All the News That Fits Our Mindset, We Print

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Anthony: you have just experienced one more example of what George Orwell informed us, namely, the danger of allowing people to corrupt the meaning of words. As Alfred Korzybski also warned us, words have a very slippery quality to them. Because they never equate with what they purport to describe (e.g., the word “water” will never quench your thirst) they are always subject to interpretation. Lewis Carroll grasped this important point when he had Humpty Dumpty inform Alice: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

In this period of major transformation, the New York Times is doing nothing more than it did, decades ago, when its revered Walter Durante was winning the Pulitzer Prize for extolling the virtues of the Soviet regime.

Every political system depends, in varying degrees, upon Humpty Dumpty, and his capacity for calling something other than by its true name. The Establishment is running scared; its institutional structures are collapsing. As we have seen with this administration, desperate times call for the sacrifice of truth. But what happens when Humpty has a great fall, . . . and all of the state forces cannot put him back together again?

Take heart, and recall the words of Gandhi – that so amazingly parallel the recent history of libertarianism – “first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” If Doherty’s book had been written forty years ago, do you think the New York Times would have deigned to review it?

5:39 pm on March 31, 2007