In a long-winded, rambling essay (as its long-winded, rambling title indicates), Jim Sleeper used Salon to perform one of the most out-in-the-open disinformation and glasnost operations yet seen in the pages of the liberal press.
On the face of it, Sleeper’s complaint comes off as yet another intellectual bemoaning of the state of American culture dressed up for a hot night out in multi-syllabic tones, much akin to Julia Roberts’s whore of a character in Pretty Woman. I’ll be the first to bemoan our declining literacy rate among adults, but really, Jim?
Our cure would also require reweaving a fabric of public candor and comity strong enough to resist the rise of ressentiment, a public psychopathology, once associated with the rise of fascism, in which insecurities, envy and hatreds that many have been nursing in private converge in scary public eruptions that diminish their participants even in seeming to make them big.
Working that hard to tart up your prose can blow even the best Mata Hari’s cover. And so it did, as I quickly sniffed out the disinformation in the works. Sleeper’s intense obsession with the politically correct “white boys with guns” myth, that has been carved into the shiv meant to take down the Second Amendment, acted as the sole defense of his thesis: We have no shared culture and it’s driving our young boys mad! A lack of shared culture is the grain of truth, blaming the guns is the disinformation that suits the bill.
Sleeper’s solution? Glasnost, of course: Obama as Messiah has come to save the day, embodying the best of shared American culture of years’ past only, somehow, in his mystical way, making it even better:
In 2008, Barack Obama seemed to incarnate so brilliantly the promise of weaving our diversity into a new republican discipline — he even invoked Puritan and biblical wellsprings in some of his speeches — that many people ’round the world considered him a prophet who would satisfy their hunger for new narratives. Probably no national political leader ever can do that.
Bow in praise of the political leader incarnate! A prophet! Our promised Savior! That is the glasnost: not an “openness to the West” but opening to the best of the West in order to use it to glorify the leader. It should come as no surprise that two days after learning that Americans believe Obama to be the worst president since World War II, Jim Sleeper is running a glasnost campaign over at Salon for his Messiah-in-Chief.
That is how disinformation and glasnost work. These are no longer foreign nor ancient terms. These are 21st century strategies for political conquest. In his essay, Sleeper was also quick to criticize the “invisible hand of God” cited by America’s founders. He would have to, considering that invisible hand carried within its Divine reach the implication of human independence. And on July 4, Sleeper, so quick to crown his earthly messiah, was keen to have none of that.