truth will quickly outcompete any conceivable fiction, you believe in (b). That is, you believe that the centrist mainstream is basically providing you with an accurate perspective of reality. Is this the case? Vamos a ver.

Let me share my own small piece of experience in the matter. I know exactly when I lost my faith in the mainstream. It was in August 2004, during the Swift Boat affair. I was perhaps something of a neocon at that time, and so I was plugged in to the vast right-wing conspiracy. At least, I was a regular reader of Power Line, as I still to some extent am.

Reader, there are two links in the above paragraph. I guarantee that if you follow both of them, you will end up in different realities. One of them is real. The other is the Truman Show. Do you have an opinion as to which is which? I do. (If your faith in La Wik remains strong, scroll to the end of this section, then read this. And remember who still refuses to release his military records.)

But this is all after the fact. Because I was plugged into the vast right-wing conspiracy, I was reading about the whole affair, in exceedingly gory detail, well before the counterspin started. I have been reading unauthorized information on the Internet for well over half my life, and I think I am pretty good at distinguishing between reality and crap. And the simple explanation—that Kerry is a blowhard who told tall tales about his sailor days—struck me as compelling.

So I wondered: how will they handle this? What happens when, three months before a presidential election, it comes out that one of the two candidates has publicly prevaricated about his military record? Obviously he will have to drop out of the race. But who else will the Democrats select? And how will they select him? Will they hold an emergency convention? Or will it just be Edwards? I supposed it would probably just be Edwards.

Althouse, whom I don’t think I was reading at the time (and still don’t—she is a fine writer and has much to say, but she twitters), knew better:

So it seems that Kerry’s idea for how to deal with this huge Swift Boat Veterans problem is to churn up a swirly mass of impressions and imputations and then hope that he is the one who looks clean in the end. The Kerry people seem to be hoping that people are too dim to understand that a group of Bush supporters could operate independently or conspiracy-minded enough to think they all coordinate behind the scenes in plain violation of the law. There is a separate point Kerry has made that Bush should openly denounce the ads and that his failure to do so signifies a willingness to reap the advantages they bring him. That’s the clean point, but it has been made, and it apparently hasn’t done well enough, because we now see the campaign boat steering over the border into right-wing-conspiracy land.

And there it has remained. I never dreamed that the Kerry campaign would be crazy enough to just plain stonewall. I certainly could not have imagined that it would work.

At least, for some values of the word “work.” Kerry lost, of course, in a close race. Perhaps the SBVT affair made the difference. But perhaps it actually helped Kerry. Who knows?

But what I mean by “work” is that the Kerry strategy, just as Althouse describes, has entered public memory as the truth. At least, among most thoughtful, reasonable Americans. (Most thoughtful, reasonable Americans voted for Kerry.) And certainly among most professional historians. (Almost all professional historians voted for Kerry.) It has not just entered La Wik and the history books. Via “swiftboating,” it has actually entered the English language.

Mindboggling! And this is a tiny, tiny detail in history. Almost nothing turns on it. (Except, of course, the small question of whether you can trust the Computer.) But how confident does this make you—say—that what you know about Joseph McCarthy is accurate?

Click that link, too. It’s interesting. I have read the Evans book. I can’t really recommend it, mainly because it is a work of polemic, not of history. Evans did a lot of archival work and his notes, I’m sure, will be of use to any real historian who wants to study the period. But his subtitle rather gives the game away. I trust his results as far as they go, but I don’t trust Evans to include any bit of evidence he might find that would suggest to the reader that McCarthy was, in fact, a major-league asswipe.

Since I strongly suspect that, whatever the truth of his “fight against America’s enemies,” McCarthy was a major-league asswipe, I remain unsatisfied. Evans’ book does convince me quite effectively that McCarthy’s enemies were at least as unscrupulous as anything you’ve ever heard about McCarthy himself—e.g., from La Wik. From what I know of Washcorp, this is hardly a surprise. (And if the subject interests you, you may enjoy this reviewer exchange.)

The McCarthy drama is a far bigger, far more complex story than anything involving John Kerry. And, as we see, it remains quite debatable. How about, say, the Civil War? Lately I’ve enjoyed some of the writings of Charles Francis Adams, James Randall, Claude Bowers, William Dunning, and Benjamin Hill on the period. I believe I’ve previously recommended Edgar Lee Masters, Albert Beveridge, and of course John Burgess. Suffice it to say that the mid-to-late 19th century as described by these gentlemen has little or nothing in common with the reality purveyed by La Wik or other reputable contemporary sources. And yet they were there—or at least knew people who were. Talk about the Old Reckoning

And this is just history. We have not even started on economics. Or the art of government. Or human biology. Or climatology. Heresies abound! Are they right? Are they wrong? Who the hell can tell? Quit trusting authority, and you are alone on a black sea in a black night. The truth is out there. But you have not a thousandth of the time, money, or mind you would need to find it on your own.

And every one of these fields, and many more, affect the profit and power of Washcorp. Because you vote, your judgment of them matters. And as we have seen over and over and over again, Washcorp has motive, propensity and opportunity to manage that judgment in directions favorable to itself. Nor does such management require any central planning or “conspiracy.” All it would take is a thumb on the scale in the marketplace of ideas. Which does not, of course, prove that any such thumb exists.

The other day I was bowled over by a simply stupendous book: Chronicles of Wasted Time, the autobiography of Malcolm Muggeridge. (Only the first volume, The Green Stick, is essential.) Please allow me to quote at length from this book. It is not famous. It should be. Page 19:

‘I desire to set before my fellows the likeness of a man in all truth of nature, and that man myself,’ Rousseau begins his Confessions, and then proceeds to construct a vast, serpentine edifice of lies and fantasies. The hazards in the way of telling the truth are, indeed, very great. Seeking it, one can so easily become enmeshed in lies; ‘A truth that’s told with bad intent / Beats all the lies you can invent,’ Blake wrote. Every man the centre of his own universe; insensibly, we sub-edit as we go along, to produce headlines, cross-heads, a story line most favourable to our egos. How indestructible, alas, is that ego! Thinking to have struck it down once and for all, I find its hissing cobra-head lifted again, deathless.

Yet even so, truth is very beautiful; more so, as I consider, than justice—to-day’s pursuit—which easily puts on a false face. In the nearly seven decades I have lived through, the world has overflowed with bloodshed and explosions whose dust has never had time to settle before others have erupted; all in purportedly just causes. The quest for justice continues, and the weapons and the hatred pile up; but truth was an early casualty. The lies on behalf of which our wars have been fought and our peace treaties concluded! The lies of revolution and of counter-revolution! The lies of advertising, of news, of salesmanship, of politics! The lies of the priest in his pulpit, the professor at his podium, the journalist at his typewriter! The lie stuck like a fish-bone in the throat of the microphone, the hand-held lies of the prowling cameraman! Ignazio Silone told me once how, when he was a member of the old Comintern, some stratagem was under discussion, and a delegate, a newcomer who had never attended before, made the extraordinary observation that if such and such a statement were to be put out, it wouldn’t be true. There was a moment of dazed silence, and then everyone began to laugh. They laughed and laughed until tears ran down their cheeks and the Kremlin walls seemed to shake. The same laughter echoes in every council chamber and cabinet room, wherever two or more are gathered together to exercise authority. It is truth that has died, not God.

I often wonder how, in such circumstances, it will ever be possible to know anything at all about the people and the happenings of our times. Such masses and masses of documentation! Statistics without end, data of every kind, eye-witness accounts, miles and miles of film, video abounding. Surely out of all this, posterity, if so desiring, will be able to reconstruct us and our lives. But will they? I think of Sidney and Beatrice Webb Muggeridge married Beatrice’s niece down at Passfield, patiently collecting and collating every scrap of information they could lay hands on about the Soviet regime. Travelling about the USSR to the same end. As experienced investigators, so rigorous and careful. And the result?—a monumental folly, a volume of fantasy compared with which Casanova’s Memoirs, Frank Harris’s even, are sober and realistic. Or I think of the messages of Our Own Correspondents, here, there and everywhere, and of all the different factors which shape them and slant them and confection them. I remember the yellow ticker-tape piling up in my office at the Washington National Press Building, and delving into it to pull out a nugget to whisk off on my own account to New York and London. Will this be much help to posterity? I doubt it. Comment is free, but news is sacred, was C.P. Scott’s great dictum for The Guardian. Yes, but whose news?

This Life’s dim Windows of the Soul Distorts the Heavens from Pole to Pole And leads you to Believe a Lie When you see with, not thro’, the Eye.

There never have been such adepts at seeing with, rather than through, the eye, as the purveyors of Scott’s sacred news; inducing their readers, all too willingly, to believe a multitude of lies.

Or, again, I think of a camera crew on the job. Sound recordist and cameraman umbilically linked as they back away from their commentator, sedately walking and communing; their producer anxiously hovering behind to prevent them from stumbling and falling. Moving with a kind of pas-de-deux step, rather like a matador approaching his bull. Are they holding a mirror up to nature? Cinema vérité or falsité? Where’s the plastic grass? Or, as I once saw written on a can of film—surely the perfect celluloid epitaph: ‘Dawn for dusk.’ The eye is the window of the soul; film an iron-shutter, says Kafka. On the day that Harold Wilson became Prime Minister for the first time, I happened to be in Chicago, and stood in Michigan Avenue with a camera crew and a microphone asking passers-by what they thought about him and our change of government. To my great satisfaction, I was unable to find anyone, old or young, black or white, smart or stupid, who had heard of the event or cared anything about it. Behind where I was questioning them, up above the Tribune Building, there was one of those devices whereby news flashes by in fiery letters. Every minute or so it repeated: DOUGLAS-HOME RESIGNS… HAROLD WILSON NEW BRITISH PREMIER… A fine background to cut to! In Moscow when the great purges were on, some moon-faced Intourist, trying in good liberal style to be fair to both sides, asked one of the British newspaper correspondents there—A.T. Cholerton of the Daily Telegraph—whethe the accusations against the Old Bolsheviks were true. Yes, Cholerton told him, everything was true, except the facts. It fits, not just the purges and Moscow, but the whole mid-twentieth-century scene. Perhaps some astronaut, watching from afar the final incineration of our earth, may care to write it across the stratosphere: Everything true except the facts.

Yet again, supposing a wish on the part of posterity to know what some of our great ones were really like. John F. Kennedy, say. In the archive, trainloads of material. Photographs and profiles without end; abundance of tape, both video and sound. We can show you him smiling, walking, talking. On stage and off, as it were; relaxing with his family, addressing the nation, eating, dozing, praying. We have his jokes, we know the books he read; you can see and hear him delivering his great speeches, or fooling with his kids. You can pretty well see him being assassinated; you can see his assassin being assassinated. What more do you want? Isn’t that the man, the whole man, and nothing but the man? Well, not quite. It’s like a nightmare I once had. I was calling on someone I loved dearly; the door open, the kettle boiling, a chair drawn up to the fire, spectacles laid beside it. But no one there. Maybe upstairs. With growing anxiety I climb the stairs. Not in the bedroom, though clothes are scattered about; not in the bathroom, though it’s still moist and misty from a bath recently taken. Downstairs again; really terrified now. Maybe gone to post a letter. To exercise the dog. Listening for every footstep, starting at every sound, the tension becomes unbearable, and I wake up. In the same sort of way, the methods of representation include every detail, leaving out only the person to be represented. In a sense, they’re too perfect. Simulation becomes what it simulates; the image becomes the man. In Kennedy’s case, even his signature was done for him by a machine which so exactly reproduced the hand signing his name that experts cannot distinguish between the real signature and the mechanical ones. In the excitement and distress of the Dallas tragedy, no one remembered to turn the machine off. So the President went on signing genial, ‘personalized’ letters after he was dead.

In this Sargasso Sea of fantasy and fraud, how can I or anyone else hope to swim unencumbered? How see with, not through, the eye? How take off my own motley, wash away the make-up, raise the iron shutter, put out the studio lights, silence the sound effects and put the cameras to sleep? Watch the sun rise on Sunset Boulevard, and set over Forest Lawn? Find furniture among the studio props, silence in a discotheque, love in a strip-tease? Read truth off an autocue, catch it on a screen, chase it on the wings of Muzak? View it in living color with the news, hear it in living sound along the motorways? Not in the wind that rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks; not in the earthquake that followed, nor in the fire that followed the earthquake. In a still small voice. Not in the screeching of tyres, either, or in the grinding of brakes; not in the roar of the jets or the whistle of sirens; not in the howl of trombones, the rattle of drums or the chanting of demo voices. Again, that still small voice—if only one could catch it.

Typically when I start to write this way it means I’ve had a glass of wine, or three. But I still think it’s pretty good. Trust me—the book has actual content, as well.

Revipedia is not, of course, a magic oracle. It is a tool to help you, the curious and intelligent person, find that still small voice. Here’s how it works. It’s really quite simple.

Revipedia—or at least my idea of what Revipedia should be—is best seen as a cross between Wikipedia, Climate Audit, and Uberfact.

According to most scientists, 98% of the facts in Wikipedia are true. Studies have shown that 90% of the rest are accidental errors, vandalism, or other mistakes of the sort that La Wik is designed to correct. Thus precisely 0.2% of Wikipedia pages are contaminated with Lysenkoism, i.e., politically constructed distortions derived from “sacred news.” Sadly, this is more than enough.

Of course, since Wikipedia is not at all immune to Conquest’s second law (every organization not explicitly reactionary tends to become progressive), and since all serious and effective Lysenkoism in the modern era is progressive, this percentage will tend to increase. Now that La Wik is much more than a toy, she wields real power. And power attracts reptiles.

Wikipedia is not a toy, but it succeeded because it started as a toy. It established a pool of amateur, dilettante administrators who, by and large, were foolish enough to care only for the truth. This is very nice, and I personally have found it quite useful. But it is not sustainable.

Banal as these old chiralisms are, the fundamental difference between the modern left and the modern right is that the left is the party of victory, and the right is the party of defeat. In the history of the last two centuries, it is almost impossible to find any issue on which the right has stood and won. Even the exceptions, such as the revival of capitalism in the last few decades, have served the greater interests of the left. Without Thatcher, there could be no Blair. There was no future in the Winter of Discontent.

“Conservatism,” so called, is a bargain that trades personal success for substantive destruction. It produces jobs for quacks, each with some patent remedy against the wind of change. No such remedy has ever worked, but the Laetrile market is eternal. And perhaps conservatives have helped here and there in holding us back from Niagara, or at least shored up the barrel staves. In exchange, however, they have deceived us about the true nature of power in our society. Your mileage may vary, but I find this bargain dubious at best. The unfortunate truth, in my extremely dodgy opinion, is that the only way our civilization can survive leftism is to abolish it completely—along with the political structures that inevitably spawn it. This is not a conservative attitude but a reactionary one, and I see no choice but to accept the label.

So, to a reactionary, Wikipedia is a dangerous ally indeed. However, given the 98% of it that is true, and the vast quantity of human labor that went into constructing that 98%, Revipedia needs to bootstrap as a Wikipedia mirror. When you use Revipedia, every page that has no Revipedia revision just redirects to La Wik. Of course it appears marked as such, to indicate its generally low trust level.

(Note the difference between a mirror and a fork. A mirror remains live and propagates updates, ideally instantaneously. Sadly, not only does La Wik lack any proper data API, provide no diffs but only dumps, and only on a ridiculous every-two-months schedule, she actually goes out of her way to block live mirrors. Perhaps there are some good reasons for this. I can also think of plenty of bad ones. Her image dump is also broken, which is simply unacceptable. Probably the easiest way to fix this would be to fix La Wik herself, if she cares to be fixed. Hey, I said this would take real money.)

Furthermore, when it creates its revised pages, Revipedia tries wherever possible to use the Wikipedia namespace. For example, imagine what the GNXP crowd would do to the scientific racism page, or Climate Audit to the temperature record of the last 1000 years, or LvMI to fractional-reserve banking. Of course, if needed Revipedia can create de novo, but La Wik would have to be very tricky to sustain Lysenkoism based only on devious categorization. Sharing the namespace also helps limit fork conflicts, which are always a problem.

But anyone can edit Wikipedia, right? So why don’t they do what they want to do now? Who needs this Revipedia thing?

Yes, anyone can edit Wikipedia. (Annoyed by a particularly horrendous Gouldian fiction, I myself slipped a reference to Gray & Thompson 2004 into the “scientific racism” page, where it looks rather odd but seems to have lasted—knock on wood.) In practice, however, most serious editing in Wikipedia is done by Wikipedians, who by definition are people with the patience to withstand and win edit wars. Most of us are not Wikipedians and will never be Wikipedians. It appears to be quite the time sink.

And once more, as that last link points out: Wikipedia is founded on the principle that an open system can produce quality, neutral encyclopedic content. This “principle” may well be true, and it has certainly proved more or less true up till now.

However, it is fatally dependent on the policy of no original research. Which is a perfectly good policy, except that it in turn is fatally dependent on the policy of reliable sources. Which leads us straight to the arms of the foe:

In general, the most reliable sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses; university-level textbooks; magazines, journals, and books published by respected publishing houses; and mainstream newspapers. As a rule of thumb, the more people engaged in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the writing, the more reliable the publication.

This second sentence is especially fascinating. It is perhaps the principal erroneous belief of modern democracy. If you believe that the more people believe X, the more likely X is to be true, you are a demotist by definition. Demotists distrust anything individual, but especially individual decisions, which they hate like the Devil hates garlic. The universal organizational panacea of 20th-century society is the committee. No wonder its buildings were so ugly.

Against this great tide of consensus, I have only two words: one is groupthink, and two is this word. And if you think Citizendium is an even better idea, follow these two links. Paging Dr. Lysenko! Trofim Lysenko to the white courtesy phone? I Risch my case.

So the goal of Revipedia is clear: produce a coherent picture of reality by selective, external revision of Wikipedia. Revipedia does not edit—it audits. It digs as deeply into the facts as is needed to demonstrate the truth. It supplies whatever subjective perspective is necessary to convey the whole truth of the matter. It takes nothing for granted, and it has no mercy.

By its very nature, auditing is not an open and unstructured process. If nothing else, to survive Conquest’s second law, Revipedia must be explicitly reactionary. Since the masses fear and loathe reaction and reactionaries, the masses are not welcome.

However, there is a small problem: to defeat Washcorp, we must capture the support of the masses. Obviously, Revipedia is no private club—anyone can read it. But can anyone write it?

Yes. But in Revipedia, the distinction between editorial staff and mere users is clear. Nothing that presents itself as a truth machine can possibly succeed without some sort of crowdsourcing. But inviting the masses is one thing. Surrendering to them is another.

At first, the only people who will care about Revipedia are other reactionaries, who will simply be happy to have a place to go where everyone agrees with them. As long as they are edited by reactionary administrators, to prevent any progressive slippage, these readers will be just as valuable as Wikipedia’s, and the community will grow in the same way—although it will, of course, be much smaller. Reaction is not for everyone. At least, not at first.

So Revipedia is still much like Wikipedia. But its source policy is very different.

First, no source which does not provide open, online access is meaningful. A “link” to an ISBN number is garbage. You might as well say “I read it somewhere.” If the source is not freely available, it cannot be publicly scrutinized and it cannot contribute to an audit. Not only is this policy essential to any fair pursuit of truth, it benefits from the avalanche of pre-1922 content that Google has blessed us with. This lends a wonderful reactionary bias to the whole effort. 1922 is actually quite progressive by the standards of 1822, but it will do.

Second, no source is trusted on the basis of authority, either personal or institutional. It can only be judged on its own merits. So what if people come to you with crackpot physics? I can’t recognize crackpot physics, but any decent physicist can. There is no substitute for administrators.

Third, all sources need to be mirrored, so that links don’t break. Disk space is cheap. Truth is expensive. As I said: real money.

And finally, as Revipedia becomes influential, it will develop enemies. This is good. Adversaries are both a sign of success and a necessity for eventual victory. Revipedia greets them with flowers, and invites them to contribute.

But not, of course, without identifying themselves as such. Contributors to Revipedia come into two broad, voluntary alignments: friends and opponents. Within these parties, an uberfactious design can create an arbitrarily deep and complex hierarchy of cults and clans.

The presence of adversaries is essential to the production of truth. It demonstrates that all claims are tested. When you look at a Revipedia page, you can click a tab and see any or all hostile responses. Adversaries can and should develop editorial and administrative structure to make their responses as effective and convincing as possible. A situation in which edited content competes with illiterate drive-by peanut-gallery taunts is not a fair fight.

Ideally, in a healthy and successful ecology, the original Revipedia admins become just one faction among many. Like any other faction, they may splinter. Progressives, Scientologists, creationists, Moonies and other nutjobs all come with their own revisions of reality. As long as an authentic reactionary perspective is available, it needs no special distinction. The truth has a still small voice of its own. If you can only hear it, you’ll find yourself listening.

As usual, I’ve registered the domain and will give it to anyone who is seriously interested.