In her historical mystery, The Daughter of Time,
Josephine Tey (a pen name of
Elizabeth MacKintosh) has Scotland Yard Inspector
Alan Grant, while confined to his hospital bed, solve
the 15th century murder of the
two York princes in the Tower of London. The princes
were murdered by Henry VII, and the crime was blamed on
Richard III in order to justify the upstart Tudor`s
violent seizure of the English throne.
Tey makes the point that if a 20th
century mystery writer can detect the truth about a 15th
century murder, historians have no excuse to persist in
writing in school textbooks that Richard murdered his
nephews. British historians remained loyal to the Tudor
propaganda long after the Tudors were no longer around
to be feared or served.
At the beginning of the scientific
era, men had the hope that the ability to discover truth
would free mankind from superstition, dogma and the
service of power. The belief in truth was powerful.
Truth would deliver justice and bring an end to
status-based privileges and the falsehoods
propagated by privilege.
The faith in truth was short-lived.
Today, propaganda is everywhere ascendant.
In the panoply of left-wing
Augusto Pinochet, it is nowhere mentioned that
Salvador Allende was appointed
president of Chile by the Chilean congress, which
three years later called on Chile`s military to oust
Allende for his totalitarian ways. Instead, Allende is
portrayed as a "popularly elected president who was
overthrown by a tyrant."
Every week, another apologist for
compares "Bush`s fight for Iraqi freedom" to
Abraham Lincoln`s "fight to free the slaves." The
American Civil War was not fought to "free the
Thomas DiLorenzo and other scholars have thoroughly
documented, any more than the purpose of Bush`s illegal
invasion of Iraq was to "bring freedom to Iraqis."
The freedom excuse was invented after it became
impossible to maintain the fictions about Iraqi weapons
of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein`s connections to
Osama bin Laden.
Bush has yet to tell the real
reason he invaded Iraq.
In the United States today,
demonization and propaganda substitute for facts and
analysis. Professors and journalists are quick to lend
their names and voices to the untruths that rule our
lives. Just as Hitler`s foreign policy was based in
propaganda, so is Bush`s and Blair`s.
The success of propaganda enhances
government`s illusion that it has a monopoly on truth.
It is the monopoly on truth that gives the Bush regime
the right to define the "Iran problem," the
"Syria problem," the "Lebanon problem" and
the "Korea problem," and to apply coercion in
place of understanding and negotiation.
Secure in its possession of truth,
the Bush administration refuses to talk to the enemies
it has manufactured. It will only fight them.
When scholars, such as
Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, or President
Jimmy Carter, who has tried harder than anyone else to
achieve Arab-Israeli peace, point out that Israel`s
mistreatment of Palestinians is a cause of Middle East
turmoil, they are immediately denounced as anti-Semites.
Columnists and academics who know nothing about the
Middle East or its troubles nevertheless understand what
they are supposed to say whenever anyone mentions Israel
in any critical context. And they have no compunction
about saying it, the truth be damned.
commitment to truth, science, justice and debate
falter and disappear.
The belief in truth is fading from
our society. It is unclear whether scientists themselves
any longer believe in truth or the ability to discover
The discovery of truth is no longer
the purpose of our criminal justice system. Once,
prosecutors believed that it was better for 10 guilty
men to go free than for one innocent person to be
wrongfully convicted. Today, prosecutors believe in high
conviction rates to justify their budgets and
In the past, police solved crimes.
Today, they round up suspects and pressure them.
There was no debate in Nazi Germany
and Stalinist Russia, and none today in the United
States. Many Americans, who imagine themselves to be
conservatives even though they have never read, nor
could they identify, a conservative writer, equate
truth-telling with hatred of America. They are of Bush`s
mindset: "You are with us or against us." Bush
respond to factual articles about Iraq and the
rending of the U.S. Constitution by suggesting that, as
the writer hates America so much, he should move to Cuba
In America today, each faction`s
"truths" are defined by the faction`s dogma or
ideology. Each faction bans factual analysis that it
doesn`t want to hear. This is as true within the
universities as it is at political rallies. The old
liberal notion that "we shall follow the truth
wherever it may lead" has long departed from
America. Think tanks reflect the views of the donors.
Studies are no longer independent of their financing. In
America, truth has become partisan.
All societies have elements of
myth, untruths that nevertheless serve to unite a
people. But many myths serve as camouflage for evil. One
of the greatest myths is that "GIs have died for our
freedom." GIs have died for American empire, for the
American elite`s commitment to England and for the
military-industrial complex`s profits. Some may have
died in Korea for the freedom of South Koreans, and some
may have died trying to save South Vietnamese from the
North Vietnamese communists. But it is hogwash that GIs
died for our freedom.
There was no prospect of North
Korea attacking America in the 1950s or Vietnam
attacking America in the 1960s, and none today. The
Nazis were defeated by Russia before U.S. troops landed
in Europe. The United States never faced any threat of
invasion from Germany, Italy or Japan.
America`s wars have created
hysteria that endanger our freedom. Abraham Lincoln
shut down the freedom of the press and arrested
editors and state legislators. Woodrow Wilson arrested
war critics. Franklin Roosevelt interned
American citizens of Japanese descent. George W.
Bush has destroyed most of the Bill of Rights. In 2006,
appropriated funds for building concentration camps
in the United States.
Recently, Newt Gingrich, the former
speaker of the House, said that freedom of speech is
inconsistent with "the war on terror." If it
takes a police state to fight terror, the country is
lost even if Muslim terrorists are defeated. Americans
have far more to fear from a homeland police state than
The vast majority of the world`s
terrorists are the recent creations of Bush`s invasions
of Afghanistan and Iraq, and of Israel`s invasion of
Lebanon and brutality toward the Palestinians. Bush is
simultaneously creating terrorists and a police state.
It serves no one but the police to make their power
On December 26, Jeff Cohen
explained on Truthout
how war propaganda took over TV news and demonized
everyone who spoke the truth about Iraq, while pushing
war fever to a frenzy. Fox "News" was the worst,
with its ranks of generals and colonels who sold their
integrity for dollars and TV exposure. One of Fox`s
loudest voices for war was a retired general who sat on
the board of a military contractor.
When the Clinton administration
allowed the media concentration in the 1990s, the
independence of the American media was destroyed. Today,
there are a few large conglomerates whose values depend
on broadcast licenses from the government. The
conglomerates are run by corporate executives who are
not journalists and whose eyes are on advertising
revenues. They publish and broadcast what is safe. These
conglomerates will take no risks in behalf of free
speech or truth.
The challenges that America faces
are not terrorism and oil supply. The challenges that we
face are the police state that Bush has created and the
disrespect for truth that is endemic in government, the
universities and the media.
The United States has entered a
dark age of dogmas and unaccountable power.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Paul Craig Roberts
him] was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration.
He is the author of
Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington;
and the Soviet Economy and
Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy,
and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of
The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice. Click
here for Peter
Brimelow`s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.