You Can Learn A Lot From a Political Sociopath
And among other things, it is always a narcissistic power -- or must partake of pathological narcissism -- since it sets the self over and above the truth it is designed to serve. It renders one superior to truth, something that is actually impossible in principle, since there can be nothing higher than truth. Therefore it is an absurdity.
It turns out that Milton was on the case four centuries ago, observing that when language "becomes irregular and depraved," it is followed by the "ruin and degradation" of the people, who become "listless, supine, and ripe for servitude." Low-information, servile, dependent -- when the left talks about its "ground game," these are the medullards it needs to rouse from the couch in order to support their masters on election day. Then they can go back go sleep.
But we can of course go back even further, since Christianity revolves around this question of Word and embodied truth. Words ultimately matter because the Word is en-mattered.
Two forms of corruption may enter language, one in the space between words and reality, another in the space between speaker and listener.
Note that modernism put the kibosh on the first, while postmodernism eradicates the second. In other words, Kant says we cannot know the world, only our own ideas about it, while Derrida and the rest of the postmodern rabble say we can't even do that -- rather, only issue words about words about words, in the absurcular conspiring fraud known as tenure.
Green references our good friend Josef Pieper, who says that "sophisticated language, disconnected from the roots of truth.... invariably turns into an instrument of power."
I've mentioned before that working with severely mentally ill patients can offer insight into the workings of the relatively sane, because they have the same mechanisms we do, only hypertrophied and distorted, e.g., splitting and projection. No doubt Pieper gained insight into the everyday pathologies of language by observing the Nazis up close.
If one is not guided by truth, then to what is one oriented? This question implies a telos to thought, but here again modernity has cut us off from this path. To insist that such a path exists is to exile oneself from the powerworld of the left.
Recall the two spaces, between person and world, and person and person. If there isn't truth between person and person, then what? Whoever "is guided by something other than the truth," writes Pieper, "no longer considers the other as partner, as equal. In fact, he no longer respects the other as a human person."
Which brings us right back to Jonathan Gruber and ObamaCare: he acknowledges that the Obama administration lies to us because we are stupid. But it's really the other way around: they first contemptuously deprive us of our personhood ("bitter clingers," and all the rest), then exert power over us, being that the lie is in the service of the greater end of power. "Such speech," adds Pieper, is "in contradiction to the nature of language," since it "intends not to communicate but to manipulate."
Remember, in our nation, ultimate power resides in the citizenry. Therefore, every time the state lies to us, it is for the purpose of transferring some of that power to itself.
Or in other words, the Obama administration cannot speak the truth, for it would empower the citizenry over and against the state. Gruber is absolutely correct that ObamaCare could never have passed under such circumstances of transparency and allegiance to truth (and reality).
And of course, the left destroys the human person at its very conception -- both literally and figuratively. The rest, you might say, is commentary. Which is to say, words about words, no longer grounded in the reality of the logos-infused person.
Politics also takes place in a space -- the space between citizens and state. Yes, there is power in this space, but the powers are enumerated, limited, and, most importantly, derived from the consent of the governed.
What if this space is filled with lies instead of truth? Then there is a total inversion, as the state then functions to exert its power to enforce a false and deviant version of reality. Instead of illumination and liberation, language is deployed for the purposes of "manipulation and domination."
The bottom line, since I'm short on time:
[T]he abuse of political power is fundamentally connected with the sophistic abuse of the word, indeed, finds in it the fertile soil in which to hide and grow... so that the latent potential of the totalitarian poison can be ascertained, as it were, by observing the symptom of the public abuse of language. --Josef Pieper
The credo of the left: come for the lies, stay for the power.