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Stifling dissent: The fifth column Nazis

By Frank Salvato
web posted February 19, 2007

One has to wonder what the Founding Fathers would have thought about a group of people who would purposely choose to stifle dissent in the face of heated issues just to advance their ideological quest for control. What would they think of those who would purposely avoid engaging in meaningful, fact-based debate, devoid of spin and rhetoric instead promoting only their idea of the truth sans credible examination? Considering that they spilled blood to water the tree of liberty, it wouldn't be a stretch to think they would consider this group contrary to everything the United States stands for.

Today, centuries after patriots gave life and limb to secure independence from just such political tyranny we are seeing it manifest among our own citizens in the form of ideological bigotry. On issue after issue we are faced with the bullhorn mentality of the "Me-First Contingent," America's Fifth Column.

Two glaring examples of the Fifth Column's fingers-in-the-ears ideological bigotry can be seen in the issues of global warming and the catalyst for the Iraqi conflict.

People have their opinions about both of these subjects and everyone is entitled. But it is to the extent that the opinion emanates from fact-based knowledge and not from ideological propaganda that its worth is assessed. Turning up the volume on the "I know you are but what am I" bullhorn of ignorance doesn't eliminate the fact that one either is learned on a subject or isn't.

It is because of this that the debate over global warming and the catalyst for the Iraqi conflict expose the great underbelly of American ignorance.

I can't count how many times I have heard elected officials, news anchors, pundits and average Americans advance the false notion that the only reason we engaged in this conflict in Iraq was weapons of mass destruction. It leads me to believe that all the information they acquired on the topic came from a third, fourth or fifth party rather than the source.

It is factually ignorant to believe that the premier reason the US went to war in Iraq was because of weapons of mass destruction. In fact, Saddam Hussein's WMD program – which included the manufacturing of conventional long range missiles – was the fourth reason given; genocide, the failure to release prisoners of war and the failure to renounce all terror activities being the first three. This doesn't take into account the fact that Hussein routinely violated the ceasefire agreement that brought the Gulf War hostilities to an end.

The reason why WMD became the focus of the Fifth Column was because stockpiles – stockpiles – of biochemical weaponry weren't discovered. Our forces did in fact find banned weaponry but not in the stockpiles that would have been needed to satisfy anti-war activists and Bush-haters. So, the media rolled with the "no WMD" mantra even though it was fundamentally false and the Fifth Column ate it up.

But consider if we would have had an honest, open and fact-based debate about the catalyst for going to war in Iraq. If the genocide that Saddam Hussein had been perpetrating against his people would have been given as much importance as the WMD issue it is hard to believe that today's efforts in Iraq would be as viciously condemned as they are.

We are seeing the same one-sided, bullhorn mentality where the issue of global warming is concerned.

Much has been written about global warming recently and I, for one, am all for an open, honest and fact-based debate on whether or not man is making a significant contribution to the demise of the planet. Sadly, those with control over the media, along with their agenda-driven friends at the United Nation and environmental activists, are as keen on open, honest fact-based debate as Saddam was on going to the gallows.

When the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued their latest report – or any of the first three for that matter – how prevalent was the information that the release was a Summary for Policy Makers sans any scientific data? Was the fact ever trumpeted that the IPCC is a politically-based panel sponsored by the United Nations? Did the news media offer the American people information on pressure that was exerted by the Clinton/Gore Administration to manipulate verbiage in the first assessment's final report to reflect a more dire situation than really existed? Has the news media or global warming proponents ever acknowledged that there are a plethora of scientists who do not subscribe to the theory of man-influenced global warming or the dire predictions for the demise of our planet?

Sadly, the answers to all of these questions are in the negative. The suppressing of any credible debate on this issue is in full-swing complete with a propaganda movie by Al Gore that contains facts that have already been debunked, an environmental magazine calling for Nuremberg-style trials for global warming skeptics and CBS News "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley comparing skeptics to Holocaust deniers.

But consider if we would have had an honest, open and fact-based debate on this issue, devoid of political manipulation. Perhaps that debate would have allowed the voices of 60 scientists who wrote to the Canadian Prime Minister asserting that the "science" of global warming was crumbling in the face of the facts:

"Observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future…Significant [scientific] advances have been made since the [Kyoto] protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary."

Yet, the volume from those of the bullhorn mentality continues to increase stifling all dissent, rendering impossible the honest, open, fact-based debate needed to arrive at a true consensus on these issues. Just like the person who only reads the first paragraph of a news item and then claims to know the entire story, the Fifth Column in America is miserably ignorant of the facts and simply doesn't care to explore any possibilities that might invalidate their beliefs.

If I had to place blame on any one source for this pig-headed ignorance I would have to place it at the feet of those who believe good self-esteem can be bestowed instead of earned and those who congruently adhere to the "it takes a village" mentality.

Truth be told, if it does take a village to raise a child then someone should call the Department of Children and Family Services because our children are being abused and the village is responsible. ESR

Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor. He hosts The New Media Journal on BlogTalk Radio and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, The Bruce Elliott Show on WBAL AM1090 in Baltimore and The Captain's America on WWPR AM1490 in the Tampa Bay area, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. His organization, Basics Project, is partnered in producing the first-ever national symposium series on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. His pieces have been recognized by the House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at oped@newmediajournal.us.


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