Archives for category: information vs misinformation vs disinformation

Is some half-remembered Kantianism behind the clever person’s pseudo-clever rejection of the idea of “the Deep State”? Some misunderstanding of phenomenon and nuomenon?

Most of the institutions that make up the Deep State are known entities, with acts of Congress behind them, or public corporation status, and personnel and budgets and logos and the whole shebang.

But the essence of the Deep State is that much of it is secret, and the institutions we identify as Deep State are filled with secrets. So of course we must be circumspect and not pretend to know what we cannot. But we must not also pretend to not know what we do. And we know that secret powers and connections have their own properties. So even if we cannot know specifics, we know many of the principles that make the Deep State deep.

We have enough phenomena, and can make reasonable inferences, to understand the latticework of secrecy as a “thing.” The ontology is not too outré. And the fact that we do not experience its internal essences quite the same way we understand Congress or the Supreme Court or the local school board does not allow us to declare the Deep State unknowable, pompously intoning Wittgenstein’s apothegm “that whereof we may not speak we must remain silent.” Better Spencer, who inferred an invisible force and dubbed it The Unknowable.

But the Deep State isn’t that unknowable, and we certainly may say of its existential status that. It. Exists.

twv

Illustration, at top, of Gustave de Molinari, the economist who saw states instruments of war and terror.

In the Middle Ages, society was convinced that there were witches. People were so positive that they burned people whom they suspected of witchcraft. To-day there is an equal number of people who believe just as firmly, one way or the other, about spiritualism and spirits. They do not burn mediums. But people who have made no research of the subject pass strong denunciatory judgments. Others, no better informed, consider mediums divinely inspired. Not so long ago every intelligent man knew that the world was flat. To-day the average man has a belief just as firm and unknowing in the mysterious force which he has heard called atomic energy.

It is axiomatic that men who know little are often intolerant of a point of view that is contrary to their own. The bitterness that has been brought about by arguments on public questions is proverbial. Lovers have been parted by bitter quarrels on theories of pacificism or militarism; and when an argument upon an abstract question engages opponents they often desert the main line of argument in order to abuse each other.

How often this is true can be seen from the congressional records of controversies in which the personal attack supersedes logic. In a recent fight against the proposed tariff measures, a protagonist of protection published long vindictive statements, in which he tried to confound the character and the disinterestedness of his opponents. Logically his discussion should have been based only upon the sound economic, social and political value of the bill as presented.

A hundred leading American bankers, business men, professional men and economists united in public disapproval of this plan. They stated their opinion that the “American” Valuation Plan, as it was called, would endanger the prosperity of the country, that it would be inimical to our foreign relations and that it would injure the welfare of every country with whom our commercial and industrial ties were at all close. This group was a broadly representative group of men and women, yet the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee accused all these people of acting upon motives of personal gain and lack of patriotism. Prejudice superseded logic.

Intolerance is almost inevitably accompanied by a natural and true inability to comprehend or make allowance for opposite points of view. The skilled scientist who may be receptive to any promising suggestion in his own field may outside of his own field be found quite unwilling to make any attempt at understanding a point of view contrary to his own. In politics, for example, his understanding of the problem may be fragmentary, yet he will enter excitedly into discussions on bonus and ship subsidy, of which he has made no study. We find here with significant uniformity what one psychologist has called “logic-proof compartments.”

The logic-proof compartment has always been with us. Scientists have lost their lives through refusing to see flaws in their theories. Intelligent mothers give food to their babies that they would manifestly forbid other mothers to give their children. Especially significant is the tendency of races to maintain religious beliefs and customs long after these have lost their meaning. Dietary laws, hygienic laws, even laws based upon geographical conditions that have been changed for more than a thousand years are still maintained in the logic-proof compartment of dogmatic adherence. There is a story that certain missionaries give money to heathen at the time of conversion and that the heathen, having got their money, bathe away their conversion in sacred streams.

The characteristic of the human mind to adhere to its beliefs is excellently summarized in the volume by Mr. Trotter to which reference has been made before. “It is clear,” says Mr. Trotter, “at the outset that these beliefs are invariably regarded as rational and defended as such, while the position of one who holds contrary views is held to be obviously unreasonable.

“The religious man accuses the atheist of being shallow and irrational, and is met by a similar reply. To the Conservative the amazing thing about the Liberal is his incapacity to see reason and accept the only possible solution of public problems. Examination reveals the fact that the differences are not due to the commission of the mere mechanical fallacies of logic, since these are easily avoided, even by the politician, and since there is no reason to believe that one party in such controversies is less logical than the other. The difference is due rather to the fundamental assumptions of the antagonists being hostile, and these assumptions are derived from herd-suggestions; to the Liberal certain basal conceptions have acquired the quality of instinctive truth, have become a priori syntheses, because of the accumulated suggestions to which he has been exposed; and a similar explanation applies to the atheist, the Christian, and the Conservative. Each, it is important to remember, finds in consequence the rationality of his position flawless and is quite incapable of detecting in it the fallacies which are obvious to his opponent, to whom that particular series of assumptions has not been rendered acceptable by herd suggestion.”

Thus the public relations counsel has to consider the a priori judgment of any public he deals with before counseling any step that would modify those things in which the public has an established belief.

It is seldom effective to call names or to attempt to discredit the beliefs themselves. The counsel on public relations, after examination of the sources of established beliefs, must either discredit the old authorities or create new authorities by making articulate a mass opinion against the old belief or in favor of the new.

Edward L. Bernays, Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923), Part II, Chapter I, conclusion.

I see lots of expressions on Twitter of Twitterers’ “feelings” about Elon Musk acquiring Twitter.

This is funny. But aside from mirth, I don’t have a lot of “feelings” about the change. I mainly have a number of questions.

Though I do indeed regard anyone who supports curated, censored political, medical, and “scientific” speech as an enemy of liberal civilization (which I’m for), I may have moved past anger on this subject. And Musk himself has so many ties to the Deep State, I am left with so many questions. Lots and lots of questions.

Here’s one: Elon, you’ve made billions by contracting with Never A Straight Answer (NASA) and the Pentagon — how do your buddies in the Deep State feel about your professed ”free speech” agenda?

Are there factions within the Deep State now at war with each other, and you’re on one side?

As an advocate of connecting brains directly to AI, how would free speech operate in a cyborg environment?

What security can there be against AI with (shall we say) less-than-transparent agendas and abilities?

So, no hosannas from me about our political savior, St. Elon. But I’ll be very glad to see woke corporatists cast out on their asses, as Twitter moves to better policies and ceases to serve as the butt boy to Klaus Schwab, Hillary Clinton, and their puppeteers.

twv

or, Why the Best Bioweapon Is a Weak Bioweapon

Early in the “pandemic,” Scott Adams heard a rumor that the new virus affected non-Chinese more fatally than the Chinese, so he speculated. If I remember correctly, his speculation was that a biological weapon directed against a race of people was an inevitability, and that perhaps it was happening now. Specifically, the Chinese “communists” harbored an itch to eradicate Uyghurs. Perhaps SARS-CoV-2 was a new instrument of that ongoing genocide, and it had gotten out of hand.

I do not follow Adams, and do not know how he ultimately settled, in his mind, this Ultimate Uyghur Sanction, but I was impressed by one thing: Adams was willing to consider wild possibilities, including one that most people resisted on what seemed like grounds of squeamishness, the squeamishness of people afraid to be called “racist,” or “conspiracy theorists”: that the virus was built in a lab, and may have even been deliberately deployed as a bioweapon.

More than a year and a half later, and now the likelihood of the so-called Lab Leak Theory is commonly recognized as quite high. The worm turned.

Early on, I advised that, according to the Precautionary Principle, it was pure foolishness not to consider the possibility of a conscious bioweapon release. The reason to parlay the principle was simple: one considers a danger to prevent the worst outcomes. Early on, the Precautionary Principle was used to justify extreme mitigation efforts. But that was considering only the virus as a menace. By considering its threat potential, on the other hand, we might fend off other possibilities — those worse than a mere mass death.

Worse?

Yes.

The trouble with bioweaponry is that its deployment is negative sum: it is almost impossible to contain a virus, and the virus you deploy against your enemy will likely bite back at you.

With China, though, there is plenty of “surplus population.” So if the virus’s creators had prepared an inoculation in advance, and were willing to get rid of some population surplus, while also destroying much more of their enemy populations, that remains a possible strategy.

But there is a simpler method. If you want to destroy your enemies, what you want is not a real killer virus, but a virus that is actually not that dangerous … but which, with the right propaganda also deployed, can be made to seem more dangerous than it is. Indeed, a weak bioweapon is the perfect kernel for a psychological operation to get one’s enemies to over-react and weaken themselves.

Which is what happened.

Not only have western nations — weakened by standard churning state politics and China-funded race-baiting psy-ops — over-reacted to the contagion with psychologically destabilizing mask mandates and economically and culturally destructive lockdowns against commerce, they now deploy a very risky set of pseudo-vaccines, which may end up killing more people than the disease they are supposed to defend against.

I don’t know much about what is actually happening, but I do know that it is easy to manipulate mass men. 

And that is what we have here, the culture of Late Stage Churning State Capitalism is filled with Last Men, the gender-rending fools of our decadent culture. Our politics is now crazy, our government policies crazier, and our culture, laziest, ready for Lying Flat, the ultimate nincompoopery of a witless, ill-informed, culture of marks.

Grifted by the authorities, we accept as true things that are obviously false.

What things? You know, things like notion that the pandemic was an existential threat. No. Our reaction to it was. Are we fulfilling a civilizational death wish, or have we been pushed by Chinese (or globalist?) machinations?

I suspect the latter, but don’t rule out the former. Conspiracies are possible, but invisible hand processes still dominate most major trends.

In any case, we must contemplate the possibility that the pandemic could be the result of a conspiratorial threat — of warfare — so we can steal ourselves against our own destruction. It is easier to unite in the face of a concerted threat than against a mysterious menace; easier to accept losses, easier to become heroes.

twv

One cannot logically dismiss UFO close encounter reports summarily merely because we have reason to regard the reports of the crafts’ alleged masters — variously identified as Venusians, Zeta Reticulans, inhabitants of distant galaxies or comparatively nearby stars, such as Sirius — as preposterous.

We have to consider the possibility that the beings in the “flying saucers” are liars.

Indeed, once one gives up the idea that not only is our government lying about UFOs, but so too are the ostensible “aliens” inside, the subject begins to make sense.

Encounters with Trickster beings are very, very old, and resemble UFO lore to an alarming degree.

Of course, what about you and me? We have no reason to believe any particular theory. We just have reason to disbelieve the scoffers, the “skeptics” whose idea of explaining data depends mostly upon denying data.

I find self-identified skeptics to be ultra-amusing. These are people who defend a paradigm promoted by the Pentagon and by the shady hall-walkers in the deepest corridors of the Deep State — the latter folk being self-interested/class-interested statists who have been caught already, on the record a hundred times over, in lies about UFOs, and much else.

Indeed, between the tales from close encounters and press releases by the Pentagon, we only know that we can Trust No One.

twv

When Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., 46th President of These Benighted States, speaks, we should listen. Amidst his fits and starts and faux pas we can find real gems of revelation.

The latest examples come from his G7 adventures. Speaking of Russia, he wants to appear smart. He obviously enjoys every old-timey turn of phrase, and he smiles as he says Russians have “bitten off some real problems they are going to have trouble chewing on.” I wonder if he rehearsed that. It is not exactly Shakespeare, but it is the Bard Himself compared to his repeated references to “Libya.”

You see, Biden meant to say “Syria,” which Russia has defended against repeated U.S. attempts at the overthrow of the Alawite regime. Biden wants to make Putin look bad here, for getting in the way of noble, peace-loving U.S. intervention. But Biden ruins this brilliant bit of misdirection by repeatedly bringing up Libya. For Libya’s the far bigger mess, and it was a mess caused by the United States, the Obama-Biden Administration in particular.

So, why would he do that?

I figure that his ability to lie is low, his pre-frontal cortex being so shriveled up that he cannot maintain the prevarication. Libya is the counter to everything Biden wants to say about Russian and Syria. It shows that it is the United States that is in way over its head, or, to use Biden’s preferred cliché, has bitten off more than it can possibly chew. The Obama-Biden-Clinton team ruined Libya. It is the U.S. that is responsible for that mess, and what a mess it is! And Biden knows that HE MUST NOT SAY IT, so he says it.

The Imp of the Perverse is Edgar Allan Poe’s metaphor:

Induction, à posteriori, would have brought phrenology to admit, as an innate and primitive principle of human action, a paradoxical something, which we may call perverseness, for want of a more characteristic term. In the sense I intend, it is, in fact, a mobile without motive, a motive not motivirt. Through its promptings we act without comprehensible object; or, if this shall be understood as a contradiction in terms, we may so far modify the proposition as to say, that through its promptings we act, for the reason that we should not. In theory, no reason can be more unreasonable; but, in fact, there is none more strong. With certain minds, under certain conditions, it becomes absolutely irresistible. I am not more certain that I breathe, than that the assurance of the wrong or error of any action is often the one unconquerable force which impels us, and alone impels us to its prosecution. Nor will this overwhelming tendency to do wrong for the wrong’s sake, admit of analysis, or resolution into ulterior elements. It is a radical, a primitive impulse—elementary. It will be said, I am aware, that when we persist in acts because we feel we should not persist in them, our conduct is but a modification of that which ordinarily springs from the combativeness of phrenology. But a glance will show the fallacy of this idea. The phrenological combativeness has for its essence, the necessity of self-defence. It is our safeguard against injury. Its principle regards our well-being; and thus the desire to be well, is excited simultaneously with its development. It follows, that the desire to be well must be excited simultaneously with any principle which shall be merely a modification of combativeness, but in the case of that something which I term perverseness, the desire to be well is not only not aroused, but a strongly antagonistical sentiment exists.

An appeal to one’s own heart is, after all, the best reply to the sophistry just noticed. No one who trustingly consults and thoroughly questions his own soul, will be disposed to deny the entire radicalness of the propensity in question. It is not more incomprehensible than distinctive. There lives no man who at some period, has not been tormented, for example, by an earnest desire to tantalize a listener by circumlocution. The speaker is aware that he displeases; he has every intention to please; he is usually curt, precise, and clear; the most laconic and luminous language is struggling for utterance upon his tongue; it is only with difficulty that he restrains himself from giving it flow; he dreads and deprecates the anger of him whom he addresses; yet, the thought strikes him, that by certain involutions and parentheses, this anger may be engendered. That single thought is enough. The impulse increases to a wish, the wish to a desire, the desire to an uncontrollable longing, and the longing, (to the deep regret and mortification of the speaker, and in defiance of all consequences,) is indulged.

Something like that is going on in Biden’s poor head. I suspect it is not unrelated to other impulses, which we see at play in the Law of Nemesis.

Biden knows he must not mention Libya, but cannot help but bring it up.

The imp is upon him, like the narrator in the Poe story, who is mysteriously impelled to run out into the public confessing to murder — inevitably bringing on his own destruction.

He is utterly in thrall to that imp.

That imp now rules America.

twv

Today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups. . . . So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.

Philip K. Dick (1928–1982)

Nearly every reference to “conspiracy“ is stupid.

People use “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracist” often incorrectly, and with baggage from their benighted instruction in public schools and from the hectoring of major media news readers.

It is common to accuse someone of [unwarranted] belief in [non-existent] conspiracies at the first drop of the hat, upon almost zero evidence. Mere association of an idea with even the whiff of “conspiracy” taints it like the lingering body odor of Seinfeld’s toxic valet.

The funny thing is, this inculcated fear of “conspiracy theory” is very likely the result of a conspiracy. Tales of Operation Mockingbird tell how the very term ”conspiracy theory” itself was encouraged by the CIA to its cadres of news readers and reporters, to dismiss anyone who brings up critiques of the Warren Commission Report on the JFK assassination.

Are these tales true? That is, are the reports that the CIA directly told its moles within the news media to dismiss those who question the Lone Gunman Theory as “conspiracy theorists” true? We hear this a lot online, especially from . . . conspiracy theorists.

Wikipedia belittles the lore of Operation Mockingbird as “an alleged large-scale program” of the CIA, despite quite a lot of evidence for the operation’s existence (most of it not mentioned), and despite the many, many links between the legacy media’s news staff and the CIA (not to mention the dominant Ethnicity We Must Not Mention), but I have had enough run-ins with Wikipedia’s editorial staff to understand that Wikipedia was long ago taken over by the same kind of propagandists who overrun most successful start-ups of influence-peddling. The history of non-profit foundations is littered with ideological takeovers. This shouldn’t be surprising. It is more class-based than anything else, and much of what is condemned as “conspiracy theory” is actually some sort of class-based analysis.

But in American intellectual culture only leftists are allowed to engage in class analysis. All others are “conspiracy theorists” — and even the left is controlled, somewhat, by the obsessive implementation of the “conspiracy theorist” charge.

It is nevertheless the case that all conjectures about conspiracies should be judged on their factual merits, with recognition that conspiracies are evasive phenomena that do not present evidence in the innocent manner that we see the phenomena of the natural world. Clues of a conspiracy often appear first as evidence of a cover-up. Elementary praxeology should warn scientists of the danger of using the smell test in these areas, pro or con, for scientists generally do not have to fight against consciously withheld data.

”The greatest trick the devil ever pulled”: successful conspiracies would hide behind a taboo against looking into conspiracies for the same reason that true, exploitative egoists would hide behind the smoke of official altruism.

Don’t be a stooge. Reject the lore that says ”conspiracy theory” must be the province of the psychotically paranoid.

For if “they” are out to get you, it is not paranoia to notice. And there are a lot of theys out there in the business of defrauding us, stealing from us, subjugating with us.

More importantly, we must not be shamed by the shameless.

To be a conspiracy theorist should be no more controversial than an “invisible hand” theorist. A conspiracy theorist is someone who has theories about conspiracies, and considers conjectures about conspiracies as legitimate subject for inquiry and disputation. Someone who believes in a conspiracy is not necessarily a conspiracy theorist. Someone who merely suspects a conspiracy lurks behind some observed events would better be labelled a “conspiracy conjecturer”!

The first question to ask an actual conspiracy theorist is not “what conspiracies do you believe in?” but “how can we learn which proposed conspiracies might be real?”

twv

There are many documents, obtained through leaks and FOIA requests, of reports about UFOs to and from military brass and naval and air forces and nuclear installations. This particular document, offered as public evidence by Luis Elizondo, late of AATIP, to Fox’s Tucker Carlson, may be new, but there are many others, such as the Admiral Twining Memo.

Now, what we have to understand is that the military has never (to my knowledge) repudiated these documents. This means, if UFOs are hoaxes or mistakes and illusions, these many documents are fakes. Which means that the U.S. Government would rather have its citizens speculating about nonsense while thinking the Government is engaged in a huge cover-up conspiracy than disabusing the alleged sovereigns of these United States of the public fraud perpetrated at their expense.

What this says about the government is obvious: it is conspiracy and psy-op no matter what, and an unconscionable one either way.

Scoffers and “skeptics” who take comfort in the notion that UFOs amount to a scientific zero somehow also must either ignore or take comfort in the Government’s complicity in a pattern of deluding its citizens.

I find this so irresponsible and anti-republican that the confident superiority of these scoffers and “skeptics” strikes me as almost more chilling yet.

Or else they are just not very bright.

Yet these “very bright people” sure pride themselves on their savvy intelligence!

Pride goeth before a disclosure?

twv

…as reviewed on Goodreads & LibraryThing….

I may, some day, write a full review of this book, and of Ralph Ellis’s major contentions. This is not that review, not that day.

A hint to the reader, though: Ellis’s books are inquiries.

Sure, Ellis offers radical revisions of historical understanding, but he does not write histories using the standard narrative technique, or historical treatises plying what has been called the “rhetoric of conclusions.” Ellis’s approach often runs in an unfamiliar manner to many readers’ expectations, demonstrating a “rhetoric of inquiry.” We follow the author, in his many pages, from one problem to the next, with many offered solutions. He offers numerous conjectures, and ably backs them up. But his techniques are often unorthodox, usually resting on unraveling many layers of wordplay.

Now, this is dangerous stuff, in that one might easily abuse language in the course of unraveling past abuses — too easily mistake a homonym or mere phonetic echo for a pun for a past fact — but Ellis’s method may be characterized, at least in part, as an archeology of nomenclature. And his archeological sense is not dominated by fantasies of creation, at least not in the books of his I’ve read.

But there is no avoiding an archeology of names. In written records, especially of a religious nature, that is mostly what we have to work with.

Ellis is trying to make sense of the history of Judaism and Christianity and related religions. All religions engage in word magic, marshaling artful puns and the like. This is especially involved in Jewish writings, where we see some astounding evasions using such methods, such as the pesher technique in the Talmud. Many of the words used in scriptures and in ancient times have multiple — even obscure and even opaque — meanings, sporting etymologies that are open to contest. A word that once meant one thing comes to mean something else, and when these usages change mark important points in history. Accepting some ready-at-hand or traditional meaning may be accepting a long-embedded error, or even a lie.

The Hebrew Bible depicts the Jews’ history as developing in the context of two great civilizations, Egyptian and Mesopotamian. But one of the peculiarities of Judeo-Christian history is that most of its major figures, though dominant in their scriptures, are not recorded outside those scriptural documents. Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus — these people do not appear in Egyptian and Mesopotamian records, or in surviving monuments or actual archeological sites. Not a few scholars regard all pre-Babylonian stories as all or mostly myth, and authors like Richard Carrier speculate that there never was a historical Jesus — he was made up; a religious fiction. Ellis, in his books, looks at these issues anew, consulting Manetho and Josephus and the Talmud and to-us-obscure Syrian historians, expecting to find historical figures, if dislocated in place and time. And boy, does he find them!

In previous books he identified the Hebrew patriarchs with the Hyksos “Shepherd Kings” — as frankly stated by Manetho and Josephus; he found David and Solomon among the later, post-Ramesside pharaohs of the Nile Delta; and he discovered an ancestry for Jesus in, of all people, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and Parthian royalty!

More astonishingly, Ellis daringly became the first to lay claim to unearthing an ancient conspiracy of the Flavian emperors, in which historian Josephus serves as a master propagandist, appearing as both the Apostle Paul, the founder of what Ellis calls “Simple Judaism” (or Christianity) and as Rabbi ben Zakkai, the inventor of post-conquest rabbinical Judaism. This grew from Ellis’s attempts to make sense of what Josephus was up to — a very complicated man, and even on the face of it not dissimilar to Saint “All Things to All People” Paul. Noting the Josephan histories’ many evasions, animadversions, odd nomenclatures, inconsistencies, and weird parallels with the gospels and the Book of Acts, Ellis identified the historical Jesus, too . . . as “Jesus of Gamala.”

In this book, Jesus, King of Edessa, he goes further, investigating the kingdom of Edessa and its monarchs, drilling down behind Josephus’s slippery characters Jesus of Gamala and “bar Kamza” et al., finding a man with a place in history and even surviving pictorial images: King Manu VI, a cousin or some other relative of Josephus, all bound up with the Jewish revolt put down by Vespasian and Titus, whom Josephus wound up serving.

Whereas the big evasion and lie at the heart of the “Old Testament” is the hiding of the truth about the Egyptian origin of Judaism, the whopper in the “New Testament” account is the moving the story of Jesus back in time from the Jewish Wars to the comparatively peaceful period of Pontius Pilate. The dislocation is chiefly in time, though the dislocation in geography is the existence of a Syrian kingdom “beyond the Euphrates” in Harran and Palmyra, and its dominance by an Egypto-Jewish dynasty that started out as a tax-free buffer state between Rome and Parthia and, under the direction of Jesus (Izas/Izates/King Manu) instigated a revolt against Rome. And was put down.

The story is complex. As is the book itself. The unraveling of the layers of myth-making, evasions and even outright lies was an astounding labor. Ellis is quite convincing, though I can imagine many reasons why a person might start out incredulous and remain, even after reading, more than a tad dubious. As for my part? I am more than half-convinced. But the work of untangling the thorns from these old stories is far from over.

For the record, I suspect Ellis misses a major wrinkle in the story he tells by not confronting Josephus’s discussion of Pontius Pilate’s career-ending routing of a religious pilgrimage in Samaria, a region close to Jerusalem he never mentions. I hazard it could be key to unraveling the full story of the stones from the Ark of the Covenant that became so important to Edessan religious tradition. And which Heliogabalus later brought to Rome when he became emperor, a short “meteoric” rise that seems to have weirdly accomplished what Jesus “of Gamala” aimed at.

Ellis sure has written some long books. He pores over seeming minutia. Not every single one of his conclusions can possibly have the same value. And, perhaps, it would have been helpful had he taken the rhetoric of inquiry a tad more seriously and in a more overtly Popperian manner, offering his arguments even more rigorously as conjectural rather than, as he occasionally writes, “proofs.”

There are a few stylistic oddities in the book. Example? Ellis spells verb and noun forms of “prophesy” the same, while I try always to remember to make my noun form with a “c,” “prophecy.” I cannot tell you how much this bugged me! (Is this an English thing? I will look it up later.)

Ralph Ellis ends Jesus, King of Edessa with a discussion of the fate of Edessa at the hands of Islamic civilization. This will be off-putting to those who believe Islam “is a religion of peace.” Since I regard this statement, repeatedly made by American drone bombing gamesmen Bush and Obama, as a ‘noble lie’ at best, I was not at all disturbed by Ellis’s concluding thoughts on the possible destruction of western civilization by Islamic memes and corrupt, craven politicians of a decadent post-liberal culture. I say, instead, Bravo!

I live-blogged my reading of this book on Gab.com (@wirkman), where Ralph Ellis also micro-blogs. I have interviewed Mr. Ellis twice for my podcast, locofoco.net: they were long and profitable conversations, I think.

twv