Truth, Freedom, and Democracy

Obama hatchet man David Axelrod’s admission that his boss lied through his teeth – to a pastor, in a church, among other venues – about his true belief in gay marriage, as a ploy to get elected in 2008, caps off a season of malarkey that has included busted rape hoaxes, NBC’s anchorman being exposed as a serial liar, and our media “gatekeepers” striving mightily to bury a huge pile of videos in which ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber explained how his pet project was foisted on the American people with one lie after another. The old sarcasm about “Fake But Accurate” media fantasies is giving way to a new, darker era of Fake But Necessary: not merely the fabrication or embellishment of anecdotes to peddle a narrative containing “deeper truth,” but the frank employment of outright falsehoods as an instrument of coercion.

That’s what the Gruber revelations are all about: lying extravagantly about everything from ObamaCare’s finances, to the options available to Americans under the scheme (“if you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period!”) in order to fool them into submission. Once the bill was passed, all that talk of choices, options, and promised savings vanished, replaced by authoritarian rhetoric about how “the settled law of the land” cannot be changed, ever. The rule of law was discarded to keep ObamaCare bobbing above the turbulent sea of popular discontent until the moment when disgruntled Americans could be told to choke on their complaints, because they had been conquered by the legions of HHS and the IRS, their choices and money gone forever. The Left wasn’t shy about putting it that way, either. People who think the Constitution is written in pencil crowed about the “settled law of the land” with an unmistakable air of triumphalism.

Likewise with gay marriage, whose advocates will celebrate Axelrod’s revelations of Obama’s duplicity as a pack of lies necessary to force benighted homophobic America down the path to enlightenment. The gay marriage movement is not even slightly troubled by the necessity of using court actions to force supposedly free people to accept a social change they didn’t vote for – indeed, in many of the conquered territories, they actively voted against it. We’re now sitting uncomfortably through the final days of a kabuki performance – called out as such by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in his dissent from the Court’s refusal to halt contested same-sex weddings in Alabama – in which we pretend that local governments, lower courts, and the American people still have something to say about the definition of marriage, while the Supremes pretend to thoughtfully ponder a final judgment that has already been rendered.

Passionate advocates of same-sex marriage will argue that the ends justify the means, and it’s all for the best when compulsive force is employed to drag society towards a righteous judgment it was too slow to achieve by democratic consensus. It’s a fearsome wonder that anyone in the Western world is still willing to entertain that line of thinking, let alone Americans. Do you seriously think this will be the only “righteous judgment” your Ruling Class plans to force upon you, using the same tactics and rhetoric perfected during the push for same-sex marriage?

It’s understandably difficult to approach the matter of enforced righteousness with proper caution when you deeply believe in the cause. It’s easy to dismiss procedural objections as trivial distractions from urgently-needed social progress. Just about everyone harbors some private list of things they believe everyone should be required to do, or prohibited from doing. The humble American keeps a very short list, and reminds himself or herself on a daily basis that few ideas have visited more misery upon the human race than “the ends justify the means.” A good deal of the debate among our Founding Fathers could be described as accepting the wisdom that, with the exception of rare existential crises, the ends never justify abandoning concern for the means. It is a vital principle of what we broadly think of as “democracy” that proper respect must be paid to the means at all times, from the Constitutional machinery of divided government to the daily practices in courtrooms across the land.

To put it bluntly: in what sense are Americans still a “free” people, if their rulers feel free to lie to them with impunity? Freedom demands truth, because false choices are not free choices. If a villain tells a blind man that steady ground lies ahead for miles to come, but in reality the blind man is only three steps away from the edge of a cliff, the victim of this perfidy did not “choose” to commit suicide. When a politician lies to us about every detail of his gigantic trillion-dollar plan, lies about its very nature – concealing its vast layers of coercion and punishment beneath phony promises that it will be a largely voluntary program that persuades people to participate, by saving them tons of money and delivering superior services – and then bellows it’s too late to back out after those promises are proven false, America did not “vote for” that plan or “choose” to accept it.

Why are we still talking about “democracy” and representative government when our Ruling Class and its court media assert the right to deceive us constantly? What’s the point of venerating the sacred right of the vote, when those ballots are taken as signatures to fraudulent social contracts that can never be broken? In fact, our official national reverence for the luminous power of the vote is itself a lie, because so much control over our lives has been transferred to bureaucrats we will never be given a chance to vote against. We’ve been taught to accept the loss of our freedom with a promise that we can always use our ballots as a veto against outright tyranny. In that way, we are made to forget how slippery and persistent tyranny is.

Freedom does not long survive the dissolution of respect between citizens. If we don’t fully respect each other, even in the heat of strong disagreement, we become willing to set aside persuasion for compulsion. Persuasion is hard, slow, often frustrating work. There will always be a remainder of dissent left after even the most compelling argument. When individuality enjoys the full measure of democratic respect, that dissenting minority is allowed to go its own way. When that respect is absent… well, those stubborn holdouts must be forced to get with the program. If they resist the soft compulsion of lies designed to give them the illusion of climbing aboard willingly, they’ll eventually face the hard coercion of fines, taxes, and other punishments.

Why would any sane person be in favor of giving even more power to such a duplicitous aristocracy? There’s something qualitatively different about this new era of Fake But Necessary, beyond cynical old jibes about the inherent dishonesty of politics. If there is no way to keep government honest, then it is incumbent upon us to keep it weak. Deception is a form of power, after all – a means of compelling people to do something they wouldn’t choose to do with their eyes wide open. The nature of this power is not altered when it is employed for supposedly righteous ends. The powerful always claim to be morally superior to those they seek to dominate… even after they’ve been caught lying to the pastor of a church about the alleged contents of their very souls.

It would be nice if the “ends justify the means” crowd was honest about the low value it places on truth, freedom, dissent, capitalism, and the other inseparable components of true liberty… but of course, that’s the last thing they’ll be honest about. I mean that literally, because their masks do have a way of slipping when they think they’ve won a permanent victory.


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