The Other McCain

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

Salvia, Zeitgeist and the Tucson Shooter

Posted on | January 12, 2011 | 34 Comments

Leaving aside Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and the Left’s “blood libel” hysteria, let’s examine the factors that really motivated mass murderer Jared Lee Loughner. First, here is a four-minute Associated Press video interview with George Osler, father of Loughner’s friend Osler:

“There was a lot of talk about lucid dreaming and understanding reality. . . . And there were a lot of books and movies . . . things that I never would have heard about or watched — things like Loose Change about the 9/11 conspiracy . . . He watched things like that. . . . He had basically nothing going for him, and I think he just couldn’t deal with reality anymore. . . . I know that he was experimenting with the drug, or herb or whatever it is, salvia divinorum. And from what I hear, he used it quite frequently. . . . It’s like a hallucinogenic type of effect.”

Adding a few more dots to the pattern:

Loughner, now 22, would come over several times a week from 2007 to 2008, the Oslers said.
The boys listened to the heavy-metal band Slipknot and progressive rockers the Mars Volta, studied the form of meditative movement called tai chi and watched and discussed movies.
Loughner’s favorites included little-known conspiracy theory documentaries such as “Zeitgeist” and “Loose Change” as well as bigger studio productions with cult followings and themes of brainwashing, science fiction and altered states of consciousness, including “Donnie Darko” and “A Scanner Darkly.” . . .
Roxanne Osler [said]: “Jared struck me as a young man who craved attention and acceptance.”

Altered consciousness, “lucid dreams,” conspiracy theories, sci-fi dystopias — you see the pattern. This is what I meant by the “Beta male” reference earlier today. Today’s feral adolescents are heinously cruel to those they stigmatize as “losers.” As George Osler says, Loughner was a failure in reality and therefore craved some sort of alternative reality where (he imagined) he could succeed.

Loughner’s disconnection from, and hostility toward, the real world obviously would have made the quasi-revolutionary utopian radicalism of Zeitgeist extraordinarily attractive. Secular Stupidest provides this three-minute video about Zeitgeist:

I’ll be back to update with some more background, but you can see from just these two videos — requiring a total of seven minutes to view — how far removed Loughner’s worldview was from anything connected to Sarah Palin, the Tea Party movement, conservative talk radio, etc.

CLICK HERE to See Zeitgeist: The Conspiracy Movie That Had a ‘Profound Impact’ on Jared Loughner

UPDATE:  Travis Walter Donovan, whose title at HuffPo is “Associate Green Editor” (??), wrote what the Secular Stupid video calls a “glowing profile” of Zeitgeist in March:

“It takes a different value system if you wish to change the world,” Jacque Fresco said to a sold out crowd of over 800 in New York City’s Upper West Side. Though he may not need to convince these people, many his ardent followers, it will indeed take a restructuring of the mind for those unfamiliar with Fresco’s work to realistically accept the ideas he proposes of a new global society that has given up money and property in favor of a shared, sustainable, technology-driven community. . . .
March 13th, 2010 was the second annual celebration of ZDay. Coordinated by The Zeitgeist Movement, ZDay is an educational event geared toward raising awareness of the movement. . . .
[T]he movement declares itself as the activist arm of The Venus Project, an organization started in the 1970s by Fresco and his partner, Roxanne Meadows. The Venus Project distributes resources promoting Fresco’s vision of an improved society, with the main component being a resource-based economy, rather than a monetary-based one. In Fresco’s resource-based economy, the world’s resources would be considered as the equal inheritance of all the world’s peoples, and would be managed as efficiently and carefully as possible through focusing on the technological potential of sustainable development.

The impossibility of abolishing a “monetary-based” economy is one of the basic insights Ludwig von Mises explained in Socialism more than 80 years ago. That the objective of Zeitgeist is a global egalitarian redistribution of wealth classifies it as socialism and, as I think any orthodox Marxist would say, it is a utopian form of socialism.

This is why I called it “quasi-revolutionary”: Zeitgeist envisions an essentially voluntary egaltiarianism, as if the rich would gladly give up their “resources” (a word tendentiously employed) to the have-nots. At least Marx and Lenin were sane enough to recognize that such a redistribution could only be accomplished by force.

And as for the idea of resources being “managed . . . efficiently and carefully” — by whom? Who has the capacity for this technological management of “resources”? Where will this managerial authority be vested? With “experts”?

To any student of Mises and Hayek, this is simply the old “planned economy” fallacy dressed up in new clothes of globalism and “sustainabie development.”

Who are these young fools who fall for such recycled nonsense? What are they teaching kids in school nowadays, that they are so easily taken in by these Zeitgeist charlatans?

UPDATE II: Here is the 5-minute video trailer for Zeitgeist:

The main question raised by Zeitgeist: How much salvia does a semi-literate paranoid psychotic adolescent have to smoke before that crap starts making sense? It needs to be re-titled Nonsense On Stilts.

Really, it makes Keynesianism seem sane by comparison.

UPDATE III: The founder of the Venus Project, whose ideas evidently inspired Zeitgeist, is 94-year-old Jacque Fresco. This is from his essay, “The Future and Beyond”:

We believe it is now possible to achieve a society where people would be able to live longer, healthier, and more meaningful productive lives. In such a society, the measure of success would be based upon the fulfillment of one’s individual pursuits rather than the acquisition of wealth, property, and power. Although many of the concepts presented here may appear as unattainable goals, all of the ideas are based upon known scientific principles. . . .
The answers do not lie in debate or philosophical discussion of values, but rather in methodology. Thus what is needed is an operational definition of a better world, which is as follows: To constantly maximize existing and future technologies with the sole purpose of enhancing all human life and protecting the environment. . . .
The future does not depend on our present-day beliefs or social customs, but will continue to evolve a set of values unique to its own time. There are no “Utopias.” The very notion of “Utopia” is static. However, the survival of any social system ultimately depends upon its ability to allow for appropriate change to improve society as a whole. The paths that we choose will ultimately determine whether or not there is intelligent life on earth. . . .

(Elaborate gibberish. Fresco anticipates the accusation of utopianism, and denies it, but this does not change the utopian nature of his scheme.)

As the amount of scientific information grows, nations and people are coming to realize that even in today’s divided world there are, in fact, many common threats that transcend national boundaries. These include overpopulation, energy shortages, pollution, water shortages, economic catastrophe, the spread of uncontrollable disease and so forth. However, faced even with threats of this magnitude, which are common to all nations, the direction of human action will not be altered so long as powerful nations are able to maintain control of the limited resources available. . . .

(“I’d like to buy the world a Coke . . .” Here we see Fresco beginning to encourage the reader to imagine the transcendent global sharing that is the foundation of his Don’t-Call-It-Utopian utopianism.)

There are growing indications of awareness on the part of people in many areas of the world that events have gone beyond the control of their political leaders. Everywhere we see political figures and parties come and go, political strategies adopted and discarded for their inability to satisfy the demands of one faction or another.
The reason that we do not suggest writing your congressman, or any number of governmental agencies, is that they lack the necessary knowledge to deal with our problems. Their focus is to preserve existing systems, not to change them. It appears that there are few within present-day societies who want to phase themselves out. In modern industrial societies the cause of inaction lies within the cumbersome political process itself, an anachronism in an era when most decisions can be made on any important issue in a split second by the objective entry of relevant data into computers.
The prime conditions that would really effect social change will come about when conditions have deteriorated to such an extent that governments, politicians, and social institutions no longer have the support and confidence of the people. What once worked is acknowledged to be no longer relevant. If the public were better informed, only then would it be possible to introduce a new and improved social arrangement. . . .

(Here Fresco is appealing to what might be called the super-political mythos: Our problems are too big for existing “status quo” systems to cope with. Ergo, to get past “present-day societies” — i.e., the real world, where geeky adolescent dopehead misfits can’t find a job or a girlfriend — will require some crisis that will cause people to support the introduction of “a new and improved social arrangement.”)

Along with the introduction of new paradigms towards human and environmental concern, there must be a methodology for making this a reality. If these ends are to be achieved, the monetary system must eventually be surpassed by a world resource-based economy. In order to effectively and economically utilize resources, the necessary cybernated and computerized technology could eventually be applied to ensure a higher standard of living for everyone. With the intelligent and humane application of science and technology, the nations of the world could guide and shape the future for the preservation of the environment and humankind. . . .

OK, enough of the interrupting in italics. What Jacque Fresco proposes here is Underpants Gnome socialism:

Phase 1: Abolish the monetary system.
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: A higher standard of living for everyone!

He goes on in this one essay for more than 10,000 words, along the way enumerating 16 “aims and goals of The Venus Project” (e.g., “Transcending all of the artificial boundaries that separate people”) before concluding: “It is not possible in this short writing to present the precise methodology and operation of a global resource based economy.”

Dude. Pass me the pipe. I’m gonna need another hit of salvia.

UPDATE IV: Brace yourselves, Glenn Beck fans, but I am currently researching a tip that Zeitgeist/Venus Project has received funding from — wait for it — George Soros. If that turns out to be true . . . well, can you imagine what Glenn’s chalkboard is going to look like when he explains this? Meanwhile, here’s a March 2009 New York Times story about the big “Z-Day” event:

In his goatee and mustache and tieless in a brown suit, [Zeitgeist director Peter] Joseph had been lecturing for nearly 90 minutes on the unsustainable nature of the money-based economy — on cyclical consumption, planned obsolescence, corporate malfeasance and piles of poisonous waste. “It’s time that we wake up,” he intoned, speaking solemnly through a wireless clip-on mike. “The doomsday scenario, the big contraction, might be happening right now. The system of monetary exchange is — in the face of advancing technology — completely obsolete.” . .
There, in the crowd, was Jacque Fresco, an industrial designer and the engineering guru of what people unironically called “the movement.” . . .
Mr. Fresco . . . [is] an author, lecturer and former aircraft engineer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio who has spent the last six decades working on the Venus Project, a futuristic society where (adjust your seatbelts, now) machines would control government and industry and safeguard the planet’s fragile resources by means of an artificially intelligent “earthwide autonomic sensor system” — a super-brain of sorts connected to, yes, all human knowledge.

Two words: Nucking futz. And yet I agree with Verum Serum that this wacko futuristic lunacy may be the key to “whatever was left of Loughner’s mind.”

UPDATE V: After a few hours of looking around, I have yet to verify the Soros-Zeitgeist connection. Meanwhile, however, the film’s director — whom Zeitgeist critics say is North Carolina-born musician-turned-filmmaker P.J. Merola — has responded to the media coverage:


It has come to my attention that various mainstream news organizations are beginning to run an association between my 2007 performance piece/film, “Zeitgeist: The Movie” and the tragic murders conducted by an extremely troubled young man in Tucson, Arizona. They are also slowly beginning to bleed the obvious line between my 2007 documentary work, my film series as a whole and The Zeitgeist Movement, which I am the founder. Frankly, I find this isolating, growing association tremendously irresponsible on the part of ABC, NBC and their affiliates – further reflecting the disingenuous nature of the America Media Establishment today. . . .

When we reflect on the history of seemingly random violence or other forms of highly offensive, irrational, aberrant behavior, we see a common pattern of reaction from the public and media in their attempt to explain such extreme acts. Rather than deeply examining the Bio-Psycho-Social nature of human social development and the vast spectrum of influences that create and morph each of us in unique and sometimes detrimental ways, they take the easy way out. The first thing they do is simply ignore all modern scientific, social understandings of what generates human motivation in both positive and negative regard, for to do so can only call into question the social system itself and hence the “zeitgeist” (meaning: spirit/intellectual climate of the time/culture) at large.

Generally speaking, it is historically accurate to say that the Mainstream Media simply isn’t in the business of challenging the Status Quo. The limits of debate are firmly set. Virtually all ideas, persons or groups who have succeeded in changing the world for the better, later to be hailed as heros in the public mind, started out being condemned by those in the Mainstream Media who latch on to the dominant world view of the time. Even Martin Luther King Jr., a peaceful, loving, wonder of a man who contributed more to our social progress than likely any humanitarian in the US history, was followed by the CIA and publicly humiliated as a “Communist” which he even had to defend in front of a Congressional Committee. In fact, you can rest assured that if King were alive in the current paradigm today and seeking an equal form of justice – he would be given the name: “Terrorist”.

So, again, rather than taking the scientific view, the Mainstream Media often seeks out or implies one point of blame and runs with it. After all, it is much easier, presentable and more simplistic for the public to think that the troubling reality of seemingly random acts of mass murder is the result of a “singular influence” and hence the logic goes that if that one influence is removed, then the world will be back in balance. This gives the public a false resolve and position of focus in an otherwise ambiguous, complex world of social and biological influences. And as far as the scapegoat itself, very often any group, media or dataset that is counter-culture or even hints at wishing to challenge the status quo, is a magnet for such blame.

For example, musical groups of a counter-culture nature have been a favorite scapegoat for acts of murder/violence historically. In 1990, the rock band Judas Priest was actually taken to court for their “role” in the self-inflicted gunshot wounds in 1985 of 20-year old James Vance and 18-year old Raymond Belknap in Reno, Nevada. In 2008, the band Slipknot was publicly tied/blamed to a high-school murder in South Africa. Even the Beatles song “Helter-skelter” was associated to the murders incited by Charles Manson. It goes on and on… and, frankly, it’s simply pathetic – avoiding the true nature of the problem – which is the Socio-Economic Environment itself.

Make no mistake: The Social System is to blame for the rampage of Jared Loughner – not some famous online documentary which is known as the most viewed documentary of all time in internet history. Are the other 200 million people who have seen the film also preparing for murder sprees? I think not.

In my new film: “Zeitgeist: Moving Forward”, I feature a prominent Harvard Criminal Psychologist by the name of Dr. James Gilligan who headed the Centre for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School for many years. In his life work of personally engaging the most dangerous, violent offenders the US system produces, he found some basic trends. The most common is the social issue of “shame”. Our socio-economic system inherently breeds social division and there is a natural demeaning of others generated as a result. It is a scientific fact that mass murderers and those who many just dismiss as “evil” today, are the product of years of being shamed, humiliated and demeaned. Their acts of violence is a reaction from these highly oppressive feelings and the real resolve to such acts can only come from removing the real source of such emotional hurt. You will notice that most other countries don’t come close to the level of violence we see in the United States. The US is the capital of violence with 30-300 times more acts of violence than any other country. We have produced more serial killers in America than all other countries combined. Why? You will notice the Mainstream never asks this question.

If anyone would like to understand why more and more people in the modern world end up like Jared Loughner and why these patterns are only going to get worse as time goes on in this system, I suggest the book “Violence” by Harvard Criminal Psychologist Dr. Gilligan.

In conclusion, let it be stated that the Zeitgeist Film Series is about critical thought regarding various social issues which challenge many erroneous notions held as fact in the modern culture. It also explicitly promotes non-violence, human unity and prosperous human development based on truth and science.

I am also in contact with my legal team and considering legal action against ABC.

-Peter Joseph

Yeah, “considering legal action” is one of those wonderful phrases, isn’t it? There are entire blogs devoted to denouncing the Zeitgeist Movement/Venus Project as a cult or a scam or some combination of both, and yet the director is “considering legal action” because TV networks interviewed a friend who said Loughner was into watching Zeitgeist.

And it’s all because he’s challenging the “status quo” of the “Social System” which, of course, the real villain. Also, Peter Joseph/Merola wants you to know that he is a persecuted humanitarian. So if you criticize him, you’re just like those people who called Martin Luther King a commie.

Peter Joseph, however, cannot blame the “mainstream media,” because it was Loughner’s friend — not a reporter — who said that Zeitgeist had a “profound impact” on Loughner. And, as extensively documented by the film’s fans and critics alike, the three main points of Zeitgeist are:

  1. The falsehood of Christianity.
  2. The 9/11 attacks were a government conspiracy.
  3. The money-based economy is a plot by “international bankers.”

We can summarize Peter Joseph’s public-relations problem in four simple words: “Facts are stubborn things.”

UPDATE VI: Greg Ransom at the Hayek Center:

The drug-addled mind of mass murderer Jared Loughner was under the spell of the crackpot socialist idea of a money-less, resource-based economic system, and other fallacies as old as Marx and Owen. . . .

You really have to read Mises and Hayek to understand why the fantasy of an egalitarian post-monetary society is . . . well, a fantasy.

There is no escape from prices, which are essential as information, and thus there is no way to make an economy function without money.

No matter how much or in what way government interferes with the market processes — through taxes, regulation, welfare, public-works projects, etc. — the market still exists. The fundamental realities of supply and demand remain, and cannot be escaped or transcended, no matter what government does. Joseph/Merola’s rantings against “our socio-economic system” convey exactly one thing: His near-total ignorance of economics.

* * * * *

UPDATE 1/14: Rush Limbaugh mentioned Zeitgeist on his radio show today. See also:

  • How to Talk to a Follower of the Zeitgeist Cult (If You Must)
  • Zeitgeist: Watch the Conspiracy Movie That Had a ‘Profound Impact’ on Tucson Mass Murder Suspect Jared Loughner
  • ‘Vain in Their Imaginations’: God-Haters and the Tucson Massacre
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