The Other McCain

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

Jesse Walker on Loughner and Zeitgeist

Posted on | January 20, 2011 | 4 Comments

In the immediate aftermath of the Tucson massacre, the mainstream media went chasing after “right-wing” phantoms, as the managing editor of Reason magazine explains:

In the meantime, people who actually knew the killer were talking to the press, dropping clues about what Loughner really was reading and viewing. Loughner’s friend Zach Osler, for example, told ABC that while the killer wasn’t interested in mainstream political debates, he was a fan of Peter Joseph’s 2007 documentary Zeitgeist. Joseph’s movie is one-third arguments that religion is a fraud, one-third 9/11 trutherism, and one-third conspiracy theories about bankers.
Loughner’s interest in Zeitgeist clears up the currency question a bit. . . .
Zeitgeist . . . belongs to the old money-crank tradition, a venerable worldview that stretches from the Greenback Party to the Social Credit movement and from the fascist poet Ezra Pound to the pop Buddhist Alan Watts. Joseph’s critique does overlap with the arguments offered by gold bugs, and if you download the study guide he offers online you’ll find them among the rainbow coalition of sources that he cites: libertarians (William Anderson, Ron Paul), leftists (John Kenneth Galbraith, Ferdinand Lundberg), Birchers (Gary Allen, G. Edward Griffin), even a cameo by Lyndon LaRouche. But his movie’s chief argument against the Fed is that it is a private institution that profits by lending money at interest; and it praises the old money-crank remedy of an “interest-free independent currency” that isn’t created by private banks.
In 2009 Peter Joseph founded a full-blown Zeitgeist Movement, with a platform heavy on futurism, sustainability, and utopian economics. There’s no sign, as of this writing, that Loughner’s love for the Zeitgeist movie extended into a love for the Zeitgeist Movement. . . . ABC unfortunately doesn’t seem to have asked Osler any follow-up questions about what exactly the killer liked about the documentary and what ideas he took from it. . . . But whatever he got out of the video is obviously just one element of the great big crazycakes combination that is the mind of Jared Lee Loughner.
My own guess is that Loughner’s interest in alternate realities was at the core of his worldview, and that he was attracted to those elements of fringe politics that might reinforce his suspicion that the waking world is a lie. . . .

Read the whole thing.


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