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Belmont Club

The Three Deceits

November 6th, 2013 - 1:38 pm

The fame — or perhaps the infamy — of the ruse de guerre dates from the Trojan War. “Hector, son of Troy’s King, held out until the 10th year when the Greeks tried a ruse de guerre: an enormous wooden horse secretly filled with Greek soldiers.”  And what was unattainable by force of arms fell easily to deception. To this day the words, “Trojan Horse” are a synonym for a “trick”.

What distinguishes a ruse de guerre from treason is that a ruse de guerre is practiced between enemies. There is no trust between enemies to begin with and hence no possibility of betrayal. Treachery by contrast occurs in the context of amity or a truce. It is a violation of trust. The attack on Pearl Harbor was not a ruse de guerre but an act of treachery, a stab in the back. But a third and possibly even more powerful form of dissimulation exists, which one may call the Changing of Words. Through this process one belligerent is made unaware of the existence of the other by manipulation of the language of discourse itself. You never even know you have an enemy until it is too late.

Two great 20th century writers warned of this danger. The first was C.S. Lewis who popularized the idea that the devil’s greatest invention was to convince mankind he didn’t exist. In the Screwtape Letters, Lewis imitates a senior devil advising a junior. He urges the apprentice to portray evil in comic-book terms the better to make it disappear.

I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command.

Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves. … I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark. The fact that “devils” are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.

The other writer, George Orwell, approached the same idea through the medium of language. The key to perfect invisibility, Orwell argued, was steganography, “the art and science of encoding hidden messages in such a way that no one, apart from the sender and intended recipient, suspects the existence of the message. It is a form of security through obscurity.”

In his fictional 1984 the Party’s main defense is not the secret police but education; through the artificial official language of Newspeak dark things are hidden in plain sight and rebellion is made impossible to articulate. There simply isn’t the vocabulary for it. Once Newspeak made has made resistance impossible it will be time to move in for the kill and argue that 2+2=5.

Orwell’s protagonist, Winston Smith, uses the phrase to wonder if the State might declare “two plus two equals five” as a fact; he ponders whether, if everybody believes it, does that make it true? The Inner Party interrogator of thought-criminals, O’Brien, says of the mathematically false statement that control over physical reality is unimportant; so long as one controls their own perceptions to what the Party wills, then any corporeal act is possible, in accordance with the principles of doublethink (“Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once”).

President Obama’s declaration that ‘you can keep your doctor’ and that you ‘can keep your health plan’ is a perfect example of “2+2=5″. The National Journal makes the mistake of thinking that Obama’s lie is unimportant because all it harms is his credibility. “On history’s scale of deception, this one leaves a light footprint. Worse lies have been told by worse presidents, leading to more severe consequences, and you could argue that withholding a caveat is more a sin of omission. But this president is toying with a fragile commodity: his credibility. Once Americans stop believing in Obama, they will stop listening to him. They won’t trust government to manage health care. And they will wonder what happened to the reform-minded leader who promised never to lie to them.”

But they are wrong. The important thing about Obama’s “2+2=5″ is not that it is a lie, but that it is a lie uttered in your face. It is a declaration of something, with as “light a footprint” as the Jolly Roger fluttering in the breeze.  The New York Times goes to great lengths to argue that the president only “misspoke”; that he never “lied”.

“We have a high threshold for whether someone lied,” he told me. The phrase that The Times used “means that he said something that wasn’t true.” Saying the president lied would have meant something different, Mr. Rosenthal said — that he knew it was false and intended to express the falsehood. “We don’t know that,” he said.

That is precisely the point which the Times wishes to elide. The president knew it was false and intended to express the falsehood — and we know that. The trick is to pretend that we don’t know that because to admit the fact would be to accept his contempt for us, to see the Boot in our face.

Since Obamacare is a steganograph those in the “know” understand perfectly what it means. According to a report sourced on Kaiser Health News the unions are seeking — and getting — “relief” (strange choice of words) from Obama’s wonderful health policy.

Buried in rules issued last week is the disclosure that the administration will propose exempting “certain self-insured, self-administered plans” from the law’s temporary reinsurance fee in 2015 and 2016.

That’s a description that applies to many Taft-Hartley union plans acting as their own insurance company and claims processor, said Edward Fensholt, a senior vice president at Lockton Cos., a large insurance broker.

One of the singular things about the Obamacare sales pitch is everyone is supposed to want it except for its creators, who are running from their handiwork as from the devil himself. But there is nothing surprising in this when you realize that 2+2=5 contains two messages. They hear the one; we hear the other. It is the equal sign that is the lie.

But of course we are just imagining things. Not only is there no lie, there is no liar either. David Horowitz explains how the Left contrived to vanish with the Fall of the Wall and reappeared in undetectable form.

I paid a visit to the New York intellectual, Norman Podhoretz, who … asked me why I was spending my time worrying about an isolated community on the fringes of politics. I should focus, he said, on liberals not leftists … The massive defeat they suffered in the fall of the Marxist states they helped create had the ironic, unforeseen effect of freeing them from the burden of defending them. This allowed them in the next decade to emerge as a major force in American life. In the wake of the Communist collapse, this left has become a very big thing—so big that by 2008 it was the dominant force in America’s academic and media cultures, had elected an American president, and was in a position to shape America’s future. …

Barack Obama, is seeking to “fundamentally” transform the United States of America. [Horowitz's book] records the progress of that transformation, documenting the changes of a shape-shifting movement that constantly morphs itself in order to conceal its abiding identity and mission, which, as these pages will make clear, is ultimately one of destruction.

Liberalism is the steganograph of the Left. It’s the pattern that conceals the underlying pattern. But Horowitz may be too late to warn us of its dangers. The real significance of Barack Obama’s 2+2=5 healthcare declaration is that he now feels safe to brazenly utter it; emboldened to the point where he doesn’t care who knows. Because perhaps the serried ranks of those leftist faithful who ‘never existed’ can now impose his will by sheer main force; through direct coercion.

Nor will the leftist faithful balk at their orders. They’ll elect Blasio; they’ll elect anyone who they anoint. Horowitz confirms what I have long maintained: they exist and they are unthinking zealots. They warn about religion to hide the existence of their cult.  Thus, you can never convince a liberal by logical argument; one can only convert them by religious counter-experience. Horowitz describes the inherently religious character of the Left.

Because the left is a religious movement that engages an individual identity at the deepest levels, there can never be a separation between the personal and the political. Members of the faith know very well the implications of doubt: to leave the progressive faith is to invite expulsion from its utopia and the fellowship of its community, and forever after to be shunned as a person morally unfit for decent company.

For that reason 2+2=5 remains valid until the moment it is not. Wikipedia’s article on the psychology of religious conversion notes that rational argument is useless in this department.  People change when they are struck down by the facts as by a rock on the head. They only time they believe in the rock is when it arrives suddenly on their pate.

The classic religious paradigm for conversion is highly dependent on the idea of sudden conversion. The prototypical sudden conversion is the Biblical depiction of the conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus. Sudden conversions are highly emotional but not necessarily rational. In these instances the convert is a passive agent being acted upon by external forces, and the conversion entails a dramatic transformation of self. Emotion dominates this dramatic, irrational transformation leading to a shift in self and belief, with behavior change to follow. For sudden converts conversion is not a back and forth drawn out process, but rather happens in one single instance and is permanent thereafter. Typically sudden conversions occur in childhood and are exceptionally emotional experiences. Often sudden conversions are the result of overwhelming anxiety and guilt from sin that becomes unbearable, making conversion a functional solution to ease these emotions

Conversion happens when a paradigm breaks and has to be replaced with another. Because there are millions of people who can’t live without paradigms; can’t live without some imposed order to give meaning to their lives. And since they are too smart to believe in God, they believe in Obama.

Therefore the key component of every upheaval isn’t the words of men, but men riding in the wake of God (or Reality or the Creator or History) in what was once called the fullness of time. It’s reality that wakes people up. It may be objected that God doesn’t exist and thus cannot assist in conversion. Well that’s all right, since the Devil doesn’t exist either.

It is possible to imagine the Chairman of the Federal Reserve struck down on the way to the Eccles Building.

As he neared the Eccles Building, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Why, why, is 2+2=5?”

“Are you from MSNBC?” the chairman asked.

“No, I am Arithmetic, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go to the meeting, and you will tell them the sum.”

At the next meeting the other members were speechless; they all heard the sound of 2+2=4 but did not believe their ears. They got up from their chairs, yet could say nothing. So they remained quiet and did not go out beyond the Beltway. For three days they remained reclusive until they gave an interview.

“Two plus two equals four and you can’t keep your health plan. You can’t keep your doctor,” they said.

“What? What?”

Is it so hard to believe that reality will win in the end? Or are we conditioned to hope that if everybody repeats repeats 2+2=4 only then will it finally be true? Well perhaps not, for even if nobody says it, it will be true just the same.


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Top Rated Comments   
Many revolutionaries find themselves compelled to go on, simply to salvage their self respect after discovering the disillusioning fact that great nations can be beaten down by cheap con men. Men with a surfeit, not of brains, but gall, who have lied, cheated and betrayed their way to the pinnacle of power. Historians have often asked how Germany, the most cultured country in Europe, could have been taken over by mere thugs. How Russia, land of faith, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and the ballet, could wind up under the smelly likes of Beria and Stalin.

And my answer to that is: of course. There is nothing surprising in that. We only think that is unnatural. It's as natural as hell.

If an historian in 1989 had been asked to describe a conqueror of the United States, he might have imagined some uber-Napoleon. Some super-smart, General Zod type of villain.

Nobody could have imagined it could be an Obama. A guy who says "corpse-man", who needs a ghost writer for his book and can't roll out a website. A man with no discernible talents other than to lie with a straight face.

To watch America go down under a super-Hitler or latter-day Alexander wouldn't be so bad. What is humiliating is to see it go down under this grifter from Chicago, aided and abetted by Napolitano and Sebelius, cyphers all; to see Obama squander everything for a moment of scripted applause, for nothing, like a man burning Rembrandt's to toast marshmallows. That is a statement not about his manhood, but about everyone else's.

I remember reading somewhere in Time or was it Newsweek, that the problem of the Philippines under Marcos was that it was 50 million cowards under one S.O.B. And all I could think of was: no. It can only be at most 49,999,999 cowards, if one had a choice in the matter.

Rebellion often becomes not about recovering the old life, or the old country, nor even about surviving. At the last it becomes about proving to yourself that you can beat this human Stay-puft man. And that effort, believe it or not, is really the most valid form of struggle of all. In the end we cannot guarantee outcomes. But we can guarantee effort.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Inquisition, Terror, Stalin, Hitler ... where are they now? And if they are gone then who can believe that Obama's "fundamental change", whatever it might be, can outlast those forgotten ideologies? I think Dickens had the last word on the Terror, in his figure of Sydney Carton.
----
They said of him, about the city that night, that it was the peacefullest man's face ever beheld there. Many added that he looked sublime and prophetic.

One of the most remarkable sufferers by the same axe—a woman—had asked at the foot of the same scaffold, not long before, to be allowed to write down the thoughts that were inspiring her. If he had given any utterance to his, and they were prophetic, they would have been these:

"I see Barsad, and Cly, Defarge, The Vengeance, the Juryman, the Judge, long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old, perishing by this retributive instrument, before it shall cease out of its present use. I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.

"I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy, in that England which I shall see no more. I see Her with a child upon her bosom, who bears my name. I see her father, aged and bent, but otherwise restored, and faithful to all men in his healing office, and at peace. I see the good old man, so long their friend, in ten years' time enriching them with all he has, and passing tranquilly to his reward.

"I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. I see her, an old woman, weeping for me on the anniversary of this day. I see her and her husband, their course done, lying side by side in their last earthly bed, and I know that each was not more honoured and held sacred in the other's soul, than I was in the souls of both.

"I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man winning his way up in that path of life which once was mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the light of his. I see the blots I threw upon it, faded away. I see him, fore-most of just judges and honoured men, bringing a boy of my name, with a forehead that I know and golden hair, to this place—then fair to look upon, with not a trace of this day's disfigurement—and I hear him tell the child my story, with a tender and a faltering voice.

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."
----
Hatred never triumphs, not in the end. And love never dies.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"There is no trust between enemies to begin with and hence no possibility of betrayal."

Close but no cigar. There is always trust in something larger than oneself. There are always rules. Even between enemies there is some common understanding of how information is exchanged. What some signals mean. For example how to signal passivity or surrender by lowering the head and turning the palm out is deeply encoded. It is part of the reptile brain.

Every human society has layers of rules. The most basic are truly universal. There is no functional society that has not banned child abuse and incest. Just one step up from that would be the nearly universal rule that enforces mercy for the supplicant and hospitality for the guest. Wherever you look among people you will find myths and folklore demonstrating the importance of displaying hospitality to even an enemy. Perhaps slightly less universal is the injunction to wage war on the enemy present but to spare the land for the future. For example wanton destruction of resources that take generations to build is usually condemned.

Islam provides a model for breaking all those codes that were and still are present, as they are in every society, among the Arabs. Muhammad brazenly advertised his pedophilia to demonstrate his power. He relied on murder that broke the sacred bonds between a host and guest to eliminate his rivals and apostates. He destroyed olive groves and murdered captives in defiance of the rules his own people held sacred. Those much more than the reliance on battlefield betrayals at The Yarmuk and Manzikert, which were natural stratagems of war, are what set him apart and make his creed such a dangerous model for current actors like Obama.

Waste is Sin. Suicide is the greatest waste. Yesterday New York City essentially committed suicide. This was no bout of adolescent enthusiasm with Obama girl and crowds believing that unicorns are coming. This was something far nastier. Over three quarters of the electorate having seen the consequences of voting for someone with no known record and a hidden past and an uncertain name who preached envy and hate chose Bill de Blasio. The examples of Detroit in the present and New York under Dinkins meant nothing to them. They stuck their fingers in their ears and stuck their tongues out and did it deliberately. It took 350 years to build New York. What will be left in ten?

Language games and euphemisms can be fun.
For "death" try "post-entropic dissolution."
For "inoperative" try "sustainable minimal energy consuming status."
The two cases above are even interchangeable. The Reader is invited to add more examples.

With no incentives to become physicians (unless you seek the power like Dr Emanuel to terminate life like a Veterinary) or police (unless you really do want to bully and oppress) or perform in any creative or efficient profession that pays between $200,000 and $2,000,000/yr (above that being politically connected and immune to routine abuse) what will our society become?
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37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (74)
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I was going to write that reality always wins in the end, but that's not quite right. Unreality always loses, eventually, but will probably be replaced by a different, newer unreality or half-truth.

The real questions are (1) how long will it take, (2) what will come next, and (3) at what expense?

I fear the answers are, (1) a long time, (2) nothing very good, and (3) horrific.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I worked in a children's hospital in Crakow in 1987, when Solidarity was very active but Poland was still a Russian satellite nation. On the walls around the city was graffiti reading "2 + 2 = 4" That statement was a profound call to cling to reality and repel the lies and distortions that the population was being subjected to. It is what we, here in the U.S., now also NEED to start writing on our emails, write on city walls, and use as a motto.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Regarding how this lie got into Obama's speeches:

Having served for a year as the chief speechwriter for the secretary of the Army, I am intimately familiar with the staffing process. (It is not just speeches that get staffed, btw, but every kind of document that requires approval or decision by a principal.)

When I was staffing drafts of the secretary's speeches, the officer most familiar with the info being discussed would carefully review it. This was almost always a lieutenant colonel actually working the issue. Then his colonel director would read it and the light colonel's notes, then their general officer would, too. Only then would I get it back.

Ensuring the accuracy of sentences to emerge from the lips of the secretary was taken VERY seriously, you can bet. How much more so would or should that be for a president?

That a declaration of this magnitude - it was the keystone of Obama's selling points - would slip through unnoted and uncorrected is possible only if:

A. the staff is of a stunning level of incompetence

B. the staff to whom it was circulated were not the technical staffers who would actually know the issue, but the political and public relations staff who simply wanted to know how it would play in Peoria.

My guess is it is the latter, that the action staff who actually knew what the details were never got to see drafts of the president's campaign speeches (and every speech this president gives is a campaign speech).

This was all done at the political-PR level, and that displays nothing but his and his inner circle's dismissive contempt for you and me, and their idea that spin is reality.

Perhaps now, though, "the chickens are coming home to roost." (But I doubt it.) As you said, the real significance of his lie is that he thinks he will pay no enduring price for it. And I think he's right.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I could believe the action staff never saw it the first time, and it was a surprise to them, maybe. I find it impossible to believe that it was a surprise the tenth, or twentieth, or thirtieth time. So, the question is, did they say anything, or did they just go along? If they just went along, doesn't that make them de facto one and the same as the political and public relations staff? And if they said that the statement was false, and the President continued to say it, and they continued to work for him and press for adoption and implementation of his policies, then what does that make them? Just following orders?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe not an "enduring" price, but an everlasting one.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are no legal, constitutional, or political means to bring Buraq Hussein or any of his subordinates to account for any illegal or immoral actions. That has second and third order implications.

Subotai Bahadur
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Communism is the lie that cannot die. Marx saw communism as the outcome of a one way historical process but communism was nothing more the resurrection of the idea of autocracy. Monarchy lost its moral authority in the French Revolution never to regain it even in places like Russia and Austria that were hardly touched by the French Revolution. Faith in markets and representative government pushed Monarchist legitimacy to the margins. Marx came to the rescue by legitimatizing autocracy in the name of "the People." Under the old regime the personality of the autocrat was a random draw. It could be Frederick the Great or it could be Kaiser Bill. Under the new regime the autocrat was always Vlad the Impaler.

The autocrat couldn't do it alone. Like Peter the Great, he needs technocrats to run the machinery. Technocrats always fall into the "climate change" syndrome. If the model is at variance with reality, change reality to fit the model.

The third component of the triumvirate is the idealist. He actually believes that the autocrat, guided by the technocrat, seeks to maximize goodness in society. Without the idealist, neither the autocrat nor the technocrat can meet their objectives. Who are idealists? They are people like Rudolph Hoss who ran the death camps. This is why communism never dies. There is never a shortage of idealists.

What has this to do with Obamacare? Everything.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
The total rot in the culture is a top down affair.

Really, the only appropriate place for missionary work these days is at the universities. The places of higher learning.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Florida Blue executives have referred to 300,000 insurance policy cancellations as “transitions”. Obama has many willing partners (aka cronies) in the insurance industry. Florida Blue is happy to provide “guidance”, which in plain language means selling higher priced policies to people who lost coverage.

“A top Florida Blue official said Wednesday that the cancellation of 300,000 individual health insurance policies does not mean affected customers will lose coverage. Rather, it's part of a "transition" to the Affordable Care Act. Those customers, though, will receive notice by mail that their existing policy is no longer available and they should reach out to the Jacksonville-based company for guidance.”


http://jacksonville.com/news/2013-10-23/florida-blue-policy-cancellations-part-transition-not-dropping-customers#ixzz2jyvWPHIf
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Our old friend "narrative." The "right" is absolutely lousy at what passes for narrative in these times -- amateurs compared to the "left."

Until we can take back the true meaning of words, and reinstate reality, we will continue to lose.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Right on target.

The primary Narrative of the Statists, as spread by MSM, is that conservatives/libertarians are "icky".

conservative/libertarian: "2+2=4"
MSM: "Shut up you icky person. Nobody should listen to what you have to say."

ObamaCare must be hung around the neck of MSM. They are responsible for this catastrophe. They enabled ObamaCare by using the "Icky Narrative" and by sending down the memory hole all the well founded critiques offered by conservatives/libertarians.

I recall back in 2009, whenever Paul Ryan was asked if ObamaCare was as bad as the critics claimed, he replied, "It's worse."

But don't ya know, he's icky, wants to push Granny over the cliff, don't listen to him.

Whatever else is included in OUR Narrative, part of it must be that MSM is responsible for ObamaCare.
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36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I will not let Iran get nuclear weapons." To my mind, that was a more obvious lie; however it may be one that resolves itself.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
How about "Israel, I've got your back" ?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
The lying liar lies. And those here knew this years ago.

John 8:44: "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
--but this one is redeemable, by the grace of the higher power. Only the leap of faith away, because of the position.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Religion, paradigm, or culture. Three subsets, names for what is used in humans to bond into groups. The learning of how to react emotionally to things in the outside world so that we feel as our group feels about the world.

As I wrote before. [ http://ow.ly/26NwT5 ]

Culture:
Is evolutionary.
Is faster than and less permanent than genetic/physical evolution.
Is the transmission through the generations of emotional reactions to ideas, symbols, things.
Is lived, experienced, assimilated from the environment especially during childhood years.

Culture is changed by:
Individual revelation which can be just for the individual or if expressed, as art, as an idea, can cause a change in the culture.
Immersion in different culture, or just contact which results in cultural trade, blending.
Forced immersion which should be called brainwashing.

What is transmitted through the generations:
Principles of a social organization of human society. What is “good”, and “bad”. What “human” is.

What I am getting at is that a “culture” is a complex set of internalized emotional reactions that a cultural group have in common. At the base there are emotional responses that are genetically “hard wired” in. These form the basis of what we call “human nature”. “Culture” is layered on top. It is “learned” for the most part in childhood and adolescence by living in, experiencing the culture of the adults surrounding one.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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