Some of us have difficulty understanding why the MSM and a few liberal columnists are upset because the president lied to them. They are shocked, shocked, to discover that they, along with millions of other Americans, can’t keep their health insurance, may not be able to retain their doctors and will probably have to pay more for policies that cover items they don’t want or need. Yet, Barack Obama promised, repeatedly promised, that none of that would happen, period.
They just don’t get it. So what if Obama lied? That’s what moral relativists do. What’s a lie to people who believe truth is an artificial cultural construct. In any case, truth is irrelevant in the larger scheme of things. Machiavelli wrote, “the end justifies the means,” and the end relentlessly pursued by this president is the preservation and extension of government power and control.
If the president and his minions hadn’t lied, (or kept silent) when the president lied, Obama Care might not have passed. Just one Democrat getting cold feet would have made the difference.
If the IRS hadn’t intimidated conservative groups to keep them from actively opposing Obama’s re-election, if unemployment figures had not suddenly dropped from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 in September of 2012, allowing Obama to take credit for an improving economy, election results also might have been different.
At the time there were some savvy individuals who disputed the accuracy of those numbers. Now, according to the New York Post, there is reason to believe that the Census Bureau may have fudged those numbers on orders from higher ups in the Obama food chain.
Apparently, those now evincing shock ignored the dubious testimonies of, to mention a few: Eric Holder (Fast & Furious), Lois Learner (IRS), Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander (no we don’t snoop on Americans), Susan-It was that darn video-Rice now promoted to National Security advisor for, if not lying, deliberately misleading the American people about Benghazi. As for President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, they may not have been fiddling while the Consulate burned, but they sure didn’t do anything to help those caught in the conflagration.
Yet, despite Obama’s approval ratings having gone from slipping to slaloming it is still not certain that his loss of credibility will be fatal to the progressive agenda he has pursued since he burst upon the political scene chanting his mantra of hope and change.
For why the president’s exposure as a serial liar and the dismal record of secrecy and duplicity of his administration may not be conclusive this writer turns to University of Chicago Professor Allan Bloom’s 1987 book, The Closing of the American Mind. In essence, Bloom argued that education in general and the universities in particular have forsaken the intellectual and moral principles fundamental to a healthy polity.
There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students’ reaction: they will be uncomprehending. The relativity of truth is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or so they see it. They have all been equipped with this framework early on, and it is the modern replacement for the inalienable natural rights that used to be the traditional American grounds for a free society… Relativism is necessary to openness; and that is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than 50 years has dedicated itself to inculcating.
Some parents, far too few, understood what was happening even before Bloom spelled it out and made the financial sacrifice (before choice and charters) to home school or to enroll their children in schools outside of the public system. But the great majority of students, then as now, were fed through a system that truncates history in favor of a …
changed understanding of what it means to be an American. The old view was that, by recognizing and accepting man’s natural rights, men found a fundamental basis of unity … The recent education of openness has rejected all that. It pays no attention to natural rights or the historical origins of our regime, which are now thought to have been essentially flawed and regressive.” The new curriculum “is progressive and forward looking… It is open to all kinds of men, all kinds of lifestyles, all ideologies. There is no enemy other than the man who is not open to everything.
Barack Obama cannot abide anyone who challenges his policies and goals. He verbally assaults political opponents and lesser mortals take their cue from him to say vile things about conservative women who decline to sip from the feminist cup and black men who refuse to behave like victims.
“Ideas,” as Richard Weaver wrote, “have consequences.” Now, in six states and counting, young thugs race down city streets playing the “knock out game.” They punch Jews, Asians and whites in the face with enough savagery to knock them out. If the MSM reports these events, the assailants are not identified as black because that doesn’t fit the prevailing narrative.
In the name of “social justice” spoiled 20 somethings take over city streets and defecate in people’s doorways. Some schools do not permit winners in competitive sports for fear of damaging other students’ self-esteem. But endangering a child’s self esteem did not stop school officials in Florida from suspending an eight-year-old boy for using his finger as a pretend gun while playing cops and robbers with his friends. School officials explained that the school’s “code of conduct prohibits students from playing with invisible guns.” The explanation is political correctness gone berserk.
“Our time is characterized,” David Solway* wrote, “by the breakdown of the social covenant that specifies our concern for one another as citizens of a polity, our curatorial obligation to the past, and our custodial responsibility for successor generations.“
Bloom decried the cultural whirlwind but did not live to see what it has sown. For the record, Bloom was no right-winger. He was a Democrat, a defender of freedom and scholar dismayed about students’ lack of understanding of the past and their acceptance of relativism disguised as tolerance. He blamed the universities for abandoning their mission as truth seekers and for the curricular incoherence of the humanities: “In it there is no semblance of order, no serious account of what should and should not belong.”
Bloom wrote his book more than 25 years ago but he concludes with a message that seems eerily tailored for today:
This is the American moment in world history, the one form which we shall forever be judged. Just as in politics the responsibility for the fate of freedom in the world has devolved upon our regime, so the fate of philosophy in the world has devolved upon our universities, and the two are related, as they have never been before. The gravity of our given task is great, and it is very much in doubt how the future will judge our stewardship.”
* David Solway is an award-winning Canadian author, poet and literary critic. His remarks appear in the Summer 2013 Issue of Academic Questions, Breaking (and Healing) the Social Covenant published by National Association of Scholars.