Sunday, September 26, 2004

Quote for day three hundred nine

D R Griffin: Response to the "Creepy" posting by Angie

Subject: [WarOnFreedom] Griffin's Reality Check on "Creepy Sides of the Movement"

September 13, 2004

Dear Angie,

A couple of people recently sent me your piece, "The Creepy Sides of the 911Truth Movement."Being short on time, I will respond only to your theory and your paragraphabout me and my associates.I gather that you do not put me in the category of those who do not "reallywant the 911 truth exposed." I am thankful for that. You put me merely inthe category of those who do want it exposed but NOT "for 'good' reasons."That is, I evidently "want it exposed" but am still "a bad guy."I must confess that, in the eyes of God, I am probably indeed a pretty bad guy. But I was somewhat surprised by the reasons you gave for warning really pure 9/11 truth-seekers to be wary of me. One of your reasons appears to be that both I and Richard Falk, the authorof the Foreword to my book, are "one world government aficionados." It is certainly true that I am in favor of global democracy and have been workingon a rather big book on this topic for many years. But I was surprised thatyou would assume that there is something "creepy" to what I have in mind without looking at my arguments and the particular form of "worldgovernment" that I advocate. Since you and I had corresponded some time back, if I correctly recall, I am puzzled why you, given your obvious concern for truth, did not write to find out exactly what my views arebefore suggesting, in a public document, that they are somehow involved in amassive conspiracy.I might add here that I too have wondered why US officials would haveapparently made it so evident that they did it. I have my own thoughts aboutthis, but am not certain enough about them to go public with them. Withregard to your own view, it is certainly possible. But it seems to me veryimprobable. However, even if you yourself consider your own theory highlyprobable, I think you should be cautious about simply assuming that there issome close correlation between it and The Truth. And you should, I wouldsuggest, be especially careful about then quickly concluding that anythingthat possibly might be part of this Big Picture of What Is Really Going On,which you have constructed, is indeed part of it. I would suggest that youshould be more cautions still about next, without even checking the truth ofvarious things you have read or heard, suggesting these connections to theworld. This is exactly the kind of approach that has given "conspiracytheorists" a bad name.In any case, to look at the issues you raise: In finding the idea of globalgovernment of any sort dangerous, you are certainly endorsing theconventional view. But if you are interested, I would be happy to send yousome writings in which I try to show why this conventional view needs to berethought. Of course, I don't know exactly why you find the very idea of global government creepy. (I have a list of 10 reasons that have commonly been given for opposing it.) But what I have in mind is a system in whichthe main decisions about the future of the planet would not be made by atiny elite group in a nation with around 4 percent of the world'spopulation. On my own creep-o-meter, this present system of globalgovernance gets extremely high marks. I believe that if we are in favor ofdemocracy as the best way to govern a country, we should be in favor ofdemocracy for human civilization as a whole.Indeed, if I were so inclined, I could weave a conspiracy theory in which,because you oppose my solution, you are covertly working for those who wantto keep the US government in control of the planet. You can see how easy andseductive this logic can be:(1) X (the present system of global governance) is the real problem.(2) Angie is denying that X is the real problem.(3) In fact, Angie is criticizing people who see that X is the real problem.(4) Therefore, Angie must be an infiltrator in our movement, working onbehalf of those who are promoting X.I myself would like to see a decline of this kind of thinking in the 9/11Truth Movement and an increase in work that focuses on exposing theperpetrators. For one thing, if we each insist that we will not work withothers if we know or even suspect that their motives, their convictionsabout 9/11, and their worldviews are not the same as our own, we will nothave a movement.In any case, to turn to the more particular issues you raise in relation tome and my associates, by way of suggesting that we are playing roles in yourown version of What Is Really Going On:Richard's work helped get me started thinking about global democracy, but hehas, in spite of my prodding, not been advocating the idea of globaldemocracy in what I call the strong sense (the sense in which Einsteinadvocated it). You say that you find "one world gov't. advocates creepy." Iam surprised that you would move from the perception that certain peoplehold ideas you disagree with to the conclusion that the people themselvesare creepy. But since Richard is not advocating one world government, youneed to restrict your conclusion to me alone. More generally, in any case,Richard is about the last person to whom I would apply the adjective"creepy."With regard to your specific statements. As to the Council of ForeignRelations, Richard became a member in about 1969, he says, and has "remaineda member despite a variety of misgivings." Although he was between tripswhen I caught up with him to ask him about this, I can imagine he hasremained a member with the thought of perhaps having some positiveinfluence. His field is International Law, and he is well known for tryingto introduce normative concerns into international politics. He has thereby opposed "political science" insofar as it seeks to leave out all normative(i.e. moral) considerations. He has also been an opponent of "politicalrealism," at least the sort that maintains that power is all that counts andshould count in international relations. One example of his trying to havean influence on CFR was what he describes as "a huge fight with DavidRockefeller over the appointment of William Bundy as editor of ForeignAffairs." With regard to your statement that Richard "has worked on newworld order projects for the CFR, like the World Order Models Project," hereports: "I did have a marginal relationship to the 1980s Project, which wastrying to project a set of future conditions in world affairs, and washeaded by Princeton colleague, Richard Ullman. It was a rather benignundertaking, and had nothing to do with the world order models project."You ask: "What the hell is one to make of a CFR member wanting to expose9-11?" You seem to have a very simple view of human motivations andbelongings, as if you could draw some inference from Richard's membership inCFR--which is one of literally dozens of organizations to which he belongsand probably one of the least important in his life--and his motivation forexposing the truth about 9/11. He wants to do the latter because he hasalways worked to expose the truth about important things, and because,through reading my manuscript, he came to believe that the official storyabout 9/11 was false. To come out publicly with his support for thealternative view took courage on his part, because he had previously arguedthat the US government's response in Afghanistan was correct--that it couldbe considered a "just response" (or could have been if the principles ofjust-war theory had been followed). This is the issue that he and I mostdisagreed about. But my point now is that Richard had the courage to say, bywriting the Foreword to my book, that he had been wrong.It would be hard, furthermore, to find many people who have worked longerand harder on behalf of good causes around the world. Because of this, Ifound your slurs against him the most offensive part of your essay. Tosuggest that Richard does not really want the truth exposed, or that he isdoing this for some nefarious reason, is simply inexcusable. Perhaps JohnGray will forgive you, but I confess that I will have difficulty.I am, furthermore, puzzled as to what research you did for your informationabout John Cobb. He was formerly my professor and then my colleague at theClaremont School of Theology and in the Department of Religious Studies atClaremont Graduate University, where he taught from the late 1950s until heretired 15 years ago. His wife will surely be somewhat amused to find thathe had been moonlighting as the "senior economist for the World Bank."I first thought you must have gotten him confused with Herman Daly, but thenI see that you mention Herman as well. Herman actually did work for theWorld Bank, but he--as long the leading advocate of green, sustainable,steady-state economics--could never have been the senior economist at theWorld Bank. I frankly don't know what connection he has had with the Club ofRome, but he obviously shares at least some of the concerns of what isprobably the most well-known book associated with the Club, The Limits toGrowth. But if you would read Herman's writings, you could disabuse yourselfof the suspicion that he would knowingly be involved with any of thenefarious schemes that you suggest are promoted by the Club. I can also tellyou that I have thus far been unable to interest Herman in my ideas aboutglobal democracy.Incidentally, you seem to think that "global governance" is simply a synonymfor "global government." But they may be very different. Those who use thelanguage of "global governance" often speak of "governance withoutgovernment." I suspect that this is the Club of Rome position. Whether thatposition is coherent is another question, but if you want to speakaccurately about these matters, you need to understand the difference.Although John is not an economist by training or profession, he did, withHerman's help, teach himself a lot about economics, and the two of themco-authored a book--For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy towardCommunity, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future--which I would commendto your attention. I don't think you will find it one bit creepy. (Indeed,they explicitly wrote against World Government, evidently having in mind thescary version of it that you share. In the meantime, John's position hasmoved closer to mine, but Herman's, as far as I know, has not.)John also wrote a book called The Earthist Challenge to Economism: ATheological Critique of the World Bank. But, alas, even that did not get himinvited to become the Bank's senior economist.He has, however, long been considered one of the best progressivetheologians in the world, and he has been passionately concerned about thefuture of the earth since he awoke to the ecological crisis in the late1960s. He is, in fact, known as the first philosopher as well as the firsttheologian to write a book reflecting this concern. His little book, Is ItToo Late? A Theology of Ecology, is still considered sufficiently relevantto be reissued. He has in the meantime written many books and article andgiven countless speeches on the need to change course before we destroyourselves and much of the rest of the life of the planet. I can assure youthat the purity of his motives probably rivals that of your own.Besides my association with these individuals, the next mark against me inyour book is evidently the fact that after Cobb and I founded the Center forProcess Studies, it "received support from the Rockefeller Foundation." Hadyou written to ask about this, I would have gladly given you more specificinformation: Our first conference, held in the summer of 1974, broughttogether a number of distinguished scientists and philosophers to discussproblems in the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution and to consider analternative to it. It took place at the Rockefeller Foundation's Study andConference Center at Bellagio, Italy. The arrangement is that if they acceptyour application and you can pay the way for all the conferees to get there,they give you room, board, and a meeting place for 3 or 4 days. That hasbeen the extent of our center's support from the Rockefeller Foundation.Cobb and I acknowledge this support in the Preface of the resulting book,Mind in Nature: Essays on the Interface of Science and Philosophy.Incidentally, I personally, as an individual scholar, went back to Bellagioin 1992, where my wife and I stayed for about 5 weeks. It was there, infact, that I first developed the conviction that if the world's globalproblems are to be solved, we need to move from the present globalstructure--technically known as global anarchy--to global democracy. Thispast year I applied to return, with the hope of finishing a book that Istarted the day after 9/11. But this time my application was denied. PerhapsI was foolish to reveal my topic: global democracy as the only, or at leastthe best, way to overcome US imperialism (certainly better than the standardapproach, which would be for the other nations to combine forces against us,which would probably be a route to global nuclear war).You also say that I have "some unusual ideas about how humanity should thinkabout God." Should I infer from this that you think the usual ideas--thoseof traditional theism--have been good enough? Compared to traditionaltheism, in any case, my ideas are indeed "unusual." But I am a member of themovement known as "process theology," and one of the complaints leveledagainst it by some of its opponents is that it has become "the establishmentview." That is, to be sure, a great exaggeration. But it suggests that amonginformed people, the kind of ideas I advocate are no longer consideredunusual. They have in particular been endorsed by many feminist theologians.You could get a brief overview in a book entitled Process Theology, whichCobb and I co-authored in 1977. Some of my reasons for preferring this viewto traditional theism are explained in my 1976 book, God, Power, and Evil,and my 1991 book, Evil Revisited. For a feminist process theologian, see thewritings of Catherine Keller. You also seem to think that there is something perverse about thefact that I advocate "some type of mysticism." You evidently are not muchconcerned with exactly which type. But you apparently assume that it is somereactionary type, since you say that I apparently want us "to revert" to it.But there are, of course, many different types of mysticism--or, to be moreprecise, types of positions that are sometimes labeled "mysticism," whetherby their advocates or their detractors. But since you appear to be interested in this part of my position,let me say that I do indeed endorse "mysticism," if that term is used in thedescriptive sense to mean that there is a Holy Reality with which we aredirectly connected. According to my epistemology, it is through this direct(nonsensory) connection that we are aware of the normative status of Truthand Justice and sometimes even become committed to having those abstractvalues actualized. (I explain this in a recent book, Reenchantment withoutSupernaturalism: A Process Philosophy of Religion.) I also endorse mysticismas a practice, understood as the attempt consciously to cultivate thisconnection, so that our motivations and actions will be attuned to the goodof the whole rather than to our own selfish good or to the good of only someportion of the whole, as in fascism and other forms of exclusivisticnationalism. With regard to my religious and theological writings, I am glad your referred interested readers to the little interview with me that In Context published back in 1990. But of course we can never assume that we have received an adequate account of a person's views on complex issues from a brief interview. And my philosophical and theological views are hardly a secret, but have been published in many other books, beyond the ones already mentioned (most of which can be found on Some people probablywonder, indeed, if I have an unpublished thought. In any case, given your evident concern for truth and purity of motive, I assumed that you would like to have these clarifications, so that in the future any statements you might wish to make about me and my views can bemore accurate. I was tempted to say something about the slurs you made against other people. But because of limits of time and knowledge, I will not. I do hope, however, that you will consider the possibility that what you have said and insinuated about them may be as ill-informed as what you have said and insinuated about me and my associates. In closing, let me add that I am sure that you mean well. I would never question your motives. But I do find the kind of approach you took in this particular essay unhelpful. For one thing, you probably will cause several people in the movement to waste time responding. I at the moment, for example, am trying to finish up a book on the 9/11 Commission Report, so every hour is precious. And yet I have now wasted over an hour responding to your ill-informed allegations and innuendoes. I, of course, did not need to respond. I usually simply ignore such stuff. But I have observed how false allegations, if not corrected, often quickly become accepted as established fact. I also noticed that someone in the movement whose opinion I respect spoke favorably of your piece. So I took the time. But I hope not to need todo this again.

Yours truly,
David Griffin

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