The Age of the Nothing Burger
Van Jones, now at CNN, famously referred to the Trump/Russia collusion scandal as a “nothing burger,” in other words, a fantasy designed to serve a political agenda. But that particular scandal is only a kind of subset, a mere franchise of a much more comprehensive enterprise -- namely, the ideologically driven perversion of fact. The nothing burger is the Big Mac of the Western appetite for dissembling truth in the interest of institutional deception.
Consider a representative few of the major issues and preoccupations of the contemporary era: global warming, gender fluidity, the Palestinian nation, rape culture, and Islam as the “religion of peace.” None of these entities exist in the way in which we have been instructed to understand them and none can justify the righteous fury they apparently inspire. They are all nothing burgers.
Countering the 600 or so scientists who have signed on to the IPCC consensus at the UN, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine inaugurated a “petition project” containing the names of over 31,000 scientists who rejected the IPCC findings (May 20, 2008). The petition states in part: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing … catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere. … 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.”
Believers like to cite the University of Illinois 2009 survey claiming that 97.4% of scientists agree that mankind is responsible for global warming. The problem is that the Illinois researchers decided that of their 10,257 respondents, the 10,180 who demurred from the so-called consensus “weren’t qualified to comment on the issue.” Of the remaining 77 scientists whose votes were counted, 75 agreed with the proposition that mankind was causing catastrophic changes in the climate. And, since 75 is 97.4% of 77, “overwhelming consensus was demonstrated once again.” However, the real percentage of concurring scientists in the survey was less than 1%.
And the evidence against AGW seems to be increasing with every passing month. Most recently, for example, a new study by University of Alabama-Huntsville climate scientists found that studies used by those promoting global warming made a glaring oversight: Their data didn’t take into account volcanoes. According to The Daily Caller, when scientists John Christy and Richard McNider re-calibrated satellite temperature data to remove the effects of naturally occurring volcanic eruptions, “they found something stunning: The rate of global warming has been nearly unchanged in the last 30 years.” The literature refuting the global warming delirium is now extensive and only diehard sectarians, professional hucksters and government-funded lab rats can pretend to ignore it.
- The burgeoning crew of gendercrats have taken it upon themselves to decide for nature, to discard the biological imperative which rules throughout the natural world and to redefine sexual dimorphism as a “social construct” to be replaced by the notion of “gender fluidity.”
The result is the nominal proliferation of “non-binary” identities, to which may now be added the OS (Objectum Sexual) orientation, that is, people who fall in love with inanimate objects. It is unsurprising, then, that the gender mania has unleashed a tsunami of surrogate pronouns that normal people are forced to recognize — in some places, like the province of Ontario, by law. But as Walt Heyer, who “transitioned” from male to female and back again and who should know what he is talking about, writes in Paper Genders, the only place where sex change or professing the gender du jour can be said to apply is on paper, driver’s licenses and the like.
As I’ve written before, gender fluidity “expresses the effort of human beings to create what only God or Nature can create, the very transgression — with the emphasis on trans — that the Book of Genesis warned against. 'Ye shall be as gods,' the serpent insinuated, a temptation that led to the Fall, and to the building of the Tower of Babel that generated a confusion of languages, including thirty-one pronouns, no doubt.” (Apparently, the pronoun list has swollen to 52, with no end in sight.) Yet despite its deleterious impact on social civility, common sense and intellectual soundness, gender fluidity is a nothing burger of the first magnitude, with an extra patty of fetishized imbecility.
- There is no Palestinian nation.
The vast majority of Palestinians hail from Egypt and South Syria, as 19th century census records and a plethora of authoritative studies, such as Joan Peters’ From Time Immemorial, indicate beyond the shadow of a doubt. The PLO is a modern invention dating from the Rabat Summit of 1974. As has been pointed out more than once, if Palestine ever existed, where were the original borders? What was the currency? Where is the original flag? Where are its documented kings and rulers? Where are the historical artifacts and architectural remnants? And where are the founding texts and scriptures? The current fracas over the status of Jerusalem, the eastern section of which has been designated by the PA and the EU as the future capital of Palestine, is utter hooey. (Interestingly, India, China and Russia appear to have reversed their insistence on the East Jerusalem gambit, having “notably refrained from recognizing ‘East Jerusalem’ as the capital of Palestine at their annual meeting in New Delhi.” An invented nation can have only an invented capital. Neither enjoy legitimate existence. Palestine is the poster child for the anti-Zionist left -- that is the pivotal reason for its apparition -- but it is a nothing shawarma.
- The fervent dogma that we live in a rape culture and especially that there is an epidemic of campus rape in progress -- one in four female students are presumably subject to sexual assault -- is one of the most preposterous canards in current circulation.
The belief is absurd on the face of it. What parent would send his or her daughter to a university where she has a 25% chance of being raped? Why would women outnumber men, in some faculties by significant numbers, if the campus was a hotbed of violent and frequent rape? Of course, rape has been increasingly defined to include almost any sexual or romantic initiative, including the so-called “male gaze,” repeated requests for a date, accidental touching, and so on. The rape meme having been stretched beyond elastic modulus by the spandex sorority, almost anything now constitutes rape. The only violation is that of credibility.
As my wife Janice Fiamengo has shown time and again in her video series The Fiamengo File, rape culture is among the most toxic myths of our time, a cultural contaminant that is leading to the corruption of the modern university and the legal persecution of men. Rape culture certainly exists, but not in the West. It is a standard feature of Islamic culture as Europe, aswarm with Muslim refugees, is learning to its cost. Violent rape, according to a German judge, is normal in the Islamic world and therefore a Muslim rapist should not be punished for following a traditional practice. The dialectic of rape and normality has been irrationally reversed—strange behavior for a western judge, presumably a cultural authority. But as David Ignatius writes, “Defeated cultures behave strangely.”
- Which brings us to Islam, routinely referred to as the “religion of peace.”
It manifestly is not, as any reading of the Koran, the Hadith, the Sira and Sunna, the schools of jurisprudence, the immense ulemic literature, the millennial annals of Islamic conquest, and the bloody record of terror attacks before and after 9/11 -- at last count, over 30,000 instances of such -- as well as the Muslim inspired upheavals roiling the European continent should make painfully obvious to any person still in possession of his or her faculties. Raymond Ibrahim tells the real story in a short but compendious article, “Islam’s Three Worst Doctrines,” for FrontPage. Indeed, the literature dealing with the truth of Islam is vast and decisive. Nevertheless, we are deluged with misinformation seeking to normalize the Islamic invasion of the West, to whitewash jihad as a spiritual practice, and to establish a false dichotomy between Islam (peaceful) and Islamism (violent). Ibn Warraq’s masterful study alone, The Islam in Islamic Terrorism, should put paid to our soft-minded delusion.
One could go on. All these apodictic claims and beliefs, among others -- e.g., that domestic violence is exclusively male, that socialism works, that conservatism is fascism in disguise -- are ideological nothing burgers which speak not to the way things really are but to an age that has surrendered reason, sanity and the pursuit of truth to the exponential advent of politically correct mythology. It is no less ridiculous than the spread of Tulipmania in the 17th century that broke the Dutch economy.
The history of the 20th century is proof positive that political insanity is a norm of human behavior and that true civilization -- moral decency, intellectual sobriety, industrial and commercial productivity, the rule of law and genuine justice -- is the exception.”We live in the flicker,” said Joseph Conrad’s Marlow in Heart of Darkness -- that is, “live” as civilized beings. But when truth is dismissed as merely an expression of power, when feeling is elevated over thought, and when fictions are raised to the status of unassailable convictions, the writing is on the wall of every dwelling and institution. Civilizations, said Toynbee, die of suicide, not murder.
Nothing burger vendors are like Peter Peppers who walk their maze of platforms in a demonic version of Burger Time to build that perfect nothing burger. What brings a civilization to the point where it believes it can survive on fables, myths and self-deception remains an open question, but the trajectory towards the embrace of fantasy and nonsense seems historically inevitable. We are there now, cruising through the drive-ins. Serving up nothing burgers to itself is how a civilization starves to death. Caveat coenator!