As discussed throughout this blog, the philosophy of the neocons includes preemptive invasions to stop imaginary holocausts, manufacturing external threats (fear mongering about Iraq(?), North Korea(?), Iran(?) etc.) as needed and noble lies. All this to get others to enable the truth that only the neocons know.
The neocons see themselves as the wise superior few that know their truth. They see the rest of us as unable to accept their truth. The ‘wise’ neocons also try to control the rest of us with noble lies that foster fear of impending death or catastrophe.
Ironically, this neocon philosophy was introduced to America by a refugee from Nazi Germany named Leo Strauss who thought it would save America from following in Germany’s WWII totalitarian footsteps.
Shadia Drury, who has studied Leo Strauss and the neocons for 20 years, said in Leo Strauss and the Grand Inquisitor, “He [Strauss] therefore taught that those in power must invent noble lies and pious frauds to keep the people in the stupor for which they are supremely fit.” Strauss believed that these inferior people and their liberties had contributed to creating Nazi Germany and could have disastrous effects in America unless they were controlled.
These noble lies come in many forms. The above t-shirt print from the web site of state Senator K. L. Bryant of South Carolina is a recent example.
Prior to this, were the nine hundred and thirty-five Bush administration noble lies that lead to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. These lies have been thoroughly researched and documented by The Center for Public Integrity.
Then there is Bill O’Reilly, the authoritarian’s spokesperson on TV and radio:
The Left is The Right
If the audio doesn’t play, here is his lie:
O’REILLY: Ok, now he [Al Gore] shows up on Saturday at the most hateful, there is not — and I’m including the Nazis and the Klan in here — there is not a more hateful group in the country than these Daily Kos people. Now, will they come to your house and hurt you? I don’t know, probably not. But, do they want to hurt you? Do they say terrible things about Tony Snow when he dies? All day long. Ok. Hateful hateful hateful. The rhetoric that they use and the rhetoric that the Klan and the Nazis use are the same rhetoric. It’s hate. Everyone knows that.
The ultimate example is Jonah Goldberg’s book titled Liberal Fascism. This noble lie is an oxymoron.
David Neiwert reviewed this book and had this to say about the author’s effort, “Goldberg, who has no [historian] credentials beyond the right-wing nepotism that has enabled his career as a pundit, has drawn a kind of history in absurdly broad and comically wrongheaded strokes. It is not just history done badly, or mere revisionism. It’s a caricature of reality, like something from a comic-book alternative universe: Bizarro history.” In other words, it’s another neocon noble lie.
These examples represent the quintessential noble lie. They project the qualities, aspirations and beliefs of the authoritarian neocons onto their liberal enemies. This is a total contradiction and just another attempt to control we the people.
The facts are liberals favor more liberty (Think hippies of the 60’s.) and authoritarians favor less liberty (Think Richard Nixon or George Bush.). But this is not what O’Reilly or Goldberg would have you ‘believe.’ The world of Orwell’s “1984” is closer to fruition now than it has ever been. It’s like a crazy man ranting that he’s sane and everyone else is crazy.
This might be a good point for a refresher on the authoritarian personality, which, as shown by extensive research since the end of WWII, is dominant in neocons. This review should help explain why neocons use noble lies.
Based on the studies of others and most recently of Professor Robert Altemeyer, those with authoritarian personalities are the the ones that created Nazi Germany and all that followed. The professor’s recent studies also show that the Republican Party has become the party of choice for those with the same authoritarian personality.
In Conservatives Without Conscience, John Dean incorporates Altemeyer’s research and shows how the authoritarian personality gained control of the Republican Party. Dean also shows that the neocons are a major influence in the actions of The Republican Party over recent decades.
Additional studies and publications over the last 20 years by Shadia Drury confirms the writings of John Dean and and research of Robert Altemeyer and their conclusion that the neocons control the Republican Party. Professor Drury has written extensively about the neocons, their philosophy and their progenitor Leo Strauss. Shadia Drury contrasts the neocons with liberals, “He [Leo Strauss] is the enemy of liberty in general. It was for love of America that he wished to save her from her disastrous love affair with liberty.” Professor Drury also stated this about those that have become today’s Republican neocons:
The trouble with the Straussians is that they are compulsive liars. But it is not altogether their fault. Strauss was very pre-occupied with secrecy because he was convinced that the truth is too harsh for any society to bear; and that the truth-bearers are likely to be persecuted by society – specially a liberal society ….
Strauss’s disciples have inherited a superiority complex as well as a persecution complex. They are convinced that they are the superior few who know the truth and are entitled to rule. … they run roughshod over truth as well as democracy.
… The most fundamental [neocon] theme is the distinction between the ancients and the moderns – a distinction that informs all his work. According to Strauss, ancient philosophers (such as Plato) were wise and wily, but modern philosophers (such as Locke and other liberals) were foolish and vulgar. The wise ancients thought that the unwashed masses were not fit for either truth or liberty; and giving them these sublime treasures was like throwing pearls before swine. Accordingly, they believed that society needs an elite of philosophers or intellectuals to manufacture “noble lies” for the consumption of the masses. Not surprisingly, the ancients had no use for democracy. Plato balked at the democratic idea that any Donald, Dick, or George was equally fit to rule.
In contrast to the ancients, the moderns [liberals] were the foolish lovers of truth and liberty; they believed in the natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They believed that human beings were born free and could be legitimately ruled only by their own consent. [And so our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were created by liberals. Declaration of Independence has this to say about a liberal society: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”]
… He [Strauss] was convinced that there can be no disagreement among the wise. They instinctively recognise the truth. And those who deny it are unfit for the company of the wise. This explains why his students [Paul Wolfowitz, Irving Kristol – father of Bill Kristol, and other baby boomers] are a cultish clique, which is comfortable only when preaching to the converted and consorting with the like-minded. All the while they fool themselves into thinking that they are the exclusive few who see the unadulterated truth, which is concealed from the eyes of the uninitiated. …
In a 2003 interview by Danny Postel, Shadia Drury made the following statements about the neocon philosophy of Noble Lies for neocon survival:
… He [Strauss] argues that the wise must conceal their views for two reasons – to spare the people’s feelings and to protect the elite from possible reprisals.
… Lies are thus necessary to protect the superior few from the persecution of the vulgar many.
… So, they come to the conclusion that they have a moral justification to lie in order to avoid persecution [testifying under oath, criminal prosecution, impeachment]. Strauss goes so far as to say that dissembling and deception – in effect, a culture of lies – is the peculiar justice of the wise.
So, neocons use noble lies to “run roughshod over truth as well as democracy” and “to protect the superior few from the persecution.” They want to control the masses to implement their truth and avoid going to jail in the process.
As for the example of neocon lies at the beginning of this posting, they represent the penultimate Noble Lie – the left is the far right. These lies say the left are the authoritarian Nazi’s when in actuality it is the right that harbors the authoritarian personality that wants to limit “liberty and justice for all.”
As Sinclair Lewis supposedly said, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Which political party is hung up on flag lapel pins? Which political party is affiliated with white evangelical extremists? Which party is anti gay? Which party thinks liberated women need to be put in their proper place? Which party considers black leaders “arrogant?” Which party wants a single-party state? Which party is truely closest to being fascist?
David Neiwert concluded his review of Liberal Fascism this way: “Why dream up fascists on the left when the reality is that real American fascists have been lurking in the right’s closet for lo these many years? Well, maybe because it’s a handy way of getting everyone to forget that fact.”
If you are still not sure, here are some additional quotes about neocons from Dr. Shadia Drury from the references used in this posting:
To be clear, Strauss was not as hostile to democracy as he was to liberalism. This is because he recognises that the vulgar masses have numbers on their side, and the sheer power of numbers cannot be completely ignored. Whatever can be done to bring the masses along is legitimate. If you can use democracy to turn the masses against their own liberty, this is a great triumph. It is the sort of tactic that neoconservatives use consistently, and in some cases very successfully.
With the neoconservatives in power in the US, it will be difficult to conceal the real nature of neoconservative policies. … The policies are by now very clear: no gay rights, no liberated women, no uppity blacks, lots of prayer in the schools, a strong commitment to the death penalty, and the re-criminalisation of abortion. [Doesn’t this sound like some Republicans and German Nazis to you]
The neoconservative goal is reactionary in the classic sense of the term. It is nothing short of turning the clock back on the liberal revolution [Especially since the 1960’s.]. And it will use democracy to accomplish its task. After all, Strauss had no objections to democracy as long as a wise elite, inspired by the profound truths of the ancients, was able to shape, invent, or create the will of the people.
It is ironic that American neoconservatives have decided to conquer the world in the name of liberty and democracy, when they have so little regard for either.
… that justice is merely the interest of the stronger; that those in power make the rules in their own interests and call it justice.
… Only perpetual war can overturn the modern [liberal] project, with its emphasis on self-preservation and “creature comforts.” …
… The combination of religion and nationalism is the elixir that Strauss advocates as the way to turn natural, relaxed, hedonistic men into devout nationalists willing to fight and die for their God and country.
… But fear is the greatest ally of tyranny.