This is my short list of “Big Lies” — propaganda which is promoted by major movements, and which denying often gets one tagged as a lunatic, denier, hatemonger, or simply irrelevant.
If you’re looking for me to put the Holocaust of European Jewry or Jihadis being responsible for 9/11 on this list, look elsewhere.
I’m 56 years old, born in April 1953. So I’m limiting myself to Big Lies present in my own lifetime.
Here we go, not in any chronological order.
1. The biggest threat to the human race today is man-caused global warming.
Every assumption behind this statement is either provably false or unproven. It’s uncertain whether the long-term climate trend is towards global warming rather than global cooling. It’s false that carbon dioxide and methane are the major “greenhouse gases.” (The major greenhouse gas is water vapor.) The most reliable climate-change models on planet earth don’t track with production of greenhouse gases as closely as they do with changes in solar radiation, and measurements of climate change on other planets in this solar system tend to match up with our own planet’s climate change. Industrial particulate air pollution reduces solar radiation so would produce global cooling rather than global warming. And the global warming crowd reveal themselves as a subset of the Zero Population Growth movement when they advocate not having children as a method of reducing global warming. Which brings us to Big Lie #2.
2. Human population growth must be curbed because it is increasing faster than the availability of resources needed to sustain itself.
No human being on planet earth is starving or sick because of the technological inability of the human race to feed, clothe, or treat most of their epidemic diseases. Third-world famines and epidemics of diseases no longer epidemic in the developed world are caused by warfare, theft of private property and relief supplies by warlords who sell them for personal luxuries and weapons, and anti-capitalistic policies which exterminate all attempts to invest or entrepreneur the creation of newly existing wealth. The assumption of a zero-sum game whereby one partys gain is assumed to be stolen from another party is one major false premise underlying this cause of endless human tragedy; another is that technological advances caused by economic growth play no part in reducing demand on finite natural resources by multiplying the efficient use of these resources and creating artificial alternatives which also reduce demand on natural resources.
Nor is there any actual limit to growth when you bring in the virtually unlimited space, energy, and mineral resources available starting as close as earths own moon and asteroids in permanent earth-moon orbit, then expanding out to the entire solar system and eventually other solar systems. Star Trek got this, at least, right. The technology to harvest these resources is off the shelf and the cost would be less than what the United States has spent on the War in Iraq.
3. Abortion is murder.
The assumptions behind this statement require religious people to substitute the concept of eternal life with a secular biological one that defines life as mortal. The statement that a new human life begins with conception is biologically true but not true according to anyone who actually believes in the existence of an immortal soul. If one believes in an immortal soul then a new human life begins the first moment that an immortal soul exists within a human body. The Hebrews believed that the soul enters the body with its birth and first breath — thus the English word inspiration comes from roots meaning intake of breath. Christianity and modern Judaism often abandon the roots of their own religions and substitute the revisionist argument that the soul is present from the moment of conception — an absurd and actually horrible idea if you look at it from the point of view of an active conscious being imprisoned within a tiny cluster of cells.
Furthermore, the idea that an embryo or fetus has human rights can only go back to the beginnings of the concept of human rights with the English Levellers movement in the 17th century — a decidedly modernist development. Nowadays there are attempts to extend the idea of rights beyond the human species to all other living things (including microbes) and even to inanimate objects including the earth, itself. The self-named pro-life movement which attempts to extend human rights to the unborn use the same logic and arguments as the animal rights and Gaia-rights movements. Which brings us directly to #4.
4. Animals have the same fundamental rights as humans.
The concept of opposing cruelty to animals has morphed away from this noble and purely human esthetic concept into an attempt to make the idea of human rights absurd and deniable by forgetting their origins and meaning, debasing them like fiat money replaces mediums of exchange possessing intrinsic utility.
Rights are a moral concept, and morality is meaningless if split off from the concept of moral actors. Unless one is ready to accept dogs, cattle, and fish as having the mens rea to be held accountable for their actions, the concept of animal rights is an absurdity, and the animal rights movement is a criminal racket that relies on the empathy of human beings to attack the individual property rights and civil liberties of other human beings.
5. Disarmament promotes peace and security.
From disarming the airline passengers who flew on September 11, 2001 to the disarmament by both the Nazis and Soviet Union of the Estonians, there is no policy which has directly enabled more genocide, holocausts, and mass murders than reducing the general supply of weapons that can be used to resist and combat armed and aggressive statists, gangsters, terrorists, madmen, and free-lance predators than the unilateral disarmament of civilians and defense forces. Im not even going to argue the point. I simply challenge anyone to study history, note how disarmament universally precedes mass violence, and challenge anyone disputing this statement to find me a counter-example where a disarmed population suffered less than the armed one which preceded it.
6. Police forces are necessary to prevent crime and keep the peace.
Going back to the prefects of ancient China and the Praetorian Guard of the Roman Empire, police forces have always been extensions of imperial power, providing despots internal domestic control while traditional military forces conquered and controlled foreigners.
The framers of the American system of government were well aware of the millennia-long history of police forces and rejected the concept in favor of civilian self-defense. Local criminals were to be apprehended by raising a hue-and-cry whereby the civilian population formed themselves into temporary law-enforcement units under the concept of posse comitatus (translation from Latin is power of the county) to arm themselves and bring suspected criminals to a magistrate for trial. How these posses functioned can be seen in western movies and TV shows, where an elected sheriff or U.S. marshal had no forces of their own to enforce law or keep the peace, but had to rely on deputizing the local population to maintain law and order. This reliance by government officials on civilians tended to act as a brake on criminal gangs taking over frontier towns, and also prevented organized criminal gangs such as the Black Hand from extending their reach beyond the borders of cities like Chicago and Kansas City, whose police forces were agents of the local power brokers.
Todays police forces are better trained, more professional, and less reliant on direct bribery than earlier police forces, and in private life are often good neighbors, but when on duty they are still enforcers of political power who shake down the civilian population through draconian fines for parking and minor traffic infraction (for example, $100 fines for failing to feed a parking meter 25 cents), eminent domain abuses, asset forfeiture laws, and the unconstitutional war on the individuals right to determine ones own self-medication, mood alteration, and state of consciousness on private property.
Common myths about police are that they have a duty to protect you (they dont; all states immunize police for failure to protect); that police will save you when you phone 911 (if youre being held hostage by an armed criminal the police will set up a perimeter outside and not go in until its safe for themselves, no matter whats being done to you by your captor); and that violent crime rates are lower the more police there are per population unit (the opposite is true; rural areas with fewer police per population unit commonly have a lower violent crime rate per population unit than urban areas with more police per population unit).
One cant argue that increasing legal availability of civilian firearms automatically decreases violent crime (to do that one would have to explain how one city with identical laws to another city can have five times its sister citys violent crime rate) but one can show that increasing the cop-to-criminal ratio is no more effective than increasing the civilian-gun-to-criminal ratio — and the latter is a whole lot cheaper and far less injurious to civil liberties.
7. Gay couples should be treated exactly the same as straight couples.
Beginning in the 1930s, Alfred Kinseys groundbreaking studies of human sexuality showed human sexual behavior to be almost infinitely varied. I carefully say sexual behavior rather than sex, because only human acts which have the potential of reproduction actually qualify as sex. Perpetuation of the species demands that all other behavior be called something else. I favor the anthropological term pair-bonding, the sociological term coupling, and the informal terms sex play and love play.
Human beings who engage in same-sex coupling have the exact same rights as human beings who engage in opposite-sex coupling: the natural fruits of their coupling. Since biology requires opposite-sex coupling to produce offspring, same-sex coupling is naturally discriminated against for this purpose, and social institutions like monogamous heterosexual marriage that have evolved to protect and encourage the perpetuation of the human species must either reflect this biological reality in custom and language or devalue human reproduction. Its obvious to me that the agenda to equate same-sex coupling with opposite-sex-coupling in movies, television, and other mass media is at least as much to discourage human population growth as it is to oppose the hateful bigotry against same-sex couples which results in denying same-sex couples the right to enjoy their lives together in a free and tolerant society.
I am not a partisan for monogamous heterosexual marriage. Id be perfectly happy if marriage laws and customs were entirely divorced from both state and church. I have no personal objection to norming any and all partnering or group affiliation between or among consenting adults of any sexual persuasion. Gays have no more right to pride in their sexual lifestyle than a completely heterosexual degenerate like myself, who wants only adult women to do perverted things with me. Were still hiding in the closet, thank you very much.
But to lie about biology, history, anthropology, sociology, and all other attempts to quantify and classify the human experience in order to promote a narrow and ephemeral minority political agenda is wrong and I will continue to expose these lies when they deny that social customs, language usage, and economic institutions should reflect the biological truth that making a baby requires at least one participant from each of the two sexes.
8. The Holocaust of European Jews is unique in human history.
Im Jewish, and I cant think of any idea quite as absurd to me as the idea that my kin are superior to the rest of the human species. Thats an ancient Jewish meme that got turned around by the Nazis, with devastating results just before I was born.
Im not going to argue that Jews and Judaism havent made unique and valuable contributions to the human experience. That would be equally false and absurd. But its illogical to extrapolate from this that the Jewish contributions to human history are uniquely valuable. The Greeks contributed as much. So did the Chinese. So did the Arabs. So did the English. So did the Americans. The Irish. Can I stop now before this essay turns into a roster of the ethnicities seated in the United Nations?
Nor is the Jewish experience for being discriminated against, enslaved, and massacred unique. Blacks got it as bad. So did the Estonians, the Tutsis, the Kulaks, the Gypsies, the Pariahs, the Christians, the Irish, the English, the Armenians, the Native Americans, the Sicilians, the Cherokee again, Id find it hard to find an ethnic group that hasnt had the crap kicked out of them one time or another.
Having the crap kicked out of your own kind is probably the one most common bond that each of us has with everyone else.
The maximum estimate for the extermination of European Jewry by the Nazis is six million. Thats dwarfed in the twentieth century alone by mega-exterminations in the Soviet Union and China, with seven-figure ethnic genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, and Rwanda trailing not far behind.
My people: Good job. You gave the world Torah and many more non-Jews than Jews follow its teachings — and that includes our historical enemies. But enough already with the chosen people crap. Its gotten old and pisses off others, which makes it hard to have friends.
9. America is a Christian country.
This one wont take very long to refute at all. Draw a Venn diagram. A big circle with the population of the United States. In that circle a smaller circle with Christians. Inside the big circle another circle with everyone else — Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccens, Odin-worshippers, atheists, agnostics, etc.
Doesnt matter how large the circle containing Christians is. America is founded on the idea of individualism, not collectivism. That the majority should be able to impose its values on the minority is un-American even if it were down to half a billion Christians and a single non-believer. And Christians might consider that a turn of the wheel might make them a minority, and a record for tolerance might be useful when dealing with a new majority.
Your ancestors came here for freedom of worship. Honor them by extending the same freedom to everyone else. Keep your peanut butter away from my chocolate unless I specifically ask to make a Reese.
10. America is the last superpower and runs the world.
Im not even sure I need to refute this one anymore, although its been the general assumption in most places for most of my life, both by Americans and foreigners.
By now it should be obvious this isnt true.
Remember the Doolittle Raid in World War II? A few army planes stripped down to the bone manage to fly off an aircraft carrier and bomb Japan? It was mostly a symbolic attack because there were far too few planes to damage Japans war effort. But the reason for the raid was that Americas war ally, Josef Stalin, refused President Franklin Roosevelt permission to use Russian soil to launch a sustained bombing attack on Japan.
At the end of World War II when both the Nazis and Imperial Japan were defeated, and even though the United States had a monopoly on atomic bombs until 1949, the Soviet Union managed to occupy half of Europe and foment communist revolutions throughout the world creating a worldwide opposition to the power of the United States and its allies.
This standoff continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when there was a brief illusion that the United States was the last remaining superpower. But during that period, Cuba remained communist and though any agreement President Kennedy might have made with Premier Khrushchev would have died with the USSR, the United States made no attempt to take the island.
Nor did the United States have universal success in staving off communist coups in Central and South America or even in its own universities.
If anyone thinks that situation fundamentally changed any time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, ask yourself how Turkey got away with telling the United States to piss off when President Bush wanted to invade Iraq via Turkey.
When the United States was most influential was not when the United States was most aggressive militarily but when its goods were most craved by foreigners: when a luxury car in Japan was not a Lexus but a Pontiac, when Russians drank Pepsi and the Chinese drank Coca Cola, when the gold standard of cigarettes was Old Gold and other American brands.
The United States was once the worlds shopping mall. Not anymore. Not for a long time. The path back to the glory days is when the American people get shut of the debt its government and corporations have run up in their name, and instead use their money to invent and make new things the rest of the world wants.
J. Neil Schulman is author of the classic novel of agorist revolution, Alongside Night, which can be downloaded free from www.alongsidenight.net, and writer/producer/directer of the comic thriller, Lady Magdalene’s (www.ladymagdalenes.com). Full bio information can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, IMDb, Amazon.com, and his personal website at www.jneilschulman.com/.