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April 29, 2005

My John Ralston Saul Frenzy Continues Unabated

As you may recall, I am a fan of Canadian writer John Ralston Saul. Saul's most famous non-fiction book, Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West, is dedicated to a man named Maurice Strong.

Strong's recently been in the news because he's the top UN envoy to North Korea. However, he has ties to a "South Korean businessman accused in the UN oil-for-food scandal in Iraq," and while this is investigated he's stepping down from the post.

But beyond this, who is Strong? Apparently quite a peculiar and intriguing character. First a prominent and wealthy Candian businessman, he then segued into these more recent activities:

Mr. Maurice Strong serves as Senior Advisor to both the Secretary-General of the United Nations and to the President of the World Bank. He is also Director of the World Economic Forum Foundation [Davos], Chairman of the Stockholm Environment Institute and of the Earth Council...

Mr. Strong is perhaps most well-known for the role he played in organizing the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro (Earth Summit), where he served as Secretary-General...

Not surprisingly, he's something of an obsession for America's right wing, as you can see in this National Review article. He also occupies a central place in the fevered imaginings of the Black-Helicopters-Ate-My-Homework crowd.

In any case, he definitely is given to making provocative statements, as Jeff Wells points out at Rigorous Intuition (via The Art of Smiling). For instance:

"... we may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse."

He has also mused about writing a novel in which world leaders intentionally make this happen.

In any case, the important point is that everything on earth is connected in some way to John Ralston Saul.

Posted at April 29, 2005 06:24 PM | TrackBack

My favorite part of this is that the International Organization of Heterosexual Rights website (that's the Helicopter link) uses the following quote from Strong:

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?"

Which is all well and good, and Strong may even believe this. However, this actually comes from his synopsis of the novel he wants to write someday.

The amount of furor about Strong is incredible-- not just from the Black Helicopter crowd but also the more mainstream publications like the Review. And especially in light of the fact that Ayn Rand, in HER disasters of literature, actually advocates domestic terrorism.

The Helicopter website is worth looking at-- it has some genuinely frightening material, including some from anti-Kinsey crusader Judith Reisman (of whom Tom Tomorrow wrote a few months ago).

...and as easy as it is to write these people off, I'm trying to keep in mind what Chris Floyd so-wisely said about the fringe lunatics of today-- that they turn into some awfully Loud Voices of the future.

Posted by: Matthew Sullivan at April 30, 2005 03:31 PM

Yes. What's considered mainstream in American politics these days would have been looked at as 100% psycho not too long ago. Perhaps in 2015 we will be wistfully remembering the sensible moderation of Pat Robertson.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at May 1, 2005 12:23 PM