Fred Singer, science contrarian
Last year I posted four exchanges I had with Dr. Kelley Ross, operator of the philosophy website Friesian.org. He’s probably one of the more interesting people I’ve argued with because unlike most right-wingers, he’s an academic who has a good sense of history when he isn’t blindly supporting right-wing revisionism. Since he isn’t very famous, he’s probably the few people who bothers to reply to email, but even if I could get answers back from Fox News personalities or whatever, I doubt they would be anywhere near as entertaining. Wingnut cranks spewing political disinformation is a dime a dozen, but wingnut cranks spewing historical disinformation is a rare gem to be taken out and mocked in public. I suppose it isn’t too much crazier than the stuff that comes from Fox News, which he obviously takes a lot of inspiration, but it’s definitely more conspiratorial and grandiose:
The Secrets of the FBI, by Ronald Kessler: Although rather defensive over some the FBI’s mistakes, it starts with Hoover and goes over some of the good and bad points of each director peppered with many humorous anecdotal tales of FBI break-ins gone wrong, like when a cat escaped and they sent agents with night vision out to recapture it, threw it back in the house and wondered why the dog was flipping out over the cat only to find out the next day that it was the wrong cat. Or the time a bus was parked in front of a house to give agents cover for a target house they broke into, after which everyone piled in the bus and drove off, only to find two freaked out pedestrian passengers who boarded without anyone noticing and was now ringing the bus stop bell to be let off the bus filled with black-suited men bearing weapons.
I confessed to a friend that when I first heard about the drought that is killing tens of thousands in Africa, I felt pretty depressed. His response was shock. He said that he figured it was all “mental rhetoric,” and that it wasn’t like I actually cared about any of it really.
Shock over someone feeling bad over so large a tragedy to me seemed rather absurd. But I backtracked a little nevertheless, replying that “a little down” would have been a better description than depressed and when I reflected on it, a lot of my emotional attachment was really based on being tired and irritated from long work hours and distant commutes. Getting home late on Tuesdays for the first time since Monday morning, I was usually irritable. If I hadn’t been down about that, I probably would have been down about something else.
C.S. Lewis, author of Chronicles of Narnia and That Hideous Strength
This is the conclusion of the three-part letter I’m posting in reply to Kelley Ross’ essay, “That Hideous Strength: Satan is a Democrat, It is the Blue States that are Red, & The Evil Empire Strikes Back.”