Friday, August 18, 2006

NSA & the "Protectorate"

Jeff Goldstein delivers blistering and incisive social commentary about those willing to use totalitarian means to effect relativistic changes based not on fundamental truths agreed upon by the electorate but "truths" that the elites define for everyone and enact on society through the judiciary. He discusses Mark Levin's criticism of a NYT editoral florid with praise for the NSA decision. Read the whole thing. I'll excerpt my favorite parts here:

The Times editorial board, on the other hand, is far more “progressive” than liberal, and as I’ve often pointed out here, progressivism as it is practiced today is an enemy of the kind of classical liberalism upon which this country’s identity and rule of law was built.

Philosophically and semantically, the undermining of meaning from a structural standpoint—the embrace of the linguistic turn and misapplied understandings of postmodern observations about the nature of truth in particular—has allowed the progressive movement to gain intellectual traction, proceeding from the academy and insinuating itself into public policy. But progressivism, while ideologically dogmatic, is (somewhat ironically) dependent upon a cynical use of pragmatism that is Machiavellian in its aims and implementations. That is to say, in order to bring about the “correct” social arrangements and policies—decided upon in advance not by the electorate but rather by a fringe of the electorate who have arrogantly elevated themselves, in their minds, to a kind of moral and social protectorate that is so beyond reproach that apostates are regularly purged for breaking the “unified voice”—these ideologues, in the service of utopian fantasies, are willing to use totalitarian means to bring them about, including a completely organic, context-based system of argumentation that gladly trades intellectual consistency for rhetorical efficacy in bringing about the desired outcome.

Such a strategy for pushing an agenda can be very effective—particularly as it grows adept at seizing control of language and using it to great emotional effect. Which is why so much of progressivism seems to be tied to regulating speech in the name of “tolerance,” even as it craftily redefines terms like “torture” and “spying” and “tolerance” by emptying them of their traditional usages and re-inscribing them with new and particularized meanings that fit a specific and pointed philosophical and political agenda. Hence, we have the explosion of, for example, the “diversity” movement—which superficially resonates with many Americans because, on its face, and in it the context it is promoted, diversity as a concept suggests the embrace of a variety of viewpoints, a principle that jibes with our almost iconic respect for the marketplace of ideas.

Yet “diversity”—much like “tolerance”—has in practice come to mean something roughly the opposite of what it used to denote. Viewpoints are conflated with superficial markers (ethnicity /race, sexual orientation, etc), which are then ascribed a singular “group” viewpoint. Those who share the superficial marker but stray from the narrativized viewpoint are considered inauthentic and no longer represent the group. And because “diversity” now relies on having a certain number of representatives from a given superficially-constructed group, what the contemporary diversity movement has given us is ideological rigidity disguised as “diversity”—all while creating the conditions where those who represent truly diverse / minority opinions are marginalized. [Emphasis added throughout-Ed.]

Goldstein then goes on to quote Andrew McCarthy who reminds us of the NYT's vigorous defense about revealing the NSA spy program. It's not a big deal, the terrorists know that they are being spied upon. But the whole premise of the ACLU's suit was that terrorists didn't know that they were being spied upon and now would no longer talk to.....journalists. It would be hilarious if the implications for national security weren't so dire. Quoting Andrew McCarthy here:

So how did these plaintiffs claim to have been harmed? They are journalists, lawyers and scholars who do research and other work in the Middle East. But now, according to Judge Taylor’s opinion, they have sworn in affidavits that “Persons abroad who before the program [became pubic knowledge] spoke with them by telephone or internet no longer do so.” They are, she says, “stifled in their ability to vigorously conduct research, interact with sources, talk to clients,” because people suddenly think the U.S. government is listening.

So which is it? Is the TSP leak a big nothing that changed no one’s behavior, or a bombshell that changed everyone’s behavior? Evidently, it depends on which scenario the Left believes will damage the Bush administration more on any given day.

Decrying the system for its injustice and then manipulating language's intent and the system iteself (also known as deceitfulness, prevarication, mendacity or simply lying) to affect change in the system--not because it is what society deems to be the right course of action but because it serves the individual (big breath)-- is exactly the opposite reason for the American-style separation of powers and constitutional system. This kind of behavior occurs in totalitarian regimes by rogues and dictators. Goldstein concludes:

And even more worrisome? This practice is structurally ingrained into the very linguistic assumptions of the progressive world view.

Welcome to the Brave New World.

This my friends, worries me more than the terrorists themselves. A soldier might as well be naked without the sword of truth and breast-plate of righteousness. When America loses the very meaning of truth, can't see it, for the sea of political correctness and moral equivalence, when America's internal workings, those formerly glorious institutions we wish to share with the world, are manipulated beyond recognition into a tool for the elite idealogue progressive and is no longer governed as the framers intended: by the people, for the people, of the people: not only is America unarmed, she is unshielded.

I'm afraid that America stands with her heart and belly exposed with no tool to defend against enemies without and within. You absolutely MUST go read Goldstein's piece because he's right: it matters.

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