The Frustration of Ingrained Lies in Historical Explanations
Paul Craig Roberts
From time to time readers ask what it is like trying to communicate with people in an era of mass disinformation. There are a few individual voices, as often as not censored and under attack, against which the TV and print media and the establishment’s Internet sites are arrayed. It is frustrating, especially as so many people are content with a few minutes of managed news headlines. The insouciance in the population is massive.
Perhaps an even greater frustration is how ingrained falsehood is in people’s consciousness, including that of conservatives. Consider, for example, Imprimis, a monthly newsletter usually featuring one article published by Hillsdale College, a conservative educational institution where it is still possible to acquire an education.
Imprimis claims 6,200,000 readers and usually presents a reasoned and informed article that encourages thought. But often even these articles sometimes contain historical lies.
For example, Harmeet Dhillon, CEO of the Center for American Liberty writes about “The Politicization of the Department of Justice” in the August 2022 issue of Imprimis. She makes her case and leaves us with the frightening fact that the US Department of Justice is a powerful force misusing law to destroy the civil liberty guaranteed by the US Constitution.
She makes the important point that 9/11 was used “to attack ourselves” with the Patriot Act that inaugurated an era of government spying, illegally and unconstitutionally, on citizens and weaponizing information against those Americans regarded as “political enemies. ”
All well and good, but she accepts the official 9/11 story: “First the terrorists attacked us.” Conservatives, who are more patriotic than liberals, who seem to prefer a Tower of Babel to a unified country, have a difficult time separating government from country. Consequently, if there is a claim of foreign attack, like the Gulf of Tonkin and 9/11, conservatives rush to the defense of the government. They wrap themselves in the flag and become dupes of the propaganda.
Another example of the perpetuation of a historical lie is Christopher Flannery’s article in the December 2022 issue of Imprimis. In this curious article Flannery portrays Abraham Lincoln as a President who created a new birth of freedom for America with his Emancipation Proclamation.
This is absurd. The Emancipation Proclamation was a war measure intended to provoke a slave revolt that would cause Confederate soldiers to desert the front lines and rush home to protect their parents, wives, and children. Union officers were terrified that Lincoln would create the impression among Union soldiers that they were fighting and dying for the sake of blacks slaves. Lincoln’s own Secretary of State criticized the proclamation for freeing the slaves only in the areas where we have no presence and leaving them in bondage where we rule. Lincoln’s own words freed slaves only in Union unoccupied areas “in rebellion against the United States.”
One can understand that Republicans, which essentially means conservatives, would try to court black votes by claiming to have fought a war to liberate them. But it hasn’t worked.
It is a curiosity of our time that today blacks vote Democrat, the party that opposed Lincoln’s war, and the conquered South vote for their Republican conquerers.
Another example of conservatives gone amiss is Glenn Loury. Writing in the Autumn 2022 City Journal, Loury says “Racial inequality is deep and abiding.” But he is opposed to racial preferences for blacks as a method of their advancement. Loury believes, and I agree, that blacks are not helped by advancing them on a non-merit basis.
Racial inequality can have many other reasons than racism. There are many inequalities in the world. We see them in athletic performance, in the income distribution, in creative acts, and so on. These inequalities exist in all populations regardless of the presence or non-presence of blacks.
The racial inequality that we have today comes from treating white Americans as legally second class citizens. If you refuse to hire a black, the federal government will have you up on racial discrimination charges, but it is perfectly OK to refuse to hire a white. Affirmative action gives blacks rights to be hired and promoted before whites regardless of merit.
So what Loury should be analyzing is the second class citizenship of white Americans, especially heterosexual white males despite the prohibition against unequal treatment in the 14th Amendment. It is a paradox of history that the 1964 Civil Rights Act has been turned into discrimination against white Americans.
For my last example I take Matt Taibbi, one of the best journalists of our time. Taibbi has fallen for the disinformation that George Floyd was murdered. https://taibbi.substack.com/p/on-white-fragility
As the coroner’s report made clear, as is reported on my website, George Floyd’s blood showed the presence of fentanyl at 2.5 times the fatal dose.
George Floyd complained of breathing problems prior to any restraint.
The video taken at a distance by the teenage black girl, from which it seemed that officer Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck, is an example of perspective distortion as experts testified at the trial. The up close police videos show that Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s shoulder, an approved restraint measure. The reason for the restraint was to keep Floyd still, thus conserving his ability to use oxygen until the medics the police had called arrived. Chauvin recognized that he had a fentanyl case and was trying to keep Floyd still until help arrived.
The media universally declared Chauvin a murderer, provoking burnings and lootings of many cities’ business areas and making it impossible for any jurors to give Chauvin a fair trial. In the mid-20th century such irresponsible behavior by the media would have led the court to dismiss the case against Chauvin on the grounds that an impartial jury could not be found.
So how do we explain the ignorance of one of the few remaining journalists America has?
There is a limit to everyone’s time and energy. None of us can focus on everything. Additionally, Taibbi, a former left-winger prior to being thrown out of the gang for telling the truth, might have grown up with the belief that white cops are racists who discriminate against blacks. If so, then for Taibbi the media’s account of George Floyd was what he was prepared to believe.
So, dear readers, no, I do not enjoy writing. Yes, trying to communicate is frustrating. Why do I do it? Because when there is no truth there is tyranny. I do not claim to always be correct, but that is my goal. My agenda is truth. I find it very disturbing that it is truth tellers, not liars, who are censored.