Ideology is not a new idea. The notion of shaping one’s perception of reality, or “actuality” as Harvard philosopher Robert Nozik sometimes preferred to call it, or the “noumenon” or “thing in itself” as Kant favored, goes back at least as far as Plato and his parable of “The Cave.” In Plato’s dialogue, a fire burning in a cave is seen by dwellers outside the Cave only as the reflections on the side of the Cave. They cannot confront the fire itself, because they are afraid to enter the Cave, so they speculate about the reality of the Fire as they perceive it, and build elaborate defenses of their speculations that prevent them from seeing what the fire actually is. The last bit is my extension of Plato’s original dialogue, but it is entirely consistent with his point and it applies perfectly to the Liberal/Progressive ideology that currently blinds Our Dear Leader, his Liberal/Progressive bureaucratic enforcers, and their media sycophants to the realities of what their Liberal/Progressive fantasy policies are doing to most Americans today.
Victor David Hanson, one of the world’s foremost academic historians today, refers in the attached piece from NATIONAL REVIEW to the Medieval mindset that holds sway in the Obama White House and among its now frantic defenders. In the world of Medieval philosophy the critical issue was holding onto a “correct” understanding of the universe. The Wise “knew” the earth was the center of the solar system and the universe, that societies were divinely defined as the hierarchy of The Church (of Rome), Divine-Right Kings, a small aristocracy and the mass of subjects whose reality was defined by the three groups resident above them in the medieval structure. “Reality” was not what could be objectively observed, Plato’s Fire, Nozik’s “actuality” or Kant’s “noumenon,” but rather as the “reality” defined by the Church, the King and the Aristocracy, each of which had the coercive power to enforce their self-serving interpretations of what things meant to the peasants whose lives they controlled.
The Medieval mindset began breaking down in Europe with the spread of literacy, Guttenberg’s invention of the printing press and the desire of German princes and English nobles to break free of the oppressive powers of the Church and the King. Classical Anglo-American Liberalism, as embodied by Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Smith, Tocqueville, Bastiat and others, extended the concept of national freedom from Popes and kings to the radical idea of individual freedom, economic liberty and serious constraints on the power and natural intrusiveness of governments into the lives of citizens. Classical Anglo-American Liberals also resisted the idea of any group’s ability to distort “reality” to conform to its ideological ideals in economics, politics and societal organization. So Popes could no longer prosecute the Galileos of the world for recognizing the true nature of reality and Kings could not torture and kill those who advanced the idea of individual freedom and responsibility.
Medieval Collectivism allowed the Church and the King to define the realities of the mass of humanity, with those judgments enforced by the aristocracy of lords, bishops and others symbolized on the first row of any chess set. But the key definer was the centrality of the group and the suppression of individual thought, economic freedom, free expression, and communication. While the American idea of individual freedom has succeeded beyond dispute at the societal level by producing the highest quality of life ever achieved in a human civilization, Collectivism came roaring back in the 18th century in the works of Jeremy Bentham and the British Utilitarians, Hegel and later Marx, Engels and others. This neo-Collectivism sought to replace the American ideal of individual freedom with a new evil in the form of a materialistic worldview where power was centralized in a privileged group sitting atop the society’s subjects and making all meaningful decisions in their lives without input or control from the subjects themselves. This neo-Collectivism took form in various nations around the world under different brand names, Fascism in Spain, Italy and elsewhere, Nazism in Germany, Communism in Russia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere and Progressivism in America, but all shared the common goals of replacing individual freedom and free markets with centralized control by an elite group of party insiders. These elites were called the Nomenklatura in the Soviet Union, the Nazi Party in Germany, the Fascist Party in Italy, the Central Committee in China and the Liberal/Progressives in America.
Central to all Collectivist ruling groups was and is the control of the media and communication channels of the nation and the subordination of objective reality to party ideological goals. Such control is readily observable in all the nations brought under the neo-Collectivist heel, and it is essential since Collectivism is a demonstrably inferior approach to economics and societal organization when compared to the Classical Anglo-American Liberal model. Collectivism is distinguishable by the shared misery it brings about in all groups in a society except for the central decision makers and their cronies. In the Soviet Union this privileged group was called the Nomenklatura, in Obama’s America they are called Federal bureaucrats, Executive, Congressional and senior Judiciary officials and their crony Capitalist pals and financial bag-men. None of this can be acknowledged, but Hanson makes an effective case that the Obamites are the New Reactionaries, fighting to prevent the American people from finding out about the damage they are visiting on the our economy and societal organization and distorting economic and social reality in order to do so. CDE