"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Kamala Harris At The Border And The Power Of Political Delusion–If You Choose Not To See It, It Isn’t There

A number of authors and film makers have been fascinated by the nature of human perception.  Robert Browning in The Ring and the Book, Lawrence Durrell in The Alexandria Quartet, and Kurosawa in Rashomon all have told the same story according to different observers who did not agree on what they saw. 

Image result for images movie rashoman

Forensic psychologists have studied eye-witness accounts and found that observers see what they want to see or what they have been subconsciously programmed to see.

A famous study concerned a drive-by shooting with many witnesses.  Some saw two black men in a ‘low-slung’, pimped out car; others saw two white men with red bandannas; and still others saw only shadowy figures in a speeding vehicle.  Since the perpetrators were never caught, these witnesses never had their day in court; but had they been called, their testimony would have had nothing to do with what actually happened but what they assumed had happened.

Image result for images two black criminals fleeing in a car

A family relative used to tell of his exploits in the war – exciting stories about storming German fortifications, rescuing comrades wounded by enemy fire, and marching through the streets of Paris with the liberation army with young, beautiful French women on their arms. 

The interesting aspect of Harry’s stories was not so much that he embellished the truth, but that his listeners – my cousins Emil, Bruno, and Alfonse, and my Aunt Leona – so transformed the story in subsequent  retellings after Harry had long been dead and gone, that it hardly resembled the tale that he himself had told.  

The re-tellers relocated the venue from Harry’s Sicily to Normandy; added the Champs Elysees and champagne toasts by French generals, and filled in the interstices  with French can-can dancers and cigar smoke.  By the time many Easter dinners had ended, the story bore little resemblance to the original, and except for the Pigalle prostitutes and the avenue of the triumphant march, was a very different tale; but it seemed to listeners that it was the same story; that is, the true story, the one that actually happened.

Image result for images parisians kissing americans liberation of paris

Politics is noted for its many versions of the truth.  Politicians have never felt bound to an undeniable  version of events; but only feel obliged to give every story a favorable spin.  In Kamala Harris’ case and according to her there is no trouble on the southern border let alone the chaos that critics have claimed.  According to her the gulag-style internment camps are Hiltons, children are not abandoned and mistreated but loved and given comfort and human warmth.  

There are no waves of illegal immigration, but a flow of legitimate asylum-seekers. There are no criminals, no exploitative coyotes, no Salvadoran gang members, no spies, ne’er-do-wells, or anarchists - only oppressed minorities deserving of solace and care.

As far as President Biden and his supporters are concerned, the country is no longer divided but unified under an inclusive progressive tent.  While there may be some who see Critical Race Theory and the Gender Spectrum as misguided, revisionist, and ignorant of history, biology, and Biblical injunction; Biden enthusiasts see only compassion, respect, and the legitimacy of the New Age canon.  

Those who object to the radical environmentalism of the Biden Administration, seeing a rule by fiat and the reversal of geopolitically advantaged energy policies,  will soon leave aside their self-interest and see the existential environmental threat for what it is.

Progressives suffer most from such subjective myopia because of their unshakable Utopian idealism.  The world has to progress, they argue, for without a belief in progressive evolution – a better, greener, more considerate, and just world – life would be nothing more than a a dutiful, determined, predictable slog – short, brutish, and ugly.  This cannot possibly be all there is, progressives insist, reaching for some spiritual clause in their secularism. 

And so it is that Biden and Harris see nothing but orderly transition on the border and the processing and sheltering of needy refugees who have suffered inhuman abuse. They refuse to see the micro-issues – the corrupt predation by Mexican coyotes, the infiltration of Mara Salvatrucha gangs, pimps, whores, pickpockets, and druggies.  

Because Central Americans in general have suffered civil wars, death squads, privation, thievery, and political misdeeds, then all individuals attempting to come to El Norte are ipso facto needy and deserving.  It is a distorted, self-serving political conflation of gross proportions.

While political debate is natural and healthy; and while no one expects any two sides to agree, it is still surprising to see such myopic distortion.  Did Biden and Harris not see what the impact of open borders would be?  Did they not anticipate the crowded holding pens, the stacked bureaucracy, the resentment of border state governors and legislatures, and the frustration of local citizens? Were there no pros and cons discussed in the White House? How could an administration take such an emotional, illogical, and uncritical view of the problem?

Easy, of course.  True believers cannot and do not see through objective lenses.  The truer the belief, the more absolute and true it becomes, and the harder it is to question.  It is worse than myopia, distorted vision, or visual uncertainty.  It is a downright refusal to see.

Where did the progressive principle of gender fluidity come from?  While there have always been homosexuals in all populations, they have never accounted for but a few percent of the total.  Cross-dressers and transgenders for even less.  The progressive assumption that that such ‘alternate sexuality’ is as legitimate as traditional heterosexuality and therefore promoted as a viable option for everyone, is a great intellectual leap at best and nonsense at worst.

Where do Aristotelian logicians defend the extension of such a limited, narrow, and questionable sexual identity? They do not; but in politics as well as in human intercourse, logic is not a foundational principle. If it seems right, then it is right.

Image result for images tough transgender women

What is perhaps the most astonishing and remarkable conclusion of political affairs is that given the subjective nature of all perception; given the biased nature of individual logic; and given the vast fictional, journalistic, and academic evidence that individual perception is flawed and not to be trusted, why do politicians persist in such absolutist convictions?

One might think that a nation’s leaders would take extra, special efforts, to assure objectivity.  Given a democracy and the resultant plurality of political views, shouldn’t a nation’s leaders pay special attention to deciphering the truth, or at least presenting opposing views? Of course not.  The higher the political stakes, the greater the resort to deception and tomfoolery. 

On a more metaphysical level, if there can be no such thing as absolute truth, then deception and tomfoolery are the only avenues for leadership; and it is up to the electorate to do the deciphering.  

Our republic is based on this assumption – or at least Jefferson’s assumption about the will of the people.  Hamilton wanted no part of this naïve idea.  The people would always be an inchoate mob easily swayed at the hands of manipulators and con artists; but he was only partly successful in convincing his colleagues to create a House of Lords – the Senate – a body with more collective intellect and intellectual experience than the House.  

Of course the Senate turned out to be just as venal, politically motivated, and unreliable as the House; so the turn of the screw only increased the need for individual responsibility.  But as any casual observer could see, the American unwashed was no less of a mob than that of the Ancient Rome, manipulated by Mark Antony and Coriolanus.

Image result for Images Alex Hamilton. Size: 170 x 204. Source: commons.wikimedia.org

There are many vain hopes in a democracy – to assume that its leaders will be logical, analytic, and objective; that the electorate will use its own powers of judgment to insist on the rationality of its leaders; and that there is such a thing as truth, absolute, and obviously right.

Some presidents at least have given the impression of judiciousness and careful inquiry.  Bill Clinton was one who never gave an unreasoned comment; and both supporters and critics saw in his insistence on logical exegesis a return to objectivity and a retreat from hyperbole and fol-de-rol.

Jimmy Carter had the same reliance on intellect, but his personal philosophy got in the way of logical conclusions.  Ronald Reagan, not a man of great abilities, nevertheless stood on a few basic simple principles and never varied from them.  His clarity, consistency, and commitment compensated for a very political agenda.

The Biden Administration has shown no originality, no unique insights, no rational analysis, and no logical legitimacy.  It is an administration running on political fumes and on the assumption that righteousness will always win out.  The President looks more often than not like a deer in the headlights.  His reliance on scripted appearances, questions from trusted sources, and resort to familiar progressive memes inspires no confidence.  

And Kamala Harris, once thought to be his Rasputin, has been shown to be no more willful, authoritative, or decisive than her boss.  Both President and Vice President are doing a fanciful pas-de-deux choreographed by their White House shills – a lovely ballet with absolutely no substance, meaning, or intent.

Pessimists conclude that we are in for four years of indecisive White House anarchy and the take over of global affairs by the world’s most determined, willful, and powerful leaders.  Optimists and idealists believe that America’s goodness, rightness, and rectitude will be all the force needed to reform a corrupt world.  Realists see the same-old, same-old; but because of the Biden-Harris inexperience and naivete, America is bound to play second fiddle.

Despite the outrageous, inimitable, and divisive personality of Donald Trump, there is no question about his principles.   His economic, financial, social, and geopolitical policies were clear and unmistakable. He, like Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon allowed for no doubt about America's principles and purpose. Now we have an Administration of flaccid principles, go-with-the-flow, feel-good ‘inclusive’ ideals, and an idealism which hearkens back to the Utopianism of Oneida. 

So, Kamala sees what she has been programmed to see and President Joe smiles and squints at the camera trying to gather his thoughts; but neither one knows what they are doing or what lies head.  They are flying  by the seat of their pants and actually believe they are in the cockpit of the world’s greatest airplane.

Image result for images daredevil flyers early aviation

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.