Tony Blankley

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.

It's an appealing thought, but there is something to say for being in the insane majority. After all, it is decidedly unpleasant to be opposed by an insane majority. You could ask Israel right at the moment -- or for that matter for the past 3,000 years.

Whether technically insane, or merely wrong, ignorant, weak, stupid or malicious, the majority of people around the world -- what we respectfully call "world opinion" -- are rarely right about much of anything. That, in a nutshell, is why the world is in the shape it is -- and always has been. Christian theology calls it the imperfection of man, but one doesn't need to be a theologian to notice the deep moral and intellectual shortcomings of even the finest amongst our species. Gregory the Great (540-605 A.D.) neatly summarized seven of the worst: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, anger and sloth. Thus, I propose the formula: 6.5 billion x 7 = world opinion (the world population times seven deadly sins equals world opinion). That is 45.5 billion reasons why world opinion is wrong.

And yet, to a greater or lesser extent, even the world's most powerful and stubborn men have felt the need to pay their respects to world opinion -- unwise a thing as world opinion usually is. Even Adolf Hitler, with all his insane hate and contempt for mankind (plus the strongest military force in the world at the time), felt the need to call his unprovoked invasion of Poland a "counter-attack" in a Reichstag speech. Of course, there was no Polish attack to "counter." He carefully preceded that lie with headlines the previous week in the German press such as: "Complete Chaos in Poland," "German Families Flee," " Polish Soldiers Push To Edge of German Border," "This Playing With Fire Going Too Far" "Three German Passenger Planes Shot At By Poles," "In Corridor Many German Farmhouses In Flames." Once again, none of those Polish deprivations of Germans happened -- except in the Nazi headlines. (If you are watching CNN et. al. this week, these headlines might seem vaguely familiar.)

But the lesson from all this is that as confident (or over-confident) as Hitler was at the time, he recognized that he could gain something by manipulating world opinion with propaganda. (Just as Winston Churchill fought the propaganda war as hard as he fought the military one. Effective propaganda is as necessary for the side of the angels as it is for the side of the devils.)

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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