Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The State of Intellectual Decay in America

By Daniel McAdams

We all know how the regime stenographers at the New York Times vulgarly smeared the great and fearless Walter Block in a hit piece they recently did on libertarian leaning politicians and thinkers, primarily Sen. Paul. The regime apologists cherry-picked Prof. Block’s interview, removing all context and boiling it all down to give the absurd appearance that Professor Block was actually a racist crank who loved slavery! (In other NYT news, up is down and war is peace). They needed to make the targets of the regime look bad so no lie was too big to serve the cause.
Well the New York Times is back on the job, serving as America’s Pravda. This time the target is Professor Stephen Cohen, a distinguished Russia scholar with a brilliant career as professor at Princeton and the New York University, as well as the author of innumerable important works on Russia. The problem with Professor Cohen is that he is not saying the “right” things about Russia these days. At a time when, from Fox News to Rachel Maddow, the order of the day is blind demonization of Russia and President Putin and madly beating the WWIII drums, Professor Cohen had the nerve to write an article for the Nation decrying the appallingly shoddy state of journalism in the US.
Wrote Professor Cohen:
The degradation of mainstream American press coverage of Russia, a country still vital to US national security, has been under way for many years. If the recent tsunami of shamefully unprofessional and politically inflammatory articles in leading newspapers and magazines—particularly about the Sochi Olympics, Ukraine and, unfailingly, President Vladimir Putin—is an indication, this media malpractice is now pervasive and the new norm.
There are notable exceptions, but a general pattern has developed. Even in the venerable New York Times and Washington Post, news reports, editorials and commentaries no longer adhere rigorously to traditional journalistic standards, often failing to provide essential facts and context; to make a clear distinction between reporting and analysis; to require at least two different political or “expert” views on major developments; or to publish opposing opinions on their op-ed pages. As a result, American media on Russia today are less objective, less balanced, more conformist and scarcely less ideological than when they covered Soviet Russia during the Cold War.
Spot on.
For this astute observation, the New York Times set out destroy him — not to refute his argument but to undermine his credibility and his character. As did the original Pravda to those outside the Party line.
The New York Times published a character assassination attempt last week on Professor Cohen, ironically in an article concerning the lack of scholarly depth in Russia knowledge among mid-career Americans. In the piece they referred to Professor Cohen as the “dissenting villain” in today’s media commentary on Ukraine who presents a “perspective closer to that of Mr. Putin.”
As Cohen rightly points out in a letter to the Times objecting to this grotesque mischaracterization, “This may have the effect (intended or not) of stigmatizing me and discrediting my views.”
Yes, Professor, that is definitely the point. Cohen then went on to point out to those whose sense of history ends begins anew each morning that he had taken the same position on the serious mistakes in the US government’s Russia policy since the early 1990s, well before Putin arrived on the scene.
But this is the smear that each of us who opposes the latest war plan of the empire faces. Professor Cohen, a renowned scholar and author of 40 years is simply in the pay of Putin if he dissents from the New York Times and Washington Post’s war cries. Oppose US arming of jihadists in Syria? Assad apologist. Against bombing Iraq? Saddam lover. Skeptical of the democratizing effects of flattening Libya? Gaddafi agent.
This is the state of intellectual decay in America. And it does not start in the streets, in the pubs, among the uneducated. It starts in the New York Times. It starts among the elites in the media. The vanguard of the propaganda classes.
The above originally appeared at


  1. Daniel McAdams is a talented mind. The way he delivers perspective is truly great. He tees you up smacks you with reality... gotta love it!

  2. reading the Times link I think they took a swing at Cohen but did not hit below the belt. I mean they did not say Adam Lanza was a follower of his.

  3. All of our opponents suffer from Intellectual Decay. Ever meet ANYONE that understood the NAP who was not already a libertarian? To the extent any of them actually think they do understand it (which is a minority), they argue that the rigorous enforcement of the NAP cannot work and to prove it they give historical examples of gross violations of the NAP (the Robber Baron era, for example). The attack on Walter Block is evidence of a deeper problem with our opponents than just lying. I don't think any of them even realize (or much care) that the NAP is inconsistent with slavery or that its rigorous enforcement is the core concept of libertarianism, much less how the NAP might be applied to society. We are dealing with people who are both dishonest and not particularly good at thinking.

  4. I am not a libertarian. Chris Hedges has much to say about the NYT and it's continuing journey into becoming a propaganda rag.

    I concur with Professor Cohen insight. And I am concerned with the ultimate purpose of this propaganda.

    "Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it."

    ~Adolph Hitler

    1. I often wonder if this quote is always taken out of context.
      I think it likely that Hitler was referring to the British propaganda machine, which was
      spreading what Hitler considered were lies about Germany under his régime.
      Putin could say the same thing today, about the US propaganda machine.

  5. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    -- Joseph Goebbels

  6. Hermann Goering's Quote On War And The People

    Göring: "Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

    Gilbert: "There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

    Göring: "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing their country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    -- Goering at the Nuremberg Trials