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.)
Just a partial list. More at the link: http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index
It's Better When You Wake Up Body-Snatched . . . The Reckoning. Obama Versus the Way of the Universe The Age of Middle East Atonement. Therapeutic efforts to disguise the truth never really work Is It Going to Be Race and Resentment All the Time? Multiculturalism Trumps Freedom? Americas First Postmodern President, Supreme Court Justice, Treasury Secretary Sotomayors Mistake. The diversity mess The Affirmative-Action Aristocracy? Lost in the Labyrinth of Race Israels Cuban Missile Crisis - All the Time ... if Iran gets the bomb Ministers of Truth Euroamericans? Is America Premodern or Postmodern? And Then There Was Only Guantánamo President Palins First 100 Days. Imagine if Sarah Palin had Obamas record Cracks in the Facade. Fissures in the Obama Totem Once Upon a Time in 2002 Why Did Republicans Lose Their Appeal? And how can they get it back? Americans Want It Both Ways Our Have-It-Both-Ways Generation What to Do About Pakistan = There are no good answers. Our Jekyll and Hyde President. More radical than Jimmy Carter v smoother centrist than Bill Clinton? Nothing New Under the Sun [Equality of Result, American vs. French, etc] Crazy Times Crazier Times to Follow - when nonsense is passed off as wisdom Confessions of a Contrarian [deconstructing Obama, the Left and more] President Obamas First 70 Days. It really does all make sense Thoughts About Depressed Americans Bush Did It. What a difference an election makes [Brilliant Parody] Our Battered American [gets angrier - Must Read Rant]
Let me know if you want in or out.
Links: FR Index of his articles: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/keyword?k=victordavishanson
His website: http://victorhanson.com/
NRO archive: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson-archive.asp
Liberals/Democrats only root for American military and foreign policy victories when one of their own is the CIC. It's the way it's always been and always will be. Partisan politics above all else.
What? He's just catching on now? The rest of us passed that watermark long, long ago.
I was about to post something similar. You said as well as I could have.
Gee I wish I could write even 1/4 as well as Victor Davis Hanson
I'm Latina dammit. LATINA LATINA LATINA! Are you listening? I'M LATINA! That means because I have distant relatives with hispanic sounding names and because of that alone, I'm wise. You have to recruit me, hire me, and promote me because I'm LATINA! If you don't, you're racist! Oh by the way, did you know I'm Latina? Most people don't know, so I go out of my way to make sure they know.
Not to put Hansen down (much) because I enjoy his stuff more often than not. But c’mon. Wasn’t he even paying attention during this past campaign?
Commenting on anything VDH writes is waaayyy above my IQ grade, but suffice to say this would be one of the most important pieces of writing of our time, if anyone outside of conservative circles could be made aware of its existence.
Also, did you know that John Kerry was a Vietnam Vet???? Damn Libtards and their crap-esteem.
In an otherwise good column, Hanson is guilty of the political correctness he is criticizing. Two minority groups, blacks and Hispanics, ARE "inordinately responsible for violent crime in numbers far above their presence in the general population", and that is a sound reason to have less immigration from Latin America and Africa.
The "unbiased" New York Times people don't use those terms when a democrat's in office. Either do the upcoming "we're fair now that dems have won" Washington Post reporters...
It was a rhetorical tool to emphasize a point. I don’t believe you never use it?