|The original "Black Bloc" marches on Rome.|
Chris Matthews recently said on MSNBC that he cannot accept Trump until and unless the latter “genuflects to the fact that he lied” about Barack Obama not being born in the United States.
Strange use of the word "genuflect." And strange use of the word “lied.” Trump has never said Obama was not born in the United States. Of course Trump has no special knowledge of where Obama was born. He made no claim that he did. He expressed doubt that Obama was born in the US, based on the same evidence available to us all.
So, it seems, to some on the left—many on the left, for Matthews is hardly a fringe figure-- to “lie” means only to cast doubts upon their preferred view of things. They too, after all, cannot really know whether Obama was born in the US. It is an article of faith then--explaining, perhaps, the word "genuflect" here.
This provokes another obvious question: if “lying” is simply suspecting something the left does not want to believe, what is “truth”?
And here, I think, you have the key to much of what is going on in American politics and culture today.
This concept of “lying” is based on the idea that “truth is relative.” As we see and hear in postmodernism, cultural relativism, the human potential movement, Castaneda’s separate reality, all that Sixties stuff, which can in fact be traced back earlier, through the Frankfort School, Nietzsche, and, not incidentally, Fascism. It has been bubbling through the culture for some time now; it owns the academy; it is having its effect.
According to this intellectual tradition, there is no objective truth. That means truth is whatever you want to be true. “Reality is a function of belief.” “Truth is a social construct.” It follows that “reality” is a contest of wills. Whoever has the strongest will gets to impose his or her reality, his or her construct, on everyone else, making it so. The obvious and necessary tactic for one’s life and all one’s acts is to fight any dissent towards one’s preferred “narrative” aggressively. For example, calling the slightest doubt or dissent “lying.” Which is an assertion of the absolute truth of whatever you choose to believe.
This philosophy is exhilarating, liberating. Which is why it has had such success in the past century. Everything is possible! There are no limits! You get, in effect, to be God—or that is the possibility held out to you.
It is, to use the Nazi phrase, the triumph of the will.
Of course, it must also inevitably crash and burn in the end. No, you cannot fly because you want to. You cannot force everyone else to submit to your will, and treat them like objects, once they realize what you are trying to do.
Antifa is a manifestation of this strand of contemporary thought, surely. Of course they are “anarchists.” All government is a restraint on one’s will. No restraint on one’s will is tolerable. One must smash it, whatever it is.
However, this is only a first step. Should one be in the position to do so, the same philosophy suggests that one must impose one’s own government on all others, one’s own reality on all others, and it must be totalitarian. Hitler had to overthrow the social order in the streets before he could impose his own. So did Mao, or Pol Pot. Once oneself in power, anyone who disagrees with your preferred reality is “lying.” There can be no “free speech,” because no expression of opposing views can be tolerated. Opposing views are fatal to a purely constructed reality. Anyone who dissents is labelled a “Nazi,” and must be met with violence. Since there is no objective standard by which to measure or evaluate views, there is no possibility of reasoned debate. Reasoned debate is “Fascist,” because it is a restriction on the will.
Of course, there can be no morality, no religion, for these too are a restraint on the will. This relativism is accordingly a doctrine attractive to sexual libertines, porn stars like “Moldylocks,” of recent “Battle of Berkeley” fame. It gives you license to do whatever you want, to anyone, so long as you can get away with it: smash windows, abort babies, hit peaceful people with bicycle locks, kill the Jews and take their stuff. And, obviously, it gives you full license to lie—reality, after all, is anything you want it to be. Lying is simply disagreeing with you, and anything you say is the truth because you say it. Moldylocks apparently lies like a trouper in interviews.
|Fighting "Hate Speech" in Berlin.|
In order to deal with this tendency, we need to understand it. I think too many good, decent, people don’t. Too many think that rules still apply, that truth matters to the other side, that we can all with good will still get along.
This was the mistake made at Munich.
And, Godwin to the contrary, I think this is exactly what we are dealing with.