Lying as a Way of Life: Corruption and Collectivism in America
Successful entrepreneurs do three things well: they meet the needs of their clients, have products that are easy to use, and they are reliable. Lying as a Way of Life: Corruption and Collectivism Coming of Age in America by Alexandra York is all of that. Written for Americans confused or concerned about our culture’s degrading moral standards, it’s an easy 62 page read, a 99-cent eBook download, and includes much-needed historical perspective.
An entrepreneur becomes a hero by creating a cognitive vision and leading with principled action. Unlike government bureaucrats, if she lies, she will face the consequences. In this monograph, Ms. York’s vision begins with a brief comparison of different moral codes rooted in either 1) Philosophy of Reason, 2) Religious Doctrine, 3) Totalitarian Force, or 4) Tribal Loyalty.
This is important; the efficacy of philosophical principles depend on their starting point. Accordingly, the last Section lists several ideas for action for her readers to consider.
The dominant theme of this essay is the evasion of reality needed to destroy Individualism — independent minds and earned rewards. In fact, individual ‘rights’ are the distinctively American core value because they are the only principle needed to unite rational men. However, for over a century, individualism has come under attack from American institutions whose core value is collectivism — groupthink and group rewards.
Why? Because the rewards of independence require consistent, cognitive effort and obedience to reality, and only reality. As ultimately rational beings, this gives us reason for optimism, or as Ms. York explains about human nature in Section One — Morality,
“Irrationality and deception are self-defeating because they foster inner cognitive-emotional discord and erosion of self-esteem, psychological conflicts, unhappiness, or depression.”
Lying as a Way of Life also gives examples of lying as the ‘amoral’ way of life in totalitarian, religious, and tribal cultures throughout the world. In some cases, lying may be necessary for bodily protection, yet in several others, it is designed to “promote Islam and hide its true intentions,”
“Taqiyya comes from the Qur’an, and means ‘protection’, which in turn permits all forms of deception and fooling the enemy.”
Taqiyya can also fail when summoned to protect the individual’s soul. Explicated as Ketman by Poland’s poet laureate Czeslaw Milosz in The Captive Mind, his classic book illustrates the psychological damage experienced by four Soviet propagandists. To produce political deception for their masters, it became necessary to invoke cognitive deception on themselves.
Even in America today, anyone skeptical of the green energy, diversity, education, health care financing, State science, transgenderism, Critical Theory, stakeholder capitalism, modern art, or anti-trust scams have a choice: go along (Ketman) or face legal or social “justice.”
Don’t be that guy, ladies! America’s most courageous and well-armed exponents for liberty in the 20th century were Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Ayn Rand. In Section Two — The Frankfurt School and Marxism in America, Ms. York summarizes the political correctness they were fighting with the full force of their intellect.
However, in a survey about pervasive lying, it helps to define truth more clearly: It is the recognition of reality; its virtue is honesty. Our most powerful exposition of ‘truth’ was formulated by Objectivism’s philosopher/novelist Ayn Rand: “Existence is identity. Consciousness is identification.” In other words, to be conscious, we must be conscious of something. Empirical evidence validates concepts.
To be consistent, the standard of value needed to validate a system of morality must be individual human lives. Moral behavior is volitional; there is no collective mind. While the first chapter uses the amoral Oxford dictionary definition for ‘morality’, the comparison of socioeconomic systems in Section Two does not suffer from such ambiguity,
“It is usually misunderstood that capitalism and fascism are politically on the ‘Right’. In actuality, Capitalism stands alone at one end of this divide. Socialism, fascism, and progressivism stand together at the opposite end.”
For background, prior to 19th century Capitalism, slavery was routine nearly everywhere, women had no rights, life was as primitive as ever, and fine art was the exclusive domain of priests and potentates. As the author writes,
“Capitalism holds that individuals have the right to live their lives as they wish, produce what they wish, as long as they don’t infringe upon the rights of others.”
Capitalism is reason applied to reality, the ethics of individualism, and the politics of liberty. Its foundation was poured by intellectuals of the 16th and 17th century Enlightenment and set firmly by 18th century Americans in the Declaration of Independence.
Yet, independence is the explicitly named enemy of Section Two’s “scientific elites.” Their goal is a system of global governance untethered to reality. Why? Because an authoritarian’s self-esteem is derived from political power over others (force), not the economic power of an entrepreneur (trade). Capitalism simply renders these central planners irrelevant.
What Ms. York does in Section Two is remarkable; she gives her readers the firepower they need to disarm our amoral, ‘conspiracy theory’ intimidators. As Enlightenment physicist Sir Isaac Newton declared, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” While it is commonly accepted that real human progress compounds itself over time, it doesn’t just happen. Rational ideas require consistent effort and obedience to reality.
However, with less effort and a mob of useful idiots, the same is true for bad ideas to compound. Section Two includes the separate efforts of intellectuals H. G. Wells, Herbert Croly’s New Republic, Columbia University’s John Dewey, The Frankfurt School Marxists, and Modern art’s Pablo Picasso and Pierre Boulez.
Politically, there is Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressives, Chicago’s American Communist Party (“These advocates of communism were ideologically savvy, but as is the case today, the vast majority consisted of Lenin’s useful idiots”), and Franklin Roosevelt’s United Nations (“This global organization permits the most impoverished and corrupt countries to obligate and sap the strong”).
The chapter concludes with Rules for Radicals (1971) author Saul Alinsky and the predictable rise to power of two very famous Alinsky acolytes: the shameless liar Hillary Clinton and the talented liar Barack Obama. A testament to his Islamic schooling in Indonesia as a young man, and Alinsky trained ‘community organizing’ in Chicago, Obama’s credentials include,
“Psycho-political training for dedicated individuals working in this field focuses on manipulation, deception, and other methods to get the people they are pretending to ‘help’ to question their normal set of core beliefs.”
Lying as a Way of Life was published six years ago; in the final year of President Obama’s second term of office. Focused on the causes and effects of his rise to power, it is fair to ask if this eBook is relevant to America today. Ms. York presciently answers that question in her introduction,
“His consistent behavior bent on weakening this nation has proven so bald and bold that few can deny his purpose. His legacy of conscious control over every aspect of our lives will continue to function for generations to come.”
The purpose of this monograph is to give readers “the knowledge required to take meaningful actions to block the path of those who would ‘transform’ America into a cultural wasteland.” Today, President Obama’s third term is already in its second year, albeit with an incompetent, corrupt, cognitive wreck holding both offices. So, what to do? Section Three — Corruption and Modern Primitivism, informs us that it begins with us, as individuals,
“True individuality is created from within by assessing various possibilities consistent with one’s rationally chosen values and philosophy. This need for self-identification is hardwired into our DNA for individual survival.”
Most importantly, know that a tyrant is totally dependent on pragmatism and appeasement from their victims. In Lying as a Way of Life, readers will learn that media and public education are their tools. Their purpose is to acquire permission from a “demanding but uninformed, non-judgmental, and gullible population” that they create. Don’t be that guy. Existence exists. Be your own hero.