Niggling Details


Earlier today I read a short posting on Facebook from one of my FB friends.  It was a comment on and a question about an article my friend had read in some online journal.  He remarked that the article was not, in his own judgement, a very well written piece.  My friend is a professor, BTW.  He said he’d have given it a C had one of his students submitted it, and I got from his tone that it would have been a charitable C.

My curiosity aroused, I clicked on the link and read the article myself.  My FB friend was right.  It is a very stupid article by some fellow; a paean to the brilliance of Our Dear Leader, his clear sightedness, his intuitive grasp of the “big picture”, as the numbskull who wrote this thing calls it.

Minutes before I began reading this article…which I really did not finish, since I became ill to the point of retching…I had read the following in a little book written way long ago when I was a boy, and people still had brains which they used to think. The author was speaking about power and how dangerous it can become both in the hands of the wrong folks and for the people over whom power is exercised:

“The greater a man’s power, the stronger the temptation to take the shortcut of force: the temptation to ignore both his creative originality and his personal truth; to achieve the desired end simply by force, dismissing what cannot be forced as not worthy of consideration – in other words the temptation to erect a culture on rational and technical foundations alone. To this end, man himself must be considered something “marketable” (“the labor market”), something that can be managed – i.e., “laid off or on,” “conditioned” from the start to certain ends.”

Are you getting the “big picture” yet?

Because, this next part I read I found really interesting:

“Nothing corrupts purity of character and the lofty qualities of the soul more than power. To wield power that is neither determined by moral responsibility nor curbed by respect of persons results in the destruction of all that is human in the wielder himself.

Antiquity was profoundly aware of this danger.   ….  For Plato, the tyrant (i.e., the wielder of power), who was not held in check by reverence for the gods and respect for the law was a forlorn and doomed figure. Little by little modernity lost this knowledge. Things that are now common practice – the denial of any norm higher than man, the public consent to autocratic power, the universal use of power for political or economic advantage – these are without precedent in history.”

The  author of the piece my FB friend linked me to was making a case for the superior intelligence of President Obama, and his ability, because of this, to see things that, well, we people of lesser intelligence cannot see..  As I read his article names of people came to mind.  You’ll read them toward the end of this if you persevere.  But, since the author was appealing to us to acknowledge the superior genius of President Obama I naturally thought how fitting and apt the description of the use of power was when applied to him. The term “Imperial Presidency” has been around since Nixon’s reign. (Let’s be honest, folks, and stop calling these things “administrations”.) It would be hard to find a better one than this presidency to call an Imperial one. The next one…if there is one…will be even more imperial.

Anyway, I recalled these few sentences I’d just finished while reading the article. And, I thought of people in the recent past who have been able to see the “big picture”; always a picture of hope and progress which would lead, inevitably to change; always change for the better. The following names were among those I conjured: Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Uncle Ho, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Peron, Castro, Kim Il Whomever, the brand new Caliph out there in the desert. And, of course, the subject of this fellow’s essay, our current president. He, like them all, sees far, and dreams big. And all we need do is sit down, shut up and obey.

I give you a song, with words and pictures.  A song born in hope and forecasting change, a new age:

A great song, don’t you think?  And not a true word in it.  That’s the Big Picture; a lie from top to bottom; a fraud from border to border.  But, only a genius would know that.


2 responses to “Niggling Details

  1. Although the words are as you said a “lie from top to bottom,” the tune itself is really “heroic and majestic.” I must add that it’s also quite singable, unlike our U.S. National Anthem. 😉

    • Oh, I love the tune. I’m reminded of the kids on American bandstand whose stock comments were often something like, “It’s got a nice beat and you can dance to it.” I sometimes find myself humming a bar or two.

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