The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

OMFG: Zeitgeist Is ‘Right-Wing’?

Posted on | January 17, 2011 | 12 Comments

It’s the liberal Rorshach test — show them an inkblot and liberals scream, “Blame conservatives!”

Loughner’s Conspiracy-Fueled Rampage
Has Origins on the Fringe Right

Now, you don’t have to believe that Sarah Palin purchased the gun for Loughner and whispered in his ear about targets to believe that the rhetoric on the far, far right played a role in amping up the paranoia of a mentally unbalanced man. In fact, one of the shooter’s friends focused on a movie that echoes many of the themes on the fringe right as extremely important to shaping Loughner’s worldview. . . .
Zeitgeist in particular has echoes of anti-Federal Reserve theories popular with the John Birch Society.
The more you read by Loughner, or the more videos you see from him, they reflect these beliefs very strongly.

Someone needs to send David Dayen for counseling. He’s as obsessed with the “far right” as Loughner was with Bush-hatred:

“His anger would well up at the sight of
President George W. Bush, or in discussing what he
considered to be the nefarious designs of government.”

Permit me to observe that it is possible to be conservative — not “far, far right” or “fringe right” — and not be a huge fan of George W. Bush. Bruce Barlett certainly is no Bush fanboy, and there are many others within the conservative mainstream who would endorse Bartlett’s critique of the Bush administration.

But you see it’s “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” with the likes of David Dayen. Conservatism can be condemned for anything and everything Bush did — despite the many conservative voices that proclaim, as does Bartlett, that Bush was not really conservative — and yet, when it serves their purposes, they’ll condemn conservatism for “fringe” beliefs of people who’ve never had any active association with the mainstream conservative movement. This resembles a fallacy that we might call The Nixon Syllogism of Liberal Argument:

  • Nixon was a Republican;
  • Nixon did bad things;
    and therefore
  • Republicans are never to be trusted.

Liberals have these ironclad mental associations of “right-wingers” with various pre-demonized political scapegoats and the trick, in any debate over contemporary issues, is to conjure up these negative associations to say that today’s conservative personality is analogous to the scapegoat, be it Nixon, Joe McCarthy or George Wallace.

The argument begins with the conclusion — conservatives are bad — and all that is necessary is to adduce “evidence” to prove it. Anything at all will suffice as “evidence,” and liberals will ignore a mountain of information that doesn’t fit the conclusion in order to scream about the irrelevant molehill that they insist “proves” their point.

And if you don’t buy their argument, your disagreement merely reinforces their point: Conservatives are close-minded bigots and therefore, bad people.

This kind of circular reasoning is, of course, not actually reasoning at all. It’s tautological, an expression of partisan prejudice, and it does no good to enter into debate with such people. They’ve got their minds made up, and all you can say to them is, “I disagree. You’re wrong and you’re not going to persuade me.”

I’m not arguing with David Dayen with any idea that he’s going to have a Road to Damascus moment and recognize his errors. He’s too far gone for that. Nor is there any need to “preach to the choir.” This is merely another object lesson in how to confront the counterfactual and irrational mentality of the Left. (See, for example, yesterday’s encounter with liberal blogger Don Millard who pushed a discredited “Blame Palin” meme.)

The object of the argument in such a case is not to convert the fool to wisdom. Rather, it is to expose his folly for the benefit of those who encounter the argument not as participants, but as spectators. And speaking of which, here’s my latest column at The American Spectator:

Divided into three parts, Zeitgeist begins with a half-hour assault on Christianity as a myth. The film asserts that Jesus is “a literary and astrological hybrid… a plagiarization of the Egyptian sun-god Horus.” This is a thesis promoted in a series of books, including The Christ Conspiracy (1999), by author D.M. Murdock, who writes under the pen-name “Achyra S.” Murdock served as an adviser on Zeitgeist, and the film’s popularization of her “Christ-myth” ideas has brought it to the attention of Christian writer James Patrick Holding of Tektonics Ministry. He notes that many viewers of Zeitgeist claim it has “shown them the truth for the first time,” and that it evidently appeals to those “disaffected with the status quo.” Holding said Zietgeist “also seems to have appeal among what I call ‘fundamentalist atheists’ who are deeply hostile to Christianity.”
Deeply hostile, indeed, as the film tells viewers: “Christianity, along with all other theistic belief systems, is the fraud of the age.” This idea of fraudulent mythology is then carried over into the film’s second segment, about the 9/11 attacks: “A myth is an idea that, while widely believed, is false. In a deeper sense, in the religious sense, a myth serves as an orienting and mobilizing story for a people.”
“They do not want you to think too much.… You had better wake up and understand that there are people guiding your life, and you don’t even know it,” says one of the film’s “experts,” anti-Masonic conspiracy theorist Jordan Maxwell, near the end of Zeitgeist, after the narrator has denounced “the stupefying downward slide” of American education. A few minutes later, while images including Jesus Christ, Bill O’Reilly and Saddam Hussein flash across the screen, the narrator says: “The last thing the men behind the curtain want is a conscious, informed public, capable of critical thinking, which is why a continually fraudulent zeitgeist is output via religion, the mass media and the educational system.” . . .

Go read the whole thing. I’ll have more about Zeitgeist later. For now, I consider it sufficient to say that a film which cites purveyors of anti-Masonic kookery and relies upon New Age authors as sources to attack Christianity is definitely not conservative. And anyone who thinks otherwise needs to have his head examined.


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