It may be argued that the great Welsh philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell could not possibly have anything relevant to say about modern U.S. politics since he died more than 37 years ago.
In a purely chronological sense that may be true, but a person’s wisdom has a timeless quality. During periods of unreason, fear, and absurdity, old thinking becomes especially important, for it contains truths that thrived before being censored or scorned.
Europe would never have emerged from the tyranny and obscurantism of the Catholic Church if Arabs like ibn Rushd and al-Hasan ibn Haytham had not preserved and passed on the knowledge contained in classical Greek texts. Because of the Arabs, interest in the seven liberal arts and the writings of Aristotle, Plato, Xenophon, Archimedes and others were reborn in, well, a Renaissance of learning.
In a real sense, we owe our modern, democratic, scientific age to the Great Arab Used Book Store, which gave Europeans an alternative to the intellectually ossified scholasticism of the day.
Today, we are again in the midst of a Dark Age, where logic, reason and moral sense are being stamped out by religious tyranny and obscurantism. Like its Medieval predecessor, this new church, The Church of Zionist Rectitude, uses torture, murder, intimidation and blackmail to enforce obedience to its verities.
Scholars, artists, politicians and journalists who point out the patent absurdities underlying the cult of Israeli/Jewish victimhood, “the war on terrorism” or the official narrative of the Sept. 11 attack, for example, are persecuted and ostracized, just as Christian Church persecuted freethinkers who pointed out inconsistencies in official dogmata surrounding the origin of life, the structure of the universe, or the veracity of the Bible.
The Muslim world that brought us out of the darkness, and to which the West owes an incalculable debt, is now vilified at will by the new church. From the new pulpits of cable television, newspapers, radio and the Internet, the CZR’s army of preachers flood our senses daily with superstition and intolerance so that free, critical thought on canonical zionist matters should become impossible.
In this the “Disinformation Age,” therefore, we must not accept at face value what we read, see or hear or accede to arbitrary frames of reference, and this point brings me back to Russell.
In a local used bookstore last week I picked up his 1957 book Understanding History and Other Essays. One of these other essays is The Value of Free Thought written in 1944. By “free thought,” Russell did not mean simple opposition to authority, but rational thought free of coercion or the tyranny of one’s passions. The observations he made then are directly applicable to our new Dark Age.
“Wherever there is power, there is a temptation to encourage irrational credulity in those who are subject to the power in question.”
For proof of this abuse of power, we need look no further than the official narrative of Sept. 11. Despite conclusive proof that the World Trade Centre was deliberately imploded, many seemingly intelligent people still believe the irrational “official narrative” that blames Muslim hijackers for the disaster.
In fact, the propaganda has been encouraged so effectively–beginning in the first hour after the first plane hit–that some people, including the leader of one local Arab organization, cannot even discuss the matter. This kind of invincible ignorance makes tyranny possible.
“The modern advances in the art of propaganda have been met with no corresponding advances in training to resist propaganda.”
Even though Russell was writing in a time before e-mail, URLs and blogs, the statement is still valid. There is no training to resist propaganda, because an enlightened, informed citizenry is not in the interests of industry or government, both of which are self-serving entities.
If anything, those who challenge propaganda face vilification as well as well-oiled propaganda machines. Former President Jimmy Carter wrote a book detailing the apartheid practices of Israel, and for his efforts he has been savagely attacked by Alan Dershowitz and other intellectual kneecappers for the CZR. In a more general sense, we have legitimized propaganda. “Public relations officers” (professional propagandists) in industry and government are trained to lie with style on behalf of their employers.
“Moral codes which are irrational, and have no basis except in superstition, cannot long survive the habit of disinterested thinking.”
The best example of an irrational morality in decline is zionism. To the disinterested thinker, the notion that the world should do nothing while Jews hide behind the myth of a divine land grant to murder and dispossess Palestinians is no longer defensible, as if it ever was. So perverse is the idea of Israeli democracy that it can only be propped up by censorship and wholesale coercion of foreign governments.
“The populations of the world, one by one, as ‘civilization’ reaches them, go down into a dark pit of madness, where all that is worth preserving perishes in aimless slaughter.”
Russell was writing during the last days of Nazi Germany and many of his criticisms are directed at fascist and communist states alike, but this observation is also a perfect description of the U.S. destruction of Iraq.
“Aimless slaughter” describes not only the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis murdered, but also the thousands of U.S. soldiers whose lives are being wasted in a war that was deliberately provoked for reasons unrelated to the U.S. national interest.
“If a population is to escape tyranny, it must have a free-thinking attitude towards its government and the theories upon which its government is based; that is to say, it must demand that the government act in the general interest, and [it] must not be deceived by a superstitious theology into the belief that what is in fact only the interest of the governing clique is identical to the general interest.”
This statement encapsulates the dilemma of the thinking American–how do I force the government to act in the general interest when the general interest means nothing to the government which is driven by superstitious theology?
Congress is overrun by Christian sociopaths; the Israel Lobby dictates foreign policy and co-opts legislators to serve the interests of a foreign government; and the country itself has become a de facto police state.
Short of armed insurrection, I don’t have an answer to the question, but those who want to put an end to the Dark Age could show conspicuous support for free-thinkers in academia, the press and government who are trying to end the Dark Age, and embrace the motto of the Enlightenment ” sapere aude“–dare to know.
My book The Host and the Parasite – How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America is now available from Dandelion Books ($US30, 532 pages, incl. footnotes).