The 'Disinformation' Game

Richard Fernandez17 Apr, 2024 4 Min Read
For your own good, comrade.

The World Economic Forum's thinkers argue that the global system is falling apart under the pressure of climate change, geopolitical conflict, technological disruption and the breakdown of an orderly narrative, also known as disinformation. Disinformation is ranked problem number one in severity by WEF analysts, because the failure to stop it means failure to 'solve' all the rest.

Over the next two years, misinformation and disinformation will present one of the biggest ever challenges to the democratic process. Almost three billion people are due to take part in elections across the world. Voters in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States are due to vote.

They need to make the right choices, yet these three billion people could be led astray by the purveyors of conspiracy theories, the WEF implies, thus destroying any hope of saving the global system unless responsible authorities intervene. Yet in the two most high profile examples of authorities suppressing 'disinformation', the cases of Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes versus Twitter's Elon Musk and the government of Scotland versus renowned writer J.K. Rowling, do not involve information but authority.

Public Enemy No. 1.

In the former case nobody is actually citing lies that Twitter is alleged to have spread in Brazil. Neither is Rowling, by refusing to accept transgender 'women' as identical to biological women being challenged on factual grounds. Her offense is that her remarks are 'hateful.' Elon's offense is 'obstruction of justice' for allowing Morae's foes a platform to attack him. Both cases have nothing to do with information and everything to do with authority.

But isn't authority, and consequently censorship necessary to save the world? Only if it is based on truth. The problem with the system of virtuous censorship proposed by the WEF is that for it to work it must have the truth: a system of values, what is permissible and strictly forbidden. Most of all it must have a body of reliable knowledge, or else it will never know what impulses or beliefs to proscribe. Censors must, in other words, solve the epistemological challenge of determining moral universality and scientific truth that has proved impossible through history.

The problem of formulating universal values has even eluded designers of artificial intelligence who must align it so machines don't enslave mankind. "AI alignment involves ensuring that an AI system's objectives match those of its designers, users, or widely shared values, objective ethical standards, or the intentions its designers would have if they were more informed and enlightened." But the brightest minds just cannot solve this problem.

Nor are facts easy to pin down. Not only are theories regularly upended by new discoveries, the Covid epidemic demonstrated that even the scientific establishment was not above lying to preserve its authority. When scientists disagreed about the coronavirus, "in the effort to silence alternative voices, widespread use was made not only of censorship, but of tactics of suppression that damaged the reputations and careers of dissenting doctors and scientists, regardless of their academic or medical status and regardless of their stature prior to expressing a contrary position." Those who suppressed the Great Barrington Declaration did not question the evidence or find flaw with the logic of the dissenters. Rather it attacked the act of dissent itself.

Trans-somethings are something.

Without a universal set of morals and infallible facts we must create a bogus standard of censorship based not on truth but on authority. In the past a divided world had limited governance and tentative truth. Despite the elusiveness of universal standards it has proved possible to create local standards to which people voluntarily adhere and where self-censorship takes the place of official redaction. Tribes, nations, great religions, prevailing theories are islands of competing hypotheses to which their membership submits by assent. Yet their members are still free to join another group or school of thought, something possible only when there is no single authoritarian world government.

But in a One World scenario the situation is radically different. Any enterprise bent on re-engineering the planet and controlling society must be ruled by a singleton narrative, an idea set with only one member not a jumble of warring ideas. That's why Judge Moraes and the Scottish government carefully define dissent as "disinformation" so that it is not information; so it is excluded from the information set and hence a lie. The reason why "one world" tends to coercion is because we must all march to the singleton. It solves the authority problem without fixing the value and knowledge problem.

The inescapable problem is how could you know the proscribed texts have zero information unless you read it? And how can you read it if it is so bad that you cannot access it at all? The way out of the dilemma is to trust the censor. Trust the Brazilian judge. Trust Humza Yousaf. Trust authority. These have taken upon themselves the painful task of reading venomous bile, untangling specious arguments, exposing faked evidence so that you don't have to. But wait: suppose the censors are the baddies?

Public Enemy No. 1a.

How could you know if the censors can suppress information against themselves? "The Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) was an advisory board of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced on April 27, 2022. On May 18, the board and its working groups were 'paused' pending review, after constitutional issues were raised as result of public backlash, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas disbanded the board." Nobody trusted Nina Jankowicz.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?, the famous line from the Roman poet Juvenal which means "who guards the guardians?" has long been the recognized objection to benevolent dictatorship -- and censorship -- from earliest times. It recognizes that the risk from authority can frequently outweigh the risk from disunity and innovation. Among the Global Risks in 2024 must be counted the threat posed by those who in their zeal, would ruthlessly save world from dissent.

Richard Fernandez is the author of the Belmont Club. He has been a software developer and co-authored Open Curtains which proposes privacy as an information property right.


See All

5 comments on “The 'Disinformation' Game”

  1. You're very brave to even touch on these issues, which have become some of the most critical issues. The WEF's attitude does more damage than good. This is what happens when things get so complex that NOBODY can give a concise summary of what the issues, and meta-issues really are. Carpet baggers and raving lunatics show up, with good intentions or bad intentions or lunatic intentions, and the public can't really judge between them.
    And there are no easy answers, virtually any easy answer is likely to *also* do more damage than good.

  2. I will argue that free speech is a right granted by God that enables us to explore the truth, as expressed by the Commandment given at Sinai, "Thou shalt not bear false witness."  Nobody has a corner on the truth because no one has a corner on the mind of God.  Thus the truth is discovered, always imperfectly, by discussion and consultation, argument and debate.  The Truth of revelation is inarguable, but its meaning and application are not.

  3. Those directly or indirectly subsidized by gov't from decades of distortions is lucrative for many. Reality has a way of revealing those distortions as gov't policy tries to constantly stay ahead of reality colliding w/the distortions imposed upon it. The reality is instinctive human behavior properly reacting to the presentation of another imposed distortion, such as arguing or imposing that 'student loan forgiveness helps the overall economy'.
    The use of the word 'forgiveness' does nothing except make awful policy sound palatable to the masses. No one is forgiven. It's really vote buying at every other citizen's expense.
    We instinctively know this even if some may directly or indirectly 'benefit' from this.

    The harm result outside of the distorted economics of inflation, is that it does not correct how student loans ever became so burdensome, nor does it affect the perceived value or cost of college. It severely harms or defers people from learning from mistakes or bad deals. Many lose and/or avoid life lessons which are key to long-term survival of a just nation.

  4. The "Narrative" is essentially recast and gilly suited as religion. The are are commandments you must adhere to upon pain of being cast, incarceration or even death.
    The old bromide reappears: The more things change the more the remain the same.

  5. Very well said. The epistemological conundrum that you properly identify is compounded by today’s economic reality encapsulated by Upton Sinclair’s observation that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” The Leviathan of Hobbes’ day contemplated a narrative protection racket for a relative handful of aristocrats in a sea of impoverished serfs comprising an undemocratic feudalism. Today’s Leviathan also contemplates a narrative protection racket for a relative handful of aristocrats—the “elite”—but is now frustrated with the added burden of protecting the economic privileges of millions—nay, billions—of directly and indirectly subsidized government pensioners, workers, and quasi civil servants employed by a vast network of heavily subsidized “private” industries throughout the West. As the Elites see it, the problem isn’t that they need to justify country clubs; the problem is that somewhere along the line someone got the stupid idea of allowing the groundskeepers and kitchen staff to become members. Once that happened, the economic grift of looting became unsustainable, hence our massive indebtedness. But the “little guy” with his head in the government trough is no less unwilling to relinquish his unearned privilege than King Charles, or Elon Musk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *