Because even otherwise intelligent people are swallowing whole the lie that Vladimir Putin "hacked" the last presidential election and continues to hack our very minds by stirring up dissent against the US establishment, we need a little Einstein, right this very minute. We should Just Say No to any number of the lies we're being fed by the leaders of a crumbling empire. Our survival and our sanity depend on us using more of our little gray cells to cut through all the crap.
From the Black Lives Matter movement, to refusing to honor the flag, to anti-war criticism, to independent thought itself: it seems that everything has become fair game for the 21st Century Inquisition.
You even have to read those handy self-help guides to thinking with a healthy dose of skepticism. My bullshit detector went off when I picked up "The Hacking of the American Mind: the Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains" the other night, and right in the introduction, author Robert Lustig bemoans the Russian "hacking" of John Podesta's emails which, he unquestioningly asserts, were leaked to "humiliate or blackmail" Hillary Clinton, and not to elucidate voters about Democratic Party machinations.
"And similar to the Russian hack of the 2016 election," he goes on, "this plot has been and continues to be executed by private interests with government support."
Hillary Clinton, the failed presidential candidate and the proven instigator of RussiaGate, has now taken the paranoia on the road, wackily telling British and Australian audiences this week that since she lost the election because of Wikileaks' release of Democratic Party and campaign emails, it logically follows that Wikileaks director Julian Assange is a tool of the Kremlin. She stated, moreover, that he has never published any information detrimental to the Kremlin, a baldfaced lie which largely went unchallenged.
She even falsely implied that leaked emails themselves were frauds:
In the interview, Clinton rejected reporter Sarah Ferguson’s proposition that Assange was simply performing a journalist’s role by publishing information.
"There was a concerted operation between WikiLeaks and Russia and most likely people in the United States to, as I say, weaponize that information, to make up stories, outlandish, often terrible stories that had no basis in fact, no basis even in the emails themselves, but which were used to denigrate me, my campaign, people who supported me, and to help (Donald) Trump,” Clinton said. “WikiLeaks is unfortunately now practically a fully owned subsidiary of Russian intelligence,” she said.As I've written before, I can personally attest that at least one of the emails in the leaked John Podestra stash is legitimate, because it embeds an article that I wrote, republished by Truthout, and forwarded to John Podesta. I swear on the Bible that I wrote it myself, and that "Russian intelligence" did not force me to write it. The fact that Clinton refuses outright to address the content of the damaging leaked emails, even separate the real from the allegedly fake, is suspect on its very face.
It should be so easy to simply ignore Hillary Clinton's Russophobic nonsense, just as it should have been so easy to ignore Senator Joe McCarthy's nonsense back in the day - but for the fact that the mass media and Congress are again making sure that the latest official witch-hunt cannot and will not be ignored. RussiaGate has taken on a life of its own. No facts are required, and evidence is purely optional. To doubt is again to be chastised as un-American.
And using Hillary Clinton's own twisted logic, we might also assume that if Assange is indeed an agent of Putin, then we should also congratulate Mother Russia for instigating the democratic Arab Spring.
As I wrote in 2012, Hillary grudgingly credited Julian Assange for helping to overthrow Tunisian dictator Zini Ben Abi by publishing some gossipy State Department cables mocking his thievery and corruption. She confided to journalist David Sanger, “I think the openness of the social media, I think WikiLeaks, in great detail, describing the lavishness of the Ben Ali family and cronies was a big douse of gasoline on the smoldering fire.”
Albert Einstein would most certainly have something to say to the mendacious and inconsistent and hypocritical Hillary Clinton and her enablers. The man known for his scientific genius was also a humanist, a socialist, a pacifist, and an early critic of McCarthyism. He called for an end, not only to the witch-hunts of his day, but to all future Congressional investigatory "fishing expedition" committees. He publicly announced his intention to refuse to testify before any such committee if ever called upon to do so. This vow and call to action only inspired the FBI to add even more documents to the 1,427-page surveillance dossier it had been keeping on him for more than two decades. From reading his mail and going through his trash, the government concluded, among other zany subversions, that Einstein was simultaneously a German spy and a Russian spy who was secretly working on a death ray machine in his spare time when he wasn't busy leading a Communist conspiracy to take over Hollywood. And perhaps most suspiciously of all, Einstein was an independent thinker who refused to join a political party.
The New York Times, then as now ever the faithful establishment mouthpiece, actually took Albert Einstein to task for failing to acquiesce to the Inquisition, and for exercising his right to civil disobedience. "Too wrongs never did add up to one right," the editorial board cleverly tut-tutted at him.
I.F. Stone, the great independent journalist, also would most certainly have something to say to Hillary Clinton and the New York Times and other corporate media giants about their current coordinated campaigns against the "fake news" and "Russian ads" on the Internet and social media. Just because an inquisition is wrapped up in a facade of virtue and truth-seeking doesn't make it right. Inquisitions, even when headed by qualified lawyer-politicians rather than by a demagogue like McCarthy, still have no place in a putative democracy. This isn't Oz. The way to do battle against wicked witch-hunts is not with "good" witch-hunts.
The need for such defiance is illustrated by the objections advanced against it. "One cannot start," the New York Times said, "from the premise that Congressional committees have no right to question teachers and scientists or to seek out subversives wherever they can find them; what is profoundly wrong is the way some of them have been exercising it." The fact is that one cannot start from any other premise without making defeat inevitable....The current Congressional investigations and op-eds all have an anti-democracy agenda at their very cores. CNN talking head Gloria Borger actually enthused last week that RussiaGate is a solid legitimate effort merely by virtue of it being cooperatively pursued by both Republicans and Democrats. Under this twisted logic, a witch-hunt is a lot like Smuckers preserves: if it's bipartisan, it's just got to be good!
The New York Times says "An investigation which has no taint of witch-hunting, no bias of anti-intellectualism, no prejudice, no distorted ideas of what is guilt and subversion would be irreproachable." A censorship of such immaculate virtues would be irreproachable, but the Framers of the Bill of Rights thought it safer to rely on free discussion than on the miraculous possibility that the Archangel Gabriel might decide to take the civil service exam for the office of censor."
Einstein would, of course, have something to say to CNN and all the establishment media today:
The problem with which the intellectuals of this country are confronted is very serious.The reactionary politicians have managed to instill suspicion of all intellectual efforts into the public by dangling before their eyes a danger from without . .Instead of simply celebrating the athletes and others who "take a knee" to the pledge to the flag, we should go a step further and follow I.F. Stone's advice "to take the Einstein Pledge and throw down a fundamental challenge to the establishment of an inquisition in America."
What ought the minority of intellectuals to do against this evil? I can only see the revolutionary way of non-co-operation, in Gandhi’s sense... based on the assertion that it is shameful for a blameless citizen to submit to such an inquisition.
And it wouldn't hurt to inject a little disrespectful Einsteinian humor into the equation either.