Today, An Excellent Spirit read two articles by Victor Davis Hanson that must be read by every American who wants the trajectory of our nation reversed and the nation taken back. To God!
We start by apologizing to Professor Hanson for the “venerable” tag. We were not suggesting that he or his wisdom was old, rather that both have stood the tests to time and “progressive”, leftist opposition from academia, politics and polemics well. Thank you, Professor Hanson. Like your colleague Professor Thomas Sowell, America is in your eternal debt, whether Americans know your name or not. An Excellent Spirit, for our part, will continue to do what we can to bring your wisdom to the public.
The first is a scathing article on President Barack Obama. Hanson begins by celebrating the obvious “strengths of Barack Hussein Obama, 38th President of the United States of America: “If only Barack Obama had something to say… After all, we have never had a president who descended the steps of Air Force One with such catlike agility, hands almost as paws lightly bouncing in synchronization with each elfish footstep. Never has a commander in chief so casually, so confidently approached the podium as if he were popping open his own laptop, his jaw almost in Mussolini style thrust out, with eyes fixed three feet above the heads of the audience — all with just the right mixture of self-assurance and canned humility. No wonder that after all that we expect a “four score and seven years ago” that will match the perfect choreography.”
That accomplished, Hanson gets to the meat of Obama: “In short, Obama is the most impressive sophist of his age. In classical rhetoric, when the speaker was about to equivocate, he added an emphatic adjective or parenthetical that he was never more candid and sincere. Sometimes he inserted “on the one hand / on the other hand” to show his awareness of every point of view other than his own. Rhetoricians often projected their own base motives onto others, using straw men like “some will say” or “there are those who…”, as if illiberal enemies were so ubiquitous that there was no mundane need to name them all. Obama has mastered all that and more.”
An Excellent Spirit needed to look up “Sophists” and sophistry, so we turned to a dictionary. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/sophistry They define sophist and sophistry as follows: Sophist: Philosophy) (often capital) one of the pre-Socratic philosophers who were itinerant professional teachers of oratory and argument and who were prepared to enter into debate on any matter however specious; a person who uses clever or quibbling arguments that are fundamentally unsound Plausible but fallacious argumentation. A plausible but misleading or fallacious argument. An instance of this; sophism”. Sophistry is no less to be applauded: a method of argument that is seemingly plausible though actually invalid and misleading; the art of using such arguments; subtle but unsound or fallacious reasoning; an instance of this; sophism. With that in mind, we return to Professor Hanson’s brilliant analysis of the sophistry of Barack Obama: “Sophists tip their hand in jest — and none better than Barack Obama. Beware when he jokes that he will send the IRS after you, or that Predators will guard his daughters. And be even more vigilant of the preemptory denial. Barack Obama can brag ad nauseam about killing Osama bin Laden, because he first swore that he would never “spike the ball” by referencing the hit.”
To get things done, first-person pronouns breed to show both concern and control where there is often neither: I just appointed my new team that reports to me about my concerns that I share with advisors of mine. In the world of rhetoric, the more “I,” “me,” “my,” and “mine” appear in the abstract, the more we suspect that the over-referenced speaker has been usually absent in the concrete. There is no “us” or “we” or “our” in Washington these days — although lots of “they” and “them,” the existential enemies of “I” and “me.”
Finally, Victor Davis Hanson points out that in Obama language, “Teachable moments are everywhere: yes, it is regrettable about tapping phone records, but the slip at least offers occasion to revisit the shield laws. Yes, the IRS has gone rogue, but just maybe some of these right-wing organizations are not really organizations at all. Yes, Benghazi was full of miscommunications, but that is what happens when David Petraeus’s CIA and Hillary Clinton’s State Department work at cross-purposes.”
The second article is this Jewish World Review piece by the same Victor Davis Hanson today, aptly entitled “The Old Order is Dying”. In it, Professor Hanson reviews the affects and consequences of time and changes in culture, especially when sophistry is factored into the equation: “Ideas of the 1960s have now grown reactionary in our world that is vastly different from a half-century ago. Take well-meaning subsidies for those over age 62. Why are there still senior discounts, vast expansions in Social Security and Medicare, and generous public pensions? Five decades ago all that made sense. There was no such thing as double-dipping. Seniors often were physically worn out from blue-collar jobs. They were usually poorer and frequently sicker than society in general. The aged usually died not long after they retired.”
Hanson opines that the cultural and legal affects of “progressive”, leftists in academia, government, media and religion have swayed our nation to a dangerous precipice: “Even if the 21st-century state could define who is a minority, on what moral grounds does the targeted beneficiary deserve special consideration? Is his disadvantage defined by being poorer, by lingering trauma from his grandparents’ long-ago ordeals, or by yesterday’s experience with routine racial prejudice?
If Latinos are underrepresented at the University of California, Berkeley, is it because of the stubborn institutional prejudices that also somehow have been trumped by Asian-Americans enrolling at three times their numbers in the state’s general population? Are women so oppressed by men that they graduate from college in higher numbers than their chauvinist male counterparts?”
Next Hanson takes on the terrible lot of today’s students, loaded with student loan debt and finding no jobs upon graduation. “Consider also the calcified assumptions about college education. The expanding 1960s campus was touted as the future gateway to a smarter, fairer, richer and more ethical America. Is that dream still valid? Today, the college-educated owe a collective $1 trillion in unpaid student loans. Millions of recent graduates cannot find jobs that offer much chance of paying off their crushing student debts. College itself has become a sort of five- to six-year lifestyle choice. Debt, joblessness or occasional part-time employment and coursework eat up a youth’s 20s — in a way that military service or vocational training does not.”
So we have covered the seniors and the young. What is left? Why, thank you for asking! It is the government and the “progressive” mind-set that permeates our national discourse, if you pay attention to the media (lamestream, as we call it) and those who testify before Congress or go to the White House to be wined, dined and influenced. “Scan the government grandees caught up in the current administration’s ballooning IRS, Associated Press and Benghazi scandals. In each case, a blue-chip Ivy League degree was no guarantee that our best and brightest technocrats would prove transparent or act honorably. What difference did it make that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, President Barack Obama and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice had degrees from prestigious universities when they misled the American people or Congress? The now-aging idealists of the 1960s long ago promised us that a uniformly degreed citizenry — shepherded by Ivy League-branded technocrats — would make America better by sorting us out by differences in age, gender, education and race. It is now past time to end that ossified dream before it becomes our collective nightmare.”
There you have it, America. What we have wrought by our inattention to elections and by leaving our decisions to a few media creations and “progressive” sophists is now threatening nightmarish futures for our children and grandchildren, if we can survive terror and nuclear Iran and the Arab Spring. What is to be done? If you listen to Victor Davis Hanson and Thomas Sowell and others of their “ilk”, the truth would be requisite. Unfortunately for America, the man in the White House and those he has appointed to his administration do not hold the truth in high esteem.
What is desperately needed is for all Americans to pay close attention. After that is prayer, hearing God Almighty speak to us and then, obeying God! It is time to become informed; to pray and hear; to obey: Stand up! Speak out! Get involved and stay involved! Teach our children by showing our children that our values, like our freedoms, come from our God! If we do not defend what is right, there will be no one righteous in God’s eyes and our nation will cease to exist. That is what the sophists want! That is what the people who hate America, God and the people want! That is what we, the people of the United States must defend. Every day for the rest of our lives! Stay tuned. There will be more. For now, we are indebted to Victor Davis Hanson, once again. Pray for America! Pray God bless America!