THE WEAPONIZATION OF HISTORY AND JOURNALISM
we don’t need no stinkin’ facts
Paul Craig Roberts
In the United States, facts, an important element of truth, are not important. They are not important in the media, politics, universities, historical explanations, or the courtroom. Non-factual explanations of the collapse of three World Trade Center buildings are served up as the official explanation. Facts have been politicized, emotionalized, weaponized and simply ignored. As David Irving has shown, Anglo-American histories of World War 2 are, for the most part, feel-good histories, as are “civil war” histories as Thomas DiLorenzo and others have demonstrated. Of course, they are feel good only for the victors. Their emotional purpose means that inconvenient facts are unpalatable and ignored.
Writing the truth is no way to succeed as an author. Only a small percentage of readers are interested in the truth. Most want their biases or brainwashing vindicated. They want to read what they already believe. It is comforting, reassuring. When their ignorance is confronted, they become angry. The way to be successful as a writer is to pick a group and give them what they want. There is always a market for romance novels and for histories that uphold a country’s myths. On the Internet successful sites are those that play to one ideology or another, to one emotion or the other, or to one interest group or another. The single rule for success is to confine truth to what the readership group you serve believes.
Keep this in mind when you receive shortly my September quarterly request for your support of this website. There are not many like it. This site does not represent an interest group, an ideology, a hate group, an ethnic group or any cause other than truth. This is not to say that this site is proof against error. It is only to say that truth is its purpose.
Karl Marx said that there were only class truths. Today we have a large variety of truths: truths for feminists, truths for blacks, Muslims, Hispanics, homosexuals, transgendered, truths for the foreign policy community that serves the military/security complex, truths for the neocons, truths for the One Percent that control the economy and the economists who serve them, truths for “white supremacists,” itself a truth term for their opponents. You can add to the list. The “truth” in these “truths” is that they are self-serving of the group that expresses them. Their actual relation to truth is of no consequence to those espousing the “truths.”
Woe to you if you don’t go along with someone’s or some group’s truth. Not even famous film-maker Oliver Stone is immune. Recently, Stone expressed his frustration with the “False Flag War Against Russia.” http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/oliver-stone-im-angry-false-flag-war-against-russia/ri20590 Little doubt that Stone is frustrated with taunts and accusations from completely ignorant media talking heads in response to his documentary, Putin, based on many hours of interviews over two years. Stone came under fire, because instead of demonizing Putin and Russia, thus confirming the official story, he showed us glimpses of the truth.
The organization, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, published a report that completely destroyed the false accusations about Trump/Russian hacking of the US presidential election. The Nation published an objective article about the report and was assaulted by writers, contributors, and readers for publishing information that weakens the case, which the liberal/progressive/left in conjunction with the military/security complex, is orchestrating against Trump. The magazine’s audience felt that the magazine had an obligation not to truth but to getting Trump out of office. Reportedly, the editor is considering whether to recall the article.
So here we have left-leaning Oliver Stone and leftwing magazine, The Nation, under fire for making information available that is out of step with the self-serving “truth” to which the liberal/progressive/left and their ally, the military/security complex, are committed.
When a country has a population among whom there are no truths except group-specific truths, the country is so divided as to be over and done with. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The white liberal/progressive/left leaders of divisive Identity Politics have little, if any, comprehension of where the movement they think they lead is headed. At the moment the hate is focused on the “alt-right,” which has become “white nationalists,” which has become “white supremacists.” These “white supremacists” have become epitomized by statues of Confederate soldiers and generals. All over the South, if local governments are not removing the statues, violent crazed thugs consumed by hate attempt to destroy them. In New Orleans someone with money bused in thugs from outside flying banners that apparently are derived from a communist flag to confront locals protesting the departure of their history down the Orwellian Memory Hole.
What happens when all the monuments are gone? Where does the hate turn next? Once non-whites are taught to hate whites, not even self-hating whites are safe. How do those taught hate tell a good white from a bad white? They can’t and they won’t. By definition by Identity Politics, whites, for now white heterosexual males, are the victimizers and everyone else is their victim. The absurdity of this concept is apparent, yet the concept is unshaken by its absurdity. White heterosexual males are the only ones without the privilege of quotas. They and only they can be put at the back of the bus for university admissions, employment, promotion, and only their speech is regulated. They, and only they, can be fired for using “gender specific terms,” for using race specific terms, for unknowingly offending some preferred group member by using a word that is no longer permissible. They can be called every name in the book, beginning with racist, misogynist, and escalating, and no one is punished for the offense.
Recently, a professor in the business school of a major university told me that he used the word, girls, in a marketing discussion. A young womyn was offended. The result was he received a dressing down from the dean. Another professor told me that at his university there was a growing list of blacklisted words. It wasn’t clear whether the list was official or unofficial, simply professors trying to stay up with Identity Politics and avoid words that could lead to their dismissal. Power, they tell me, is elsewhere than in the white male, the true victimized class.
For years commentators have recognized the shrinking arena of free speech in the United States. Any speech that offends anyone but a white male can be curtailed by punishment. Recently, John Whitehead, constitutional attorney who heads the Rutherford Institute, wrote that it is now dangerous just to defend free speech. Reference to the First Amendment suffices to bring denunciation and threats of violence. Ron Unz notes that any website that can be demonized as “controversial” can find itself disappeared by Internet companies and PayPal. They simply terminate free speech by cutting off service.
It must be difficult to teach some subjects, such as the “civil war” for example. How would it be possible to describe the actual facts? For example, for decades prior to the Union’s invasion of the Confederacy North/South political conflict was over tariffs, not over slavery.
The fight over which new states created from former “Indian” territories would be “slave” and which “free” was a fight over keeping the protectionist (North) vs. free trade (South) balance in Congress equal so that the budding industrial north could not impose a tariff regime. Two days before Lincoln’s inaugural address, a stiff tariff was signed into law. That same day in an effort to have the South accept the tariff and remain in or return to the Union—some southern states had seceded, some had not—Congress passed the Corwin amendment that provided constitutional protection to slavery. The amendment prohibited the federal government from abolishing slavery.
Two days later in his inaugural address, which seems to be aimed at the South, Lincoln said: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
Lincoln’s beef with the South was not over slavery or the Fugitive Slave Act. Lincoln did not accept the secessions and still intended to collect the tariff that now was law. Under the Constitution slavery was up to the states, but the Constitution gave the federal government to right to levy a tariff. Lincoln said that “there needs to be no bloodshed or violence” over collecting the tariff. Lincoln said he will use the government’s power only “to collect the duties and imposts,” and that “there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.”
Here is Lincoln, “the Great Emancipator,” telling the South that they can have slavery if they will pay the duties and imposts on imports. How many black students and whites brainwashed by Identity Politics are going to sit there and listen to such a tale and not strongly protest the racist professor justifying white supremacy and slavery?
So what happens to history when you can’t tell it as it is, but instead have to refashion it to fit the preconceived beliefs formed by Identity Politics? The so-called “civil war,” of course, is far from the only example.
In its document of secession, South Carolina made a case that the Constitutional contract had been broken by some of the northern states breaking faith with Article IV of the Constitution. This is true. However, it is also true that the Southern states had no inclination to abide by Section 8 of Article I, which says that “Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises.” So, also the South by not accepting the tariff was not constitutionally pure.
Before history became politicized, historians understood that the North intended for the South to bear costs of the North’s development of industry and manufacturing. The agricultural South preferred the lower priced goods from England. The South understood that a tariff on British goods would push import prices above the high northern prices and lower the South’s living standards in the interest of raising living standards in the North. The conflict was entirely economic and had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery, which also had existed in the North. Indeed, some northern states had “exclusion ordinances” and anti-immigration provisions in their state constitutions that prohibited the immigration of blacks into northern states. http://slavenorth.com/exclusion.htm
If freeing slaves were important to the North and avoiding tariffs was important to the South, one can imagine some possible compromises. For example, the North could have committed to building factories in the South. As the South became industrialized, new centers of wealth would arise independently from the agricultural plantations that produced cotton exports. The labor force would adjust with the economy, and slavery would have evolved into free labor.
Unfortunately, there were too many hot heads. And so, too, today.
In America there is nothing on the horizon but hate. Everywhere you look in America you see nothing but hate. Putin is hated. Russia is hated. Muslims are hated. Venezuela is hated. Assad is hated. Iran is hated. Julian Assange is hated. Edward Snowden is hated. White heterosexual males are hated. Confederate monuments are hated. Truth-tellers are hated. “Conspiracy theorists” are hated. No one escapes being hated.
Hate groups are proliferating, especially on the liberal/progressive/left. For example, RootsAction has discovered a statue of Robert E. Lee in the U.S. Capitol and urges all good people to demand its removal. Whether the level of ignorance that RootsAction personifies is real or just a fund-raising ploy, I do not know. But clearly RootsAction is relying on public ignorance in order to get the response that they want. In former times when the US had an educated population, everyone understood that there was a great effort to reconcile the North and South and that reconciliation would not come from the kind of hate-mongering that now infects RootsAction and most of the action groups and websites of the liberal/progressive/left.
Today our country is far more divided that it was in 1860. Identity Politics has taught Americans to hate each other, but, nevertheless, the zionist neoconservatives assure us that we are “the indispensable, exceptional people.” We, a totally divided people, are said to have the right to rule the world and to bomb every country that doesn’t accept our will into the stone age.
In turn the world hates America. Washington has told too many lies about other countries and used those lies to destroy them. Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, and large chunks of Syria and Pakistan are in ruins. Washington intends yet more ruin with Venezuela currently in the cross hairs.
Eleven years ago Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez resonated with many peoples when he said in his UN speech: “Yesterday at this very podium stood Satan himself [Bush], speaking as if he owned the world; you can still smell the sulphur.”
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that America is a font for hatred both at home and abroad.