The Three Great Scams of Our Time
The replacement of Truth by narrative and myth.
July 20, 2012 - 12:52 am
“Don’t disturb the order of the world, storyteller.”
– Mario Vargas Llosa, The Storyteller.
Corruption, delusion, and mendacity are nothing new as determinants of both personal and collective life. They are staples of human nature. But with the spread of the print and electronic media and the immediate accessibility of information at any time and any place in the “global village,” the opportunity for mass deception has become the distinguishing factor of our time. Sophistry and subterfuge have gone mainstream. The ability of dominant elites to influence and even control the thought-world of vast populations to an historically unprecedented extent is now an integral part of contemporary life.
There are, to be sure, various ancillary elements involved in the ubiquitous public hospitality to blatant fictions and professional guile, including the critical decay of education at all levels and the growing proneness to parasitical entitlements among Western electorates, accentuating the appetite for passivity and stoking what amounts to a handout mentality. A populace coddled by welfare gratuities will accept packaged ideas and doctored reports as readily as they do food stamps, tax exemptions, and government checks.
As a result, intellectual laziness has never been so widespread in a pampered and ostensibly enlightened cultural realm, providing a soft target for media disinformation and political propaganda to work their injurious will. (It must be admitted that even the dispensers of such concoctions are often under the spell of their own stupefactions.) Nothing else, it would appear, can explain the reflexive acceptance among those who should know better of the three consummate trumperies disfiguring the era in which we live: the Palestinian “narrative,” the climate change shakedown, and the ascent of Barack Obama to the most powerful office in the world. Truth is now at a discount as never before and has been increasingly replaced by promiscuous and sovereign mythologies.
1. In a recent “Nakba Day” speech delivered by a Palestinian official on behalf of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was informed that the Jews have no historical right to the land of Israel. “We say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7,000-year history B.C.E. This is the truth, which must be understood, and we have to note it, in order to say: ‘Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.’”
This speech was a follow-up to an incendiary rant Abbas addressed to the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2011. Standing before a regional map from which Israel had been erased, Abbas insisted that Israel had no connection to the Holy Land, which he claimed was exclusively Islamic and Christian, and received an ovation for his efforts. In an opinion piece in the Washington Post in December 2011, Maen Rashid Areikat, the PLO representative to the United Nations, glossed Abbas’ fictive account of the antiquity of the so-called “Palestinian nation,” declaring that Palestinians had “lived under the rule of a plethora of empires: the Canaanites, Egyptians, Philistines, Israelites, Persians, Greeks, Crusaders, Mongols, Ottomans, and finally, the British.” As Alexander Yoffe comments in a comprehensive article in the Middle East Quarterly aptly titled “The Rhetoric of Nonsense,” such unadulterated hogwash offers “not only…an indication of unwavering Palestinian rejection of Israel’s right to exist but…an insightful glimpse into the psyche of their willfully duped Western champions.”
As I wrote in Hear, O Israel!, the historical record conclusively shows not only that there was never any such thing as a Palestinian nation but also that there is no Palestinian ethnicity—in the sense that there is a Jewish or Tibetan ethnicity—and that there was no coherent political grouping known as “Palestinians” until after the 1967 war. A Palestinian entity was only recognized by the Arab countries at the 1974 Rabat Summit conference. (Although the Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded in 1964—before there were any “Territories” to be “liberated”—it was largely an Egyptian affair controlled by Gamel Abdel Nasser.) Indeed, 1967 is the founding year of the hypothesis now known as “Palestine.”
The designation “Palestinians” was not in official use under the Ottoman Empire and the British applied the term only to the Jewish inhabitants of the region. Local Arabs rejected the term “Palestine” and pressed for “Southern Syria” and even “Iraq.” Many Arab place names are mutations of the original Hebrew, which, in the words of American trial attorney Matthew Hausman, “evidence Jewish habitation dating from Biblical times,” before the Arab invaders appeared on the scene. Eli Hertz, president of Myths and Facts Inc., points out that the Territories “are filled with families named Elmisri (Egyptian), Chalabi (Syrian), Mugrabi (North African)”; and Habash, the surname of arch-terrorist George Habash, originates in Ethiopia (MythsandFacts.com, May 16, 2008). These emigrant families were not driven out over the historical continuum as they contend—they were never there in the first place. As Zahir Muhsein of the Palestinian National Council told the Dutch newspaper Trouw as far back as 1977, “The Palestinian people does not exist. … Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people…to oppose Zionism.” Similarly, Yasser Arafat himself, in the authorized political biography written by Alan Hart, affirmed that the “Palestinian people have no national identity.” Arafat intended to confer identity “though conflict with Israel.”
Joan Peters has shown in her scrupulously researched seven-year study From Time Immemorial, examining census reports and internal memoranda during the British Mandate, that a significant proportion of the “original” Palestinian inhabitants were relative newcomers to the territory in dispute, having migrated into the Holy Land from the surrounding Arab countries, mainly from what was then known as Greater Syria (i.e., Syria and Lebanon) when still part of the Ottoman hegemony, and afterwards during the post-Balfour period. Between 1932 and 1944 half a million mendicant Arabs poured into Palestine to profit from conditions prevailing in the Jewish communities. The framers of the UN partition plan of 1947 seemed to agree, giving—to quote Hausman again—“no consideration of Palestinian claims because Palestinian nationality had not yet been invented.” The Palestinian “narrative” is a synthetic contrivance whose textual repertory is, for the most part, either forged or imagined.
Why, then, the pathological obsession with the Palestinian cause, the acceptance of the Palestinian figment of dispossession (the so-called Nakba), and the winking at the Palestinian terror franchises, the anti-Jewish incitement industry, and the genocidal charters of both Fatah and Hamas? The answer is self-evident: Israel. For the creation of “Palestine”—along with the “right of return” for an army of millions of ginned-up “refugees”—is the most effective way to shrink and destabilize the Jewish state and render it increasingly vulnerable to successful attack by the surrounding Muslim nations, which is the primary reason that Western elites support the claims, strategies, and demands of the Palestinian leadership. Western leaders, the liberal political class, Third World leeches and various autocratic regimes are not genuinely interested in the confection of a Palestinian state. A loose collection of clans calling themselves a “people” or a “nation” with neither historical backing nor political warrant, and that offers nothing of value to the world at large, is, or should be, by any reasonable estimation of peripheral importance.
The agenda in play is something quite different, in part an effort to curry favor with the Islamic umma, homegrown jihadists, and oil sheikhs; and, allied with this concern, the intent to drain the lifeblood of the troublesome Zionist upstart. The spurious Palestinian “narrative” is only the flip side of a malingering and inexcisable antisemitism masking as anti-Zionism. The real purpose of the great Palestinian scam is to deprive Israel of the very right to exist as a home and refuge for the Jewish people.
2. The second great scam is, of course, the canard of global warming or climate change.
All sensible people are concerned with preserving the natural environment—this is one of the central themes of Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Storyteller, cited in the epigraph. But when environmentalists run amok and start trading in panic scenarios, revering false prophets, relying on specious measurements and statistics, crediting counterfeit procedures and pre-programmed computer models that crank out what they want to see, and cooking up apocryphal stories that no self-respecting “habladore” would dream of telling, it is incumbent upon us to mount the most strenuous opposition.
In his pithy and valuable account Understanding the Global Warming Hoax, retired physicist Leo Johnson does exactly this, furnishing a damning list of twelve major blunders made by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and 32 global warming myths that should instantly disqualify the alarmist project, replete with disruptive recommendations, from consideration. He continues: “The reports of the IPCC provide a permanent record of misrepresentation, erroneous data, deceit, scientific fraud, and political corruption of science.” He goes on to show how the great imposture is endorsed by academia, the political establishment, the media, religious hucksters and environmental groups—indeed, as he wryly remarks, “the greatest threat to humanity and the environment is the environmentalists.” Johnson’s short study is among the most devastating—and irrefutable—exposures of the tangle of lies, fictions, and fudge factors that power the theory of a “human-caused biotic holocaust.”
There is clearly a popular fascination with the presumed fate of Mother Earth at the barbarous hands of fallen mankind, an obsession with cultic overtones generally signifying a hunger for spiritual nourishment and longed-for redemption that goes otherwise unsatisfied in the secular West. As James Lovelock, who developed the Gaia theory—the Earth as a single, living, semidivine organism—and who until recently was the darling of the Greens, has deposed in an MSNBC interview: “It just so happens that the green religion is now taking over from the Christian religion.” Lovelock observed: “I don’t think people have noticed that, but it’s got all the sort of terms that religions use. … The greens use guilt. That just shows how religious greens are.” I suppose we should be grateful that Father Lovelock has now confessed that his views on imminent global warming were “alarmist.” Even so, the climate covenanters are not to be deterred as they seek devoutly to create “an anticarbon nirvana that will never come to pass” (Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2012).
But there is more to it than a substitute faith based on guilt and subliminal self-loathing. In fact, liberal environmentalism is the cutting edge of the movement for bureaucratized state control of both private life and free market economics, not only conscripting the media, the NGOs, government departments, the education sector, and the intellectual classes to advance its agenda, but also shrewdly operating through the very corporations it seeks to regulate by offering tax and other incentives to ensure acquiescence. Environmentalism has become the salvation of the Left after the collapse of communism and the failures of technocratic socialism.
Speaking at the Heartland Institute’s 2011 Seventh International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who lived for many years under the Soviet yoke, warned his listeners about the climate change votaries: “For them, the temperature data are just an instrument in their plans to change the world, to suppress human freedom, to bring people back to underdevelopment. Their ideas are the ideas of ideologues, not of scientists or climatologists” (Financial Post, May 29, 2012). If we do not awaken in time, we might one day find ourselves living under a regime that would in many ways resemble the communist nightmare from which half of Europe has only recently emerged.
It is fair to say that the ideology of man-made global warming is one conspiracy that really is a conspiracy. It has reached the point where it must be maintained by the omission of details, the distortion of scale and pattern, and the suspicious liability to error. The plot had already thickened in 1989 when the late Stephen Schneider, professor of environmental biology and global change at Stanford University and a vociferous global warmist—who twenty years earlier had been warning the world of an advancing ice age—wrote: “So we have to offer scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have” (Detroit News Editorial, November 22, 1989). Twenty years later, in November 2009, the Hadley Climate Research Unit was hacked, releasing thousands of files suggesting a covert mega-operation to propagate an anthropogenic global warming myth.
John Kerry’s June 19, 2012 floor speech to Congress urging his compatriots to fight the “insidious conspiracy of silence on climate change…where truth should prevail” and challenging skeptics to “prove us wrong or stand down” is a perfect example of political manipulation and bad faith. There is no such silence except that imposed by the media. The only conspiracy is to be found among government-funded climate change berserkers. Kerry—who is obviously deeply unread—has failed to prove his own assertions, relying instead on anecdotal rumours about wilting azaleas. But the politics of money and power—higher taxes on the middles classes and the wealthy, enrichment schemes for carbon brokers and fishy green industries, limits on individual freedoms under the expansion of statist control—rides on the deeper, rhizomatous sense of spiritual vacuity that characterizes the modern age. In effect, political science has coalesced with dominical theology.
Thankfully, there is a rapidly growing and easily accessible adversarial bibliography on the subject of climate change that anyone interested in the global warming controversy might do well to consult. The scientific expertise assembled in these books, written by such reputable authorities as Fred Singer, Robert Zubrin, Lawrence Solomon, Ian Plimer, Brian Sussman, A.W. Montford, Steven Milloy, Nigel Lawson, Senator James Inhofe, and many others, cannot honorably be ignored or discounted. Mark Levin’s chapter “On Enviro-Statism” in his Liberty and Tyranny provides an incisional critique of the various stages of the global warming hoax and how it functions as an instrument of statist control of civil society. Further, the number of reputable analytical studies exploding the AGW myth is now legion. As if this were not enough, on May 19, 2008, 32,000 dissenting scientists issued the Oregon petition disavowing the alarmist assertions of scammers like Al Gore and the IPCC. This prestigious group of skeptics (or “deniers” as they are called), which includes a veritable who’s who of American scientists, is fifteen times larger than those scientists involved in one way or another, directly or marginally, with the IPCC.
The petition states in part: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
“How might anyone of clear mind,” asks Marc Sheppard, rhetorically, in American Thinker, “consider these words from these numbers and still accept claims of scientific consensus?” Will the MSM, the IPCC, the compromised scientists, and myriad politicians who have invested in their species of junk science actually ponder, let alone honestly acknowledge, the authenticity of the petition? Sheppard answers: “As the [real] science no longer appears to concern any of them—don’t hold your CO2 polluted breath.” A global juggernaut is hard to derail even as it hurtles toward environmental, political, and economic disaster.
3. I have been following the ascent of Barack Obama from early in the Democratic primaries—when he surfed on a wave of clichés, bromides, plagiarisms, gaffes, promises, and outright fabrications to the nomination—up to the present moment when he began to be exposed as arguably the most disingenuous and destructive president in the history of the United States. I found it hard to believe that he had succeeded in conning the majority of his countrymen (and much of the West). True, he enjoyed the material assistance of the consensus media in what was both a massive cover-up of his dubious formative and intellectual influences and an equally massive promotional campaign. Nonetheless, how a largely unvetted nonentity with a winning manner could so effectively beguile even a dumbed-down electorate is nothing short of grotesque.
I am not an American and can scarcely regard myself as a political wonk or legitimate pundit—my interests lie elsewhere—yet even from a distance it seemed obvious to me four years ago that Obama was an arrant fraud, an Alinsky-inspired subversive, a far-Left politicopath of obscure provenance intimate with a host of tainted mentors and friends, and ultimately a greater threat to his nation than Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez, Osama bin Laden, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. One did not need to be Argus-eyed to spot the glaringly inescapable, unless one were either thoroughly indoctrinated or suicidally delusional.
The latest revelation about Obama’s lack of candor—to put it mildly—has reconfirmed the intuition that he was a scoundrel from the get-go. “[T]he thirty eight documented falsehoods in the president’s memoir Dreams from My Father…revealed by David Maraniss’s new book Barack Obama: The Story,” writes Roger Simon, make it clear that “the president is a liar.” Edward Klein’s just-published The Amateur, garnished with a trove of insider information, only reaffirms that this president is quite possibly the shallowest, least prepared, and most self-infatuated, mercurial, and duplicitous man ever to sit in the Oval Office, bar none. Nixon, Carter, and Clinton seem like choirboys in comparison.
And yet, the man who has broken nearly every campaign promise; who has turned the White House into a banquet hall; who has led his nation to the brink of insolvency; who thrives on class warfare; who has placed a major portion of his resumé under seal; whose publicity bio for his first (and unpublished) book gave his birthplace as Kenya and was not revised until shortly after he declared his bid for the presidency sixteen years later; who often appears to prefer golfing to governing and debases the gravity of his office with tasteless and frivolous performances on late-night comedy television; who flouts Congress with impunity; who passes major legislation in the dead of night; who plainly has no love for the American Constitution; who ties up industry and commerce with senseless regulations; who is not averse to ceding national authority to the United Nations; who labors to import the collapsing European social model of economic syndicalism, public sector expansion, and dirigiste supervision into American life; who promotes the fortunes of the Muslim Brotherhood, thus imperiling American security and national interests; who relies on the possibly illegitimate exercise of executive privilege to suppress critical intelligence, as in the “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal, while at the same time apparently leaking sensitive data to the press in order to augment his image; who prosecutes whistleblowers under the 1917 Espionage Act; who instructs his Department of Justice to sue states intent on cleaning up the electoral rolls peppered with dead, illegal, and multiple voters (who will obviously cast their ballots for the Democrats); and who has alienated America’s traditional allies and befriended its most feral enemies—this man continues to bask in significant acclaim and support. He may even be re-elected, despite the fact that Obama in his very person represents and embodies the greatest—and most transparent—scam the presidency has ever suffered.
Andrew Klavan justly remarks in an article deploring the president’s egregious lack of character: “Again and again, he reveals himself to be wholly a product of the anti-American, anti-liberal and anti-democratic left at odds with the principles of our founding.” Still, sentient human beings will continue to vote for him. There is only one word for this: unbelievable.
The madness, hypocrisy, and outright stupidity that are sweeping the world almost defy comprehension. The Palestinian faux “narrative,” the environmental craze, and the Obama myth are the three great examples of the way the flimflam racket works, predicated on the self-interest of the ruseful idiots who know how to game the system, the malfeasance of a politically indoctrinated media imperium, and the gullibility of a mass popular audience lobotomized into compliance by a failing intellectual culture.
These three chimeras generally manifest the morbid sense of victimhood and hatred of the modern West that is the most contemptible and dangerous feature of our contemporary world. Israel is a tiny outpost of enlightened modernity that the world wants to see snuffed out and replaced by medieval barbarism and tribal fanaticism; the global warming hoaxers want to roll back technological progress to a condition like that well before the industrial revolution, even before the rise of agrarian societies; and Barack Obama is the first president of the United States who actually despises—and has stated overtly his desire to “fundamentally transform”—the founding principles and way of life of the freest and most dynamic society ever known.
What sustains these programs of dissolution is not truth but a semblance of truth rooted in fantasy, misrepresentation, invention, and dinning repetition. Serious critique and sincere skepticism are dismissed as mere conspiracy, as disrupting the recitals we have come dotingly to believe in. Myth is received as reality and “narrative” euchres objective analysis and the pursuit of fact. In our fable-ready time, the real story is the story itself. This is where we are today. Where we will be tomorrow does not inspire confidence.