Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth Who We Are
9/11 First Responder and
Day of Prayer for Truth
POST 9/11 NOW WHAT?
NEW! Interfaith Dialogue and 9/11 Truth
INTRODUCTION by Dr Kevin J. Barrett, MUJCA-NET Founding Member
NEW BOOK PROJECT 9/11 and the American Empire: Jews, Christians and Muslims Speak Out
Deep Religious Pluralism by Dr David Griffin
KHIDRIA — Land of
A Realist's Faith: Vannevar Bush vs. Leo Strauss
by Kevin Barrett
Western culture has endured many a pitched battle between faith and reality. Western Christianity, due to its peculiar stress on bureaucratic-hierarchy-enforced orthodoxy, has a venerable history of tormenting such reality-based thinkers as Galileo. Yet despite, or perhaps because of, this peculiar history, the West developed an empirical spirit that not only produced the scientific breakthroughs of the past two centuries, but also informed the attitudes of whole populations, and led to the development of transparency and popular participation in reality-based politics, better known as "democracy."
Paradoxically, transparency and democracy, the twin foundation stones of reality-based politics, depend entirely on a certain kind of faith: the belief, based partly but not entirely on empirical evidence, that human beings can be trusted to do the right thing. Give everybody access to all available information (transparency) and a roughly equal share of power (democracy) and good things will happen. Such faith need not be grounded in a particular religious worldview, though it usually is. It amounts to the kind of congenital metaphysical optimism that is the basis of what Bloom called "the American religion."
Far from being hubris, such faith—like all genuine religious faith—is the highest form of humility. It is the self-proclaimed elitist, the know-it-all, the satanic disciple of Leo Strauss, who has the arrogance to demand for himself what he withholds from others, while justifying his evil by muttering "we are rotten." (1)
Vannevar Bush (no relation to George!), the man who coordinated America's war effort against Hitler and foresaw the structure of the internet back in the 1930s, put it well:
"The course of history is determined by the faith that men are guided by. If they misread the lessons of expanding knowledge and in their brazen egotism believe that all things are known or knowable, then they will see nothing but an endlessly repeating pattern of sordid strife, the ascendancy of ruthlessness and cunning, man damned to exist a little time on an earth where there is nothing higher than to seize and kill and dominate. If they see beyond this they will see by faith, and not by reading instruments or combining numbers. They may look beyond by religious faith, or they may look merely because they feel validity in the heart's desire and conviction that good will is not a delusion. If they have faith they will build, and they will grow strong that their buildings may endure” (2).
Somewhere along the line America lost this kind of faith, the faith of the realist of good will. Today instead of realism we have cynicism that alternates between megalomania and despair, and in place of faith we have psychotic denial of plain reality.
The controlled demolition of American faith, American realism—in short, the controlled demolition of America—was carried out, with stunning audacity and equally stunning incompetence, on September 11th, 2001. Modeled on Roosevelt's carefully-engineered disaster at Pearl Harbor, the neoconservative "new Pearl Harbor" was supposed to re-create America's faith in itself, trigger a World War II style mobilization, and make possible a "New American Century" of unilateral American military domination—the first truly global empire in human history. (3)
At least that was how it was sold by the neocon "philosophers" to boneheaded "gentlemen" like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and other top US political, military and intelligence figureheads. For the neocons themselves, 9/11 was exactly what it appeared to be: an attack on America. It was the opening salvo in a neocon war for the absolute destruction of American liberal democracy: "For Strauss, American liberal democracy, Weimar revived, is an evil threatening all truly human existence." (http://www.swans.com/library/art11/mdolin10.html)
Paul Wolfowitz, the probable brains behind the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) operation, has enjoyed a lifelong obsession with a remark by Albert Speer to the effect that if Germany had been blessed with a Pearl Harbor it would have won World War II. This near-idolatrous reverence for the incalculable strategic value of Pearl Harbor, and the genius of Roosevelt in arranging it, is the dirty little neocon secret that brought us September the eleventh. (4)
Rumsfeld, like Cheney one of the "gentlemen" co-founders of PNAC, was imbued by "philosophers" like Wolfowitz with a mania for Pearl Harbor and its overwhelming strategic value. During the run-up to 9/11, Rumsfeld was handing out copies of Roberta Wohlstetter's Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision to everyone he encountered. Wohlstetter, the wife of Wolfowitz's math teacher and Pearl Harbor guru, wrote her Pearl Harbor book in the classic neocon style: One level for the masses ("perfidious Japanese attack!") and another, subtler one for the elite ("brilliant coup by Roosevelt!") (5)
The image of Rumsfeld handing out hundreds of copies of Wohlstetter's book, accompanied no doubt by nudges and winks, during the year before 9/11, is rather surreal. What is even more surreal is the fact that the journalists to whom he had dispensed such largesse did not, after 9/11, immediately drag him over the coals as a brazen traitor and mass murderer.
That they did not is testimony to America's loss of its realist's faith. The neoconservative disciples of Leo Strauss had taken power; they had neither realism nor faith, just megalomaniacal cynicism; and they enforced their psychosis on mainstream journalism, with the complicity of the media monopolists.
The neocons believe that all forms of faith are pious frauds—the realist's faith of Vannevar Bush as much as the tunnel-vision faith of the maniacal moron. Their contempt pushes all faith toward the lowest common denominator. The new kind of faith, neocon-style, is exemplified by George W. Bush, who believes that God told him to smite Afghanistan, and he did; and then God told him to smite Iraq, and he did. Now God is apparently telling him that 650,000 dead Iraqis and thousands of dead Americans aren't enough; we must "stay the course" (presumably because God is telling him so). If psychosis is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result then George W. Bush's faith might be better described as psychosis. The fact that he is hearing voices in his head urging mass murder tends to confirm the diagnosis. (6)
Since the neocon coup d'etat of September 11th, America's realist's faith has been cut off at the knees. The neocons believe that people cannot be trusted to make wise decisions, that goodness and justice and decency and truthfulness are all just pious frauds. The secret message of the great philosophers, according to Strauss and his followers, is, as Vannevar Bush derisively put it, "the ascendancy of ruthlessness and cunning, man damned to exist a little time on an earth where there is nothing higher than to seize and kill and dominate."
According to the neocons, those who understand "the ascendancy of ruthlessness and cunning"—those who can commit or cover up the treasonous slaughter of 3,000 Americans "for the greater good" without vomiting—are, by virtue of their iron stomachs and bitter philosophies, an elite whose right and duty is to rule by the Big Lie.
Vannevar Bush, the man who won World War II for America, and who foresaw the internet, understood that America's strength was in its realist's faith, its transparency and democracy. He understood that the radar technology that won the war had been developed by virtue of the free flow of accurate empirical information, leading to the widespread understanding of radio operation by ordinary people, one effect of the do-it-yourself ethic of garage experimentalism that gave the US military an immense reserve of knowledgeable, capable people to draw on in adapting new technologies. He understood that it is an empirically-oriented, educated population—a fearless population that has enough faith in its fellows to share accurate information freely—that is the source of America's amazing resilience. And he foresaw the cognitive structure of the internet, which is revolutionizing the information storage and retrieval capacity of ordinary people, and exposing the demonic designs of the neocon authors of the 9/11 new Pearl Harbor. (7)
9/11, and the Pearl Harbor propaganda that accompanied it, produced a tidal wave of "greatest generation" kitsch as the neocon fanatical liars keep trying to frog-march Americans into endless war against Israel's enemies—proving Marx's adage that tragic history repeats itself as farce. As an antidote to the Straussian poison, let us celebrate one of the greatest insights of the greatest thinkers of the greatest generation: Vannevar Bush's recognition that America's strength is not in fear, secrecy, torture, deceit, cynicism and aggression, but in its realist's faith.
(1) Michael Ledeen, Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli’s Iron Rules Are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago. (Truman Talley Books (St. Martin’s Press), 1999.
(2) Vannevar Bush, Modern Arms and Free Men (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1949) pp 263-264.
(3) David Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration (Northampton, MA: Interlink, 2004).
(4) I was alerted to Wolfowitz's Pearl Harbor obsession by Brian Bogart of the University of Oregon; see my 12/27/06 interview with Bogart, archived at http://gcnlive.com
* * *
Killing Democracy The Straussian Way
Shadia B. Drury's Leo Strauss and the American Right
by Michael Doliner
Drury, Shadia B.: Leo Strauss and the American Right, Palgrave Macmillan, February 1999, ISBN 0-31221-783-8, 256 pages, $29.95 (hardcover)
(Swans - October 10, 2005) Will the backlash from Katrina's destruction and the Bush Administration's woeful response to it (and the ever-worsening debacle in Iraq --KB) finally do in the neocons? If you think so you don't know whom you are dealing with. Many have connected the name of Leo Strauss with the Neoconservatives, but almost nowhere do I find the actual content of this connection. Strauss was a professor. What did he profess? It is not sufficient merely to use Strauss's name with a sneer, for his actual thought is likely far more daring than you can imagine. The neocons are more than just the usual hacks serving the imperial masters. They share Strauss's dark vision.
Shadia Drury, a professor of philosophy at the University of Regina has written an excellent book about Strauss, Leo Strauss and the American Right. According to Drury, Strauss's attitude towards liberal democracy was at the root of this thought. "Strauss abhorred liberal democracy because he associated it with the Weimar Republic whose constitution was drafted at the end of World War I." Many Jewish European expatriates, who, like Strauss, survived World War II, identified American liberal democracy with the Weimar Republic, and the weakness and decadence of Weimar with the rise of Nazism. Strauss persuaded students such as Allan Bloom, Henry Jaffa, Irving Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, and many others of this connection. He convinced them that liberalism was the root of Nazism and therefore abhorrent.... For Strauss, American liberal democracy, Weimar revived, is an evil threatening all truly human existence.