We are off again on a journey to a foreign continent, this time South America. Our destinations over the next three weeks are Lima, Cusco, and the Inca Trail in Peru, and Quito and Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. Posting might be absent or sparse depending on time and Internet access.
So today I’m cleaning house and listening to podcasts while doing so. I ran across one of great interest to me, a BookTV appearance by Jonathon Kay, author of Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground, and Webster Tarpley, author of 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA. The event was moderated by David Frum, chosen by Kay I suppose because Kay felt outgunned. It was a two-on-one attack on Tarpley, Frum making no effort to be fair or honest. It’s an hour and forty-one minutes long.
I am curious. Kay starts out by saying that vast conspiracies can only happen in closed societies, so that a society like ours with its first amendment and free press are fairly immune to the sort of things that went on in the old USSR and Nazi Germany. His mention of journalists as defenders of freedom drew heavy laughter, which he did not understand.
It struck me as odd that Kay and Frum are rather clueless (and Frum arrogant to boot), incurious and credulous to a fault. That’s a fairly typical condition among educated Americans, as education appears to weld them into a groupthink environment where government truth is the only truth. Those two would have praised the Catholic Church for its treatment of Galileo, for that is all that was back then – the power of official truth versus reality. Things have not changed much since Galileo’s time.
But the most interesting … or maybe just annoying … was how Kay and Frum presumed to be the two smartest guys in the room. Frum’s condescending ridicule suggests he maybe suffers cognitive dissonance, but Kay has not a whiff of an idea of what going on in broad daylight. He’s a stupid man.
I mean, think about it: credulous, trusting of government, incurious … these are not attributes on an intelligent person. Quite the opposite.
I’ve long threatened to move to Quito to get away from this intellectual desert called the United States of America. Of course I cannot do that because I have friends and family that are far too important to me to leave behind. But I am curious about the expat community in Quito, and will report back if I can experience it at all.