Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stephen Harper's war on knowledge

Andrew Coyne outdoes himself in Maclean's today.

I am put in mind of the following account, which, although highly dubious historically,
coming as it does from a hostile commentator, is instructive if only because it illustrates a certain familiar mindset:

[W]hen a Christian called John informed the local Arab general that there existed in Alexandria a great Library preserving all the knowledge in the world he was perturbed. Eventually he sent word to Mecca where Caliph Omar ordered that all the books in the library should be destroyed because, as he said "they will either contradict the Koran, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, so they are superfluous." Therefore, the books and scrolls were taken out of the library and distributed as fuel to the many bathhouses of the city. So enormous was the volume of literature that it took six months for it all to be burnt to ashes heating the saunas of the conquerors.

We aren't there yet, and the folks at the National Library can breathe easy for now. But it's easy to imagine some eminence grise (Guy Giorno?) advising King Stephen I, "Anything contradicting Conservative Party doctrine is heresy; anything consistent with it but not issued by the PMO is superfluous." In fact, isn't that happening as we speak?

[H/t Vanity Press]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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