“The whole apparatus for spreading knowledge, the schools and the press, wireless and cinema, will be used exclusively to spread those views which, whether true or false, will strengthen the belief in the rightness of the decisions taken by the authority; and all information that might cause doubt or hesitation will be withheld.”
Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944)
I just received a remarkable invitation to an upcoming lecture series entitled, “Weeding out Neutrality,” the advertised speakers being “activist librarians” who aim to destroy “old myths about libraries and neutrality” so they can curate collections that are openly and purposefully one-sided.
As the organizers of the lecture series put it, “a growing corps of activist librarians . . . . hope to transform our understanding of libraries and the role they play in destroying unjust and unfair systems.” If you think that a library is a place you go to study all sides of a question and form your own opinion, these activist librarians have some news for you!
In the libraries of tomorrow, your opinions will be formed by the hidden hand of activist librarians who weed out all books that contradict the party line. The totalitarian tool that Hayek warned against is now being debated, and will very soon be used, in what many believe is the most conservative public university in the United States.
To use the language of CRT, librarians must “weed out neutrality” because any library that is not actively anti-racist is a racist library. Any library that suffers its shelves to be soiled by books that argue all sides of the question is a racist library because neutrality, objectivity, and impartiality are just slogans of hate that rationalize “unjust and unfair systems.”
By extension, we must suppose that any library that is not actively anti-white is a white library, any library that is not actively anti-capitalist is a capitalist library, any library that is not actively anti-Christian is a Christian library, etc., etc., etc.
Here Hayek reduces the theory of this new library science to a single line. Indeed, Hayek’s line will serve as the motto of the general and universal Scientific Revolution of the Twenty-First Century.
“The probable effect on the people’s loyalty to the system becomes the only criterion for deciding whether a particular piece of information is to be published or suppressed.”*
* Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1944), chap. 11.