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Can liberty live without truth?
Posted By Alan Keyes On 03/11/2011 @ 12:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
The focus on purportedly pro-democratic regime change in the Middle East feeds the false assumption that we should look for dramatic events, replete with the threat or use of violence, to mark the revolution that replaces one form of government with another. Yet while Americans think we are watching such revolutions take place elsewhere, we are in fact being distracted from the truth, which is that we are right now being pushed into finalizing just such a revolution here at home. In this regard, two reports this week arrested my attention.
Congressional candidate Art Robinson told us of the politically motivated attack under way at Oregon State University to destroy the outstanding academic careers of his three children, Joshua, Bethany and Matthew, as well as that of OSU professor of nuclear engineering Jack Higginbotham
The second report was about Mike Huckabee, the GOP politician who purports to represent grass-roots Americans who mean to restore the moral basis of America’s democratic, constitutional republic. He dismissed the need for official action to address public doubts about Obama’s constitutional eligibility to be president. Huckabee said that presidential candidates “… pretty much have our biographies. The news media is going to delve into everything imaginable.”
Though thousands aren’t marching the streets, though as yet no permanent pall of simmering violence thickens the political atmosphere, these two reports illustrate how nearly we are approaching the overthrow of the constitutional democratic republic devised and established by America’s founding generation. They brought to my mind Solzhenitsyn’s account of the everyday basis for elitist totalitarian tyranny.
We have been so hopelessly dehumanized … we are willing to abandon all our principles, our souls, and all the efforts of our predecessors and all opportunities for our descendants – but just don’t disturb our fragile existence. We lack staunchness, pride and enthusiasm. We don’t even fear universal nuclear death, and we don’t fear a third world war. We have already taken refuge in the crevices. We just fear acts of civil courage. We fear only to lag behind the herd and to take a step alone. …
The circle – is it closed? And is there really no way out? And is there only one thing left for us to do, to wait without taking action? Maybe something will happen by itself? It will never happen as long as we daily acknowledge, extol and strengthen – and do not sever ourselves from the most perceptible of its aspects: lies.
When violence intrudes into peaceful life, its face glows with self-confidence, as if it were carrying a banner and shouting: “I am violence. Run away, make way for me – I will crush you.” But violence quickly grows old. And it has lost confidence in itself, and in order to maintain a respectable face it summons falsehood as its ally – since violence lays its ponderous paw not every day and not on every shoulder. It demands from us only obedience to lies and daily participation in lies – all loyalty lies in that. (“Live not by Lies,” Alexandr Solzhenitsyn)
The insights Solzhenitsyn distills from Russia’s experience with communism confirm Thomas Jefferson’s belief that the eternal enemy of human liberty is tyranny over the mind. What padlocks the chains of mental slavery is the moral and spiritual death of the institutions that are supposed to shelter the dedicated fellowship of truth, gathered in its name in the groves of academe. This execution of the soul’s dedication to truth is not some massively brutal act of physical violence. It is death by a thousand little cuts. The fears and ambitions made large by everyday proximity are manipulated to goad individuals into exchanging the bonds of truth for a ritual of lies. Its daily office calls for them to acquiesce at the appointed hour in some sacrifice of truth.
Art Robinson’s account of the politically motivated vendetta being pursued at OSU, against his children and professor Higginbotham, sends up a flare. It illuminates the operation of this regime of moral and spiritual intimidation as it affects scientific professionals whose genius is already developing the technological wherewithal for implementing universal totalitarian intimidation and control.
At the same time it illustrates the threat to political liberty inevitable in a society deeply infiltrated by government-dominated institutions. Once generalized, this infiltration leaves citizens with no refuge from triumphant partisans who are determined to stifle opposition by holding hostage the livelihoods of their opponents’ families and friends. Imagine the world in which every university is dependent on government funding; every clinic and hospital is part of government-controlled health care; every business enterprise dependent on government-guaranteed and regulated credit. Then every citizen will be like Art Robinson, forced to battle against the politically dictated destruction of his loved ones because he dares to offer his fellow citizens a better choice for political leadership.
Tragically, the report about Mike Huckabee suggests that the specter of such pervasive intimidation is already having its effect. Abjectly, he surrenders the profound issue of principle involved in the “natural born citizen” language of the Constitution. Absurdly, he expresses confidence that the elitist media will research and report the facts that have a bearing on the issue. This is more pathetically laughable than his recent display of ignorance about the matters of fact and constitutional principle that are in dispute. Just this week a report about Betsy Liley, a high official with National Public Radio, added to the abundant evidence that the elitist media is consciously determined to keep the public in the dark about these matters.
Given that fact, can anyone effectually opposed to the Obama faction’s assault against America’s liberty and Constitution think this same media will suddenly begin to report them accurately? Have they accurately reported the facts about Obamacare; or the Obama faction’s egregious abuse of stimulus money; or the radical backgrounds of Obama’s appointees? Will they report at all on such matters as the political vendetta at OSU against Art Robinson’s offspring?
Gov. Huckabee’s tenuous grasp of the eligibility issue suggests that he bases his own conclusions about it on the elitist media’s factional propaganda. That may be why he has no qualms about letting respect for the authority of the Constitution hang by the same frayed thread. Such casual indifference to truth is a far cry from the mentality of America’s founders, who based their country’s Declaration of Independence on tenets of self-evident truth. It is a far cry from the courageous wisdom of the framers of the Constitution, who eschewed what was then the globally prevalent reality of elite tyranny, in order to establish a government of, by and for the people.
Today too many of our ambition-corrupted elites have forgotten that the union established under the aegis of America’s constitutional republic was a pragmatic expression of the fellowship of truth. It began with the acknowledgement that human convenience does not, on its own, dictate the requirements of justice. Rather, justice must be informed by a commitment to recognize and respect fundamental truth. Many Americans today realize that their liberty will not revive until this commitment has been renewed.
Perhaps, in deference to timorous former governors and other such politicians, the first step toward this renewal should be the one Solzhenitsyn recommended to his compatriots in the essay quoted above:
We are not called upon to step out onto the square and shout out the truth, to say out loud what we think – this is scary, we are not ready. But let us at least refuse to say what we do not think! This is the way, then, the easiest and most accessible for us given our deep-seated organic cowardice. …
As Solzhenitsyn well knew, this fear-stricken resolve is no qualification for leadership. (I think he offered it by way of consolation to those who would not imitate his bolder commitment to speak the truth.) But for purportedly principled politicians, unwilling to question the prevarications of the elitist party line, it would at least offer a way to avoid openly insulting the intelligence and good faith of the grass-roots republican patriots they purport to represent.
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