It will be a long, hard slog. We can fix this without resorting to authoritarianism. For evidence, I submit Wikipedia. It has a community ready to defend principles, and continually improves upon what is there.
Wikipedia works for a number of reasons:
- Shared values — common understanding that objectivity and knowledge is important.
- Constant vigilance — people have lots of reasons to undermine the pursuit of truth and understanding. We have to stand in the way of them. They will be relentless, and yet we have to push back.
- Education — education is a key component of Wikipedia’s success. Both for people to have the baseline skills necessary in order to contribute, but also that people spend the time to learn about subjects.
We’re also fighting something else: fear. People are scared. They’re scared of difference, whether it be driven by skin color, religion, technology, group membership, geography, or ideology. People are also scared of power imbalances: guns, police, economic insecurity, geographic advantage, access to food and health care. And to top it all off, our species has never been more capable of wiping ourselves out.
And we’re fighting entrenched power.
By recognizing what we’re fighting against, we gain understanding. We gain the knowledge that we’re running a marathon, not a sprint. We gain the recognition that we have to counteract the fear with patience and compassion. We gain the opportunity to challenge ourselves by exposing ourselves to differences, so that we can learn where others are coming from.
We shouldn’t try to tackle it alone, because the advocates for the status quo want that. That makes it easier to divide and conquer the rest of us. We should join together to fight back, with sustained effort over time.