Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Sunlight Disinfects Sunstein - Now Bring on the War Crimes Tribunals
To my readers,
David Ray Griffin's new book Cognitive Infiltration is absolutely brilliant. It elegantly does several things at once: * Puts forward key 9/11 evidence; * Reveals the slightly hilarious inadequacy of the official story defenders' case, as exemplified by Cass Sunstein's "Conspiracy Theories" article; * Uses irony to demolish the neocons' philosophy of the noble lie -- the philosophy that in all probability led directly to the 9/11 inside job.
David has been out of the hospital for about a week and is better but apparently still needs a lot of R&R, and says he may not be putting out more great books any time soon. So he says he would really appreciate "hundreds of Amazon.com reviews of my latest book." Please help him out! Buy and review Cognitive Infiltration at Amazon.com.
-Kevin Barrett, TruthJihad.com
Sunlight Disinfects Sunstein - Now Bring on the War Crimes Tribunals
A Review of David Ray Griffin's Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee's Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory
By Kevin Barrett, Ph.D. Arabic-Islamic Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison; currently on unpaid leave for political reasons
Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, appointed by his friend Barack Obama as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has been named by Elena Kagan "the pre-eminent legal scholar of our time." Yet Sunstein is the lead author of a 2009 article, published in the Journal of Political Philosophy, that is so riddled with contradictions, lapses in logic, non-sequiturs, and other apparent absurdities--including the open advocacy of illegal acts by government officials, and the suggestion that it may one day be necessary to repeal the First Amendment and ban "conspiracy theories"--that it would likely flunk its author out of Political Philosophy 101. How can we reconcile Sunstein's avowed brilliance with such apparent idiocy?
In Cognitive Infiltration, David Ray Griffin's masterful analysis of Sunstein's (and co-author Adrian Vermeule's) wretched "Conspiracy Theories" article, Dr. Griffin posits a logical explanation for Sunstein's lapses. According to Griffin's provisional thesis, the many absurdities of Sunstein's "Conspiracy Theories" vanish if we assume that Sunstein is only pretending to be criticizing alternative conspiracy theories about 9/11. Sunstein's real target, Griffin provisionally suggests, is the official "19 hijackers" conspiracy theory of the Bush-Cheney administration.
While Griffin's hypothesis -- that Sunstein is a closet 9/11 truther -- irons out most of the inconsistencies, and unveils Sunstein's "Conspiracy Theories" as a masterpiece of esoteric writing, that doesn't mean Griffin believes it. Instead, Griffin briefly admits up-front, and reveals in more detail at the end, that the "Sunstein as truther" hypothesis should not be taken literally. Instead, it is Griffin's literary device for elegantly exposing the outrageous contradictions in Sunstein's article.
This raises the question: What did the supposedly brilliant Sunstein think he was doing when he wrote this abysmally stupid article -- and what did the Journal of Political Philosophy editors think they were doing when they published it?
Griffin suggests that the defects of Sunstein's article stem from the inherent difficulties of making a case against the 9/11 truth movement: "When the author of an argumentative essay makes self-contradictory statements, this is usually a sign that something is seriously wrong with the position being argued. Why? Because when authors are defending positions that are false, they find it very difficult to deny the true state of affairs completely, so that contradictions often creep in as implicit acknowledgements of reality" (147).
An example of Sunstein's "implicit acknowlegment of reality," in Griffin's view, is Sunstein's claim that there are only four possible ways the government could try to stop the spread of nefarious 9/11 conspiracy theories. These are (1): Inoculate the public by sending out "independent" debunkers, like the Popular Mechanics team led by the cousin of then-Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff, to oppose the 9/11 truth movement; (2) "Debias or disable" (!!) the "purveyors" of conspiracy theories; (3) Tax or fine people who spread conspiracy theories; (4) Outlaw conspiracy theories completely.
In fact, Griffin points out, if the alternative 9/11 conspiracy theory were false, baseless, and without evidence to support it, the government could easily expose it by sponsoring a series of debates between the most qualified people on both sides of the issue. Better yet, it could launch a fully-funded, fully-empowered, truly independent 9/11 investigation. The fact that it has not done so -- and that these possibilities are apparently invisible to Cass Sunstein -- suggests that the government, and Sunstein, understand that the alternative 9/11 conspiracy theory is true, and that any honest debate or independent investigation would reveal its truth.
If Sunstein understands this, he is being not just intellectually dishonest, but actually treasonous, in arguing for government suppression of a conspiracy theory about an act of treason that he knows or suspects is true. Griffin, ever the gentleman, does not come right out and say so.
But I am not so polite. As the eminent theologian John Cobb put it: "Kevin Barrett tells the appalling truth as he sees it in ways more appropriate to its shocking nature. That includes a lot of humor. He is never dull." So allow me to explain why I think Cass Sunstein, President Obama's friend and appointee, is guilty of high treason against the United States of America, and should therefore be tried and, upon conviction, tarred, feathered, run out of town on a rail, waterboarded, thumbscrewed, iron maidened, drawn and quartered, hanged, shot, electrocuted, roasted, pulverized, discombobulated, blown up with nanothermite, smothered under a mountain of manure, blasted off into outer space, flushed down the White House toilet, and generally annihilated by whatever means are at hand.
Taking up where Griffin leaves off: Sunstein, a political philosopher out of the University of Chicago, is undoubtedly acquainted with neocon guru Leo Strauss's teachings that rulers should lie to the masses. According to Strauss, the true rulers ought to be political philosophers whose writings "[R]eveal what they regard as the truth to the few, without endangering the unqualified commitment of the many to the opinions on which society rests. They will distinguish between the true teaching as the esoteric teaching and the socially useful teaching as the exoteric teaching" (Strauss, quoted in Griffin x).
As we have seen, Griffin provisionally pretends, throughout most of his book, that Sunstein's true (esoteric) message is pro-9/11-truth, while his socially useful exoteric message pretends to oppose 9/11 truth. In fact, Griffin does not believe this; it is just a literary device, albeit a brilliantly ironic one.
Might Griffin, too, have an esoteric message? And might that message be that Sunstein is indeed writing in Straussian code--but that the esoteric message is that the 9/11 "noble lie" is good and necessary for the state and the people, and should therefore be maintained at all costs, even by illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional measures?
This interpretation, even better than Griffin's "Sunstein as truther" hypothesis, explains all of the contradictions and apparent logical lapses Griffin finds in Sunstein's article, and then some. For example, it explains Sunstein's patronizing non-sequitur reference to the Santa Claus conspiracy. According to Sunstein, some children hold that the Santa Claus myth is the result of a conspiracy by authorities -- namely, their parents. But how does this shed light on 9/11 conspiracy theories? Sunstein doesn't tell us. A perceptive reader, however, may understand Sunstein's esoteric message: the 9/11 myth, like the Santa Claus myth, is false; both "conspiracy theories" are true; and in both cases, the authorities/parents are acting properly in withholding the truth from the people/children, in proper Straussian neoconservative fashion.
Such apologetics for mass murder and genocidal big lies are appalling, sickening, and -- not least of all -- treasonous. Cass Sunstein, get thee to a war crimes tribunal!
* * *
See also: Glenn Greenwald's article about Sunstein's "Conspiracy Theories": http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/01/15/sunstein