Remember the story of David and Goliath?
It’s one of those classic tales that can appeal to the religious and secularists alike. We all relate to the underdog, the scrawny shepherd boy who with a strange self-assurance takes on a blood-thirsty giant warrior. The stage is set for tragedy, because Goliath is the undefeated champion. But in a shocking upset, the little guy wins, despite all odds. How did that happen? How did a kid knock out a towering, fearsome ogre using just a slingshot?
There are details to the David story often overlooked. David had faith he could do the job, because he had some experience, fighting animals. He had rescued lambs from the jaws of lions as a shepherd. He felt a divine power over him then. He had faith that the divine power was real, that God was inside him.
When David volunteers to do the impossible, David is at first gussied up in the armor of the Israelites. But he can’t move around. He says, “I cannot go in these, because I have never tried them before.” Or a modern translation could be “Dude, I can’t even breathe in this gear, forget it, it’s not going to work this way. Let me try something.” So he puts away the professional war weapons and military armor. He sticks to what he knows. He goes to a dry creek bed and picks out five smooth stones.
Goliath, for his own part, is loud and obnoxious. Not only does he enjoy a great Win-Loss record, he’s a trash talker. He mocks the God of Israel. He blasphemes so obscenely, David is filled with a special kind of rage. David’s rage is holy. You see, David loved God. He loved the truth and the poetry of God. We know this because of the songs he wrote, the Psalms. Radical stuff like,
"Trampling under foot the pieces of silver;
God has scattered the peoples who delight in war.”
David put all his love for beauty and truth into his actions that day. He put his faith in God, not in armor or big weapons. (This poet-king was an ancestor to both Joseph and Mary, parents of Jesus of Nazareth.)
So, even if you, my reader, don’t believe in God, or don’t believe in “the God” of ancient Israel, I think you can still relate to David’s situation. Goliath had already killed a lot of David’s friends and countrymen, but when he talks shit about God, the thing most important to David, it’s the beginning of Goliath’s end.
The juxtaposition must have been startling: Next to his enemy, David appeared practically naked. David was “stone cold” terrified as he looked out at the battlefield that day. And we can imagine well how his stones got cold: the statue of David by Michelangelo reminds us of how naked David was. Many people have joked about how small David’s penis and testicles look in that work, but that too is a telling detail: the fear of death was so intense, David’s genitals shrank as a natural protective measure. We guys can relate.
And yet, despite the fear, and the odds, and the inequal weaponry, he won. He felt fear, but worked through the fear. He put his faith in the holiness of Truth, the divine poetry, the Divine that was within him, and in history. God is the history of all history, and the Spirit of History tends to love subversive underdogs. History teaches us we can beat a brutal military juggernaut with a slingshot.
So, in a similar way, this book is my slingshot. There’s a Goliath in our midst. That Goliath is the status quo reality of war and lies. It’s an America that doesn’t know what it stands for. It’s an American politics that is locked it’s own self-destructive, wasteful cycles. It’s a war machine that not only has killed millions already, it has moved into new territory: the realm of spectacle-creation. The war machine kills people, but it also kills truth. It doesn’t just make wars anymore. It creates the situations that themselves create wars. It molds public opinion to support wars that normally, we decent regular people would never support.
Along the way, this book will talk about the fundamental self-deception at the root of our economic system. But be it politics, history or economics, I’m not going to leave you in a quagmire of negativity. I’m crazy enough to dream up some solutions; I’ll share some ideas I’ve been working on.
I am a revolutionary. But like David, I’m not interested in big guns. There are better weapons for the struggle I am going to describe. It’s like David said before he used his slingshot: “All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves.” Modern translation? It’s not from the Pentagon, or the White House, or the Media that the truth comes out, but from a truth that is in each of our hearts. The USA has a destiny to be a leader in peace and non-violent conflict resolution. But we are going to need to change to realize this destiny.
The time is right for this book for so many reasons. America is aching for meaning. It’s aching for some new revolutionary ideas. With a so called “progressive” president in the White House, the “left” in America can’t seem so rouse itself to protest the wars that this President fights. Indeed, this President feeds the war machine and spills more blood. Not enough people have stood up and said, “Isn’t it weird that we had a change of party in the White House, but zero change in Foreign Policy?”
So, let me give you a bit of a overview of all the fun and exciting and completely terrifying places this Slingshot to the Juggernaut will launch us into. I consider this a book of prophetic political philosophy. I say “prophetic” because this is a work of history, but also a work that projects a new future, based on where we’ve been. In the Old Testament, we see that the prophet’s work is to look back into history, see the promises his (or her) people have made, and then call for a future that returns to those core promises.
(And yes, before I go on, I should give a nod to the atheists, and say yes, the Old Testament is also full of blood, gore, genocide, homophobia, misogyny, historical contradictions, and a “jealous God” who is willing to exterminate whole races. I know. Twelve years of Catholic School drilled that into my head. But also this: there are also the foundations of a revolutionary philosophy in that Bible. Potential revolutionaries are robbing themselves of some powerful magic by completely throwing out the Bible. I will prove this below.)
Slingshot to the Juggernaut is dedicated to David, and I mean that in a number of ways. I dedicate this book to the David who slew Goliath. The David who wrote great songs of peace and justice. (Even if he was also a conquering military king, and a big cheater on his wife.)
But I also dedicate this book to a “new David” Dr. David M. Graham. Graham is a guy I never met, but I have studied his life and death for the past five years, and I find him heroic. David Graham met two of the “9/11 Hijackers” ten months before 9/11. David had sharp suspicions about them. But he was threatened and bullied by the FBI when he tried to report his meetings. After 9/11, David was shocked to see the two young Arabs he met pop up suddenly on the mug-shots of the “19 hijackers.” He wrote a book about who he met, what he saw, and how the system would not listen. He was always in touch with the Shreveport FBI, before and after 9/11, and they were adamant he not publish his book. David feared for his life, but he acted through the fear. In 2005, on the verge of going forward with his book, Graham was poisoned. He suffered, died and was buried. Yet his story lives on here. His resurrection is in the hearts of all who remain curious about 9/11. Graham was a martyr, he was crucified for our lack of courage. He died, so that we may live in a time free from state-created fear. He was a true Christian, and every Christian in the USA has a lot to learn about the real Jesus from this man. He was a maverick American, and every American needs to connect to the just how free from control this man was. He was a lover of the poor, and all people need to expand their hearts in his name.
I don’t share this story out of a desire to spook you out with a morbid details of a strange mysterious murder. Just the opposite is true. Graham would want us to be free, to use the crisis of our current time to renew our dedication to the truth. So, even in the crush of his death, there’s an opportunity for new life. He was clearly a martyr (and I will make this case in detail) and the story of a martyr is a powerful motivator. When someone shows fearlessness against the Juggernaut, it’s important that their story is spread. We need to shout his story from the rooftops, all of us, because that story will inspire more fearlessness, and holy resistance.
I have been dedicated to exposing the Bush/Cheney 9/11 cover-up for ten years now, but what really turns me on is that a whole new political practice has emerged inside the movement for truth. The old borders of “Right and Left” are not as relevant as they once were. Rather than frame the world to come in the paradigms of “Democrat VS. Republican” or “liberal versus conservative” the new struggle to come will be “the people versus elite.” Or, as I saw on a bumper sticker recently, it’s all about “People Versus Pigs.”
9/11 is a rotten onion. When you hold up this historical topic, you find a complex, rotting vegetable. Peel any layer, every one is soaked through with an acrid stink. As a country, we have been put through an emotional, multimedia wringer, where an authoritarian government/media machine has pounded certain images, and explanations, and justifications, and scapegoats, into our heads, with such repetition and such intensity, that you would be surprised that anyone would rebel. It’s a miracle that the American people have not been fooled, all of us, 100%, en masse.
After all, look at our world: there is really no one in the media, either the mainstream or the so called “liberal” or “alternative press” who has picked up the ripe opportunity to seriously question the Bush/Cheney/Obama official story about 9/11. That’s right, I’m talking about journalists you would expect to question things, some of whom I almost consider friends: Amy Goodman, Greg Palast, Alexander Cockburn, etc. For whatever reason, their silence is deafening. They have been appealed to, personally. I have been an eyewitness to that. They have declined to take up the slingshot against this particular Goliath.
That means the opportunity falls to us. We are the Davids. The failure of our mainstream and alternative media is tragic. But this failure is an opportunity for a new rigorous investigative journalism to emerge. It has emerged, and is emerging. The new technologies and the social networks support disruption and free dialogue, so that the truth will, in the end, win out. And that freedom is at the essence of the First Amendment.
The American people, in their wisdom, have not been fooled by the 9/11 Official Story. A uniformed, angry voice has boomed out telling us to blame Arabs, blame Bin Laden, give up our rights, endorse torture. The voice of tyranny wants America to become a permanent national security state. But the American people are not buying it. Major polls show a significant and growing level of skepticism about 9/11. (Especially the Scripps/Howard/Ohio University Poll or the NY Times/CBS Poll.) Globally, the recent data shows that once you get outside the influence of the US Media antennae, an even bigger swath of Earth’s good people reject the flimsy assertion that 19 young dudes with box cutters could defeat the strongest nation on Earth. (World Opinion Poll data here).
Throughout the book I will be fleshing out these assertions about 9/11, and making the case that the attacks came from deep inside the permanent US war machine. But again, as weird as it may seem, this is not a reason to go slash your wrists. The topic is actually an opportunity for hope.
How? Well, the American people, in their wisdom, don’t like war. We don’t want it, and we as a people are eager to figure out how to ban it once and for all. The study of the truth about 9/11 is essential to understanding modern history. You start to see a pattern: we had to be hood-winked into Vietnam, World War II, World War I, the Spanish-American War, the Mexican American War, etc. The US Government’s use of traumatizing spectacle to mold public opinion is well-documented. This fact shows that war is obsolete. And the system knows it.
Once you understand just how calculating and cold the US War machine has become, you are liberated from having to have the same old fears. The fears are fake. It’s like they are junk food, sold as “organic.” And once you wean yourself off them, you come to realize that war itself will soon be a thing of the past.
I have been called many things, politically. However, I am a man of wide-ranging interests. Rather than primarily embrace the label Christian, Buddhist, Marxist, community activist, capitalist, Traditionalist, or Anarchist, I would prefer the term “American.” That’s right, American, like Walt Whitman, Thomas Jefferson, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. These great lovers of truth who were men of action. All of the other terms do apply, to an extent, and I have used them, at times, in the past. But going forward, I’m more interested in finding a way for us in this country to love ourselves again, so that we can love other countries.
I believe the work of truth and peace run counter to the interests of the modern National Security State. The highest ethical calling therefore is to envision a revolutionary new State. Or perhaps the need for a State is itself obsolete. The future of the US State is a State that is something between a revolutionary State and the abolition of the State.
At the outset of this journey, we must ask ourselves: does the modern National Security State manage “reality?” And if so, is this perhaps a new historical phenomenon that takes oppression to a new low? And what would a revolutionary new form of democratic self-organization look like? What would be the best anti-dote to the War State?
America went through a rough century, the 20th was a period of intense growth at a rapid pace. Suddenly we find ourselves running a global empire with over 600 military bases around the world. Is this what we were destined to become, at our founding? Or did we go horribly off track, somewhere along the way? What will the 21st Century mean for America, as new global super-powers emerge, and the US Dollar begins to wane in strength?
The 9/11 Commission Report has one true statement: “The USA needs to figure out what it stands for.” The Commission was not up for trying to fix the problem, but I am. The USA needs a special kind of revolution. We need new Davids to come forth, to say, this armor isn’t working, we need a new kind of struggle. We need to go deeper. We need to go beyond Left and Right, beyond Democrat and Republican, to expand our hearts, to nurture our spirits, our spirituality, and to create a renewal of the American Spirit.
Out of this spiritual renewal will come powerful new ideas that empower people. We will rejuvenate our democracy, and our economy. I have run two businesses, and have had a ribald mix of success and failure. I have found that it’s not hard to learn the language of capitalism, to appreciate what’s good about capitalism, without giving up on the idea that capitalism must change, in a fundamental way, if the people are going to survive. Once we learn this language, we can talk about ways to democratize capital itself. Once you forsake violence, new ideas are possible: new forms of freedom and democracy that can live with, and not be opposed to, the interests of capital. It is in the interests of both capital and labor to create a whole new set of relationships around capital, free markets, investors and entrepreneurs. I will expand upon these ideas in my chapter on Public Interest Venture Capital, etc.
I’m sure this book will upset some people. That’s OK, we need to have this talk. I will be asking everyone, especially the people on the Left, to go farther in their thinking about history, economics, and power. I am coming from the Left, but I’m not constrained by any one ideology. In fact, I have found the more I step outside the bounds of Left orthodoxy, the better ideas I come up with, ideas that just will contribute to a larger dialogue about how we can save America, and the world.