Americans are far from strangers to presidential lying. Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon excelled at it. Both, however, were liars of what we could call self-defense. They were guys that got caught — Clinton with his serial infidelities and Nixon covering up a break-in for an election he had already won by a landslide.
Both men too were cowards. They took the easy, and probably most self-destructive, way out — lying.
Barack Obama is another matter. His lies are not mainly for self-defense (although Benghazi has elements of that). They are lies of ideological volition. He lies to get his way. And he does it so well, with so much seeming earnestness — as in his umpteen (and continuing!) pronouncements that no one would lose their health insurance or personal physician from Obamacare, when, it’s now clear, he knew all the while this was utterly false — that his behavior appears almost sociopathic.
In other words, to Obama these are not really lies, because he has no values, religious or otherwise, that make them so. This is more than just the prototypical Marxist ends justifying the means, but I will come back to it in a moment. First, it’s worth noting that sociopathic lies — or lies that even tend toward the sociopathic — can be immensely destructive to humanity. In the not-so-distant past, and in the present as well, they have created situations of extraordinary violence and mayhem.
So how does he do it? How is Obama able to lie that way?
Two important, and sometimes related, factors militate against lying. One is the aforementioned religious or moral code. God is watching and knows I’m lying. Therefore, if I lie, I’m in for a bad time in the afterlife. That’s the extreme version of this. The lesser versions are guilt or shame for doing something you know to be wrong. Most of us experience some shade of this, although its impact may diminish as the distance from traditional religion increases.
The second is the practical danger inherent in lying. Lies have a habit of backfiring, as in Sir Walter Scott’s classic: “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Until quite recently, Obama has largely been anesthetized from this web. His lies were perceived as truth by the media, more accurately willed to be true, and those who questioned them were the problem. That may be changing. We’ll see.
Which bounces us back to the first factor — that religiously based moral code. Moral codes are almost all religiously based, even to agnostics, and Obama is not immune to this. These codes are imbued in early childhood, by the family and environment.
I suspect that Obama’s core belief — his key religious value, if you will — is an American form of taqiyya — the Muslim dictate that it is permissible to lie to non-believers for the preservation of Islam. He believes in left-wing taqiyya. (Ironically, taqiyya is largely Shiite and Obama wishes to negotiate with Shiite Iran, masters of the lie.)
Now I do not think for a second that Obama is a Muslim any more than I think he is a Christian. He is a typical postmodern agnostic who only goes to church — and then rarely — for political purposes. But he grew up in the Islamic world in the midst of the psychological climate of taqiyya, with preservation of the group taking precedence over even the hint of democracy. And that climate harmonized completely with his other influences — anti-imperialism augmented by Alinksyite methods, themselves anti-democratic.
He never had a moral basis for honesty. Lying, from the Choom Gang through Reverend Wright and beyond, was his lifestyle. And he had the consolation that he was lying for a better good. No one ever told him otherwise. If that goes on for long enough, you lose contact with truth. It becomes almost a non-existent phenomenon, an irrelevancy.
In a very real way, Obama’s confluence of influences has replaced traditional religion and become a religion — with everything he does based on faith, but not a faith that has anything to do with God.
I feel odd writing this as an avowed agnostic myself, but perhaps it takes one to see one. I don’t like living under American taqqiya. I can’t stand being lied to and I can’t imagine anyone else likes it either, no matter for what reason or what supposed good cause. We are at a turning point now and it will be fascinating to see what happens next.
As I recall from the Talmud: “Great is Truth — mightiest of all things.” God, in the view of this agnostic, must be angry.