Strangers in a Stranger Land by Victor Davis Hanson

I still don’t know what Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, preventative detention, and the Patriot Act are. One day I heard (from Obama) that they were all both unnecessary and unconstitutional, and then I woke up a bit later and discovered (from Obama) that all were both critical and lawful.

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at The Associated Press luncheon during the ASNE Convention, Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in Washington.


In ancient Rome, when the emperor or an especially distasteful elite died, his image on stone and in bronze was removed. And by decree there arose a damnatio memoriae, a holistic effort to erase away his entire prior existence. When Tiberius got through with the dead Sejanus, few knew that he had ever existed, such were the powers of the Roman state to create alternate realities. Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 explored the communist state’s efforts to airbrush away history. Orwell perhaps was most notably influenced by the removal of Leon Trotsky from the collective Russian memory to the point that he never existed. That force was used in these instances does not mean that something like them could not happen through collective volition; indeed, I think we are starting to see dangerous signs that a sort of groupthink is already beginning.

That Was Then, But This Is What . . . ?

In our own time there are certain growing trends, most of them media-induced, that conspire to rework our collective memory, in pursuit of a supposedly noble and just cause. In the fashion of no other recent figure, President Barack Obama has brought those forces of establishing an official truth to the fore. Last week he lectured the media that things are not just equal with two sides to a story. Instead, they have a responsibility not to fall into the trap of equivalence — the subtext being that he is not subject to the same laws of inquiry as are his earthly opponents.

Suddenly, the Supreme Court is a suspicious organization run by unelected politicos that uses capricious judicial fiat to overturn widely popular laws. The president denigrated it in a State of the Union address and now suggests that such “unelected” jurists (as opposed to electing them?) should act responsibly and thus “must” not find a popularly enacted law unconstitutional.


Original source.

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