And other prophylactics
by G. Murphy Donovan
“Those capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.” - Spooner
Mendacity is the currency of modern American politics. Truth, it seems, is now a function of what an advocate is willing to sell and gulls are willing to buy. Words like “objective” and “impartial” compete with “non-partisan” and “non-profit” in vacuous newsrooms across the Media spin circuit.
Adjectival repetition creates its own truth.
Fact “checking” and censorship are the latest asinine hustles in the war of words. In practice, political and narrative conformity is the true contemporary test for “factual.”
Yes, fake or curated news is a real thing and has been long before Eric Arthur Blair matriculated at St. Cyprians - or BBC.
Orwell and family
Print journalism, commercial and public broadcast networks, and now social networks, are yet again exposed as captives of the big lie; a liberal, communitarian, indeed Orwellian, world view. The Politburo, political commissars, and the Internationale may have been swept into the dust bin of history, but porcine politics and the Animal Farm are with us still.
The first concern of competent government should be the success of makers not the pathologies of misfits. The most effective “social” democracy is one where most paychecks come from some agency besides the government. The most effective social “worker” is a prol with a conscience, a job, and a savings account.
Maggie Thatcher put her finger on the logical outcome of paternalism: “Eventually you (politicians) run out of other people’s money.”
Withal, what is left unsaid or distorted, that which does not support political narrative might be ignored. Malarkey is minted daily to obscure truth and reality. Junkies are ill? Drunks are sick? Criminals are oppressed? Police are bigots? Terrorists are victims? Deadbeats are underserved? Whites are guilty? Welfare is a hand up, not a hand-out? Government cares? Marijuana is a pharmaceutical? Black lives matter?
The Russians are hacking? Ducks are quacking !
Good grief !
Politically correct writing and speech is the rabbit hole to yet another Orwellian future. The purpose of mediated mendacity is threefold: obscure the past, whitewash the present, and color the future. Surely the toxic corollaries of fake news are infinite, but for the sake of brevity a prominent few will do.
Globalism is a wolf in cross border drag. Some vision of messianic trans-tribalism has been abroad in Europe since Alexander was a cadet. Empire and arbitrary rule are the ties that bind Caesar, Mohammed, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and Sundar Pichai. Visions of censorship now animate social engineers in opaque undemocratic forums like the United Nations, European Union, the Ummah, and Palo Alto.
The premise of globalism is the assumption that nationalism, tribalism, and individualism are civic defects. If the truth be told, all three are necessary for real competition, true diversity, and all personal progress. It may “take a village” Hillary, but no village becomes a city and no city becomes a great nation with a mendacious elite and a constituency of bed wetters.
There is no “one world.” There’s no single political, ideological, or economic suit to fit all. Monoculture is, literally and figuratively, a kind of death wish. Such is the stuff of Islamic supremacists and their ANTIFA clones on the secular left.
Worms in the communal apple include apparatchiks, conformity, monoculture, and when all else fails, coercion. Terror today is simply religious politics by other means. All empire, especially that dictated by singular ideology or universal theology is predicated on force, followed by repression.
Globalism is an old, historically discredited end, not a new beginning. Like all utopian schemes, empire is about power and nomenclatura; armies of apparatchiks or priests to ensure privilege and enforce conformity on the children of a lesser God. Cultures without liberty, tribal diversity, and rigorous competition, yes, occasionally lethal, are dead men walking.
Saul of Tarsus and later John Smith were correct: “He that will not work shall not eat.” Another Smith in the 18th Century was on point in the same vein; self-interest and personal success are the building blocks of national achievement and the Wealth of Nations. Robert Frost had similar insights.
Boundaries may send ambiguous messages, but the prudence of fences still abides.
Sophists who argue against fences or borders often do so from behind government, NGO or non-profit sinecures, tax exemptions, or internet pay walls.
Facebook and Google now purge content that no one has asked to be removed. Factual or not, any image or word that might be offensive to geeks, globalists, liberals, or Muslims might be removed arbitrarily. On vanity platforms like Facebook, algorithm is code for Big Brother.
Punitive algorithms revise history and destroy evidence; in short protect lies, some politically correct narrative. Ironically, big brother now has two faces, another binary irony if you will; censorship and government snooping. Major internet players are now co-opted by the National Security Agency too. Between a rock and a hard place is the true culture of cyberspace - no privacy and curated speech.
Hard as it is to fathom the impact that Donald Trump will have on American history, this much is certain. Trump has savaged the objectivity myth, the worst kept secret in American culture.
Alas, social democracy and globalism are mutts from the same litter. Calling republics democracies is bad enough, but adjectival abuse, words like “social,” is worse still. Too social is not necessarily virtuous, as any patient at a “free” clinic will tell you.
No political adjective suffers more abuse than the word “free:” free speech, free love, free lunch, free transport, free day care, free housing, free public schools, free health care, free college tuition, and free debt forgiveness are examples.
None of these things are, in fact, free. Someone pays; maybe not beneficiaries, but some employed or entrepreneurial schlepp picks up the check. Those least likely to pay taxes are the most likely to vote for free-lunch politicians, some brand of urban Social/Christian democrat in Europe or monolithic big city Democrats in America.
Ironically, free-lunch legions might be favored by income tax indulgence, exemptions, or welfare programs only to be buggered by sales and sin taxes. Taxes on alcohol, tobacco, gambling, prescription drugs, marijuana, sugar, hookers, and other amusements are regressive, having a disproportionate impact on the lumpen proletariat.
“Sinners” are more likely to be found at the high calorie, low income, or double digit IQ ends of the demographic scales. Politics in the welfare state is, if the truth be told, an elaborate bait-and-switch racket. Sin taxes are seldom dedicated to the social and health costs of abuse, addiction, incarceration, prevention, rehabilitation - or restitution. The real sin in such taxes is irony.
If taxing eliminated or mitigated excess, then there would be fewer reprobates – and even less revenue. Alas, neither is true.
American politics is often cynically reduced to patronizing vote- buying handouts that insure loyalty and a kind of state-sponsored servitude. Too many liberal dullards have come to believe that dependency, like genitals, is just another life style choice. In theory, most welfare initiatives are advertised as temporary “assistance” programs. In practice, once established, all aid programs develop constituencies in and out of government. Public assistance is now generational.
No politician, right or left, gets reelected today with a platform of restraint, moderation, or austerity. Unfortunately, with the dole, more is never enough.
Dependents are often portrayed as victims; victims of birth, melanin, poverty, crime, unemployment, bad neighborhoods, poor health care, racism and a host of pathologies. In fact, the real social victims are the “maker” demographic, those who pay twice just to stay afloat – paying for themselves and an expanding deadbeat demographic.
American parents, for example, pay twice for education; once for a failed public school system and again for private alternative that might not work either.
Politics may not be science, but surely modern science is political. Soft and hard sciences are probative. Political, Intelligence, environmental, cyber, and medical sciences are just a few purveyors of fake news these days.
Calling political science an academic discipline has always been a stretch. The 2016 election might be proof positive. Pollsters and their media shills were universal in their opposition to Trump and universal in predicting a Clinton victory. Hard to believe that such demographic consensus is mere coincidence.
Pundits now offer all manner of excuses for the epic media fail, except the most likely explanation, bias or cooked books. When numbers do not support wishful thinking on the left, the math often gets dicey. Or maybe Vladimir Putin twisted all those American polls and editorials.
Recent polling on taxes is another book cooked to a fare-thee-well. Pew Research admits that middle class and wealthy donors already pay most taxes, but then Pew analysis muddies the waters with faux moral judgements about “fairness.” The truth about income or corporate tax is as ironic as it is for sin tax; the former punishes success and the latter subsidizes failure.
The only real discipline in political “science” is liberal spin.
The Science of Intelligence?
The Intelligence Community is the godfather of lies - and the big brother of fake news. Of course, desinformatsiya is just good tradecraft if the target is some external enemy. Faking or releasing Intelligence to influence domestic elections, on the other hand, is illegal, a host of crimes covered by any number of statutes.
As Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper claimed that the National Security Agency didn’t conduct universal domestic surveillance. He lied. As National Security Advisor and later Director of CIA, John Brennan claimed that jihad was a kind of “ritual cleansing.” He lied. The FBI and CIA, with Clapper’s approval, circulated the now famous Moscow dossier to discredit candidate Trump. The dossier was a basket of lies. After the election, Clapper claimed that the Trump campaign was not bugged by the FBI. Another lie! The special counsel appointed to investigate Trump and Putin has been characterized as independent and non-partisan. That’s the latest lie.
Team Mueller is a liberal posse that would probably include Mark Felt if “deep throat” were still available for government service. Recent state-sponsored mendacity seems to be driven by two motives; discrediting Trump domestically and reinventing the Cold War externally.
Beyond criminality, the cost of government sponsored fake news is twofold, trust and genuine national security. We expect politicians, lawyers, and journalists to lie. Deep state mendacity is another kettle of fish. Without trust; all civic, safety, and security bets are off.
Putin and Trump are in the creep state crosshairs for obvious reasons. Without a national security burka, lying and leaking by federal drones becomes just another cheesy domestic criminal matter, a bigger and more consequential Watergate. Fusing Trump hate, xenophobia, and “nation security” now provides a kind of political Kevlar for a legion of partisan thugs.
Environmental scientists discredit themselves daily with shifty word games. Global warming morphs into “climate change!” Is there a hamlet anywhere where climate does not change daily? The fact that local behavior affects local environment is not real news either. Alas, the worst pollution comes from liberal sinecures.
Ignore if you can the effluent from the Potomac, Hudson, Susquehanna, Chicago, Detroit, or Los Angeles rivers, rising cesspools that they are. Oh, the irony! Environmental posturing and toxins are epidemic in liberal urban swales. Hot air, bad air, polluted water all emanate from the same cramped quarters on the urban American political left.
Nonetheless, assertions that human behavior alone threatens the globe or cosmos is hyperbole, possibly moot too. On the earth time continuum, more species have been extinguished by Mother Nature than human causes. Long after men are gone; the vagaries of nature, the earth, and the universe will abide.
If there must be a “red list,” let’s pray homo sapiens urbanus gets top billing. Indeed, if Darwin was correct, Kim Jung-Un might just be another agent of natural selection.
Hairless apes should be gone long before the ice melts.
Nevertheless, paper bags and emission control will still be thought to be imperative unless you drive a Boeing, an Army tank, a naval destroyer, a diesel train, a tractor trailer, a container ship, a Mercedes, or a school bus. Alas, grazing animals (including pigs, cows, goats, and sheep) do more environmental damage to water, land, and air resources than fossil fuels ever have. Why not criminalize Jimmy Choo, cheese burgers, and lamb chops too?
Alas, fetid water, desertification and goat gas seldom create as much angst as polar bears, snail darters, and test bunnies in the cosmetic industry.
Bigger batteries, Tesla! More bike paths, please? Double cheddar on that Wimpy, too! Paper not plastic!
The major problem with environmental ninnies is trivia, arrogance, selective evidence, selective villains, condescension, hubris, and ad hominem arguments. Any critic of environment zealots might be labeled a “luddite.”
There’s little wrong with the earth except the selfish behavior of apex gorillas. Viva jo is now a universal ethic. The best anecdotal send up of the whacky world of eco-hysteria is provided by George Carlin (mandatory viewing for progressives). Carlin and Chris Hitchins may have been the last of the honest brokers on the American left.
Jared Diamond captured the logical truth of environment and hazard. The end of humanity comes with a whimper or a bang: a comet, some incurable pathogen, or nuclear Armageddon. In the meantime, melting ice cubes will still get more ink than the end of days.
The Big Bang is a thing, in the beginning - and the end.
Beyond the environmental arboretum, the most egregious offenders of reason and common sense are generation RX; parents/teachers, medical, and pharmaceutical communities included.
We could mention nuclear weapons/power too as eco-villains, but that big bang is just low hanging fruit. Nuclear weapons are still rationalized by political “science” with Strangelovian logic. The bomb is somehow tied to security and survival, the likelihood of atomic Armageddon and lunatic North Koreans notwithstanding.
Like the world of physics, medical science seems oblivious to the hazards of reason or technology unleavened by moral imperatives. “Do no harm” is fake news for a science that has monetized anxiety, guilt, pain, and bad behavior.
Family doctors provide the drugs. Counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists provide the excuses.
Children are medicated in grade school only to become parents that need to be stoned at home. Drug dependency is now generational too. In many American public schools, addiction is a more likely outcome than literacy. Prescription addiction is real news, a problem created by clueless parents, medical neglect, and pharma greed.
The cannabis canard is probative. Classifying weed as a medicine or “treatment” is fake news and sends all the wrong messages to kids. Nearly every reputable study of the grass problem acknowledges that marijuana is a gateway drug. The truth about pot is the same as it is about opiates; it’s easier to get stoned than it is to change behavior. And like opiates, pot is another seductive revenue stream for industry and government.
Profit and taxes are the real news that underwrites the most lucrative social and medical fictions. EpiPen anyone?
Compulsion is, alas, a self-fulfilling prophesy. Behavior is the root of the problem, the cause and the cure. Yet somehow the psychiatric community has managed to reclassify drunks and junkies as patients, innocent victims of “disease.”
Poor choice is not a new disease; it’s an ancient character deficit.
Better choices don’t come from Doctor Script, pot, pills, Rite Aid or Walgreens either. Guilt is good. Without regret, every new day is likely to be the same as the last.
Excluding character, moral restraint, good behavior, and choice from the healer’s kit is formula for civic meltdown. As medical “ethics” joins the fake news parade, the prognosis for a candid culture is terminal.
As irony would have it, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is rewiring the “history” of the Vietnam War in 2017. When originality sputters on the public airwaves, like Hollywood, CPB dips into the remake bin. Vietnam redux excoriates Nixon and Kissinger for secrecy and lies, especially the double dealing with President Thieu, our putative Vietnamese ally in Southeast Asia. The Ken Burns narrative is loath to admit that domestic left wing mayhem and Lyndon Johnson’s cowardly resignation in the middle of a war made Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger possible.
Self-deception is the bodyguard of all lies.
The more things change, the more they don’t. The Islamic Wars are starting to make Vietnam look like the good old days. Today, the White House, the Pentagon, and State Department can’t even admit to war, name an enemy, or acknowledge that the Muslim spleen burst long before Vietnam ended. Just as Arabs and Muslims have never accepted the reality and righteousness of Jews and Israel, Washington has never accepted the reality of an epic 21st Century religious war.
America has been at war with Islam in South Asia, the Levant, and North Africa since the end of World War II. By any measure, the conflict with the Ummah is now global.
Unlike Vietnam, America is losing now on a dozen nasty fronts, all in slow motion.
The big lie is often a defense of some sort, prophylaxis if you will. We might lie to protect feelings or fib to protect delicate egos, polite dodges of civility. Indeed, we don’t pass wind in the parlor no matter how candid such noise might be. Delusions are another matter. Lies that seek to alter or avoid reality are personal or civic pathologies. Fibbing and delusion are as different as Saint Jude and Judas.
Mendacity protects egos and ideologies. The big lies of the 21st Century are “democratic” socialism, globalism, and pacific Islam. There’s little that’s democratic about socialists, the UN, the EU, or the Ummah. Islamists and globalists now make common cause.
For the former, the alliance is temporary; for the latter, the affiliation is an act of cultural despair. The socialist left and the Islamic right are joined by similar global ambitions; secular utopia for the one and religious nirvana for the other. Tactics in common include virulent anti-Semitism, terror, violence, and shaming.
With Islam, the apostate, the infidel, or the “unislamic” are not just shamed or excluded, they might also be summarily executed for venial apostasy. For the global left, although violence at the extremes might differ, the tactics of deceit, mayhem, exclusion, and shaming are similar.
The recent Clinton candidacy in America provides the perfect illustration. Before and after the election, Hillary shamed her opponents as “deplorable,” as if not voting for a liberal was a moral transgression. The truth that Mrs. Clinton fails to see is that much of the support for Trump is blowback from such far left arrogance. Democrat Party shaming, or vilifying, half the US voting population as “racists” simply demonstrates just how sick politics on the American left have become.
Just as Lyndon Johnson made Richard Nixon possible, the Clintons and Obama made Trump possible. And still, the American Democrat Party does not realize how noxious their lies and world view have become.
The great virtue of democracy is that we get the kind of arrogance we choose – and deserve. If government lies, snoops, and censors, “the fault is not in our stars.” Deep state mendacity is a yelp from the Clinton demographic; a passive, adolescent, or yes, now chronically enfeebled populace that needs a pill, a toke, or a stipend to take a class, change a diaper, or catch a bus to work.
Alas, stoners and barnacles of all ages seldom read the handwriting on the wall. “Ask not for whom the bell tolls.”
The author is a graduate of the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. School and Home for Children, an erstwhile, euphemistic, now defunct Catholic orphanage formerly located at 1770 Stillwell Avenue in the East Bronx.
“God bless us one and all.”