President Wormwood and Professor Screwtape
I mean, someone is teaching this shit. So let's give course credit where it's due: Obama is our first president to have been the unalloyed creature of an insular educational system created and staffed almost wholly by leftists, devoid of meaningful diversity. Thus, we should not be surprised that his administration has produced no winners. Except for Jimmy Carter, who has plunged to a secure #2 on the list of all-time worst presidents.
A creature of the system. Now, we are all creatures, and we all exist in horizontal and vertical systems of dependence and interdependence. But it is not without reason that Mr. Screwtape is especially proud of his particular system and of the students it has tempted and molded. A coronerstone of this malefic system, according to Jacobs, is "the Historical Point of View" (although familiar with it, I haven't actually read the whole of Screwtape, only passages, so all quotes are from or in Jacobs).
Screwtape assures his pupil, Wormwood, that while "only the learned read old books" -- to be exact, books published prior to the establishment of the Oprah Winfrey Show -- they are nevertheless, thanks to the System, "of all men the least likely to acquire wisdom while doing so."
How does this System work its dark magic? "We have done this by inculcating the Historical Point of View," which, "put briefly, means that when a learned man is presented with any statement in an ancient author, the one question he never asks is whether it is true."
Rather, the modern denizen of the looniversity bin will place the source in its historical context, and if he's really successful, explain it with reference to the author's class, or gender, or sexual orientation. But by no means will he regard the author
"as a possible source of knowledge -- to anticipate that what he said could possibly modify your thoughts or behavior -- this would be rejected as unutterably simple-minded."
Oh Gagdad, will you ever give up the cheap polemics? Well, let's consider our presidential product of this demonic System. Not only is he a Wormwoodian student, he's a Screwtapian Master, a Constitutional Scholar, no less. What sort of wisdom did he acquire from contact with our learned and venerable founders?
First, he dismisses the quaint idea that there is wisdom to be had, for these privileged heteronormative aristocrats forged only "a charter of negative liberties,” which places severe constraints on what the state can do to us.
Seriously, it's almost as if these white dudes were frightened of state power, as if the state, of all things, can endanger our natural rights!
Our Scholar-President went on to observe that our founding document “says what the states can’t do to you (and) what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf.”
Hmm. Are we reading the same document? I'm pretty sure there's something in there about ensuring domestic tranquility and securing the blessings of liberty to our posterior. In other words, the Constitution is supposed to have our backs. Its very reason for being is to secure and promote the natural rights alluded to in the Declaration and specified in various amendments, e.g., life, liberty, property, self defense, speech, assembly, worship, etc.
A man who is tired of those things is tired of life. And he seriously needs to get one, instead of devoting his annoying existence to eroding ours.
But that is not what well-trained demons do. Let's face it: they love to fuck with people, because without that perverse joy, they are reduced to absolute boredom. If you want to picture a black hole, imagine a Clinton without politics.
Another adultolescent genius, Ezra Klein, has checked into this Constitution business and assures us that the whole thing is "confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done."
Klein's equally brilliant interlocutor muses that Republicans sure give this antiquated document -- over a hundred years old! -- "a whole lot of lip service." I wonder why? It's almost as if they are products of a different teacher from a different system.
Look at how Klein views the Law of the Land: it not only confuses but frustrates him, because it interferes with what he and our tykeminded progressives want to "get done."
But that is such a passive way to put it! For it is a truism that in order for the state to do something for you, it must first be given the power to do something to you (like fine you for not buying its crappy health insurance). But the state tends to have a selective institutional memory, and is prone to forget all about the first part of the bargain, so we end up paying an awful lot of money for the privilege of our own subjugation. After all, the business end of the state is the IRS, which is all do-to and no do-for.
Back to the contours of the Demonic System. "The Historical Point of View is one of the chief means by which we insulate ourselves from the possible wisdom of our ancestors," but not the only means. Another is what Lewis calls "Bulverism" -- or what the left calls Diversity and Multiculturalism and which the Raccoon calls the Absurdity of Absolute Relativism.
If you have attended a Screwtape-sponsored college, one of the first things you will have learned is how to Bulverize an author or text. It requires no skill at all, and yet, magically elevates one above the author who is being Bulverized. It is an intoxicating temptation because it renders the inferior soul superior to his superiors, and as we saw from the examples above (Professors Klein, Obama, and O'Donnell), it is difficult for the temporo-centric soul to resist.
Dávila has a perfectly apt aphorism to describe Bulverism: "Reducing another's thought to its supposed motives prevents us from understanding it." For example, just recently Harry Reid attacked a Supreme Court decision on the grounds that it was decided by "five white men." Even leaving the Bulverizing absurdity aside, it is an empirical fact that Harry Reid is whiter than Clarence Thomas's eyeballs.
But it doesn't matter. The Wormwoodian apprentice will have heard the dog whistle, and that is sufficient to settle the matter. Same with Citizens United. Turns out the Constitution does empower the state to limit free speech so long as a "corporation" is engaging in it, such as the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and Hollywood, not to mention colleges and universities, which are big businesses too.
Screwtape assures his students of "the great truth [!] that refutation is no necessary part of argument."
"That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century." His "diabolical purpose" is "to remove questions of truth and falsehood from the mind's life." The well-trained student does not think of doctrines as true or false, but rather, "'academic' or 'practical,' 'outworn or contemporary,' 'conventional or ruthless.'" "Don't waste time" trying to convince with argument, rather, with jargon, shame, superiority, etc., such as "we are on the right side of history." In short, believe "not because it is true, but for some other reason. That's the game."
Once lured into the game, then "people can find themselves unable to recognize the difference [between truth and falsehood] even when it is put before them plainly: they come to possess invincible ignorance."
And what we call invincible ignorance is what products of Screwtape's system call the Smartest President Ever!