Explicitly Revealed: Deceit, Hypocrisy, Corruption, and Criminality . . . From Progressivism to the Pandemic
A solitary lie is often just the beginning, an indication of worse to come. There is scientific evidence that lies tend to grow like Pinocchio’s nose. Dishonesty is, of course, all around us in society -- in love and war, business and politics, and of course in media. Those who at first find success in its use, particularly if not caught out early, tend to expand their nefarious activities. Research indicates that “self-serving” deceitfulness cognitively reinforced proliferates with recurrence, and grows in significance. In a word, lying is, addictive! Small wonder we’re seeing so much of it in our present polity.
Karl Halevi, better known as Karl Marx, was born in 1818 shouldering a chip, into a bourgeois family living in Prussia. His father, Hirschel Halevi, a lawyer and son of a Dutch Rabbi, converted to Christianity raising the family as Lutherans. Ineffectively.
Karl Marx complained about the dominance of religion in shaping viewpoints of the masses in the middle of the nineteenth century. The faithful preferred heeding the Bible to reading his screeds. In retrospect, he might be excused not foreseeing the information age, but not for his warped vision of human nature.
The Russians likely caused the first of many revolutions Marx executed in his London grave, whereupon Hitler gave him pause, shocked. Admirers Mao and Fidel, through to Pol Pot and Kim Jong Un have kept him turning since. Marx would certainly agree with the ends, but no intelligent human could countenance the means.
Historians don’t typically label Rough-Rider Republican Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt a liberal. “TR” was though, the first progressive president. Recognizing the need for reforms, he understood that excesses of capitalism were unsustainable given popular labor unrest. Example enough since his predecessor McKinley was gunned down by a former steelworker anarchist -- as he was himself.
Before the Democrats and Republicans began battling for political domination in the early years of the 20th Century, labor began agitating, particularly in the railroads under the leadership of Eugene V. Debs. Democrat, turned socialist after being sent to jail for his involvement in the Pullman strike of 1994 there being introduced to Marxist doctrine, Debs eventually became the leader of the socialist movement in America.
President Wilson was rare bird, less a politician than a political scientist and historian, replete with theoretical notions and grand visions for reorganizing the responsibilities of relationships between congress, the executive, and the bureaucracy. Briefly governor of New Jersey after serving as Princeton University president, the career academic Wilson was a Hegelian (like Marx), and an Anglophile, who admired the parliamentary system’s bureaucratic prerogative, preferring it to American checks and balances which weakened the executive.
The dark-horse Republican nominee, Ohio Junior Senator Warren Harding, campaigning on reversing Wilson’s policies and restoring the country to conservative government and programs, won on the slogan, a “Return to Normalcy”. Normalcy returned, but lasted just short of a decade before running off the proverbial rails -- and into FDR’s lap.
The path back to normalcy was interrupted mid-1923 when Warren Harding passed away from a heart attack on a tour of the west. Scandals in his administration surfaced only later, most notably “Teapot Dome”. The death of the Ohio Gang’s Jess Smith was the Seth Rich murder mystery of the time. Harding’s successor, “Silent Cal” Calvin Coolidge presided over the post-war economic boom for 2 terms. Herbert Hoover, consummate government aficionado, believed he too would be managing continued good times when elected president in 1928.
As classical economists have revealed, the cause of the Crash of ‘29 wasn’t quite so simple. True, the irrational speculation, greed, manipulation and corruption played a part, but there was a foundation of government policy, legislative fiasco, and central bank mismanagement that pushed the economy over the edge.
Unlike many of his predecessors, Franklin Delano Roosevelt hadn’t risen from humble beginnings -- the Roosevelt and Delano families were among the richest New York elite. The only child of his mother Sara Delano, he was supported by her throughout his early political career. Sara’s father, Warren Delano II, made the family fortune in the 19th century opium trade smuggling Turkish and Indian opium into China. Apologists have attempted to confuse the family blot with an honorable supply of opium later on to the US government for civil war medicinal needs, but as with the other English and American opium traders of the era, the profit motive was keeping China’s millions of addicts hooked on the drug. In the 21st century, enterprising Chinese are returning the favor in fentanyl.
Prior to FDR, black Americans viewed the Democrat party skeptically. Democrats were the party of slavery, bigotry in the south, the KKK, lynching and Jim Crow apartheid. FDR fooled a lot of people with his pandering, and black Americans were no exception. It was the identity politics of the period. Roosevelt’s quest was for one thing in the main; votes to stay in power. Pandering and liberal rhetoric were the tonics on offer.
The war started by the National Socialists in Germany and the Fascist Imperial Militarists in Japan caused the deaths of 60-70 million people. Without the tremendous sacrifices by the moral nations of the world, joining together to defeat the evil aggressors, many more would have perished. One of the allied partners in the struggle was, by noticeable moral exception, a totalitarian state that had perpetrated acts of genocide similar to Germany and Japan in the years just before the war. The Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin had caused the deaths of an estimated 20 million people, including the 7 million Ukrainians in the coerced Holodomor famine. Contrary to the propaganda, the Soviet Union was not paradise by any stretch of imagination.
By default, unlikely leader Harry Truman became president upon the death of FDR April 12, 1945. On the last day of April, with the Soviets encircling his bunker in Berlin, Hitler committed suicide. When Japan refused unconditional surrender terms announced at the Potsdam conference July 26, Truman approved dropping the first offensive atomic bomb over Hiroshima August 6, to end the war. Upon further equivocation the US dropped the second atomic bomb over Nagasaki August 9.
Harry Truman must have been one of the most honest presidents in US history. Although “the buck stopped” famously with Harry, many more must have been purloined along the way. Unique among pols, Truman had not used his political office in the senate or presidency to enrich himself. “Give ‘em Hell” Harry retired with financial hardship, and was granted a pension by an act of congress.
After 2 decades of Democrat Party dictate, Republican control of the executive resumed with the election of Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower in 1952. Eisenhower campaigned against the Democrats on their stalemated Korea war policy, corruption in the Truman administration -- and with the young California Senator Richard Nixon as his VP Pick, against communist subversion.
In the new prosperity, life was good for a burgeoning, information consuming public. For a time, a rising new breed of journalists tested in the trauma of total war relegated partisan sympathies to the sidelines. Supported by renewed ethics in journalism schools, the rapidly growing postwar media business engendered a generation of professionals -- espousing honesty and objectivity -- that would last only through their careers.
On November 22nd, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, likely by the establishment elite he was trying to bypass through his policy agenda. Widely acknowledged a clandestine coup d'état carried out by intelligence operatives and the Chicago mafia who JFK and RFK betrayed, executive power passed to Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The stakes to control America in the role of the world superpower proved too high for honorable statesmanship to persevere.
LBJ’s heart was in battling at his other front, the “War on Poverty”. While possibly well intentioned, Johnson’s trademark domestic program was a colossal blunder in wishful thinking. Like his simplistic acceptance American resources in blood and treasure could win in Vietnam, Johnson’s shortsighted political mindset led him to believe massive welfare dollars could defeat poverty. Far from achieving victory over poverty to make society better, LBJ’s doubly distressing legacy was to entrench and institutionalize poverty in America for decades after he had fled the scene.
At the core of the debate, the mindset of the left misjudges true human nature which encompasses sincerity, empathy and sacrifice, as well as avarice and treachery. In reality, socialism begets the worst of humanity: dictatorship, one party rule with rigid political class division, and for the lower class; guaranteed mediocrity, surveillance, suspicion, fear, despair - all brought about by coercion. The historical record of abject failure in past collectivist experiments is always discounted by its fervent adherents. The excuse most often heard is: “we won’t make those mistakes in our utopia!”
Relying on self-professed brilliance, indeed clairvoyance, central planners believe they can determine the most efficient allocation of labor resources, systems of production, and quantities of commodities needed to maximize benefit to society. Actually, they can at best only dictate what they deem people should have. No choice: Would you like your standard size, ill-fitting uniform in grey . . . or grey? That’s if there are enough uniforms to go around. If not, keep wearing last year’s uniform. Patch it as needed . . . if there are any needles and thread available. Doing without is mere inconvenience with some commodities. Production shortfalls are somewhat more acute with food. You can’t eat last year’s potato. You ate it last year.
As 20th Century Republican presidents go, Ronald Wilson Reagan was one of the better regarded, by his supporters and objective historians. He might only follow Teddy Roosevelt, the roughriding trustbuster, and possibly “Ike” Eisenhower, the victorious general of WWII. The left, however, had some issues with Reagan, like they’ve had issues with all Republican presidents since Nixon. It might have been different if Nixon had defeated Kennedy in 1960 and there was no JFK martyrdom, but for some reason the left just had an itch to scratch every time they didn’t get their way in presidential elections.
Chapter 6 - lexicon unleashed