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Conservapedia: An Encyclopedia You Can Trust

Apparently, American Christian conservatives are so fed up with living in an environment that doesn't mold itself in strict accordance with their views that they have embarked on a mission to literally redefine every aspect of the world we all share. Never mind that religions tend to create perceived realities that are unique to themselves anyway, these folks are out to repaint the world in patriotically correct and properly Christian colors.

Put down your devilish dictionary. Toss aside that errant encyclopedia. Everything you need to know is in the new Conservapedia, "An encyclopedia you can trust." The Conservapedia folks seem to have it in for Wikipedia in particular: The Conservapedia likens itself, "...a much-needed alternative to Wikipedia, which is increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American."


Ant-Christian, and anti-American? Those are some weighty charges. So, what, exactly, are the crimes that Wikipedia is guilty of anyway?

The Conservapedia provides a list of Wikipedia's crimes of bias. Here are just a few of examples of Wikipedia's bias, and there are plenty more where these came from:

1. The entry for the Renaissance in Wikipedia refuses to give enough credit to Christianity. 2. Wikipedia often uses foreign spelling of words, even though most English-speaking users are American. 3. Edits to include facts against the theory of evolution are almost immediately censored. On Conservapedia, contributions that meet simple rules (a.k.a. Commandments, see below) are respected to the maximum extent possible.

To post an entry on the Conservapedia, there are six Commandments that must be observed:

1. Everything you post must be true and verifiable.
2. Always cite and give credit to your sources, even if in the public domain.
3. Edits/new pages must be family-friendly, clean, concise, and without gossip or foul language.
4. When referencing dates based on the approximate birth of Jesus, give appropriate credit for the basis of the date (B.C. or A.D.). "BCE" and "CE" are unacceptable substitutes because they deny the historical basis.
5. As much as is possible, American spelling of words must be used.
6. Do not post personal opinion on an encyclopedia entry. (There's a discussion page for that.)

So, given the Conservapedia's mission to counterbalance Wikipedia and given the Commandments to which new entries must adhere, what kind of information can the Conservapedia impart to us all? Let's flip through the Conservapedia's virtue-al pages and see if it can set us straight on a few things:

Dissidents: Dissidents are people who disagree with established religious or political systems or ideals.

Question: Are religion and politics the only two arenas in which one can hold a dissenting opinion? Or is the Conservapedia's goal to reinforce the concept that dissent in any form is, by definition, anti-relgion or anti-establishment? My American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language simply defines a dissident as, "One who disagrees. A dissenter."

America: A group of continent's (sic) in the Western Hemisphere. They cover over 8.3% of the Earths (sic) total surface (total surface 28.4%).

A group of continents? Methinks the Americas are but a pair. I'm not sure how they figured their math here either. The Americas constitute 8.3 percent of the Earth's surface. Okay, but then what is that 28.4 a percentage of? I think they're referring to the percentage of the Earth's surface that is land as opposed to water, but the Conservapedia doesn't tell us that. Conservapedia, don't let me down!

Contras: The Contras were the anti-communist party of Nicaragua in the 1980s. The United States supported the Contras by selling weapons to Iran, a prominent Muslim nation. Normally this would have been illegal, but it was done by President Reagan, so that was okay.

I had to read that last sentence a couple of times and remind myself that it is intended to be taken at face value; that is, without a hint of sarcasm.

Guest Workers: Guest workers are illegal immigrants from developing countries (such as Latin America) to industrialized countries (such as the United States) who seek better jobs and want legal status.

I tried to find a Conservapedia definition for work visa. No luck. Oh, and since when has Latin America been a country?

Fascism: Fascism is a political form of government that believes that the nation is more important then any individual. A dictator rules the nation and imposes economic and social regimentation. It is often an autocratic system that has a militarized government. A symbol, like the swastika, is often used for mind control. Special salutes to the dictator are also common. Equally common in Fascist societies is strict information control, such as the "people's radio" in Nazi Germany which delivered only one channel of propaganda, 24/7. Allowing only information which supports the far-right state is a common means of fascist control. This is especially pertinent given the content and purpose of this website as a distributor of conservative-only information.

So, if the Conservapedia is a wellspring of conservative-only (mis)information, then has it not been painted by the fascist brush per the definition above?

The above examples represent some of the lengthier Conservapedia entries that I encountered. Most dispense with any unnecessary information and give you only what you need, sort of like being on an information diet. For example, the Conservapedia trims all the fat away from its definition of consumerism: "Consumerism is when the consumption of goods and services in a culture increases way beyond what people need." Succinct as that definition is, I suspect that consumerism is a wee bit more complex than that. The Conservapedia saves us from drowning in too much information.

The Conservapedia, like its sinful cousin Wikipedia, is open to and relies on contributions from its readers. To that end, both are subject to any misrepresentations, deliberate or accidental, that might appear in the articles submittend by their readers. However, unlike Wikipedia, it has editors and administrators dedicated to ensuring that "people to learn the facts the way they ought to be told."

Charges that Conservative Christians are detached from reality have been fairly common for as long as I can remember, and undoubtedly longer. But perhaps that's not exactly true. Apparently, they attach quite nicely to a reality all their own.


From Wikipedia:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

— Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels

Ah, what a waste of bandwidth. Even if it were "fair and balanced" as it were, they really need to get some writers who don't write entries that read like a C-minus short answer question.

For a good laugh, try the entry on "Fox News." And before they change it, try "Brazil." Trust me.

Looks like I spoke too soon, they already deleted the "Brazil" entry, which read: "Brazil- a lie propagated by godless hedonist liberals." Heh.

When I first heard about the Conservapedia, I thought, "I've got to write a piece on this!" After perusing the Conservapedia, though, I found it so lacking in substance that it made writing about it fairly difficult. Hell, maybe that's the real story...

I have no problem with conservatives--whether they be of the libertarian stripe or the orthodox religion stripe. They have been here since the beginning of the country and they have the right to their views--many of which are quite sound and should be seriously considered.

What I do have a problem with are that vocal subspecies of pop conservative. These twats wake up EVERY DAY saying "How can I hate liberals more effectively?" EVERY DAY they look out and see a world ruined by liberalism.

"What I do have a problem with are that vocal subspecies of pop conservative. These twats wake up EVERY DAY saying "How can I hate liberals more effectively?" EVERY DAY they look out and see a world ruined by liberalism."

Seconded. I used to be a daily listener to the G. Gordon Liddy show because, despite his sometimes maniacal leanings, he was RESPECTFUL to other opinions and regularly had liberals on his show for reasoned and civil debate. I still love Liddy for that. Oh, and he was hilarious, which never hurts.

The conservative movement in America has been busy constructing a parallel reality (see Fox News, The Washington Times, Conservapedia, etc.) to suit its agenda when inconveient facts get in the way. Rather than adjust their agenda accordingly, they have come to prefer to reshape the world as they see it to fit their pre-existing agenda.

This can't be good for anybody, especially conservatives, as their collective agenda becomes increasingly based on assumptions, wishful thinking, and outright fantasy (see Iraq).

There was a time when I simply regarded conservatives as having views different from my own in many cases, but I regarded those views as legitimate in and of themselves. These days, I just regard the conservative movement as full of shit.

On a gut level I'm inclined to agree with you Jude, except that if you look at it from a conservative's perspective, they're taking back a world that was lost to them after the disillusionment of the 60s-70s when the Left seemed to take hold of the universities and the media. That claim is to some extent true (very true, to them)--though in my opinion much more complicated, and less radical, than it appears.

This "fantasy" works both ways. What happened in the Libby case? Not the prosecuting of anyone for the leak of a CIA agent--though that WAS the CIA's reason to ask for the investigation and the reason the DoJ took it up.

No, they got Libby on Clintonesque technicality. And it was reported as though it "shook the administration to the core."

I'm sure I don't want to be Libby right now. And I'm sure the jury was "correct" in their decision.

I'm also pretty sure Armitage, pretty much on record as no fan of this administration or its war, was not under orders to offhandedly leak gossip to bring down Wilson to a reporter (Novak, who also was not a fan of the Iraq War). To break the law and jeopardize your career for guys you can't stand--that's too much to ask me to believe.

At worst the admin. exploited the Armitage leak. Yes it is craven but you could probably find similar craveness in every administration. But I'll bet good money it did not "shake the administration to the core." Even though there's a tremendous amount of wishful thinking that it has.

We're just like them with Clinton: We want the administration to pay for SOMETHING but we couldn't do it at the polls and we can't get them on anything substantial regarding the war. So Libby will have to do, just like perjuring about a b.j. would have to do.

I think the difference being the context under which the witness perjured himself. One was a civil case inflamed by political hitmen and involving a personal matter that had NOTHING to do with the function of the job.

The other was a series (not just one, mind you) of lies that derailed what may have been a much bigger and serious investigation had the investigation not been impeded by said lies. This was not a case of forgetting, it was Libby mis-remembering with great detail events that were the focus of his life for months. Otherwise known as lies. Lying under oath is against the law, no? What's good for Clinton is good for Libby.


I think there’s an attitude held by many conservatives that anything that is not explicitly conservative is, by default, anti-conservative or liberal. Hence their wanting to redefine everything.

This is most obvious in the right’s views on foreign policy; either one supports Bush 100 percent, or one is a traitor. Ergo, daily news reports of car bombs in Iraq are inherently liberal because they “reinforce” the idea that Bush’s adventure in Iraq is not the slam-dunk it was promised to be. Never mind that the horrific reports are simply reports of the day’s events. The idea then follows that the Main Stream Media (MSM) is liberal. (I always found this odd since the MSM is about as corporate as any business in America and, in my opinion, is actually fairly conservative itself, but that’s a whole separate discussion…) The MSM is also full of reports of how life has changed for the better and how Iraqi civilians are making the best of their situations (going to school, playing sports, opening businesses, etc.), but the right tends to ignore those stories because they counter the argument that the MSM is biased. Never mind that most of the MSM deliberately avoided asking any tough questions in the days leading up to the war for fear of being branded unpatriotic.

This brings us to the crux of the problem. Using the example of Bush’s Iraq war, conservatives view negative information about Bush’s war effort as deliberate attacks on Bush and the conservative movement as a whole when they would much better serve themselves and the conservative movement by critically analyzing the negative information and adjusting policy accordingly. This has been a central problem with the Iraq war from square one. Before the invasion, anybody who even suggested that there might be post-invasion security issues were literally laughed out of the war planning meetngs. Ultimately, the Bushies denied themselves opportunities to examine every angle of their strategies. But then, it seems to me that critical thinking is practically forbidden in many conservative circles. I’ve come to view this as a by-product of religious fundamentalism – if one simply believes that all of life’s answers are in the Holy Book and God will take care of the rest, then there isn’t much room for critical thought processes that court the danger of rendering long-held beliefs questionable.

In short, I think that this trend of redefining things to suit preconceived ideas about how the world works is self-defeating. I agree with your sentiment that conservatives feel like they’re gaining something back and sticking it to the liberal, secular world, but what are they gaining? If the conservative movement has effectivley shunned reality in exchange for feel-good, then how effective can any policy that they develop really be? I think the conservative movement, as we have known it for the last twenty years or so is about to implode. It’s become a house of cards.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

"I’ve come to view this as a by-product of religious fundamentalism – if one simply believes that all of life’s answers are in the Holy Book and God will take care of the rest, then there isn’t much room for critical thought processes that court the danger of rendering long-held beliefs questionable."

Of course, there are plenty of Conservatives who are not religious (fundamental, or otherwise) who are equally averse to critical thought. Rummy, Cheney, et al. None of them are known to be fundamental Christians and yet seem to be completely devoid of critical analysis.

On the flip side, there ARE rational, thoughtful Christian dundamentalists out there. In fact, the National Association of Evangelicals just endorsed an anti-torture statement that is sure to ruffle some Bushies.

Quite right you are, Derek. By "by-product of religious fundamentalism" I didn't mean that all adherents to this sort of thinking were necessarily religious, in the traditional sense, themselves. Rather, that the aversion to critical thinking that I find pervasive on the (religious) right has a commonality with the right's approach to it's general world-views. Basically, it seems that one is never to question the fundamental assumptions as to do so renders one treasonous, blasphemous, etc.

Perhaps "by-product was a poor choice of words.

When it comes to the Iraq War, I'll be honest--I've certainly heard better ideas--but I've also heard worse. Now, I'm not sure why Afghanistan couldn't have been our terrorist flypaper, or why Iran wouldn't have been better served by our, ahem, pre-emptive intervention, but I think there's something to be said for maintaining a regional presence, drawing the enemy to you, and applying diplomatic pressure from a position of military strength. And the fact that Iraqis proudly voted in numbers that put our country to shame moved me deeply (though I also recognize the somewhat artificial conditions necessary for that vote).

When it comes to war planning...I don't think you can match anyone for sheer incompetence and reckless feckless hubris. I mean, where do I start?

So I am less outraged by the moral dimension of the Iraq War than by the incompetent foreign policy dimension.

And it occurred to me while reading both your comments, that BOTH SIDES are nostalgic for the other party of say 30-40 years ago. The Republicans are nostalgic for Cold War democrats like Moynihan. And we're nostalgic for the pre-Reagan Revolution so-called "country club" Republicans typified by GHW Bush--social-libertarian, fiscally responsible foreign policy realists.

Recall that before this time, fundamentalists, evangelicals, and religious conservatives did not hew to one party.

It was the excesses (or perceived excesses) of the Left in the 60s-70s, which became the (perceived) cultural norm, that made them ripe for Reagan's plucking and exploitation.

In order to fight their Pharisees we have to recognize our own.

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