by Bookworm | April 19, 2011 6:01 pm
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” — Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister.
One of the things that turned me against the Left (which is the political environment in which I was born and raised) was cognitive dissonance. I was no longer able to accept assertions that so radically contradicted facts known to me from my own experience. In other words, I figured out that my political party was lying to me, and I found that unforgivable.
The crack in the intellectual dyke for me was Israel. I know, because I’m a history student, that Israel gained its land through purchase, through the League of Nations and the United Nations, and through the legitimate spoils of traditional warfare. I also know that Israel is an open, democratic society that provides civil rights to all citizens, while the Palestinians are tyrannies that have managed to drive out their Christians and are open about making their territories Judenrein. Lastly, I know (because the facts hiding behind slanted news stories tell me so) that, in dealing with those Palestinians who loudly proclaim their desire to drive all Jews into the sea, the Israelis have done their best to minimize civilian casualties, while the Palestinians work hard to maximize civilian casualties. Knowing these facts, I finally had to acknowledge that NPR was lying to me when it would frame its reports so that it had the vile and violent Israelis hammering upon the weak and pathetic Palestinians.
I know because I’ve lived long enough to have at least a little insight into human nature, that if you pay people not to work, they won’t work. By 2000, I could no longer square that knowledge with the Democrats’ repeated claim that keeping people on welfare for generations would ultimately create the kind of stability that would lead to full employment. The Democrats were lying to me.
For years, I tried to pretend that, when it came to abortion, the only life involved was the mother’s. Having had children, I can no longer deny that there is indeed another life at stake. While there may be appropriate situations for abortions (life of the mother at risk, etc.), it’s a total lie to say that only the woman counts in this equation. There are two lives involved, although one cannot speak for itself.
Since I’d finally crossed the Rubicon and admitted I was constantly on the receiving end of lies, I became jaded. If it came from the Left, rather than assuming it was true, I assumed it was false. That’s why I never bought into the escalating global warming hysteria. I hadn’t paid attention to it before 2001 and, afterwards, when global warming became Al Gore’s cause de jour (or should I say cause de billions), I assumed he was wrong. After I looked at the data independent of his and the media’s hysteria, I was able to conclude that he was wrong. Recent reports about data manipulation, false facts, censorship of opposing views, etc., only confirm my original sense of things — Al Gore was lying, and so were the others who leaped upon the bandwagon.
I grew up fearing nuclear energy, but decided after 2001 that, since the fear came from the Left, it was probably a lie too. I’ve since concluded that, with modern safety features in place (and with buildings kept away from known earthquake faults and tsunami zones), nuclear energy is the only true clean, green, renewable alternative.
I’m not the only one who has figured out this truth, but the latest convert is a surprising one: The Guardian’s George Monbiot. He is hard Left. Very hard Left. His columns often come under attack because, in order to sustain the cognitive dissonance that is the Left’s world view, he’s sometimes taken . . . mmm . . . shall we say liberties with the facts. Monbiot, however, may have come to his own personal Rubicon. In a column amazing for its honesty, he admits that the anti-nuclear Left has been lying, lying, lying, and that he was completely wrong to accept those assertions as true:
Over the last fortnight I’ve made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged, and wildly wrong. We have done other people, and ourselves, a terrible disservice.
I began to see the extent of the problem after a debate last week with Helen Caldicott. Dr Caldicott is the world’s foremost anti-nuclear campaigner. She has received 21 honorary degrees and scores of awards, and was nominated for a Nobel peace prize. Like other greens, I was in awe of her. In the debate she made some striking statements about the dangers of radiation. So I did what anyone faced with questionable scientific claims should do: I asked for the sources. Caldicott’s response has profoundly shaken me.
Monbiot goes on to explain that the sources Caldicott provided were either utterly worthless or supported the pro-nuclear viewpoint. Specifically, he learned that the anti-nuclear activists, the ones living on his side of the political divide, were lying about Chernobyl, and lying on a scale that would have made Goebbels proud. Here is Monbiot discovering the truth about Chernobyl:
For the last 25 years anti-nuclear campaigners have been racking up the figures for deaths and diseases caused by the Chernobyl disaster, and parading deformed babies like a medieval circus. They now claim 985,000 people have been killed by Chernobyl, and that it will continue to slaughter people for generations to come. These claims are false.
Of the workers who tried to contain the emergency at Chernobyl, 134 suffered acute radiation syndrome; 28 died soon afterwards. Nineteen others died later, but generally not from diseases associated with radiation. The remaining 87 have suffered other complications, including four cases of solid cancer and two of leukaemia.
In the rest of the population there have been 6,848 cases of thyroid cancer among young children – arising “almost entirely” from the Soviet Union’s failure to prevent people from drinking milk contaminated with iodine 131. Otherwise “there has been no persuasive evidence of any other health effect in the general population that can be attributed to radiation exposure”. People living in the countries affected today “need not live in fear of serious health consequences from the Chernobyl accident”.
Caldicott told me that Unscear’s work on Chernobyl is “a total cover-up”. Though I have pressed her to explain, she has yet to produce a shred of evidence for this contention.
I urge you to read Monbiot’s column. At the end, he still defends climate change hysteria, but I’m hoping that’s a reflex, along the lines of a psychological self-defense mechanism (“surely everything I believe can’t be wrong”). Once a nylon starts to run, or a dyke to crack, or a rope to fray, it’s just a matter of time before the whole thing is gone, the nylon shredded, the dyke collapsed, or the rope broken. Having worked his way through this betrayal from the Left, Monbiot, unless he is a complete dunderhead, will start viewing with suspicion the data and conclusions they feed him. He’ll realize that the Left, having learned Goebbels’ lesson well, lies, and lies again, and then lies again.
Cross-posted at Bookworm Room
The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land,
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