A family friend says Loughner was particularly influenced by something called the “Zeitgeist” movie. News One writes the movie “claims that the Federal Reserve was behind several wars and manipulates the American public and that there was a secret conspiracy for a ‘One World Government’ or ‘New World Order,’ common themes in the Patriot Movement.” But not so fast. An elementary Internet search shows that these videos seem to be associated with something completely different. Something called the Venus Project.
What is the Venus Project? Is it associated with “Patriot” and “right wing” themes? Judge for yourself by following the link above. No one in the Venus project or Zeitgeist should be held responsible for the unhinged actions of a lunatic like Loughner, but in the interests of proper taxonomy, how should the themes articulated by Zeitgeist and the Venus Project be characterized?
The Wikipedia entry says Zeitgeist the movie was critically well received at a screening “on November 10, 2007 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood as part of the 4th Annual Artivist Film Festival, where it won the Best Feature Award in the Artivist Spirit category for feature-length documentaries. In September 2008, Zeitgeist, The Movie also received a Special Acknowledgment Award at Rutger Hauer’s ICFILMS Film Festival in Milan, Italy.” Not very right wing so far.
One newspaper suggested that the movie was less than factual. “A review in The Irish Times entitled ‘Zeitgeist: the Nonsense’ wrote that “these are surreal perversions of genuine issues and debates, and they tarnish all criticism of faith, the Bush administration and globalization—there are more than enough factual injustices in this world to be going around without having to invent fictional ones.” Critical of the Bush administration, hmm.
The Venus Project describes itself in the following way:
The Venus Project presents a bold, new direction for humanity that entails nothing less than the total redesign of our culture. There are many people today who are concerned with the serious problems that face our modern society: unemployment, violent crime, replacement of humans by technology, over-population and a decline in the Earth’s ecosystems.
As you will see, The Venus Project is dedicated to confronting all of these problems by actively engaging in the research, development, and application of workable solutions. Through the use of innovative approaches to social awareness, educational incentives, and the consistent application of the best that science and technology can offer directly to the social system, The Venus Project offers a comprehensive plan for social reclamation in which human beings, technology, and nature will be able to coexist in a long-term, sustainable state of dynamic equilibrium.
Ecosystems, social engineering, redesign of culture, a “comprehensive plan for social reclamation”. These are not very well known as right wing themes.
The Zeitgeist movie and the Venus Project can at best be called “eclectic”. One hesitates to label it Left, Right, Up or Down. If one were pressed it is easy to make the case that it embodies as many ideas from the Left as from the Right, if not more. But that is a pointless debate. Loughner was beyond politics in any reasonable sense of the word. His driveway didn’t go all the way to the road. One wonders whether Sheriff Dupnik or Paul Krugman, knowing Loughner was a Zeitgeist fan, could ascribe the shooter’s madness to anything except madness. Maybe it is time to go easy on the labels and stop trying to pin it on one side of the political spectrum or the other.