Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Barack Obama’s trip to India is costing 200 million dollars a day!!
Libertarian conservative Andrew Sullivan in a post today characterizes the last two years as the “era of the Big Lie.” It’s no secret who’s to blame.
It seems to me that the last year or so in America’s political culture has represented the triumph of untruth. And the untruth was propagated by a deliberate, simple and systemic campaign to kill Obama’s presidency in its crib. Emergency measures in a near-unprecedented economic collapse – the bank bailout, the auto-bailout, the stimulus – were described by the right as ideological moves of choice, when they were, in fact, pragmatic moves of necessity. The increasingly effective isolation of Iran’s regime – and destruction of its legitimacy from within – was portrayed as a function of Obama’s weakness, rather than his strength. The health insurance reform – almost identical to Romney’s, to the right of the Clintons in 1993, costed to reduce the deficit, without a public option, and with millions more customers for the insurance and drug companies – was turned into a socialist government take-over.
Every one of these moves could be criticized in many ways. What cannot be done honestly, in my view, is to create a narrative from all of them to describe Obama as an anti-American hyper-leftist, spending the US into oblivion. But since this seems to be the only shred of thinking left on the right (exacerbated by the justified flight of the educated classes from a party that is now openly contemptuous of learning), it became a familiar refrain – pummeled into our heads day and night by talk radio and Fox. If you think I’m exaggerating, try the following thought experiment.
If a black Republican president had come in, helped turn around the banking and auto industries (at a small profit!), insured millions through the private sector while cutting Medicare, overseen a sharp decline in illegal immigration, ramped up the war in Afghanistan, reinstituted pay-as-you go in the Congress, set up a debt commission to offer hard choices for future debt reduction, and seen private sector job growth outstrip the public sector’s in a slow but dogged recovery, somehow I don’t think that Republican would be regarded as a socialist.
Joseph Goebbels infamously observed, “The bigger the lie, the more likely it will be believed.” The RNC/FNC conglomerate seems to be betting on that.
Frye on fascism and oligarchy:
Fascism is an oligarchic conspiracy against the open-class system, deriving its real power from the big oligarchs and its mass support from would-be oligarchs, the “independent” (i.e. unsuccessful) entrepreneurs. (CW 11, 252)
This is apparently how free people become eager accomplices in their own enslavement.
An earlier post, “Mendocracy,” here.