How anyone with even a hint of common sense could fail to be moved by the social and political events in modern America is almost beyond belief. Otherwise reasonably intelligent individuals seem so "dumbed down" that they are actually unconcerned about the idea of character qualification in our culture. It's no longer just an abstract lip service. A large number actually believe it. It's enough to make you want to scream out loud. I mean get a clue! There most likely are conspiracies going on out there, and one of them is surely a conspiracy of willful ignorance. Smug, in denial, and self absorbed.
"America has never been better off," my next door neighbor told me when I mentioned Whitewater and the truly shocking scandals surrounding the federal executive office. He made a lewd and embarrassing gyration as if pulling something about the size of a soccer ball to his pelvic region with both hands, and muttered a pathetically tired joke about the president keeping his ankles warm. He's a roughneck maintenance guy who runs his own business, and prosperous enough, in context. Unwilling to show anything less than a strong locker room survival ability, I refrained from comment.
On the other extreme, an old friend holds his doctorate in American Studies. Decades ago, before receiving his Ph.D., we worked together in heavy construction one Summer in North Lake Tahoe. I remember the day the good doctor got up on the table in a ski bar after quite a few drinks. Spilling his beer while trying to maintain his precarious balance, and to the delight of the bar maids, he proclaimed to the cheers of the construction crowd that he was the first person since Descartes to come upon a radically new philosophical idea. "You people don't understand!" he shouted. "You just don't understand that I'm the first one since René Descartes!" "Have another beer," they shouted back! Now days his background is vast, but his opinion is largely beyond the effect of daily events.
Then there are those at the center of the storm. It's war, proclaim the sneering spin wizards on the left, beneath beady eyes and bony Neanderthal brow. And it's war they mean, with black mail, intimidation, and physical threats apparently emerging as part of the methodology. Well, all is fair in love and war, the ideologues insist.
They're right about one thing. It is indeed war. But although this war does not represent a particularly new phenomenon, it is threatening to come to a head for us on the ideological battlefield here in America. The unknown outcome is as precarious as it is profound.
Two ancient primordial forces face off squarely in our modern world. The demarcations between them may sometimes seem blurred beyond belief, and the surrounding intrigue is overwhelming. But these two forces are nonetheless very real, and diametrically opposed. For several millennia they have been represented by the interests of the individual within human systems on one side, and the authoritarian character of the system's ruling elite on the other.
Under the careful tutelage of ivory tower intellectuals, with funding from every power seeker from Wall Street to Hollywood, from Oxford to Brussels, today's popular thinkers have deluded themselves into viewing this as a standoff between a baneful political right and exemplary political left. The promoters publish Foreign Affairs while the rest of us are expected to satisfy ourselves with the solemn study of the Knee Jerk Times and Newspeak Magazine. The reference to our sense of personal direction may seem innocuous enough. But to those paying attention this is not so much a minor conflict between right and left, as an out right hostility over what we used to call good old fashioned right and wrong. The most important reference it reflected was common sense. Horse sense, my father used to call it. While most people find themselves steeped in denial, it's easy to demonstrate this proposition.
I have a very intelligent friend who once argued the point that morality was indeed relative by giving me an analogy. He asked me if it would be moral for someone persecuted by the German National Socialists to lie to a border guard in order to escape the concentration camps. I had to think on that one. But I saw the answer in a simple truth. My illustration back to him was this. People stranded at sea have been known to drink their own urine to survive. Does that mean that they would continue to drink urine after a rescue? Or would they return to the more wholesome ideal of clean water? I mean, isn't the earth in the balance? It's the practical ideal we upheld, that we sought, not the exception experienced under dark and oppressive circumstances.
At one time we were concerned that truth was a principal element of character. It was a primary cultural ideal. After all, how could we prosper in even the simplest transactions of marriage and business if we could not trust our partners? How could we trust government managed money if a ruling elite were to clip the coins to their own advantage? Standards of weights and measures would cave in, commerce would collapse, and the formal legal system would implode. Eventually everyone would be back to enforcing deals with black mail, coercion, even political intrigue and murder. The good times, the "American that's never been better off," never would have been.
All these logical notions about truth being integral to peace, prosperity, and a fair political system are deemed an anachronism. It was a time when our base urges were expected to be trained, saddled, and ridden under our control. Today our idea of liberty is to let the base desire ride all over us like a captive demon gone wild. But if the aberration becomes the ideal, then the benefit of hard knock knowledge is lost. If our ideals are reduced to the lowest common denominator, where would we put our faith? Popular culture maintains it no longer matters. So long as we put it on the left with them.
So now that character doesn't matter, truth no longer matters either. We've taken a huge leap forward to a less puritan, more progressive mentality. What used to be 'cheating' is now 'consensual.' What used to be lying has progressed into "relative truth." Pathology is diluted down to a point of view. So a pathological liar is not a liar at all, but merely a person using the strategic deception of Tsun Tzu. It's an abstraction after all, for one man's meat is another man's poison. And a potential psychopath, even one with the means to kill a significant portion of the world's population at his disposal, is just a misunderstood person in need of our moral support. It might be nothing more than his "Primary Color." Even if his wife can't trust him, like Monika Lewinski did there for a while, we believe we can. Our love affair with him is different.
Never mind that we might be lied to about small matters. That is of course, unless we're lied to by someone who's been morphed into the 'enemy.' Someone who's a member of a political party, race, religion, or ethnic group deemed opposed to the tenets of our popular ends. Then his deception becomes a pathology once again. He becomes a bright Starr out of control, or 'So-Damn-Insane.' After all, that's what propaganda is all about. That's its purpose.
And while there often seems little political difference between the two main American parties, there is still a huge cultural distinction. Oh the tongue piercing crowd in our universities and the typical liberals of Hollywood's propaganda machine are sublimely unaware of the real difference. But that all began with the fundamental lie about what was once considered the wrong side. That lie is of course, that the ends justify the means. That is in fact the creed of the propagandist. That is why creed followers endorse the Strongman or the Chancellor. If we are deceived by someone who's end intentions are good, then what do the means matter? Well, the trouble is that if we are lied to about the means, how can we know we are being told the truth about ends? Oh, I'm sorry. I meant "the point of view" about the ends. And of course the answer is that we can't know for sure.
How does this demonstrate the battle between right and wrong in the context of character, culture, and the current crisis? How does it affect us on the life and death level? Consider the hoopla about a war that came so close ABC News broadcast "live coverage" on the eve of the 1998 Grammys. Trouble is, it was only a test rehearsal accidentally broadcast a week before the Grammys! Then think about how much ignorance we willfully indulge ourselves with the following argument.
Remember when Ronald Reagan was running for president? As a Republican, the philosophical left perceived him as a member of the political right, as a conservative. As a conservative then, he was a hawk, and as a hawk he was a "war monger." If elected he was surely going to get us into a war. A war that might kills us all! But we never really questioned the historic logic of this position.
The truth is that every war in the Twentieth Century that cost large numbers of American lives broke out under and was managed by Liberal Democratic Administrations. World War I broke out under Woodrow Wilson. The American dead were 116,516. World War II broke out under Franklin Roosevelt and continued with Harry Truman. The American dead were 405,399. The Korean War, or "police action," broke out under Harry Truman's administration. The American dead were 54,246. The Vietnam War, or "police action," broke out under John F. Kennedy and continued under Lyndon Johnson. The American dead were 58,167. A seemingly endless and very unpopular war, the great irony of the demonstrating left is that it only ended when a Republican finally returned to the executive office and responded to their plea. Remember, when Hanoi Jane insisted conservatives had no hearts and minds?
The only other war of significance was Desert Storm. It broke out under George Bush's Republican administration, and was indeed a 'war' declared by congress. The largest military action since World War II, it pitted hundred of thousands of American lives against a huge entrenched army. The final ground assault lasted four days and the number of American dead was 293. It may be true that it was indeed an oil war, fought for oil concerns. It clearly wasn't just to liberate the Kuwaiti people. But another undeniable truth is the Democratic left holds the responsibility for Twentieth Century American war dead by a factor of 2165 to one. I don't know about you, but I would be very uncomfortable with those odds hanging over my own life. If you found a place where you could get 216500% on your money, how long would it take you to get it over there? Even the most ardent totalitarian communal collectivist would rush his pathetic funds to the source. But with our lives, we'd rather suck up another transparent deception from the left, and risk odds beyond belief, than admit that we're nothing more than a bunch of sad little puppies that have all been had.
"At any given moment, there is a sort of all pervading orthodoxy-a general tacit agreement not to discuss some large and uncomfortable fact." ...our old and venerable pal, George Orwell
So never mind the little lies. Never mind that Wilson also gave us the ever-popular voluntary income tax in the bargain. A tax that was to be repealed after World War I. Never mind that Roosevelt told us during his 1940 campaign, "I've said it before and I'll say it again and again and again... if elected president, your sons will not shed one drop of blood on foreign soil!" Never mind the 1944 documents from the Army Board revealing that "...everything that the Japanese were planning to do was known to the United States...." Never mind that they knew about Pearl Harbor before Pearl Harbor! Never mind that Roosevelt nationalized American public gold, an act that at the time was every bit as controversial as nationalizing our homes would be today. Never mind that Truman was the only person in history to use nuclear weapons on inhabited cities. Never mind that when Camelot Kennedy was asked if he had sent ground troops to Vietnam, he looked right into our faces and told us absolutely not. Never mind that up until the treasury replaced American silver coinage with worthless cupro-nickel tokens, Johnson told us that he would never allow it. Never mind that the treasury then sold off that public silver, along with our nationalized public gold, mostly to foreign governments, to among other things, help pay for the Vietnam War. Never mind that it left us running on a credit binge that was backed only by our nuclear strong arm and global political coercion, as long as that might last. Never mind that all those twentieth century presidents that cost so many lives were progressive Liberal Democrats. Never mind that in contrast, some "Dead Old White Guy" named George Washington donated his own personal silver dinnerware to the U.S. treasury to help our fledgling republic get a business coinage started.
Please don't confuse me with the facts, because my mind is already made up. Republicans are conservatives. Conservatives are mean spirited, heartless, intolerant deceivers. They are warmongers. Don't vote conservative because it will cost us our lives.
But this really isn't to suggest that things would necessarily be any better under another Republican administration. It isn't a partisan argument at all. We could point to similar deceptions from many modern largely liberal Republicans. I am not a crook. Read my lips. But nevertheless, it is ideological. It reflects the one sided odds in the propaganda warfare between the two opposing cultural positions. It also points out the gravity of lying once it begins. In government it progresses from an expedient to a necessity, and from a necessity to propaganda, and from propaganda to tyranny. Little white lies become black hearted deceptions. Black hearted deceptions become wicked oppression. We didn't need Lord Acton to remind us that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We knew that all along. We just think we can somehow escape the consequences. We're special.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" ...Sir Walter Scott, Lay of the Last Minstrel
Still we have to hand it to the ideological left. Especially the wealthy limousine class of modern liberals. Hollywood actresses who make $200,000 a day rally to the cause but couldn't even begin to objectively discuss the rather dark, deceptive history of liberalism. They can't stand rejection and focus only on those things they believe would meet the approval of their immediate and like minded peers. Their brand of global socialism is different from the National Socialists and the Communists, so they indemnify themselves. They're sure they won't get cancer because they smoke a different brand of cigarettes. Then there are the powerful New York financiers who know perfectly well the history behind liberalism but also know it's an ideal mechanism for them to control labor and resources by pulling the strings of government monopoly unfettered by upstart competition. At least competition with them and their concerns. This modern ruling mob has quite cleverly redefined right and wrong to their own ends.
At least that's true for those smart enough to manage this deception and perpetrate the lie with the cynicism of a snake staring down a ground squirrel. A fish swallows the hook along with the bait because it thinks it has stumbled onto a free meal. And the American public swallows this bait hook line and sinker. It doesn't matter whether we exemplify this by pointing to the American war dead, or to the feminist political hypocrisy about sexual harassment. It doesn't matter that those who profess to oppose collusion among corporations in the private sector blindly support absolute monopoly by the very incorporated statutory U.S. federal and state governments. It doesn't matter that we watch a president lie right to our faces and don't care. It doesn't matter that a liar and cheater could put us all to war or declare martial law with the stroke of a pen before we wake up in the morning, suspending every liberty we still think we have. All the average American sees is the illusion of a free lunch. And those that lord it over him are counting on him to do just that.
I'm reminded of a little story. There was an individual living in Germany just before the outbreak of the Second World War. Because he opposed what he believed was racial genocide, he found himself hunted as a political dissident by the National Socialist bureaucracy. Through his national I.D., the government had found his assets and sequestered all his money. He lived day by day in fear for his life. The dissident managed to get his hands on a very valuable handgun when the socialist ban on private firearms made them not only illegal, but very hard to come by. Finally, in a fit of desperation the armed dissident confronted a state bureaucrat. "I'll give you anything you want," pleaded the bureaucrat, "if you only spare my life." With his hand on the trigger, the trembling dissident whispered, "All I did was point out that innocent people should not be victimized for political purposes because of their race or faith. For this I am persecuted. I have no choice but to escape to freedom, and to do that I must have money. Give me my money. The money the state took from me." But this bureaucrat was clever and pretended to sympathize with the dissident. "I can see your point," the well-spoken bureaucrat told him. "I feel your pain." He then offered an outrageous price to buy the fine engraved officer's model Luger the dissident was staring him down with. It was indeed a very good business deal. So hoping to gain his liberty with the money, the dissident sold the pistol. And of course you all know the bureaucrat used the pistol not only to recover the money but also to subdue the poor dissident until the SS arrived.
The moral is as lucid as the sky is blue. If you sell your common sense in order to gain an ephemeral promise, you may wind up with neither your common sense or the promise. If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Another way of saying it is, "There ain't no free lunch."
If the progressively gullible average American understood not only what this means to his children, but to his own personal interests, he would very likely not deign to be so smug. I'm quite positive that even two thirds of the moral relativists would shift their opinion in the blink of an eye if they had any real notion of what this state of cultural and political value portends. Even many of the tongue piercers, media moguls, and the Hollywood die hards. If Americans understood their own role in the destruction of their culture, and what the implications actually are, their immutable heart break could not be contained. After all, what person would not be heart broken after discovering that he or she had unwittingly sold out an entire inheritance to a group of slick lawyers and liberal bureaucrats for little more than a wink and a smile? This is surely costing us our liberty. If history is any indicator, it may eventually even cost us our lives.
ACE © 1998 Provincial Proverbs