The Artillery of Time

I do not mean to say, that the scenes of the revolution are now or ever will be entirely forgotten; but that like anything else, they must fade upon the memory of the world, and grow more and more dim by the lapse of time … At the close of that struggle, nearly every adult male had been a participant in some of its scenes. The consequence was, that of those scenes, in the form of a husband, a father, a son or a brother, living history was to be found in every family … but those histories are gone. They can be read no more forever. They were a fortress of strength; but, what invading foemen could never do, the silent artillery of time has done; the leveling of its walls. — Abraham Lincoln, 1838 (emphasis his)

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. — John Stewart Mill (1806-1873)

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At the beginning of his 2019 book, The Conservative Sensibility, the commentator George Will devotes page ix to the top quote above. It is from an address the future President Lincoln, then an Illinois state legislator and a Whig, delivered in Springfield.

As befits a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and TV personality (Washington Post, MSNBC and NBC), Will eschews anything that might be construed as an overt challenge to the impossible Executive Branch narrative about the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that killed an estimated 3,000 on American soil and go on killing today. But he is likely uneasy about having to toe the line.

However, the words of the 28-year-old Lincoln, speaking 55 years after the War of Independence ended, contain a hint or two, whether or not Will meant this, as to why so many Americans are oblivious to the truth that the official narrative about the September 11th attacks is nonsense. “The silent artillery of time” keeps beating away at facts, choking them with dust.

Many who were shocked by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, are dead or past caring. Most of today’s teenagers were yet to be born. To many of their parents, older brothers and sisters and cousins the false accounts are engraved in history and, if anything, reinforced by academia and the news media even as wars touched off by 9/11 continue. The perpetrators counted on this, figuring that even if the phony 9/11 story disintegrated owing to its ridiculousness, they could somehow contain the damage to it by further feats of mass mind control through the media.

To me, “the silent artillery of time” recalls the title of James Reston’s 1966 The Artillery of the Press: Its Influence on American Foreign Policy. “My theme,” he says on page vii of the valuable book, “is that the rising power of the United States in world affairs, and particularly of the American President, requires, not a more compliant press, but a relentless barrage of facts and criticism, as noisy but also as accurate as artillery fire.”

Tonight six of the remaining candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination will be on stage in a “debate” hosted by the CNN and the Des Moines Register newspaper. As always, the mainstream media hosts, tightly scripted, will be in charge, this time led by CNN’s aptly named Wolf Blitzer. Whatever independence journalists may have had is no longer. Over the years it has been silenced on orders from their organizations’ owners, advertisers, and funders. That silencing accounts in large part for whatever credence the Executive Branch’s preposterous 9/11 narrative may still enjoy.

George Will is no fan of either President Bush, judging by what I’ve read so far in The Conservative Sensibility. One indication is his quote from the French revolutionary Robespierre (1758-1794) on page 437: “The most extravagant idea that can be born in the head of a political thinker is to believe that it suffices for people to enter, weapons in hand, among a foreign people and expect to have its laws and constitution embraced. No one loves armed missionaries.”

But is Will naive, or being disingenuous? Has he not considered that perhaps the idea isn’t to win over these foreign people, but rather to keep the wars going?

— Mark Channing Miller

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