America This Week: On Homeland Security's New Snitching Game, Plus Walter and Matt Discuss "The Library of Babel"
A FOIA request reveals a horrifying new government program, and Walter and Matt introduce a new feature discussing favorite stories, beginning with a classic by Jorge Luis Borges
Walter and I in this episode of America This Week experiment with a new feature. We’re curious to see how you like it. The inaugural try involves a classic story by Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel,” a tale that turned out to be predictive of a great deal.
An infinite library contains the answers to all questions, but the answers are inaccessible. Does that sound familiar? From the “Disinformation Governance Board” through the “Twitter Files” we’ve spent much of the last year watching attempts to conquer the information landscape by force. On this show, Walter and I have explored both the cruelty and metaphysical futility of these efforts, talking about this as if it were a new phenomenon, but Borges at the peak of the global conflagration in World War II saw much of this scenario coming. We’re re-living a mistake people have made over and over throughout the ages. As Walter put it, “The search for solutions that are final is a folly of the human mind.”
Before diving into the Library, however, Walter and I dig into a few news stories, including a new addition or two at Twitter, and the release of a documents by way of a Freedom of Information Act request that shows the federal government is preparing exercises for ratting out your neighbors. Has the Minivan Mom next door become too devout of late? How about “Pete,” the angry stepdad who keeps to himself and has questionable net-surfing habits? When should you pick up the phone and report what you’ve seen?
The Department of Homeland Security is here to help, it turns out. On that, and more, in the transcript of yesterday’s episode:
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