In 1975, there were political billboards around America proclaiming portentously that 1984 was only nine years away. The reference, of course, was to George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four, the novel of a collectivized, indoctrinated human future, which high-school students had been reading since it was published in 1949.
The year 1984, by Gregorian reckoning, came and went, and Americans seemed to have dodged the Nineteen-Eighty-Four bullet. We weren’t being interned for reeducation by a Ministry of Love. Although conservative, constitutionalist, limited-government ideas came under relentless attack in the mainstream media and the academy, those who expressed the ideas remained free to do so. (They in fact became freer with the lifting under Reagan of the genuinely Orwellian-named “Fairness Doctrine.”)
The MSM built narratives about the reprehensible heartlessness, hypocrisy, and stupidity of conservatives, Republicans, and Christians, but we remained largely free to live and work as we chose. Reagan was reelected in 1984, and George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were elected in the years since. Republicans might have imposed unnecessary constraints on themselves – e.g., the party leadership unaccountably believing, against the evidence, that Republican candidates need to tack left to attract votes – but for the most part, the GOP continued to have a fair shot at the ballot box.
In 2012, the atmosphere has changed. The sacredness of our right to free expression – religious, political, artistic – is not necessarily given priority by either our federal government or the MSM. Dissent is treated as a pestilence, or worse (e.g., global-warming skeptics being compared to Holocaust deniers). Media and political figures cater nakedly to political narratives, no matter how many times truth bites them in the backside. They simply ignore the truth – often while being faced directly with it on live TV – focused instead on faithfully repeating the narratives launched from the Obama White House, as well as on nurturing narratives of their own.
Thus, when multiple attacks were mounted on U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Muslim world on 9/11 – one of them a clearly pre-planned assault on the US ambassador in Libya (see here as well; the media originally reported the Libyan attack as pre-planned) – the Obama White House promptly launched a narrative: that these attacks were unrelated to the 9/11 anniversary, and were instead the fault of a shadowy naturalized American, who had made what is apparently a silly, low-quality video about Mohammed and Muslims. (The clip on YouTube seems to confirm this assessment.)
Attacks on US embassies and consulates all across the Muslim world, on 9/11/12 and the days following, could hardly be interpreted as other than a form of attack on the United States. Egyptian radicals storming the US embassy in Cairo chanted, “Obama, Obama, we are all Osama!” – which carries not a whiff of righteous fury about an amateur video, but clearly invokes Osama bin Laden and the tactical triumph of al Qaeda on 9/11/01, and carries a warning to the president of the United States. Assaults and attempted assaults on US diplomatic facilities occurred from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Morocco – including violent riots against our embassy in Tunisia, the vanguard of the Arab Spring and a North African nation with which America has had peaceful, friendly ties for more than 200 years.
At the very least, the Obama administration is misinterpreting what is going on. The eruptions in the Muslim world are happening because of the larger shift that started 18 months ago. Crowds of radicals from the Muslim world generate a fury that Bolsheviks could only wish for; the developments across the Muslim arc of the Eastern hemisphere today are not necessarily to be interpreted in the categories of Soviet-era instigation and fomentation, for which Marxist cadre were famous. Today’s events are somewhat different.
Significantly, Mohammed Morsi is emblematic of a new kind of Sunni Arab leader who will grope toward a signature concept of state Islamism. But that concept is as yet without clear form, and the numerous attacks on American facilities can’t be pinned on it. The two phenomena – attacks from the street and state Islamism – are related, but they have not gotten to a melding point yet. This is the evolution we need to be watching for.
The Arab Spring nations have either remained, uneasily, under sclerotic despotisms, or have migrated to an evolving Muslim Brotherhood rule. Neither case is a factor for stability, social peace, or a consensual idea in the political realm. Libya is as yet unpacified by her putative national government; Syria is in full uproar. The Middle East has not found a stability point, and that condition is red meat to radical extremists, who include both the terrorists who assassinated the ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, and the inciters of attacks on US embassies in Cairo and elsewhere.
It is more than analytically flawed for the Obama administration to focus on the “Bacile” video. It is so superficial and convenient as to appear cynical, as if the video is the readiest excuse to hand for the administration’s bizarre, twilight behavior. This approach puts American liberty on the spot, rather than recognizing that there are hostile as well as friendly forces at work in the Arab Spring, and that they showed their intentions in flashing neon on 9/11 last week. The Obama administration’s posture on this development seems to argue a colossal lack of knowledge, understanding, and analysis. Indeed, it comes off as an ideology-accelerated “war is peace” fairy tale.
For the most part, the MSM have slavishly repeated the administration’s narrative. They also went high order on Mitt Romney, who reflexively said the thing Obama did not about the events in the Muslim world: that is, the American thing. There is no excuse for murdering Americans or attacking our embassies. There is no excuse for foreign governments that allow these attacks to happen. No video ever made can serve as an excuse for these outrages, and none should even be mentioned. Romney said the thing that resonates with the American people. The MSM were furious with him for it.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has pathetically tried to shed responsibility for the video, which has no doubt gained far more attention through the US administration’s narrative than it ever would have otherwise. Standing in the spotlight for America, she groveled before some putative Muslim audience, proclaiming that the US government “had nothing to do with” the video in question – as if the issue here were culpability, and as if it would have been perfectly fine for the terrorists who unjustly tortured and killed our ambassador to kill out of vengeance our citizen who (at least reportedly) made the video.
The narrative by which the Obama administration and the MSM are living is a house of toothpicks. It is so transparently based on a false evaluation of the situation that it has become surreal to watch it unfold.
This, in the end, is what will do it in. Orwell was an incredible storyteller, but weknow what he did not: the end of globalist Marxism, and its shabby exposure for the lie it was. Collectivism and indoctrination – Ministries of Truth and Love – don’twork. They don’t gain ascendancy over a working order. They never retail truth; by their very nature, they must deal in lies. The human spirit recognizes that, which is why so many have had to be sent to reeducation camps under communism, and why so many Americans – even without fully understanding why – continue to resist collectivization and urgent ideological coercion.
America protects freedom of speech, thought, and religion, even when it is ugly, stupid, or silly. If we do not, America is nothing. Everything else we cherish will be lost if we do not hold to this. And Americans do believe in these things. We have fought and died for them. We live them every day.
Our current president and his administration are at odds with the people on these matters, willing to obsess over, apologize for, and try to shed blame for a form of protected expression that should simply be taken in stride. It even seems that the U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation of the video’s perpetrator (h/t Breitbart) and this after the White House tried to get Google to remove the video from YouTube. Google showed more gumption in rejecting this request than it did in the face of Chinese censorship a few years ago. (Google is cooperating in the censorship of the video in India and Indonesia.)
Too many of the American people may have become lost in a fog of political confusion these days, but the people are still better than this. We are better, and we deserve better. False narratives are weak and accompany morally weak behavior. They are not the winning side. Ronald Reagan knew that about communism and the Soviet Union, and we must be his students and know it today about the 1960s holdovers who sit at the pinnacle of our federal government.
Their ideology cannot stand. It is weak and corrupt at its core. It must not take us down with it. Change course in November. Elect Romney. No, he’s not a philosophical conservative. But he’s our option for moving forward peacefully. The world will not leave us alone to delay a course correction.
Originally published at the Green Room.
About the Author: J.E. Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served around the world, afloat and ashore, from 1983 to 2004.
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