All Our Problems Are Caused by ThemThe Devil Theory of History

By | January 26, 2012 | 5 Comments

The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.
Mel Gibson, 2006, during drunk-driving arrest

Mel Gibson is one of my favorite Hollywood personalities. I believe “Braveheart” is one of the 10 best films ever made. And I have a more personal reason. One day my wife and I were walking our Airedale through an alley.
A man looked out of a back window and said, “Cute dog.”
My wife looked up, saw who it was, and said “You look just like Mel Gibson.”
Mel replied in his Aussie accent, “I get that a lot.”
My wife asked, “Mel, what are you doing?”
He answered, “I’m helping my friend paint his bathroom.”
How can you hate such a man? So when news broke about Gibson’s drunken anti-Semitic remark, I felt sadness and anger, but only for a short time. What people say when they are drunk and upset is one thing. What they say when they are sober and calm is quite another. And when they are sober and calm, many people advocate the Devil Theory of History: All our problems and caused by them. The only difference is who they are.
The Jews.
Here we have the classic example of the Devil Theory of History. It dates back to the persecutions of the Middle Ages, when the Jews were blamed for the bubonic plague. But this medieval notion is still current. If you doubt this, go to a neo-Nazi website or an extremist Muslim website.
These people disagree on many points, but they agree that the Jews are the source of most of the world’s problems. And they also agree on the solution − eliminate the Jews. No deep thought is required, only violent action.
The Trilateral Commission et al.
This is a common type of conspiracy theory − that is, a small group of self-anointed “elite” meet in secret, then plot how to increase their wealth and power while making the common people poorer and more oppressed. Besides the Trilateral Commission, we have the Bilderbergers, the Illuminati, the Council on Foreign Relations, and of course the Rothschilds. Thus the second variety of Devil Theory can easily merge into the first. If it’s “the Rothschilds,” then it’s really “the Jews” after all.
No doubt there are “elite” groups of powerful people. This was true in the past under kings and emperors, and it remains true today under totalitarian and authoritarian systems. It is less true under democratic systems, but no one can deny that Washington insiders have a great deal more power than does Joe Sixpack. The problem is how to keep this power within bounds, and yet not go too far and blame all our troubles including the weather on some mysterious group.
The oil companies.
Clearly, energy companies have considerable influence on our lives. How could they not? Energy is essential for civilization, and those who supply essentials are in a key position to exert influence. The problem is to keep that influence under control, so that it does not become excessive.
But beyond this, we come to another variety of the Devil Theory. Why did we go to war in Iraq? For oil, of course. Saddam was a brutal dictator who attacked his neighbors. He used poison gas, developed biologic weapons, and tried to develop nuclear weapons. But no matter − Iraq has oil, so that must have been our sole motive. Yet 10 years later, we are leaving Iraq, but where are the sweetheart oil deals?
And why did we go to war in Afghanistan? The Taliban rulers hosted the people who planned and carried out 9/11 − an act of war. But this was only the excuse. We went to war in Afghanistan not exactly for oil, because there is none, but for a gas pipeline. You see, neighboring Kazakhstan has natural gas, so it might be possible to build a pipeline to transport it to Pakistan and then by sea to the world. Yes, it might be possible. Yet 10 years later, where is the pipeline?
It might also be possible to teach a pig to sing and go on “American Idol.” But considering the difficulty of building a pipeline for explosive gas through a mountainous region filled with warring tribes, I’d bet on the pig.
Here we see the flaw in the “oil” theory − it cannot be disproved. No oil deal in Iraq? No gas pipeline in Afghanistan? No problem! There could have been a deal, and there could have been a pipeline, so the conspiracy theorists still remain true believers.
But this mode of thinking goes even further. When I asked why we went to war in Vietnam, a liberal friend replied, “Oil.” I replied, “There is no oil.” The man responded, “No, but there’s oil in Indonesia nearby.” He remained firm in his beliefs, because there was no way − literally no way − to disprove them.
An idea that cannot be disproved by any conceivable evidence is not a logical conclusion but a pseudo-religious belief. And leftism is a pseudo-religion. Like a real religion, it includes a series of required beliefs. But unlike a real religion, it includes no required moral behavior. How convenient.
The military-industrial complex.
In his farewell address, President Eisenhower famously warned against unwarranted influence of the military-industrial complex. It is worth quoting in full:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Note that Ike called for “proper meshing,” not for abolition of the defense industry or dismantling our armed forces. We should heed his warning, but first we should read his warning. It is not a “get out of jail free” card for assorted leftists and pacifists. It is not a “one size fits all” answer to all our problems.
For some leftists, making a profit on anything is sinful, though of course they don’t believe in sin. Do pharmaceutical companies make a profit on drugs that save lives and reduce suffering? Do manufacturers make a profit on materials that allowed our troops to defeat German Nazis and Japanese imperialists in World War II? No matter. Making a profit is evil, so fighting World War II was wrong.
Here extreme leftists join with extreme rightists, who wish the Nazis had won. And they join with extreme libertarians, who don’t care whether the Nazis had won. The key word is not “leftist,” or “rightist,” or “libertarian.” The key word is “extreme.” It’s revealing that the extremes so often agree on crucial questions − and so often agree on the wrong answers.
No, all our problems are not due to the Jews, or the Trilateral Commission, or the oil companies, or the military-industrial complex. Our problems are due to a variety of causes, which require careful investigation to discover. Complex problems rarely have simple answers.
But the primary cause of our problems is that we are imperfect human beings. If we want to find the underlying cause of our problems, we should start by looking in the mirror. It’s true for Mel, and it’s true for all of us.
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.


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