Will Barack's Theory of the "Good Life" Destroy America?
Saluting Obama, Our Demagogue in Chief
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Is the central purpose of communication to persuade an audience, or to tell them the truth? Of course, a combination of both is the goal of effective and ethical speaking. But has this question ever sprung to Barack Obama’s mind when rising to pontificate? Contra, it appears Obama’s entire approach to communication is simply using words to service political goals.
He continually sacrifices honesty to expedience in his “Pragmatic” manner. In short, Barack is a “sophist,” misusing words to create false impressions of reality to fool people into supporting his policies.
Unfortunately, given the mainstream media’s liberal default, we can’t often discover inconsistencies in their favored figures. So we often don’t know when leftist leaders are lying. Contra, media bogeymen receive coverage either warped, or wholly falsified. Consider when Dan Rather offered “proof” President Bush had dodged Vietnam, itself a transparent forgery. It’s dangerous when the 4th Estate utterly abandons any pretense of unbiased reporting, simply operating like brain addled celebrity hacks; functionally no different than a star-struck high school girl “reporter” doing a feature on the quarterback/homecoming king.
I. TRUTH VERSUS POWER
A. What is a Demagogue?
Demagogues use dishonesty to shape opinions. Webster defines one as “a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.” But, does it matter if our leaders deceive us? After all, everyone knows politicians lie—so why not just adjust expectations? Actually, political lies are very costly to a democracy, quite easily destroying not just public good will, but the very country itself. Besides, America’s greatest leaders, such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, were famed for honesty. So, why should we accept any public lies to begin with?!!
B. An Ancient Debate
Humanity’s oldest argument probably ponders which ideas, goals and actions represent the “Good Life.” In America, we’re currently debating whether models of socialist-big-government create a better life than capitalist-small-government-democracy. In ancient Athens, philosophers frequently debated the Good Life, including those covered in Plato’s Dialogues. These starred his teacher, Socrates, using questions meant to discover answers to important topics. According to Alasdair MacIntyre, in “Whose Justice? Which Rationality?”—Plato believed the Good Life wasn’t about seeking money or power, but justice, via truthful communication.1
C. The Sophists Versus Truth
Sophists were a Greek intellectual school from whom comes the word “sophism.” Webster’s defines this as “subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation.” In several dialogues, Plato writes of Socrates debating truth in speech, in works like Gorgias, the Sophist, and Statesman. Sophists were traveling debate teachers famed for coaching pupils on unethical and dishonest tricks for winning arguments.
In “Gorgias,” Socrates expresses scorn for tricky speeches, saying these are…“a phantom of a branch of statesmanship…a kind of flattery…that is contemptible.”2 This is because the words are meant only for the speaker’s benefit rather than the good of listeners. Worse, Plato writes these speeches are… “designed to produce conviction, but not educate people, about matters of right or wrong.” Here, Socrates makes Gorgias (an actual Greek Sophist) admit his “art” (technê) deals with opinion (doxa) instead of knowledge (epistemê); and his goal is persuasion rather than instruction. Gorgias reveals ambivalence towards “truth,” boasting, “Rhetoric is the only area of expertise you need to learn. You can ignore all the rest and still get the better of the professionals!”
II. Obama, Pragmatism, Demagoguery & Honesty
Is Barack Obama really a demagogue? Does he only care about persuading and not how? It can hardly be doubted Barack regularly lies and gets away with it. In fact, it’s so bad, and public life has been so degraded by pervasive dishonesty by our highest officials, the public barely murmurs when whoppers surface. Barack has greatly benefited from such lax standards of truth in public life.
Barack claims he’s a “Pragmatist,” but what is that? Philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce created this in an 1878 paper titled, “How To Make Your Ideas Clear,” then popularized by friend William James and US education guru John Dewey. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy says Pragmatism claims “an idea is true if it works satisfactorily, that the meaning of a proposition is to be found in the practical consequences of accepting it, and that unpractical ideas are to be rejected.”
So, Pragmatism teaches only an idea’s results proves if it is true, meaning the ends justify the means. An example: claiming Machiavelli’s ruthless political theory “true” if proved the most efficient way to establish power. This contradicts the traditional theory of “truth.” Applied to speech, if Obama employs Pragmatism, there’s no expectation his words are literally “true.” Instead, Barack would judge the “truth” of his words by how Americans supported his position. “Pragmatically,” this is acceptable.
B. Lies of Barack
If his Pragmatism allows Barack to lie in order to create support for his policies, do any examples exist of him doing so? Yes. Actually, Obama’s short record contains an extraordinary number of lies. For brevity’s sake, let’s just list a few major ones here:
- Stimulus: Obama claimed the $787B Stimulus Bill was necessary or the economy would collapse; but if passed, unemployment would not top 8%. Neither was true, as since the Stimulus did not work, it did not stave off catastrophe; and unemployment went double digits. Further, since he didn’t author the bill, Barack had no idea what was in the bill.
- Earmarks: Obama claimed he’d eliminate earmarks; and then passed giant bills full of them.
- Jobs: Barack claimed his bills created or saved millions of jobs, yet data was falsified on the official US site from across America to hide the fact jobs were not created.
- Transparency: Obama promised he’d put bills online 5 days before vote, yet most bills have never been online and most were voted on without even knowing what’s in them.
- Lobbyists: Barack claimed no lobbyists would be in his government; then many were hired.
- ACORN: Obama said he never worked for ACORN; but he represented them for Motor Voter.
- Obamacare: Barack repeatedly lied about the contents of the health Bill until it was passed.
- Guantanamo: Obama claimed he’d quickly shut down Guantanamo; it’s still open.
- Iraq: Barack claimed he’d have all US troops out of Iraq in 16 months; they are still there.
- Socialism: Barack claims he’s not socialist, yet a college communist comrade (now Prof. John C. Drew) at Occidental claims Obama was then a standard Marxist-Leninist. (audio of Drew interview youtube.com )
Obama’s colossal number of lies, half-truths, and mis-characterizations is simply astounding.3 Has ever a president told a tenth of the number of canards? Yet, instead of simply assuming Barack is running America like a chicken with his head amputated, we must assume his lying is strategic, helping him “change” America to socialism. So, we postulate Obama is a demagogue of a Pragmatist variety which fits quite nicely into his Marxist beliefs, since communists do not believe in the Judeo-Christian embargo against lying.
III Socialist & Marxist Rhetoric Versus Bible viz-a-viz Truth
Do communists believe lying is foundational in implementing public policy? By admission, and proved via historical record, leftists support lying. A main communist assumption is that no God exists; therefore religion is false.
Biblical religions most strongly condemn lying. Consider the Old Testament Ten Commandments: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16 NIV) Also, the New Testament states, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life…” (John 14:6 NIV). We see here, not only does the Bible prohibit lying, but God himself, as revealed in Jesus, claims to embody truth in a way unique in history.
What does socialist “scripture,” per Marxist writings, as well as those of Lenin, Stalin and Mao, teach about truth? Said Marx, “The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.” And, “The social principles of Christianity preach cowardice, self-contempt, abasement, submission, humility, in a word all the qualities of the canaille (ie lower class).”
Consider whether Marx and followers really espoused lying by pondering these facts; First, Marxist political structure is based upon Hegel’s ideas. The latter’s Philosophy of Right justifies all State action in the name of order.4 Also, Marx claims capitalist societies traffic in theft by the rich, absconding with the working man’s goods. So the obvious argument is it’s no injustice lying to thieves. Finally, all communist regimes used dishonest claims to manipulate public opinion.
Consider the book Rules For Radicals, by Obama role model, Saul Alinksy, in his chapter titled “On Means and Ends.” This section is clearly Pragmatic. Alinsky gives eleven rules of ethics, which, when boiled down, teach any action is moral if achieving desired ends. He writes, “The Third rule of ethics of means and ends is that in war the ends justifies almost any means.”5 Of course, the “war” Alinsky was describing was the Marxist battle against capitalism.
Another book, A Guide To Marxism,6 explains “The ‘Relativity View of Ethics.’” This says,
“Moreover, in any discussion involving ethics or morality, the fundamental point for a Marxist is there is no such thing as an absolute Right or Wrong. Right and Wrong are are relative for a Marxist: a thing which is wrong at one time, and in one set of circumstances, will be right in another…It is therefore simply not possible to settle an argument with them (Marxists) by reference to ethical principles—by saying, for instance, that the consequence of a particular policy would be murder, and you cannot commit murder. From a Marxist standpoint, you can—in certain circumstances (commit murder).”
So we can see Alinsky’s ideas on situational ethics track exactly the Pragmatist nature of Marxist-Leninism, in that only by judging the outcomes of a decision can its morality be viewed as “right” or “wrong.”
Historically, instances of Marxist regimes blatantly lying are numerous. Listing them would be akin to naming the stars in the heavens. So, a few examples must suffice. The book The KGB and Soviet Disinformation,7 by Ladislav Bittman, contains many instances of subterfuge done by Marxist regimes. He writes in the chapter titled, “Disinformation Mills,” “Revolutionary activities included calculated use of deception, guerrilla strikes at the nerve centers of capitalist society, and other clandestine political activity.” Bittman describes how Soviet Union’s KGB secret police were influenced by Lenin’s book What Can Be Done8, in its prescription of lying, forgeries, and psychological warfare. He states, “Vladimir Lenin emphasized the importance of informal penetration techniques, propaganda, agitation, and political deception as integral elements of the Communist Party’s strategy.”
Obama’s continued pathological lying can only damage America. First, it instructs the public such behavior is acceptable. Moreover, Barack’s demagoguery is extraordinarily dangerous, since the average person has no means of independently verifying his claims, meaning voters fly blind for information on state policies and elections. This must change. The first step is replacing a hideously corrupt and incompetent mainstream media, already underway due to suicidally biased tendencies.
M. Scott Peck essayed on pathologically dishonest persons in People of the Lie.9 According to Peck, (a Christian convert after becoming a psychiatrist) people who habitually lie cross the line and become evil, devolving into enemies of humanity in their desire to hide deceptive and evil natures. He writes,
“Evil is the exercise of political power—that is, the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion in order to avoid spiritual growth. Because their willfulness is so extraordinary, and always accompanied by a lust for power, I suspect that the evil are more likely than most to politically aggrandize themselves…The malignantly narcissistic insist upon “affirmation independent of all findings.” Self-criticism is a call to personality change…The evil are pathologically attached to the status quo of their personalities, which, in their narcissism, they consciously regard as perfect. I think it is quite possible that the evil may perceive even a small degree of change in their beloved selves as representing total annihilation…They project their own evil onto the world. They never think of themselves as evil; on the other hand, they consequently see much evil in others…”
Barack Obama obviously assumes his lies cannot be stopped and they aid change. But what does it mean Obama needs and feels privileged to lie? Certainly, that his policies are unacceptable if transparently presented. Further, that Barack carries Pragmatist definitions of truth and right and wrong inside, which, as discussed—is functionally indistinguishable from Marx’s diabolical ethics.
The greatest leaders in history, from Christ to Plato and Washington to Reagan, opposed demagoguery. Is there a reason to accept a third-rate, incompetent, tin-pot despot as a leader if these bad habits block effectiveness? No. How can one claim to “lead” a democracy if it presumes a well-informed populace making choices between real options while the leader only offers lies? Can one imagine a doctor lying to patients so they feel better while dying? In these days of desperate problems and failed policies, we desperately need politicians who at least tell the truth if we hope to overcome our problems and regain national health. The first thing, then, is to demand honest leaders, and the rest of good government should follow.