Impeachment. That which should be undertaken with only the greatest caution has become merely the political farce of the moment, whatever its outcome. Bluster and blather signifying what? Nothing? Were nothing only the case. Frighteningly, the something is a fragmenting, declining nation on fire — a nation committing suicide by a thousand cuts. This impeachment “inquiry” is another cut.
“An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.” -Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975)
Unfortunately for the nation and for themselves, too many Americans have little interest in describing the context of events and recalling their history. Never mind that knowledge leads to understanding, and understanding leads to wisdom. Such Americans attend only to the immediacy of events presented briefly in entertaining style. That behavioral deficit deprives them of understanding the real nature of those events then acting wisely thereafter.
“Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the Earth.” -Proverbs 17:24
This posting and the related, semi-fictional novel, Retribution Fever (2018), are not directed to such types but to those who possess intellectual curiosity and seek knowledge leading to understanding from the perspective of Biobehavioral Science — specifically, the Science of Human Behavior and its associated technology.
Truth & Political Speech
From a Biobehavioral perspective, describing context is crucial to analyzing behavior topographically (How a behavior appears.) and functionally (What factors control the behavior.). In politics, verbal behavior is the predominant behavior. So, let’s examine the relationship between political speech and truth.
“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” -from George Orwell (1903-1950)
Fact! Most politicians lie. Their words? Little more than oral flatus. Example? Congressman Adam Schiff’s bellowing about having irrefutable evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians in the election of 2016.
“The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived.” -Petronius (1st-century A.D.)
Fact! One known for many centuries. The public prefers politicians to lie. A politician who tells the public unpleasant truths puts his tenure in office at risk. Science has demonstrated that people prefer to hear pleasant lies that they know are lies rather than unpleasant truths that they know are truths, especially if those pleasant lies are entertaining. The ancient Romans understood. Never underestimate the value of entertainment!
Excerpt from the semi-fictional novel, Inescapable Consequences:
Uncle persisted. “I seek only to hear the truth. As you may know, the Gospel according to John 8:32 states that ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. That statement raises several questions addressed by theologians, philosophers, and scientists for generations. Is there a truth? If so, can we humans know it? If we can know it, will it set us free? If so, free from what … and into what?”
“We live in one world — the world of Physics.” -attributed to B.F. Skinner (1904-1990)
Philosophically, can we ever know Truth completely? Unlikely. Dark matter and dark energy comprise 96% of our universe. We have yet to identify their compositions, let alone analyze them.*
*Although we know nothing about the composition of dark matter, we can estimate its mass in a given galaxy using the Virial Theorem.
We only can try to describe truths as best we can. Those best efforts rely upon Science not personal opinion reflecting arrogant ignorance or upon abstract ideology divorced from known reality. To begin, there is a Cosmic Truth described by the most fundamental of all sciences, Physical Science and its language of Mathematics.
Excerpt from the semi-fictional novel, Retribution Fever:
Our describing, nevertheless, suggests that there exist Cosmic Truths. That most fundamental of these Truths began the moment a tiny speck of small mass, only a few kilograms, grew slowly then suddenly inflated faster than the speed of light, to create 1053 Kg. of matter, a number beyond human comprehension.
Cosmic Truth may seem remote from everyday living. It is not. In fact, it can serve as the foundation for all that we do. As presented in the novel, it can give scientific purpose to humanity and meaning to individual human lives. We ignore it at our peril — peril to our existence as a species.
“I the Lord search the heart,
I try the reins,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.” -Jeremiah 17:10
The fruit of his doings. The consequence of behavior.
Yes, behavior, including verbal behavior, has its consequences. The closer those consequences are to Cosmic Truth, the closer we are to Good. The further, the closer we are to Evil. Do the current impeachment proceedings against President Trump run counter to Cosmic Truth? If so, the proceedings are evil — not in the theological sense necessarily but in the scientific sense. Power-hungry, self-aggrandizing, deceitful politicians who would pursue such a dangerous farce expose the nation to vengeful retribution. Accordingly, these miscreants, too, would be evil — evil in a scientific sense. Their supporters become the handmaidens of evil.
PART TWO: HISTORICAL CONTEXT
“The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” -Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)
“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” -President John Adams (1725-1826)
In the late 18th-century, as described in Retribution Fever and as contrary to popular opinion, these United States were founded as a democratic republic — neither a pure democracy nor a republican democracy. There are profound differences. In a democratic republic unlike the other two, citizens automatically do not have the right to vote; only some are entitled to vote. In these United States, that limited entitlement — now a distant memory, was pursuant to a written constitution designed to protect the minority from the majority.
In the early 19th-century, its enemies began attacking in earnest that republican concept. Then, immediately after the War Between the States, the amorphous Amendments XIV and XV were ratified largely out of post-war pique in order to punish the rebellious South, lofty statements to the contrary notwithstanding. In that context came the first impeachment, that of President Andrew Johnson (1868). It was political in nature. It came as a consequence of his lenient approach towards the former Confederate States of America. He was not convicted.
Early in the 20th -century came the next major assault with the election of President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921). No friend to the Constitution, his oath of office be damned, Wilson believed that a technocratic cabal of elitists better should govern without interference from the citizenry. His assault has lasted until the present.
“Where the people fear the government, you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people, you have liberty.” -Barnhill, John Basil (1914).
In 1913, a disputed ratification of Amendment XVI created the dreaded income-tax and with it tyranny imposed by the agency to enforce collection — tyranny, whereby, the investigated are guilty until proving themselves innocent. In violation of Amendment IV of the Bill of Rights, governmental search and seizure without warrant became routine.
These assaults accelerated with the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945), also no friend to the Constitution. He even tried to “pack” the U.S. Supreme Court by enlarging its membership in order to impose his autocratic, unconstitutional programs. Politically, his programs succeeded. Economically, his programs failed; Imperial Japan (07DEC1941) then Nazi-Germany (11DEC1941) saved him economically by declaring war. They lost. Never start a war that you don’t win — a lesson that these United States were to forget.
“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before, and it does not work.” -Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Treasury (1934-1945)
The 1960s proved the beginning of the end, however, for this nation as it initially had been conceived. The beginning of the end for all of Western Civilization had begun in 1914 with the outbreak of the Great War (1914-1918). Incompetent British politicians failed to make clear to the adventuresome Kaiser seeking his “place in the Sun” that Britain would retaliate if Germany went to war. Germany went to war. Germany lost. Never start a war that you don’t win — a lesson that these United States were to forget.
By the 1920s, the UK was descending as the global power; whereas, these United States were ascending. The 19th-century had been the British century. The 20th-century was to be the American century, increasingly dominated governmentally by an expanding, arrogant, powerful Administrative State. Today, federal employees number 2.0-million, occupying 1.9-billion square feet of office-space and being paid $1-million per minute per workday. Their highest priority? As the currently besieged President Trump learned early on, protection, promotion, and expansion of the bureaucracy — the nation be damned.
To be continued …