The other night, while Lauren and Andrew went to ladies’ small group, the rest of our kids and I watched the sci-fi flick ‘Ender’s Game’ for the first time. Based on the 1985 novel by the same name by Orson Scott Card which I had just read over the weekend, I was fascinated by the premise and the themes that work explores, and wanted to share it with my children and hear what they thought of it.
As almost always goes without saying, the book is better than the film. But I will say it anyways. And the movie is alright too.
Yet it occurs to me the more I consider this that the truth in our day is much like the plot of a dystopian piece of science fiction. How else do you explain the double-speak and double-think?
For instance, it was perfectly alright up until five minutes ago for billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg to have a stranglehold on major portions of the internet – Amazon.com and Facebook – erm, I mean, Meta. More importantly, those men have control over the flows of information therein and dependent like satellites.
But when another billionaire named Elon Musk tries to buy Twitter we are all suddenly bombarded with not-so-subtle moralizing and pearl-clutching from the corporate media about the untrustworthiness of wealthy men.
Now all we are supposed to care about with Musk is the fact that he is rich and powerful – perhaps too much so, the tastemakers imply. And what does he want with Twitter anyway? Let’s question his management of his other companies, actually. And let’s stroke our chins very thoughtfully about whether what he is doing is legal and ethical, strictly-speaking, at least until he gives up on Twitter and goes home.
Yet no such moral strictness exists so long as the powers-that-be favor the politics and ambitions of the players. This is oh-so clear. And this is the tell that the whole business is one great, big game of thrones to these people. The truth is disposable and malleable. Anything can be anything, or nothing if that is better. So long as they have all the power when the dust settles, that is the only truth they care about. That is not only the higher good, it is the highest.
Presenting themselves as innumerable objective truth-tellers and independent thinkers, they could more rightly identify themselves with, “We are Legion.” And where’s a herd of pigs when we need one?
By the way, have I mentioned lately the book I wrote and published? ‘And This Is Why We Homeschool’ – it’s available on paperback and e-book. Get it while supplies last.
But seriously, I am reminded that this is in fact why my wife and I homeschool. And the science fiction treat from Orson Scott Card – in both book and film – has reinforced that. After all, where are Ender’s parents?
“With all due respect, you really can’t stop me.”
So says Colonel Graff to Ender’s father at the beginning when an objection is briefly raised, or begun to be raised, to the idea of the young boy being spoken with privately. And that sounds an awful lot like the attitude of a lot of public schools and the Walt Disney Company to American moms and dads. For that matter, it sounds like a lot of the corporate and social media status quo to conservatives and other dissenters online.
Try to disagree with or criticize them if you dare. You will suddenly find yourself in my shoes, with some trumped up charge they will doubtless blame on an algorithm, all the while stating in their reply to your appeal that a real person reviewed the case and decided you did in fact violate their community standards. Then crickets on the second appeal, even nearly a month down the road.
I have been memory-holed to some extent, but they will try be more comprehensive. Just give them time.
Yet even as we find our speech so constrained when we object to the way our country, corporations, and children are being mismanaged and manipulated, we also are treated to spectacles like the defamation suit trial starring Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard.
The two are actors, by the way. Either or both of them could be lying.
But accusations leveled by Ms. Heard in the heyday of the #MeToo movement have already been tried in the court of public opinion enough to torpedo the reputation and career of one of the most famous and celebrated actors of his generation.
Whether the accusations, allegations, and insinuations were true or not, it was principled conservatives who were pilloried en masse for pointing out in all such cases that an accusation alone does not due process make. Moreover, it is not for no reason we consistently call for fair trials in courts of law.
The same folks who cranked the BLM riots and #MeToo noise to eleven are much the same folks who have loved so much only certain voices in the court of public opinion online being able to say their piece. And again, that thought should sober every man Jack of us.
Generations of Americans are being conditioned to believe the opposite of Ender Wiggins when he says at the close of the film ‘How we win matters.’ A conviction is a conviction, and guilt is guilt. However we determine it, they have been told the only important thing is that you know how to hate and who to hate. Due process be damned. And what is truth anyway?
The truth of our situation, friends and family, is indeed much stranger than science fiction.
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