FRONT ROYAL, VA — A few weeks ago, Pope Francis asked us to pray, fast, and give alms on Saturday, September 7, for peace in Syria. We did; and on Monday, September 9, Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times somehow occasioned what Joe Sobran once referred to as “the qualm before the storm.”
The Rubble couldn’t help but notice in the background noise to war the tenor of our leaders’ reaction to Putin’s piece. “It turned my stomach,” said Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I was insulted,” said House Speaker Boehner.
Well, isn’t it nice that our nation’s leaders tell us how they feel!
All this comes to mind as we observe the cacophony of verbal concupiscence surrounding the alleged “shutdown” of the federal government.
Harry Reid calls the Republicans “anarchists.” For Pelosi, they’re “arsonists.” Chuck “The Schume” calls them “fanatics.” Dan Pfeiffer, a “Senior White House Advisor,” calls them “suicide bombers.” Al Gore calls them “Political Terrorists.”
According to the New York Times, Obama accuses them of “blackmail.”
Blackmail. That reminds me of my father’s story of his days as a young lawyer in 1923. His client was being blackmailed, so Dad* paid a private visit to a senior judge to seek some advice.
“Pat,” the judge said, “there are only three things you can do with a blackmailer. You can pay him. You can kill him. Or you can tell the truth.”
Tell the truth? These days, it appears that a lot of politicians don’t want to tell the truth – or hear it, for that matter.
They will erupt with indignation and lay bare their innermost feelings, but none of them will have done with the epithets and speak rationally. Intelligent discussion might survive in private conversation; but, when it comes to the public, all we get is bombast.
The unanimity of this tactic indicates that it emanates from carefully-conducted research, conducted by the Beltway’s “public opinion experts.”
The Density Of The Masses
“The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.”
(Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism)
At a recent birthday party in Washington, I met an old friend who ranks among the best of professional pollsters. “You have your finger on the pulse of the public mind,” I said. “What mentality are you dealing with when you reach out to the public at large?”
“Many of them can’t read very well,” my friend replied. “They certainly can’t write. And you can’t ask them long questions, because they get lost after a couple of lines. You have to keep your sentences very short.”
My friend’s report harmonizes to an alarming degree with the views of my friends who teach college students. And apparently, our politicians agree.
Well, with two generations of voters who have been brought up in public schools to “feel good about themselves,” should we be surprised that our politicians are counseled by the experts to tell these people how they feel?
But keep it short. “I was insulted.” “It turned my stomach.”
After all, explaining the shutdown rationally might take more than two sentences.
It would also require big words, like “Constitution” and “Separation of Powers.”
It might also require a detour into that dreaded subject in which pupils often fare so miserably – arithmetic.
When paired with challenging prose, math merely compounds the difficulty. “Your household income is your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) (joint MAGI if you’re married), plus the MAGI of your dependents who make enough money to have to file a tax return,” says Healthcare.gov. “If you don’t have coverage in 2014, you’ll have to pay a penalty of $95 per adult, $47.50 per child, or 1% of your income (whichever is higher).”
“Uh, when do I get my Obamaphone?”
In 1984‘s Ministry of Truth, Outer-Party member Syme is hard at work on a new edition of the Newspeak Dictionary. He regales Winston with his dreams of ultimate success:
Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make Thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express itŠ. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller.
Uh-oh. Syme was telling the truth.
So he was vaporized.
Big Brother has Newspeak; Huxley’s Brave New World has the “Feelies.”
Are we there yet?
Fetal Slaveholder Syndrome
Last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved President Obama’s nomination of Cornelia Pillard to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
According to Lifenews.com, Pillard’s professional writings include her view that “[r]eproductive rights, including the rights to contraception and abortion, play a central role in freeing women from historically routine conscription into maternity.”
Alas, the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments were passed only after the War Between the States; so the right of a mother to kill her slaveholding baby is quite new to the law. In fact, Ms. Pillard acknowledges that her rather lethal take on the matter defies centuries of tradition and practice. But that’s fine with her because, unlike the rest of the law, “reproductive freedom” must admit no limits:
“Antiabortion laws and other restraints on reproductive freedom not only enforce women’s incubation of unwanted pregnancies, but also prescribe a ‘vision of the woman’s role’ as mother and caretaker of children in a way that is at odds with equal protection.”
Well, if Ms. Pillard’s nomination should fail, she can always apply for a job in the Hatchery in Brave New World.
Cure For 95% Of All Cancers Found! Treatment Free!
What if that headline were true?
If a pharmaceutical firm developed a drug that cured 95% of all cancers, throughout the world, it would make billions, win every Nobel Prize, and gain accolades of gratitude and praise from millions for generations to come.
The same is true for Alzheimer’s, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or Diabetes.
But curiously, no major news outlet has trumpeted the news about the miraculous cure for HIV/AIDS that is now available free to everyone in the world, no matter what their social or financial standing.
Why not, you might ask. After all, according to the Center for Disease Control, this well-kept secret could prevent 94.9 percent of HIV/AIDS.
That’s right: the CDC reports that in 2011, “94.9 percent of HIV diagnoses among teenage boys (13-19-years-old) were linked to ‘male-to-male’ sex. And 94.1 percent of the cases among young men ages 20-24 were from ‘gay’ sex.”
President Obama’s FY 2014 federal budget request contains some $30 billion for HIV/AIDS research and treatment.
In a sane world, wouldn’t the president take to the airwaves and celebrate the logical, free, sure-fire cure for HIV/AIDS – abstinence from male-to-male sex – far and wide?
Instead, as Peter LaBarbera reports, Obama’s CDC awards taxpayer funding to build “self-esteem” among homosexuals (as young as 13) and to protect them from those who might try to warn them of the consequences of their actions (which the CDC daintily classifies as “risk behaviors”). See:
Such truth-tellers are “bullies,” you see. And Obama doesn’t want to bully the gays.
He only bullies Republicans.
*Christopher Manion’s father was Clarence Manion, Dean of the Notre Dame University Law School.
From Under the Rubble is copyright (c) 2013 by Christopher Manion. All rights reserved. This column is sponsored by the Bellarmine Forum, and distributed by Griffin Internet Syndicate and FGF Books, www.fgfBooks.com.
Christopher Manion, Ph.D., is Director of the Campaign for Humanae Vitae , a project of the Bellarmine Forum. He served as a staff director on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for many years. He has taught in the departments of politics, religion, and international relations at Boston University, the Catholic University of America, and Christendom College.
Christopher Manion biographical sketch and photo: http://www.fgfbooks.com/Manion/Manion-bio.html
Photo credit: terrellaftermath