Skip to comments.I No Longer Quite Believe ... [Victor Davis Hanson on Orwellian media & science, race relations]
Posted on 06/09/2009 6:26:59 AM PDT by Tolik
I am afraid I no longer believe . . .
That we have an inquisitive American media as we once knew it. There has emerged something as bad as state-sanctioned coercionwhich we could at least identify, and thus struggle against.
Now comes a more insidious, brave new self-imposed censorship of the Orwellian mode. It is not just the perennial embarrassment Chris Matthews describing his Obama ecstasy on camera, or even Newsweeks Evan Thomas comparing his President to God, or even CNN execs being exposed trashing the US abroad at Davos, or whitewashing Saddam, but rather a more incremental new groupspeak in which basic words and ideasfrom terrorism to war itselfhave been reformulated according to political dictates.
Iraq, from good to bad back to good?
Suddenly a Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zacharia (for the war, against the war, now for the war) are talking about victory in Iraq, and the chance to see its democracy foster change throughout the region. Bravo, but I think this is what Bush proclaimed in October 2002, when the House and Senate, in bipartisan fashion not only voted for 23 writs to justify the removal of Saddam, but praised him for his promise not to replace Hussein with another Gulf thug, but to try to foster a real democracy. What suddenly has transpired to suggest that mainstream pundits no longer think Iraq is lost, but a keystone in a wider new Middle East policy to promote change? Had Bush listened to 90% of the pundits in those dark days of late 2006-mid 2007, there would be no democracy now for Obama to privilege as a cornerstone of US foreign policy. Or is that simple statement now also inoperative?
Cannot we wish Obama well, hope that the United States prospers under his leadership, appreciate his rhetorical skillsand yet still hold him accountable for what he says, and what he does?
Depression to Recovery in a blink of an eye?
From mid-November to mid-March, the media assured us that, as Obama warned, we were in a mess analogous to the Great Depression, a crisis, a morass. Then suddenly the stimulus passes (as of yet largely undistributed), the nearly $2 trillion deficit budget is approvedand? Yes, now the panic is over, the tide has been reversed, there are now time and resources to do healthcare, cap and trade, and massive education reform. The media went from Bush was Herbert Hoover to Obama is far better than FDR in a matter of a few days this winter, as the tanked economy, almost by sorcery, was suddenly over the worst of it.
Unemployment figures are now conditioned with contexts about new jobs created and new trends apparentnot that the aggregate jobless rate is still climbing. (What happened to jobless recovery serially evoked in the 2004 election?).
They and Some did it, not me
Straw men are everywhere. The President, the First Lady, and the Attorney General cannot begin a speech without some say, there are those who believe, or I am not convinced by others who argueall followed by their own enlightened antitheses. We are perennially back to Michelle Obamas they who raised the bar, or the nefarious some in the Bush-Cheney-Halliburton nexus that shredded the Constitution with military tribunals and renditions in order to steal Iraqi oil.
No one points out that almost every historical reference Obama invoked in Cairofrom the supposed Muslim role in great world discoveries to Islam fueling the Renaissance and Enlightenment to the Inquisition and Spainwas inflated, but, more importantly, always inflated from a politically-correct point of view.
Sorry, its probably wrong
When our President talks about his relatives war experiences, his own familys Muslim connections, or anything much about the past, I expect it to be flat-out ahistorical, misleading, or contextualized by an aide over the next two months. So yes, I do not believe that any of this relatives liberated Auschwitz or knew those who freed Treblinka. I do not believe any of his numbers concerning, or analysis about, Muslims in America. I do not think he has a clue about the Renaissance and its relationship to the flight of Greek-speaking scholars to Western Europe from the fear of Turkish Muslims, or the Enlightenments interest in a Greece suffering under the yoke of an oppressive Ottoman fundamentalism.
Get with the party line
To the extent that one reads that Obama has flipped on key points of national policyNAFTA, renditions, military tribunals, Predator attacks, wiretaps, intercepts, Iraq, etc.we hear from conservative and moderate pundits not that his past demagoguery on these issues helped to demonize here and abroad American foreign policy at a critical time. Instead, we are supposed to be overjoyed that we can now appreciate his new flexibility and be thankful that his contradictions at least now led to the right way of thinking.
I no longer believe . . .
That I can quite trust mainstream science and scientific elites as I once did. When world leaders and Nobel Prize winners meet to decry global warming, I dont believe that there is a true give-and-take. I doubt what follows is empirical discussion of what is causing global warming and whether it is a natural, temporary phenomenon or a long-term permanent threat.
Time to call in Orca
Is not the media is invested in a sort of 60s activist environmental politics, in which to assert rather than argue for global warming is part of a larger progressive agenda that makes one acceptable in particular circleslike a medieval cleric who mouths a list of right positions on papal exegesis? (Here in California the lowly poor two-inch Delta smelt was losing his fight to cut off irrigation water to millions of acres, so suddenly scientists have super-sized him in our sympathies, and thus miraculously discovered that the real crises of the Pacific eco-system are big, Orca-like (and thus identifiable) killer whales. You see, they will starve without salmon, and a special sort of 19th-century salmon that used to go upriver in Californias rivers before the age of the pernicious dam and irrigation canal that brought all that cheap food to us.)
Many of the categories of Nobel Prizes have lost their once sterling reputations and have devolved into better-paying versions of the Pulitzer Prizes, predicated on ideology as much as achievement.
The Talented Mr. Gore
(In my lifetime I dont think I ever witnessed anything like the career of one Al Gore, who, metamorphosized from disappointment over the 2000 election into a sort of religious zealotpart P.T. Barnum, part Deepak Chopra. And now he has ended up as globe-trotting Elmer Gantry, but a successful one. At break-neck speed he has labored to construct a world-wide environmental-shame empire, based on stifling debate, hawking films, videos, and study kits, selling penances called carbon offsets evaluations for rich people, demonizing opponents of his views, and spreading the Bush-did-it religion. Was it about money all the time? Influence? Redemption? So he pulled it off and in a mere nine years ended up worth over $100 million and an energy-consuming lifestyle of the sort he once railed against?)
I no longer believe . . .
that there will be much progress on race relations under Obama. Indeed, I fear the very opposite will occur.
Almost every major speech is predicated on his race, and his fathers always changing stance on religion. In 2011 will we still hear of his father and his family with Muslim connections?
Being non-racist is judging by race
We are told not to believe what Justice Sotomayor on several occasions said and publishedthis is now something called misspeak. What was fascinating about her Berkeley speech was not just her now serial avowal that race and gender make one a better or worse judge. Two equally frightening facts emerged. She published these views in a periodical called La Raza Law Journal (The Races Law Journal). In her text, she referenced herself as a Latina or invoked Latina/Latino, according to my count, some 38 times. (I once told a student that if she did not stop prefacing every classroom remark about classical literature with As a Latina I would answer back with the preface As a white guy ).
A promised postracial President nominated a justice who seems not just to be race-obsessed, but race-obsessed to the degree it governs her judicial philosophy. Woe to be a member of what she called the old boy network when you go into her chambers against a Latina. By her own admission, the Latina is the wiser party, based on her superior life experiences.
No progress, no nothing?
In this new racialist world, no one would ever remember that we have not had a white male Secretary of Statethe worlds most powerful diplomatin thirteen years since the rather mediocre Warren Christopher stepped down in January 1997. There is rarely appreciation of change and what has transpired, only more anger at what supposedly must happen in the future. To read Sotomayors speeches, and I have now read about 5 of them, is to be subjected to a litany of statisticsalways the theme being this many judges are Hispanic, this is our percentage of the population, presto, this is what we must have
We are all percentages points now
There is rarely either any complexity, or appreciation of the irony to race. With between 12-20 million illegal aliens now living in the United Statesthe vast majority recent arrivals from Third World countriesare we to be shamed that we do not have politicians, Supreme Court justices, and professors in the proper percentages to reflect these new populations? Think of itsomeone crosses the border illegally, and immediately becomes a percentage-point argument that a distant elite with a Spanish-surname is entitled to preferential treatment? (I ignore the fact Sotomayors racial percentages were once used by white racialists to show that minorities were inordinately responsible for violent crime in numbers far above their presence in the general population. It is unwise to quantify every aspect of the United States by racial percentages.)
The President himself never pauses and examines the irony of a half-African, half-white prep schooled person, lecturing the world on the African-American civil rights experiencewith which by heritage and chronology he has had no experience.
Instead, the world of American racial identity politics distills down to the ability to claim some sort of affinity, any sort actually, with the African-American, Native American, or Mexican-American experience.
Where there is a will, there is always a way
Sometimes, as in the case of Ward Churchill, this is done through simple fabrication and fantasy. Sometimes the rich Honduran immigrant trills his rs and uses his Spanish surname to become an oppressed Latino or Hispanic. Sometimes a Barack Obama somehow piggy-backs onto the African-American writ of prior grievance.
Princetonthe New Guantanamo
If one steps aside, ignores the contemporary chatter, and examines the process in disinterested philosophical fashion, it is abjectly illogical. (Note Michelle Obamas brief reentry into contemporary racial politicsher testimonial confirmation of Sotomayors expressed discomfort and unease with Princeton undergraduate life, and the lasting unfairness of receiving affirmative action and then feeling as if the resulting gain in prestige and topflight subsidized education were not worth the commensurate sense that they and some and others doubted ones achievement. Well, her reentry was very short-lived indeed.)
A "prize" that's a monument to bias should bring shame.
Maybe, besides WASS (We Are So Screwed), we could birth another acronynm, replacing MSM with SRM.
Relax... have a doughnut. :-)
SRM rolls off the tounge much easier than MSM. Didja notice during one of Palin’s televised speeches, the crowd responded to one of her points about democrats being destructive by chanting NBC,NBC,NBC. There are a LOT of us who see the complete lack of objectivity of the press. I believe that they are participating in their own destruction because once they allow themselves to be led by the nose, they will no longer be free. At that point some dictator wannabe like, oh let me think, oh yeah obama will be able to squash ANY dissent the the media will cheer. This is the big reason they are so aggresively going after talk radio, because that is the only place where there is real dissent.
VDH has been appearing on a local talk show here once a week. I love to listen to this guy.
I am more comfortable knowing that people like him are out there and speaking with youth.
What a voice of reason.
Nobel Prizes & Pulitzers - now monuments to left wing bias - shame recipients.
Dentist promoting doughnuts? Sweet, sugary, bad for teeth, delicious doughnuts? Thanks, I’ll have 2.
"Now comes a more insidious, brave new self-imposed censorship of the Orwellian mode. It is not just the perennial embarrassment Chris Matthews describing his Obama ecstasy on camera, or even Newsweeks Evan Thomas comparing his President to God, or even CNN execs being exposed trashing the US abroad at Davos, or whitewashing Saddam, but rather a more incremental new groupspeak in which basic words and ideasfrom terrorism to war itselfhave been reformulated according to political dictates."
It has developed gradually. But there is something deeper to it. The MSM talking heads are alienated and cut off from the Western Christian tradition which in their education should have provided them with the intellectual means to understand the dangers of statism and an Orwellian media. They are so attracted to Obama and Obammunism that they have blinders on now. It's like Marx's "Don't Ask me that question!" ideology which cuts off any meaningful debate. They don't want to see the dangers of these policies.
They talked about the Bush deficits which they apparently thought were bad but now...
... Same concept.
I no longer quite believe that Gore is smart enough to pull off his $100 million scam on his own. I wonder who his handlers are. Maybe his daddy’s connections are opening doors for him?
Bump for later read.
Better yet, the PAPARAZZI (press). State run is true but gives too much importance to the media. Glamour is what is being sold — like the 1930s to easy depression worries; it’s true escapism via Hollywood and American Idol to provide cut-out characters that seem real but who aren’t.
My 93 year old mother who closely follows politics said to me yesterday:
Obama IS Big Brother.
We were discussing the takeover of all medical care.
She is a sharp cookie!
“I’m not sure if Rush started it, but the Main Stream Media is outdated and the new moniker is now the State Run Media.”
I coined a different phrase for my blog: State Controlled American Media, or SCAM for short.
And here’s the first couple of paragraphs from yesterday’s post, at http://www.teapartysi.com/
Fourth Estate? Fifth Column.
The term Fourth Estate, of course, refers to the press; press being a now-archaic description hearkening back to a simpler time when delivering news was strictly a function of metal, paper, ink, and the time it took to get it to the reader no electricity involved. We need not go into how different things are today.
To the best of our knowledge, Edmund Burke coined the term in the House of Commons a short time after the French revolution. The first three estates, as defined by Louis XVI some years earlier, were the clergy, the nobles and the commoners. Burke is said to have gazed up at the Press Gallery and said, Yonder lies the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all.
Likewise, most of us are aware of the phrase “Fifth Column;” it refers to a dangerous enemy unit that operates clandestinely within the borders of one’s own country. The concept originated during the Spanish Civil War with a radio address by insurgent General Emilio Mola, who broadcast the news that his four columns laying siege to Madrid would be supported by a “Fifth Column” of supporters operating surreptitiously within the city.
Generally, all Fifth Columns, whether real or imagined, share one commonality: they operate in the shadows. Their members listen behind doors, peep through keyholes, secretly sabotage power plants and transportation hubs and above all, keep their nefarious actions hidden and secret. They wait silently, patiently, until the day finally comes when they can rise up, shed their sheeps clothing, and proudly affirm their support for the cause that has brought about the destruction of the society in which they so traitorously intermingled.
Not anymore. Americas Fifth Column, fully-operational and horribly dangerous, operates in full view of the public. In fact, they fight amongst themselves for the privilege of being the most visible, as they do their damndest to bring about the destruction of our country as we know it. Americas Fifth Column is its Fourth Estate.
It’s amazing how much control, manipulation, surveillance, dumbing down, propaganda, conditioning, doublethink, newspeak, and social engineering of the PC and Orwellian variety have developed just in our lifetime. Alarming and disturbing.
And worse, the academic environment has found, through the office of such disgraces as White Studies, a mechanism for perpetuating the illusion of oppression indefinitely through the invocation of a mysterious, invisible, unquantifiable but omnipresent chimera termed White Privilege. These days the incessant statistical flood gushing from such as Sotomayor is to a great degree an attempt to quantify this, or rather to paint the body of fiction over with a thin coat of whitewash - can I still say that? - to give it the semblance of science.
We're not done with this nonsense by a long shot - people such as 0bama and Sotomayor, who have leveraged their way to the highest offices in the land through it, aren't likely to queer the pitch - can I still say that either? If what happened in academia proliferates to government it will, on the contrary, become institutionalized.
I sadly agree.
Amazing << Hear this. Feel this, and tell me that this isn't music.