“A new governing aristocracy made public deception acceptable”

Thoughts on the nexus between the growth of government and of an elite governing class, and the rise of flagrant, unaccountable, public lying by politicians and other officials who are members of that class:

…This statistical fact is, however, also a good example how radically this new American “aristocracy” has changed America in recent decades. Even President Obama in his first election campaign, only eight years ago, still categorically rejected the label of being a “socialist” for fear of becoming unelectable. Only eight years later, Bernie Sanders, a declared Socialist would, likely, have become the elected Democratic presidential candidate, had the party leadership not undemocratically conspired against his election.
[. . .]
Many, maybe even most presidents before Clinton, of course, also have on occasion been less than truthful; but nobody, except of course Nixon (“I am not a crook”), has in recent history so blatantly lied to the American people as Bill Clinton and, yet, gotten away with it, in the process changing American politics for ever by demonstrating that the modern multimedia world practically always offers the opportunity to relativize the truth of the message (to quote Bill Clinton, “it depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”).
The political “aristocracy” learned this lesson very quickly and, of course, nobody better than Hillary Clinton. She would never have dared to follow through with the absolute insane idea of establishing her own Internet server while serving as Secretary of State, had she not been convinced that she could manipulate the truth, should it be discovered. Piercing her words, as her husband had done so well during the Lewinsky Affair, she, indeed, has successfully avoided indictment by the Justice Department, even though a majority of Americans, likely, believe that she escaped because of special considerations by Obama’s Justice Department. Completely exposed in her deception by the FBI investigation, she, remarkably, still continues to lie in her statements to the public.

Read the whole thing.

21 thoughts on ““A new governing aristocracy made public deception acceptable””

  1. “This is how, for example, a German rather than British aristocratic family ascended to the British throne creating the House of Windsor” is an odd reading of history. The Elector of Hanover was invited to take the British throne because he was the nearest, legitimate, Protestant descendant of the House of Stuart.

  2. “nobody, except of course Nixon (“I am not a crook”), has in recent history so blatantly lied to the American people as Bill Clinton”

    Nixon lied only about Watergate, an event that was most likely committed by his staff in an excess of zeal, or perhaps at the instigation of John Dean who feared a sex scandal about his new wife’s former occupation.

    The real reason, it now seems – if “Silent Coup” is correct – was that Nixon’s lawyer, John Dean, was hiding an embarrassing personal liaison.

    Dean’s wife, Maureen Biner Dean, had been a roommate and close friend of a woman who headed a ring of Washington, D.C., prostitutes. That information was locked inside the DNC office.

    “The real ops (operations) officer was Hunt; and his principal, the man who conceived and commanded the Watergate operation, was John Dean. John Mitchell and Richard Nixon had nothing whatsoever to do with it,” Liddy said.

    “In other words,” I asked him, “if Nixon had known Dean’s real reasons for the break-in, he would not have protected the `burglars’ and the cover-up would never have happened?”

    “That’s exactly correct,” Liddy said. “He would have flushed the whole thing right at the start. Mitchell would not have gone to jail and Richard Nixon would have retained his presidency.”

    And had Liddy known that he had been manipulated by Dean and Hunt, he would have broken his Watergate silence and altered the course of history.

    There is almost no evidence that the DNC burglary was committed at his orders or even with his knowledge. His sin was concern about his underlings’ welfare, a concept foreign to modern Democrats.

    “The Elector of Hanover was invited to take the British throne because he was the nearest, legitimate, Protestant descendant of the House of Stuart.”

    The reason for the Windsors was the childlessness of Mary and Anne. Both had many pregnancies but no surviving children.

  3. “The reason for the Windsors was the childlessness of Mary and Anne. Both had many pregnancies but no surviving children.” No; that was the reason for looking around to see who was the nearest, legitimate, Protestant descendant of the House of Stuart.

  4. Oh, please, the idea that political lying started with Nixon, or his was the worst, is ludicrous.

    All politicians hold back the truth, or lie outright, about any number of things. Just in this last century, you would be hard pressed to find any major political figure, including Presidents such as FDR or Kennedy or LBJ, among others, who didn’t say many things that were the exact opposite of their true intentions, or what they knew to actually be the truth.

    In the election of 1940, FDR was lying like a rug about the likelihood of our involvement in the war in Europe, and his clear intentions toward that involvement. In 1964, LBJ lied about nearly everything, especially his intentions in SE Asia, and the whole “Great Society” welfare program.

    For many, many years, liberal/progressive lies, both at home and abroad, have been treated in an entirely different manner than any dishonesty on the part of the opposition.

    Watergate is a perfect example—the list of dirty tricks, including the outright theft of Illinois during the 1960 election, and the multi-agency inappropriate actions by LBJ in 1964, dwarf anything the Nixon admin did in 1972.

    As far as the current regime is concerned, their entire administration has been based on lies from the very beginning of the first campaign, and continues to this day at a level unheard of even for the common dishonesty of politicians in general.

    Shrillary is merely the culmination of a long-standing trend in our politics, based largely on the fact that the major media will cover up anything harmful to the progressive cause as much as possible, and blare incessantly about anything and everything they can construe as improper by the non-progressive side.

    Decades ago, a media insider wrote about this in a book called “The Spike”, and Allen Drury novelized it in his series that began with “Advise and Consent”, and continued for two or three more books about the tendencies of the politics of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

    I never pay any attention to what politicians say, unless they compose an especially touching or resonating speech for some occasion, like Reagan’s speech at Normandy, for example. I watch what they actually do in policy, and what the consequences of those policies are.

    From that perspective, it is clear that most everything the ruling political coalition has been claiming for decades is an outright falsehood, and they know it even as they pontificate about their wonderful intentions, or the marvelous results some policy will bring about.

    What we are witnessing, both in the current regime’s behavior, and the incredible mendacity of the Shrillary campaign, is the fruition of a tree that was planted long ago, and whose bitter fruit will poison our social/political environment for generations to come.

    As many observers have noted, if political promises were subject to the same standards as commercial claims for the efficacy of this or that product, few if any politicians would not be under indictment, or in prison.

    As far as I’m concerned, the latter location is where most of them belong anyway, and the sooner we start putting some of them there, from both sides of the ruling coalition, the better off our nation will be in the future.

  5. Deceitful, hmm.
    I think of this election cycle as a soap opera on steroids, a struggle between the schoolyard braggart and the pissy High School girls clique. I have to give the edge to the mean girls; they are much more craven, scheming, and vindictive.

    I think the deceitfulness and outright fraud has percolated through the whole culture, maybe even the majority of the population, hence the loss of faith and respect for most institutions.

  6. To be fair, there is a third category of politician. Many lie, but there are some who are telling what they think is the truth. It may be the truth or it may be an example of incompetence,

    I would say Coolidge was the last honest president. Harding was largely honest but lied about a few personal things.

    Roosevelt, as Drury explained in “Advice and Consent,” lied when the truth would serve as well.

    Truman was largely honest but much of what he said about economics was wrong. He was following Democrat dogma that went back to Al Smith.

    Eisenhower was very careful about “deniability” but his concerns were about operational security in a dangerous time.

    Kennedy was pretty honest about economics but was elected in a fraud committed by Johnson and Daley. The whole Cuban Missile Crisis was largely lies.

    Johnson also lied when the truth would serve as well.

    Nixon promised things that were not true in his campaign but his governing was largely honest. Watergate was, as Ted White explained, an occasion when he assumed he would be given some slack for his sacrifice of the 1960 election in the national interest. He never understood how hated he was by the press and the political left.

    Ford was honest but helpless before the leftist Congress. His flub in the 1976 election debate was just incompetence in explaining his policies.

    Carter was just incompetent but he was capable of learning as illustrated by his decision to rearm and hired Paul Volker to cope with inflation.

  7. Yes, through the entire culture. A large part of our culture, perhaps even a majority, are only concerned about their own peace (don’t bother me, let me do my thing) and affluence (my stuff and my access to fun experiences). Moral values are relative to their achieving these primary goals, not ideal standards of conduct that are primary. It’s all relative to each person.

    There is no doubt a number of sources of this cultural shift were and are in play, but the decisive play in my opinion was the secularization of our public institutions, especially education. The political elites didn’t corrupt our culture, we corrupted our political elites and grew them into our masters by demanding they give us the stuff we want. We could have rejected their offer of free stuff and privileged protected status, but we did not.

    As this corruption progressed (pun intended), it was reinforcing of itself because it falls in line with the shallow goals of so much of the public and their entitlement mentality, carefully fostered by the educational establishment and courts. The more we got from the leviathan, the more our political involvement was driven by a shallow calculus of who could supply our desire for stuff and protection better. The two parties and their candidates are both promising more stuff and special protection, one by limiting competition from abroad (trade and immigration) and one directly by providing direct increases in government size, spending and scope (free college, free health care …). This is where we have “progressed” ourselves. How you like us now?


  8. The genius of the American Constitution is that it has allowed for the displacement of elites without firing squads, guillotines, hemp neckties, or defenestration. (The Civil War excepted.)

    The Federalists were displaced by the Jacksonians; the Jacksonians by the Grand Old Party of Lincoln (OK, that took massive bloodletting), the GOP by Progressives, Progressives by Rock Ribbed Republicans,, RRRs (Harding and Coolidge) by New Dealer Liberals.

    It’s time for a change of elites again. It will not be pretty and the replacement team has yet to be named.

    My advice is to go out peacefully.

  9. The real corruption began in 1965 with Johnson and “The Great Society” which Johnson thought would be a new “New Deal.”

    I don;t think Johnson was very intelligent and his career was based on negotiation. None of these people had ever run a business.

    McNamara should have been the one to set them straight and his is the greatest failure, in my opinion. He was a “Whiz Kid” in WWII and in reading his biography I discovered he was a fraternity brother, plus was into statistical analysis before Deming made it a near-religion.

    Unfortunately, that plus industrial war concepts from General DuPuy, which worked in WWII but not in Vietnam, led him astray to “body counts.”

    My reaction is to go to that Vietnam era saying, “If it’s not worth doing, it’s not worth doing well.”

    The equivalent in Medicine is “Don’t just do something, stand there !”

    If what you are doing isn’t working, doubling the effort is unlikely to change things.

    Welfare destroyed the black family and probably the black population as I see no way to wean them off the destructive life style.

    The IQ distribution curve will free a number of blacks to participate in middle class life and the rest will destroy themselves. I work with a number of black doctors and they are almost invariably the children of black doctors. That is not as true of white doctors and the medical profession is changing quite a bit.

    I am increasingly (if possible) pessimistic about the future and am now looking for a hiding place as the country implodes.

  10. MK— I don’t want to start what would certainly be another futile debate about Vietnam except to say that it became obvious after a few years that nearly everything we were being told, by both the proponents and opponents, was either an outright lie or a distortion for ideological purposes.

    There was a book written a while ago about LBJ’s political style, which he learned from his leadership as he progressed into his career, and then combined with his own personality’s tendencies.

    He was intimidating physically, and used a lot of personal contact, both positive and negative, to invade people’s personal space. He was lavish in rewarding those who followed his program with better offices and committee assignments when he was the Majority leader in the Senate, and ruthless with those who refused to cooperate. He believed above all else that everything could be fashioned into some form of deal, in which he got most of what he wanted while giving in on some things just enough to gain an agreement.

    I remember reading about this and immediately recognizing that this was the exact same method he used in designing his strategy in Vietnam—all the micro-managing and pauses and offensives made much more sense when interpreted through the lens of his personal political style.

    It apparently never occurred to LBJ that the ideological rigidity of his foes was so strong that they would never come around to all his carrots and sticks the way domestic politicians he was used to dealing with did. FDR made the same mistake when dealing with Stalin, while Chuchill was much more realistic in his assessment.

    To paraphrase a comment made during the period when the Constitution was being debated, if our leaders were Angels, no such document limiting their power would be necessary, but men are far from angelic, and therefore needed to be bound by the rules against their acquiring too much power.

    And, indeed, if the power of politicians and the various state agencies was strictly limited as intended, the fact of their continuous mendacity would greatly reduced in its pernicious effects. As it is, we have allowed them to expand into control of nearly every aspect of our society’s life, and the damage they do by their dishonesty, corruption, and incompetence, increases exponentially.

    Bind them down with the chains of the Constitution, and put them in chains, literally, if they violate the basic law of our nation.

  11. I don’t know if Vietnam could have been saved with the British Malaya strategy or with the policies of Big West in The Village, but it would have saved a lot of lives. Fighting DuPuy style with draftees in Vietnam was futile. Korea should have taught them that.

    I’m just happy that I was in the military before things heated up in VN. I knew quite a few guys who did go.

  12. “No one seems to have mentioned JFK’s brazen lies about his health.”

    There is a long story about such lies. Grover Cleveland was probably not the first.

    The story of the Kaiser is a worse example as it changed history,

    By the time he ascended the throne, Frederick was 56 years old and suffering from a debilitating cancer of the larynx. He viewed his illness with dismay, crying “To think I should have such a horrid disgusting illness … I had so hoped to have been of use to my country.”[52] He received conflicting medical advice regarding treatment.[53][54][page needed] In Germany, Doctor Ernst von Bergmann proposed to remove the larynx completely, but his colleague, Doctor Rudolf Virchow, disagreed;[55] such an operation had never been performed without the death of the patient.[56] The British doctor Sir Morell Mackenzie, who had diagnosed the cancer,[57] advised a tracheotomy, to which Frederick and his wife agreed.[54] On 8 February, a month before his father died, a cannula was fitted to allow Frederick to breathe;[58] for the remainder of his life he was unable to speak and often communicated through writing

    The Wiki account is seriously distorted as Bergmann had done partial laryngectomies and MacKenzie was a quack with no experience beyond tonsillectomy,

    Early diagnosis would have allowed a partial laryngectomy and the Kaiser might well have been able to rule for years.

    MacKenzie was the one who missed the diagnosis and Victoria insisted on an English doctor although English surgery was far behind Germany at that point. Nobody went to England to study surgery.

  13. I had occasion to take a 2 hour ride on Northeastern Massachusetts backroads over the weekend. I thought I’d track presidential road and yard signs. I used one hand: 0 road signs, though there were hundreds of state and local signs, and 3 yard signs (1 HRC, 2 Trump). This could be skewed by vandalism, I suppose. Maybe, 99% of voters are embarrassed by their choice?

  14. “Maybe, 99% of voters are embarrassed by their choice?”

    I think Trump voters are afraid of vandalism and with good reason. We will not know how the vote goes until the morning after election day,

  15. LBJ was all about power with a healthy dose of corruption. He completely miscalculated the course of the VN War. Instead of a great political victory a la Cuban Missile Crisis (on a larger scale), he got a lesson on war fighting. Very insightful that he fought like he made political deals. McNamara and his whiz kids were despised by much of the military because he had no clue about the human side of war fighting. His focus on metrics (of obvious questionability and correlation with winning- if he had even a notion of what that was) pretty much destroyed the military. Many of the best warriors were either killed off or left as soon as they could.

    Micro management by both Johnson and McNamara created a leadership climate where fabrication of stats and misrepresentation of the situation were rewarded. When you grind the military up by gradual application of resources, grant sanctuaries to your foe and make it known that your objective is not the destruction of your enemy but a negotiated settlement, you can not long expect the military to submit to being ill used in such a manner. This paradigm was continued by Nixon for similar reasons. By 1970, the Army was a hollow shell with unit cohesion, morale and discipline at the breaking point.

    Our efforts in this so called “war on terror” smacks of the same calculations and the effect on our military is starting to show all the same trends. Military lives matter.


  16. Just back from a doctor’s appointment. This is my first time dancing the dance. She didn’t say who she was voting for and neither did I, but it was apparent that we are voting the same way. And no, I didn’t bring it up.

  17. “Johnson and McNamara created a leadership climate where fabrication of stats and misrepresentation of the situation were rewarded.”

    We are seeing the same situation now. For example.

  18. I am a bit sympathetic to those who are intimidated by mathematical models. I used to have a child like faith in them myself, until I had to work in an environment where they were routinely used. They are a tool, in our case, used to design and engineer complex switches, switches that have multiple sensors, subassemblies, feedback loops, and whose subassemblies, in turn, have their own sensors, multiple subassemblies, and multiple feedback loops, etc. I can’t tell you how many times an ingenious, state of the art solution to a problem worked on paper and failed in the assembled product. It isn’t easy to accommodate for different materials, temperatures, pressures, energy inputs, speed, chemical environments, humidity all interacting together ………..EVEN IN A CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT, where the variables are known. I have observed how a seemingly minute change in value can cut down or be amplified as it works its way through the system, with unintended consequences (we called it a cascading effect) and vice versa. It takes real hubris to insist you know what you can’t know. The difference between us and academics is that our models eventually had to consistently match, the customer’s required spec, in the real world, or we didn’t get paid. In any case, it can’t be said often or emphatically enough, a model is a TOOL, not an end in itself.

  19. Between conflicts of interest, competition for tenure and grants (regardless of source: public/private), coopted peer review, peer pressure, the 15 minutes of fame allure, fiddling with the data, the CULT of models/algorithms, I don’t think you have to be a flat-earther to be skeptical of science/academia, and not just the soft sciences. But, I am sympathetic to scientists; I believe, all those folks who piggy back on the work of others, media and activists, consultants, share the blame. Have you ever read a scientific paper that didn’t limit its conclusion to a very precise set of variables? By the time it reaches the general media and internet, these qualifying conditions and caveats are lost, and instead we all to often read wildly extrapolated conclusions and broad generalizations. Think of the junk that is lumped under nutrition. Is there anything at all that is not a panacea or that we are not deficient in? Not to mention all the studies that have been conflated, especially irksome to a linear thinker, like me. Think AGW or fracking.

  20. Exasperated:

    Of course you are right, but many people lack the experience or imagination to understand your point. A few years ago we had some discussions here about AGW in which one participant kept insisting that human activity had significantly increased atmospheric CO2, as if that assertion was sufficient to confirm that AGW is a problem. He did not seem to appreciate that he was begging the question. Too many people confuse models and metaphors with reality.

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