Two unequivocal denunciations

I.

Some days ago I noticed a Facebook friend (acquaintance, really)  join the group “Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990,” which is connected to this website:

This site exists to try and help examine the vicious rumour that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990. We don’t claim to know the truth — only that the rumour floating around saying that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990 should be discussed. So we’re going to do our part to try and help get to the bottom of this.

Why won’t Glenn Beck deny these allegations?

The site bills itself as satiric, framing rhetoric in the noncommittal “for discussion’s sake” way that Beck has floated the idea of Obama’s deep-seated hatred for white people or plans for eugenics programs or FEMAconcentration camps. Maybe I would not disapprove the site with such violence if they had so casually floated so horrific a lie; but regardless of the content of the lie (which is readily admitted to be a lie), when one promises to fight slander with slander, they concede any moral high ground. 

II.

Today, Van Jones, Special Advisor for Green Jobs to the Obama administration, resigned.

Liberal blogs I’ve read have written about the issue as if Jones’ primary reasons for quitting were criticisms drawn from a video in which he called Republicans “assholes” and, less often, his past involvement with fringe groups. Attacks involving the latter issues are dismissed as if Republicans were claiming  Jones was an advisor to the Federal Panel of Death and Euthanasia Services. The fact that he really was a member of the avowedly Maoist organization Standing Together to Organize A Revolutionary Movement (STORM) is downplayed, as is his involvement in other unbecoming pursuits.

Though Jones’ conversions away from the very most unsavory aspects of his revolutionary past seem sincere, sober-minded persons ought to be relieved at his departure. Van Jones has throughout his career displayed ambivalence to the standards of scientific enquiry totally unbecoming of one in such a position which must rationally synthesize the findings of environmental sciences, engineering, and economics. 

Jonesis a fellow at California’s Institute of Noetic Sciences, a think-tank devoted to the exposition of parapsychological theories, such secular reincarnation and “extended human capabilities” including distance-healing and telekinesis. That the Institute’s extended faculty includes New Age huckster Deepak Chopra ought to tell persons of good sense everything they need to know.

While this woo merely falls short of any standards of intellectual rigor, it is anathema that Jones signed 9/11truth.org’s petition calling for reinvestigation of the 9/11 attacks, which implicitly accuses the federal government with foreknowledge or involvement in their planning or implementation. Jones has now claimed that he did not read the petition closely. Even if this is true—which I suspect it is—it is a moot point.

In the course of making many acquaintances in the left-liberal activist community around Marquette, I’ve signed a lot of petitions—for Darfur, for green jobs, Planned Parenthood, &c. I never read any of them. Nor did anyone else who signed. It is such an inconsequential thing to commit ones’ name to a petition it hardly makes sense to analyze it line by line, especially after its contents have just been explained, usually by someone with close ties of trust to the signer. Van Jones knew damn well knew the gist  of what he was committing his name to, and that gist was a statement of doubt in the official, verifiable account of the 9/11 attacks, if not an indictment of the sitting government at the time.  

While an intellectual travesty, I’m not prepared to say it was an “unprecedented” infiltration of the highest offices of government by a conspiracy theory—and so much the worse for the country! A bare majority of US citizens think there was a second shooter involved in the JFK assassination, and some 70 percent disbelieves the proposition that Oswald acted alone; I think we would be surprised and mortified by just how high the highest achiever of these millions has ascended in American government.

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