Skip to comments.Civilizationís Lies [Victor Davis Hanson on the West embracing noble lies not squaring with reality]
Posted on 02/08/2010 6:53:14 AM PST by Tolik
One of the sad characteristics of contemporary Western society is the tendency to embrace noble lies. These are assertions and acts that dont square with reality, with what we see and hearand are voiced for apparently noble social purposes. Here are a few politically-incorrect examples.
1. Debt and Deficits. At our current rate we will very soon pile up between $18 and $20 trillion in accumulated national debt. We use the euphemism stimulus, talk of massive borrowing in terms of percentages of GDP, and casually pontificate about inflating our way out of the debt. The fact is that the borrowing is now so massive that there is no way to pay back what we owe without massive cutbacks in accustomed services, and a probable decline in the apparent standard of living. I say apparent since many of the essentials that we are accustomed toeverything from sophisticated psychiatric counseling for long-term inmates, frivolous law suits, duplicate and needless medical procedures, to government employee expense accounts, farm subsidies, or grants to the arts and mediaare not that essential and will gradually begin to disappear. Raising taxes will be in the short-term offered as a solution, but it wont for long increase net aggregate revenue since it will eventually discourage economic activity.
And we lack both the patience and guts to cut taxes, and then use the long-term larger revenue stream, coupled with massive spending cuts, to balance the budget. In short, we will invent euphemisms like stimulus and furlough as the money runs out, and Americans adjust to a lower standard of living. One can already drive in rural central California and see roads that are cracked and full of potholes, random dogs that are not licensed, and thousands of trailer-rentals on blocks and garages-turned-into-rentals, as the government has given up on its old regulation and let large swaths revert to the 1940s and 1950s. I fear that any sixth grader from my 1965 primary school down the road could have read far better than an average contemporary high school graduate of my local community. This decline is not inevitable, given an expanding population, the prior investments of noble generations, continually evolving technology, and spreading globalization, but it is inevitable given the therapeutic culture, and present high-tax, high-spend, redistributive gospel of the present government. No one on either side of the political divide simply says the present borrowing is staggering, unsustainable, and must be paid back by real sacrifice. So we lie on, as if Greece should be our model.
2. Israel. We are inundated with constant talk of the Middle East crisis and the need to restart the peace process.
Why? Is there a new Goldstone report on Tibet? Are the American people sleepless over the divided city of Nicosia? The brutal Turkish occupation of Greek Cyprus? The rough Russian annexation of Ossetia? The callous treatment of Muslims by the Chinese?
Of course not. A noble lie is that there is a Mideast crisis at all. Occupied land is not unusual. Palestinians are no more refuges than Cypriots or Tibetans. The IDF is far more moral a military force than the Russian or Chinese or Turkish army.
The reality? Hating Israel as a unique aggressor is simply predicated on five unspoken truths:
1) rampant anti-Semitism (one can hate Jews by the loftier notion of being anti-Zionist;
2) fear of radical Islamic terrorists; there are apparently no radical Tibetans hijacking planes or blowing up Madrid train stations due to Spanish ties with communist China;
3) oil, oil, oil. The Cypriots cannot enlist the Greeks to withhold 500 billion barrels of oil in the Aegean from world markets. If such a fantasy were true, Nicosia would be on the front pages;
4) Israel is Western, like the U.S., and in a most un-Western neighborhood, so hating Israel is a mechanism of hating the U.S. on the cheap;
5) demography. If there were a billion-person Orthodox community energized by a half-billion Greek-speakers, we most certainly would wish to solve the Cyprus crisis.
The truth? Money, fear, and age-old hatreds all are masked by principles and morality.
3. Illegal immigration.
Do the math on remittances$50 billion a year sent back to Latin America; perhaps $20-25 billion sent from California alone, mostly from illegal aliens.
The following thought will get one censored as cruel and inhuman: millions of California residents, here illegally, without English or high-school diplomas, somehow manage to rely in part on state subsidies for food, housing, education, legal help, and transportation to free up cash in the billions to be sent southward to Mexico.
In addition, much higher per capita rates of illegality, from gang activity to DUI arrests, characterize far too many of the illegal alien community, requiring state investments that outweigh the often argued advantages of increased sales taxes, Social Security deductions supposedly not drawn upon, cheap wages for unskilled labor, etc.
In other words, to suggest that a very sophisticated society is spending billions to educate, incarcerate, and treat millions from the former Third World is forbidden. And the corollary is even more bizarre still: millions risk their lives to flock northward to the United States, even as the premise of multiculturalism in the schools, affirmative action in the workplace, and the chauvinism manifested in popular culture is somehow that an oppressive Eurocentric America owes penance. Historians two centuries hence will remark on the anomaly of the notion that millions of Mexican nationals both wish to emigrate to the United States, but simultaneously once here to voice grievances against the culture they so wish to joinsort of like the old demonstrations against Prop. 13 when protestors used to wave the flag of the country they did not wish to return to and trample the flag of the country they so eagerly wished to remain in. A modest proposal: to send money to Latin America, one here without legal documentation would either pay a 10% surcharge on the transaction or show proof of catastrophic health care insurance.
4. The image of the United States. Here we really enter into the world of the surreal. Privately the worlds poor connive to enter and stay in the U.S. Publicly as they do so, their leaders fault America to no end. The Middle East is especially culpableas millions of residents use every angle imaginable to enter America, even as the popular culture of the Middle East is decidedly anti-American. What is the logic of such anti-Westernism? That one can enter Europe or America, enjoy its benefits, and then help turn it into the homelandas if by doing so it would still be attractive to the immigrant in the first place? If Denmark is Islamicized, would Muslims flee to Copenhagen to escape the oppression and poverty of Egypt or Syria? I fear that the ideology of a Major Hasan or a Westernized Mutallab or an Alabaman such as Hammami is not that unusual. It was no accident that an Atta or KSM spent quite a lot of time in either America or Europe.
5. What is going on with the rise of a leftist aristocracy? Al Gore become a multimillionaire railing about reducing our lifestyle in accord with the pseudoscience of his climate-change gurus? John Edwards built a mansion to better voice his sermons on two nations? From his estates, John Kerry limoed and jetted in Kennedy-fashion to warn us about a cruel jobless vision of George Bushs America?
A zillionaire Gates family, that has ensured there will be no federal inheritance taxes on their $50 billion, lectures on the benefits of higher inheritance taxes; a speculating Soros expounds on capitalisms sins; a billionaire, tax-savvy Buffet laments the too-low federal income tax; a multimillionaire, low-ratings Katie Couric bristles at Palinism as her network lays off hoi polloi. And on and on.
Yet rarely is voiced the common denominator. High Liberalism is now a psychological manifestation, by which the very rich, immune to both the realities of tough living and the hurt of high taxes, finds solace, self-worth, penance even, by sympathy for big government entitlement for the less fortunate whom they connive hourly to avoid. Prep schools are jammed with the children of those who damn charter schools and vouchers; environmentalisms most articulate advocates of small is better live in ways undreamed by the masses they wish to rein in. The greatest advocates of public expenditure, whether a Rangel, Geithner, or Daschle, are quite busy ensuring that they themselves will not have to pay for it all.
Yes, its a mad, mad world, after allproof positive that the enormous engine of capitalism, when married to the absolute freedom of Western democracy, results in some very funny things indeed. To make sense of it all the contradictions, we lieincreasingly about almost everything.
Just a partial list: http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index:
Just a partial list. Much more at the link: http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index
America Rides Off into the Sunset. The only people excited about the change in America's foreign policy are the worlds bad actors Mr. President, Words Matter. Obama, the rhetorician, forgot that people might actually take seriously what he said Our Obama Saga [Victor Davis Hanson dissects Obama, painfully, again] The Obamarang. [Victor Davis Hanson dissects, deconstructs, ridicules and demolishes Zeros lies] Trashing the Job Makers. The Obama administrations tax-talking frenzy has left business owners feeling uncertain The Usual Straw Men. Obamas half-hearted pivoting was quite transparent As Predictable as Clockwork the Obama three-step [Victor Davis Hanson continues to ridicule Zero] Obama versus Obama (More classic VDH slapdown of the ONE) Obama in Free Fall Obama And Campaign Financing (Victor Davis Hanson On Obama's Hypocrisy Alert) Post-election Thoughts (Liberals do not understand populist outrage. Bloodletting will Continue) Our Philosopher-King Obama. He doesnt mind pushing noble legislation that most people oppose Why The Great And Growing Backlash? What Scott Browns election portends for the Obama agenda "Let me be perfectly NOT clear" & "Make lots of MISTAKES about it" [Victor Davis Hanson on Obama's lies] Our Sorta, Kinda War on Terror - President Obama has not signed up for a serious effort against radical Islam Truths We Dare Not Speak. Five propositions that simply have become taboo When Conservative Felonies Become Liberal Misdemeanors 2010: Our Year of Decision Beating the Dead Terrorist Horse. September 11 taught us many lessons. To our peril, we have forgotten them Bush Did It! And, Really, Bush Did It! And Bush Really Did It! A Humpty-Dumpty View of the World 2009 Chickens and Their 2010 Roost Where Did These Guys Come From? The Origins of Obamism The War Against the Wannabe Rich. Why attack the productive classes who want to be rich? The Long March From California to Copenhagen [Hanson on debate between capitalism and socialism] The Palin Wonder Why Are We Tiring of Obama? Change, Weakness, Disaster, Obama: Answers from Victor Davis Hanson If Iran Refuses To Cooperate, Block Its Ports Resetting the Reset Button [Victor Davis Hanson dissects 0's pathetic diplomacy] Riding the Back of the Tiger [Victor Davis Hanson on Obama not understanding What Causes Wars...] What Bush Inherited, and What He Left Left Behind Who Are They? To Obama, they are responsible for all our troubles. Problem is, they are most of us Afghan Mythologies. We have everything we need to defeat the Taliban. The Discreet Charm of the Left-wing Plutocracy Truman and the Principles of U.S. Foreign Policy. Jimmy Carter rejected the postwar consensus. President Obama appears to be following a similar path Dr. Barack and Mr. Obama - The backlash is sharp as voters learn that Obama is not the man they thought he was Obama and "Redistributive Change". His real agenda The War Against the Producers President Palins First 100 Days. Imagine if Sarah Palin had Obamas record Thoughts About Depressed Americans Our Battered American [gets angrier - Must Read Rant]
Let me know if you want in or out.
FR Index of his articles: http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index NRO archive: http://author.nationalreview.com/?q=MjI1MQ== Pajamasmedia: http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/ His website: http://victorhanson.com/
Wow, VDH says alot in a little article!
Our entire society is propped up on lies. It's easy to see that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme which is doomed to eventual failure, but the fact is that almost everything about our society is just as tenuous. I just don't see how we avoid a huge crash and a transformation of values. Virtually everything we believe, is false. We have built our house on sand.
Hopefully when the rebuilding comes, there will be more appreciation for the Truth in the Bible. Let us build on rock next time.
Our CULTURE AND OUR GOVERNING AND FUNCTIONAL INSTITUTIONS are now corrupt and delusional. That is US whether we like it or not.
If present trends continue, Californians will become Oakies.
Excellent article. I suspect that VDH meant to refer to Prop. 187 though. I don't remember these kinds of demonstration over the Property Tax issue.
Three reasons, of many, why I love FreeRepublic.
Victor Davis Hanson, Thomas Sowell, and Mark Steyn.
it was only 75 years or so from the year that the united Greeks turned back Darius, to the end of the disastrous Peloponnesian wars...and the first 30 or 40 years of that period was the golden age of Athens.
So, really, the decline came very, very rapidly, just a generation or a generation and a half.
Sure, Greece limped on for a while. But who would have thought the the decline from the Age of Pericles could be so total, and so swift?
5. What is going on with the rise of a leftist aristocracy? Al Gore become a multimillionaire railing about reducing our lifestyle in accord with the pseudoscience of his climate-change gurus? John Edwards built a mansion to better voice his sermons on "two nations"? From his estates, John Kerry limoed and jetted in Kennedy-fashion to warn us about a cruel jobless vision of George Bush's America?
A zillionaire Gates family, that has ensured there will be no federal inheritance taxes on their $50 billion, lectures on the benefits of higher inheritance taxes; a speculating Soros expounds on capitalism's sins; a billionaire, tax-savvy Buffet laments the too-low federal income tax; a multimillionaire, low-ratings Katie Couric bristles at Palinism as her network lays off hoi polloi. And on and on.
Yet rarely is voiced the common denominator. High Liberalism is now a psychological manifestation, by which the very rich, immune to both the realities of tough living and the hurt of high taxes, finds solace, self-worth, penance even, by sympathy for big government entitlement for the less fortunate whom they connive hourly to avoid. Prep schools are jammed with the children of those who damn charter schools and vouchers; environmentalism's most articulate advocates of small is better live in ways undreamed by the masses they wish to rein in. The greatest advocates of public expenditure, whether a Rangel, Geithner, or Daschle, are quite busy ensuring that they themselves will not have to pay for it all.
“High Liberalism is now a psychological manifestation, by which the very rich, immune to both the realities of tough living and the hurt of high taxes, finds solace, self-worth, penance even, by sympathy for big government entitlement for the less fortunate whom they connive hourly to avoid.”
The flip side of this is why are people not up in arms about the liberal rich? Hate the rich but don’t hate any movie stars, movie directors, musicians, sports stars, etc., who are all millionaires many times over. We can’t hate Brad Pitt or Angela Jolie. The public are told who amongst the rich to hate: Republicans. The public can go f*ck themselves, if they haven’t already.
25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised. Amen.26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
"The result? The result you can see -- most of the people who graduated in the 60's, dropouts or half-baked intellectuals, are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, and educational systems. You are stuck with them. You can't get rid of to them. They are contaminated. They are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern [alluding to Pavlov]. You can not change their mind even if you expose them to authentic information. Even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still can not change the basic perception and the logic of behavior. In other words [for] these people the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible."--KGB Defector Yuri Bezmenov, circa 1984
right of course....”who would have thought” = speaking humanly....
“God is dead, therefore we are as gods.”
Fools are easily led where (most) angels fear to tread.
Wouldn’t be so easy if the sheeple would just RTFM - Read The Field Manual - and follow the instructions for discerning the path toward the self-evident, temporal, Truth.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
It's because totalitarian socialism is a conspiracy and method of and by
the Illuminati to control, impoverish, dumb down, bankrupt, and enslave the masses.
Obama is the puppet of the secret societies who want to impose this agenda.
For some strange reason they like the yahoos like Edwards, Clinton, and Gore
as their front men and mouthpieces. Probably because they are too stupid
to understand the more sinister occult and gnostic aspects of this agenda.
Or too immoral, vainglorious, and power-hungry to care.
"Most of us believe socialism is what the socialists want us to believe it is - a share-the-wealth program. That is the theory. But is that how it works?... If one understands that socialism is not a share-the-wealth program, but is in reality a method to consolidate and control the wealth, then the seeming paradox of super-rich men promoting socialism becomes no paradox at all. Instead it becomes the logical, even the perfect tool of power-seeking megalomaniacs. Communism, or more accurately, socialism, is not a movement of the downtrodden masses, but of the economic elite." - Gary Allen, None Dare Call It Conspiracy
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.