Aristotle thought courage the preeminent virtue. Without it, there could be no morality. Virtue becomes a mere abstraction, a high-sounding platitude that is easy to live by in one’s sleep.
The present generation may be the most abjectly cowardly cohort in memory. When the Sony Corporation was victimized by North Korean–sponsored hackers upset over Sony’s new movie The Interview, it caved and withdrew the film. The Obama administration so far has offered no real support. Instead it blamed Sony for its appeasement. By joint inaction both Sony and the United States government sent the message that foreign dictators can determine what Americans see or read, as long as their targets are private citizens.
When IRS Commissioner John Koskinen arrogantly told Congress that he had no apologies for an agency that has targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny, had a top-ranking bureaucrat take the Fifth Amendment, and destroyed its own correspondence, he meant it. Nor did Lisa Jackson, the former head of the EPA, offer any apologies for concocting a fake persona, replete with false e-mail identity (“Richard Windsor”), to hide her own communications. Kathleen Sebelius was likewise unapologetic after presiding over the ruined initial implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Nor did she pay any consequence for campaigning for Democratic candidates while a cabinet secretary, in violation of the Hatch Act.
Government always grows, sometimes even more rapidly under Republican than under Democratic presidents. But under President Obama we are seeing something a little different — the creation of a partisan, semi-autonomous government that seems to exist for the benefit of its employees and the larger ideological agenda of the present administration.
If the CIA wanted to smuggle guns to Syria or interrogate al-Qaeda suspects in Benghazi, that was its business, not necessarily the administration’s. To the degree Obama was involved in overseeing events in Libya, his involvement was most likely limited to a vague warning that, in the latter part of the nip-and-tuck 2012 campaign, there must not be anything resembling a shoot-’em-up Mogadishu, which a beefed-up security presence in Benghazi might have made more likely by evening the odds. Better to keep a low profile amid increasing security threats and hope for the best. And, if the worst happens — well, things do happen.
When the violence did erupt, a freelance video producer became the perfect villain. Obama and his subordinates, principally Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton, almost immediately damned the hapless filmmaker as having incited global violence by his bigotry. The more Obama told the world that he too condemned Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (and in fact he had Mr. Nakoula jailed on a trumped-up probation violation), the more Benghazi became a sort of revolutionary morality tale: Right-wingers in America keep getting innocent people killed by gratuitously inflaming Muslims — over the objections of sober and judicious progressive and internationalist Americans.
Almost everything the administration has alleged about Benghazi has proven false. Yet also, in Machiavellian fashion, the Obama group successfully peddled useful fictions, effectively deluded the country, adroitly ensured President Obama’s reelection, and cast aspersions on those who sought the truth.
In that sense, so far, the lies about Benghazi have won, the truth has failed.
So what really happened?
The Obama administration felt that it was behind the curve concerning the 2011 unrest in Libya. The so-called Arab Spring revolutions had toppled other governments in North Africa, and it seemed that protesters would do the same in Syria and Libya.
The outrage over the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls by the Nigerian jihadist gang Boko Haram reeks of Western hypocrisy and moral idiocy. Boko Haram has for years been slaughtering Christians – up to 2500 this year alone – and burning churches in a classic Islamic jihad against infidels. These depredations apparently weren’t enough to get the group designated a terrorist organization by Hillary Clinton’s State Department. But this indifference to what under international law is a genocide has been indulged as well by our celebrities and the mainstream media, who rarely mention that the group is specifically targeting Christians, and before the girls were kidnapped displayed little interest in the suffering of those Christians. So why this sudden attention?
For over a year and a half the White House successfully withheld communications between public servants, apparently in hopes that the death of four Americans in Benghazi would not become an issue in the 2012 election (at the eleventh hour CNN’s Candy Crowley did her best to ensure that goal by unethically becoming both moderator and advocate of Barack Obama in the second debate).
Even with the heavily censored and redacted recent releases of White House e-mails, one of the many messaging “goals” of Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes (“To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy”) is the evidence that proves exactly what the White House so far has denied: the highest White House officials were in a pre-election frenzy to pressure Continue reading “The Truth Drips Out”→
Losing a job is freedom from job lock. A budget deficit larger than in any previous administration is austerity. A mean right-wing video caused the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. Al-Qaeda was long ago washed up. The Muslim Brotherhood is secular. Jihad is a personal journey. Shooting people while
screaming Allahu akbar! is workplace violence. Unaffordable higher premiums and deductibles are the result of an Affordable Care Act. Losing your doctor and your health-insurance plan prove you will never lose your doctor and your health-insurance plan — period! Being a constitutional lawyer means you know how to turn the IRS and the FCC on your enemies. Failure is success; lies are truth.
President Obama’s polls are creeping back up again. They do that every time the latest in the series of scandals — the IRS, AP, NSA, Benghazi, and Obamacare messes — recedes into the media memory hole. The once-outrageous IRS scandal was rebranded as psychodramatic journalists being outraged. The monitoring of AP reporters and of James Rosen is mostly “Stuff happens.” The NSA octopus was Bush’s creation. You can keep your doctor and your health plan — period — begat liberation from “job lock” and the ability to write poetry because you don’t have to work.
There will be more momentary outrages on the horizon, as a president who would fundamentally transform America continues to circumvent the Constitution to do it. The latest are the failed efforts of acting FCC director Mignon Clyburn — daughter of a Democratic stalwart, Representative James Clyburn. She dreamed about monitoring news outlets to ensure that they prove themselves correct in matters of race/class/gender thinking. Continue reading “When Failure Is Success”→
All presidents at one time have fudged on the truth. Most politicians pad their resumes and airbrush away their sins. But what is new about political lying is the present notion that lies are not necessarily lies anymore — a reflection of the relativism that infects our entire culture.
Postmodernism (the cultural fad “after modernism”) went well beyond questioning norms and rules. It attacked the very idea of having any rules at all. Postmodernist relativists claimed that things like “truth” were mere fictions to preserve elite privilege. Unfortunately, bad ideas like that have a habit of poisoning an entire society — and now they have.
Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis was recently caught fabricating her own autobiography. She exaggerated her earlier ordeals, lied about the age at which she divorced and was untruthful about how she paid for her Harvard Law School education. Continue reading “The Poison of Postmodern Lying”→