A frequent visitor to the United States, the Dalai Lama’s popularity increases with every trip. Forty thousand people heard him speak in Central Park recently, up from five thousand in 1991, and five thousand people from around the country are expected each day of a two-week Buddhist ceremony he is leading in Bloomington, IN.

Buddhism is one of the most thoroughly anti-Western religions. It preaches collectivism and the renunciation of material goods here on Earth, as preparation for total ego-separation in the afterlife. It is avowedly anti-intellectual, preaching total abdication of the mind-which it dresses up as “meditation”-in order to accept the “truth” of an incomprehensible universe, which simultaneously is held to be completely determined yet in perpetual flux. Unlike Christianity, which upholds a paradise for virtuous, individual souls, Buddhism celebrates a spiritual realm of total nothingness called Nirvana.

A seemingly unrelated person is the author of hoax that purports to be a lawyer’s account of a U.S.P.S. plan to institute a 5-cent “stamp” on all e-mail. The “stamp,” which would have operated more the form of a tax, was “proposed” in order to recover revenue “lost” by the Post Office as people turn away from “snail mail” to the use of e-mail. The hoaxer distributed his detailed, plausible fraud in the form of an e-mail press release, deceiving many people, myself included.

Observe that the hoax’s author gains no value at all in his lies. He merely discredits the Internet-by exposing how easily a valuable resource may be perverted-and those honestly fighting for freedom by crying “Wolf!” in their name. His goal was not to alert people to the dangerous expansion of government controls-no nightmare fantasy is necessary; the reality is sufficiently alarming-but, like the author of a computer virus, to destroy for the sake of destruction. In this case, his target is not a computer system, but the benevolence and trust of American citizens.

The Dalai Lama and the hoaxer both worship at the altar of a philosophy that is corrupting America: nihilism. The Dalai Lama rejects the world for sake of nothing-literally-and the hoaxer defrauds his victims without even the loot that a regular con-man walks away with: his is a lie for its own sake. The object of their mutual loathing is reality-because it is real-and their mutual enemy is anyone who seeks to live in it.