FRONT ROYAL, VA — There abides a certain disequilibrium these days in the way that current events are translated by the media into the "news" stories of the day.
Everyone knows it. But in an age where "What's True For Me Might Not Be True For You," it's often met with an existential shrug.
After all, don't we want Big Brother to feel good about himself?
Today the Rubble burrows deeper into the Blob.
Even when a whistleblower reveals how Big Brother illegally spies on the media, the media lapdogs must chase the whistleblower, not the Thought Police. ..."leaks" are supposed to come only from high-ranking members of the government, not from some schmuck who might not have the elite's interests at heart.
The media glorifies government and power, while it scoffs at folks who celebrate freedom and individual initiative. If Big Media can't ignore them, then the "news" fairly oozes with disdain, even contempt.
Why? Well, in our age, not only are decadence and good old-fashioned carnal lust riding high, but hubris and narcissism prosper as well. These vices are defects not of the appetites but of the will — and they rule the roost among our cultural elites.
That's our old friend, the Libido Dominandi — and the media want power just as much as the politicians do. That's why they're in the tank for Big Brother: the bigger the government, the bigger their influence.
With constitutional government, the working grunt outside the Beltway could cheerfully ignore the whole "news" racket. But when government runs everything — and can ruin everything — Joe Sixpack has to pay attention.
I often savor the observation of an Anti-Federalist who wrote after the Constitutional Convention of 1787: "The power of government should be so limited that we shouldn't have to care who wins."
Amen, brother. But those days are over. Like the politicians they pretend to "cover," the media couldn't care less about the Constitution, its limits, its Tenth-Amendment freedoms — or any freedoms at all, except its own. And regarding the "Freedom of the Press" — sure, the media pretend to revere it, but, ironically, no working journalist dares depart from the party line once he's on board.
Proof? Even when a whistleblower reveals how Big Brother illegally spies on the media, the media lapdogs must chase the whistleblower, not the Thought Police.
As long as they are dominated by hubris, the media will serve Big Brother, because even a casual word from government can disrupt the lives of every citizen in the land. Big Brother is watching us, so we have to watch him too, in fear and trembling. And the elites applaud it all, for a simple reason: they are not happy if we're happy — unless they can claim the credit.
Remember, Big Brother wants more than obedience: he wants gratitude. And love.
Big Brother Is All Wet
These days, Big Brother sees everything we do, while we are shown only what the Ministry of Truth decides to tell us about what he is doing.
Big Brother is watching us, so we have to watch him too, in fear and trembling. And the elites applaud it all, for a simple reason: they are not happy if we're happy – unless they can claim the credit.
Knowledge is power. So government savagely attacks whistleblowers who reveal knowledge that the government does not want us to know. After all, "leaks" are supposed to come only from high-ranking members of the government, not from some schmuck who might not have the elite's interests at heart.
And today's "journalists" live on leaks. Genuine reporters who work hard to investigate and analyze events are paragons of a bygone era. Today's "journalists" find it much easier to have their feet on the desk with leaks from government "sources" conveniently flowing in "over the transom."
So they must constantly curry favor with their benefactors. They have been bought. No wonder they are sometimes called "Presstitutes."
George Carey, one of America's last true political philosophers, died recently. A revered politics professor at Georgetown, he believed, with the Founders, in the virtuous people.
He thus believed in the Constitution. But, as his colleague, Father James Schall, S.J., recently observed, Dr. Carey concluded long ago "that today no branch of the American government considers itself bound by the Constitution."
Correct, Professor Carey. And meanwhile, let the citizen beware: there are so many laws on the books that Boston lawyer Harvey Silvergate has written a book — quite popular among federal judges — relating how every American citizen is guilty of at least "Three Felonies a Day."
...the public schools are not only sources of financial and political support for government, they also have destroyed the ability of tens of millions of their pupils over the past forty years to think at all.
That sad fact leads to selective prosecution, a phenomenon most recently reflected in the IRS scandals that the media won't cover and the government won't investigate.
The media's high-wire act has it playing both government lapdog and government "critic." Can it last? After all, they have now learned that Big Brother is watching them, too.
Fast Forward to Winston Smith, a Party "journalist" who rewrites history every day for Big Brother's Ministry of Truth.
Winston Smith hates Big Brother.
What happens next? "BB" has him tortured in the Ministry of Love.
Love conquers all.
True Authority Is Divine Authority
Standing against the elites we find the single institution that both government and media detest – with a hatred that is unique because that institution is uniquely permanent, authoritative, and legitimate.
We are speaking here of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church is different from, and superior to, all political parties — and all governments. True enough, its members are all sinners, and its leaders often play patty-cake with politicians and glad-hand the media.
Sinners are not perfect.
But the Catholic Church is also the Mystical Body of Christ, and in that she is perfect, and eternal. She preaches the Gospel message that Christ, not Caesar, is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
This profound, permanent truth throws down a gauntlet before the powerful and the power-hungry. Suddenly they confront limits to their power — unassailable limits that will last as long as politics does.
Alas, all but the best politicians (and the best are few indeed) chafe at those limits.
After all, politicians can flout the Law of the Land; as Aristotle warned, bad men can wreck even the best constitutions.
The Lapdog's Revenge
According to Lenin and Alinsky, the government's enemy must be vilified in order to be destroyed.
Consider: today the media still cover sex abuse crimes committed decades ago by Catholic priests and bishops. But they barely manage a word about child abuse that is rampant right now in the public schools.
The reason is simple.
Public schools are not anti-government, they are the government. Their unions are among the most aggressive players in government's power game. Their curriculum slavishly peddles the "progressive" party line. It denies on every possible page the Faith of Our Fathers and the moral truths that make us free.
And so, while the media continue to attack the Church for abuse committed decades ago, public schools get a pass. Taxpayer-funded government education systems in Los Angeles, New York, and countless other jurisdictions harbor today's abusers on full pay, protected by their unions. And these are abusers whose crimes are current, public, and vile.
The media will not criticize the public schools. Nor will it criticize Big Brother. And public schools return the favor.
The Blob does not attack itself.
Now admittedly, many even in our cultural elites oppose child abuse. And yet, they realize that the public schools are not only sources of financial and political support for government, they also have destroyed the ability of tens of millions of their pupils over the past forty years to think at all.
Alas, that serves the elites' purpose all too well.
Perhaps Hannah Arendt had it right: "The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any."
"The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any."
In the meantime, we can confidently expect that attacks on the Catholic Church will only increase. The more fortitude the Church invests in the exercise of its legitimate authority, the more pernicious and vile those attacks will be.
After all, shouldn't totalitarian education prepare the pupil for totalitarianism?
From Under the Rubble archives
From Under the Rubble is copyright © 2013
by Christopher Manion.
All rights reserved.
Christopher Manion is Director of the Campaign for Humanae Vitae™, a project of the Bellarmine Forum. He
served as a staff director on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for many years. He has taught in the departments of politics, religion, and international relations at Boston University, the Catholic University of America, and Christendom College. This column is sponsored by the Bellarmine
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