Ed Driscoll

Egypt's Future and its Enemies

Bookworm Room has a great observation about where Obama’s constant love of Big Government can lead him. For Obama, “government is the only answer,” Bookworm writes. “The bigger the government, the more admirable and answerable it must be.  And what could be bigger than a totalitarian dictatorship kind of government?”

Given that belief, it’s no wonder that Obama’s response to a revolutionary uprising by people under the thumb of a Big Government is to try to quell the uprising, and give his moral support to the Big Government.  Individual liberty baffles him.  Big Government — he thinks — is workable, if he can just turn on the Messiah charm.  Given his druthers, I suspect, he’d much rather deal with the Muslim Brotherhood (stable sharia big government), than the potential ugliness and fractiousness of a nation trying to feel its way towards individual freedom.

One of the things I remember reading in a Natan Sharansky book was the importance he attached to Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech.  What Sharansky said is that, when you live under totalitarianism, you are constantly being “gaslighted.”

For those of you too young to know what that phrase means, let me explain.  One of the great noire movies is Gaslight.  Ingrid Bergman plays a Victorian wife whose ostensibly benign husband is, in fact, trying to convince her that she’s insane.  He does that by constantly manipulating the reality around her — hiding things, denying events, etc. — so that she no longer trusts her own senses.

To “gaslight” someone, therefore, means to use lies and manipulation to convince him that his sense of reality is flawed and, quite possibly, that he is insane.  The psychiatric gulags in the former Soviet Union are a testament to how far the gaslighter will go to control his victim.

In the former Soviet Union, the citizens were constantly told that things were wonderful, that they were free, that housing and food were bountiful, and that their lives reflected the high quality one could expect in a true socialist nation.  This information wasn’t simply backed up by brutality, a force that tends to be a reality check.  Instead, it was the rah-rah propaganda backdrop of their lives:  school, movies, television, meetings, marches, etc. — all told them that the experience of their own five senses was a lie, contrary to the “true” Soviet reality.

Into this madhouse, came Ronald Reagan.  Reagan didn’t use polite language, he was uninterested in relativism, and didn’t pander.  Instead, he said “Evil Empire” — and millions of people under Communism’s boot said to themselves “Yes!  I’m NOT crazy.”  Knowing you’re not crazy feeds the soul.  You are energized and revitalized.  You can and will fight another day.

Obama refuses to speak of freedom.  He refuses to tell people they’re not crazy.  Instead, he leaves them in the funny house of Islamic dictatorships, struggling to mesh the knowledge their brain receives from its five senses with the nonsense touted in mosques, on televisions, in movies, etc.

Or as the Professor writes, “It’s a Sputnik moment, but it’s not 1957 any more, and Obama’s no Eisenhower. (Bonus Suez Crisis reference omitted, because that’s just too easy).”