Letter: Question authority

There was no need for “fact checkers” until the ugly truth started to get out.

Question authority

There was no need for “fact checkers” until the ugly truth started to get out.

What is this life all about? Who are we and where did we come from? What is our purpose here, and what are the rules that we should live by? Ever since I was young these are the questions I’ve asked. Now that I’m old I may not have all the answers, but I believe I’ve found the answer to my very first question. Perhaps asking questions IS what life is all about?

I was raised to ask questions. I have fond childhood memories of weekly visits to the library, eagerly returning home with a big stack of books. Each book was an exciting new world awaiting my discovery. I was never much into fiction and preferred to read about history, philosophy and the paranormal instead. Father would say “keep your mind open to everything you read and hear, but don’t believe any of it. Ask questions, think for yourself and make up your own mind.”

I was taught that asking questions is how we learn, so I questioned everything. Especially authority. And of course, I soon discovered that authority doesn’t like to be questioned. But where would we be today if those great scientists and philosophers of the past had not dared to question the authorities of their time? You know, the kind of questions that make them want to burn you at the stake just for asking, but need asking nevertheless? “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth,” —Albert Einstein

Science, simply put, is the natural process of determining the truth. The scientific method is like a question that is repeated over and over again. If the answer is the same every time, it’s proven to be scientific fact. If the answers are not consistent, then it’s back to the drawing board to rethink your question. “Millions saw the apple fall but Newton was the one who asked why.” —Bernard Baruch

Similarly, the courtroom prosecutor repeats the same question, phrasing it differently each time, in an attempt to trick the defendant into changing their answer. “Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed.” —Proverbs 12:19

But sadly, it appears as though we are entering a new dark age where science has become a religion, and questioning the doctrines of its high priests has become an act of heresy. We are told to “trust the science,” but what that really means is “don’t ask questions.” However, the truth doesn’t mind being questioned, it’s the lie that doesn’t like to be challenged.

In Orwell’s dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty Four, the “Ministry of Truth” was an international fact-checking network charged with deciding what was “truth” and what was “fake news.” Totally transfixed on “Big Brother’s” narrative as portrayed by the “telescreen,” the fictional society of 1984 had lost the ability to think for themselves, even believing that “two plus two is five,” as the saying goes, as long as it was presented as such on the telescreen. I am reminded of Zbigniew Brezezinski’s prediction in 1972 that, “Shortly, the public will be unable to reason or think for themselves. They’ll only be able to parrot the information they’ve been given on the previous night’s news.”

No matter the topic these days, be it climate change, pandemics, vaccines, cell towers or gender we are told that “the science is settled,” while at the same time, thousands of scientific experts worldwide are censored, silenced and ridiculed if they disagree. The fact is, there was no need for fact-checkers until the ugly truth started to get out, and if the self-proclaimed authorities have nothing to hide, then why are we no longer allowed to ask questions?

David Work

Lake Cowichan