If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Monday 4 February 2013
Read gnomica 1-250 here!
Any change is resisted because bureaucrats have
a vested interest in the chaos in which they exist.
Richard M. Nixon (9 Jan 1913 – 22 Apr 1994)
Couldn’t have been said better by anybody who could know better than this sad figure should about political chaos.
I don’t forget that Nixon will always remain the Watergate Nixon, but, before he went completely off the rails, he was also a much more active engine in promoting civil rights than he is generally given credit for in the (leftist) press. He certainly endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment, and he did open up China to the West – something some people today might (foolishly) think was, of all the dumb things he did, absolutely the dumbest – until the shock of outsourcing and off-shore manufacturing made it possible for Chinese loans to sustain our pathological spending binges..
I’m not here today with a brief for our thirty-seventh president, but have just finished a book by Mark Feldstein called Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson, and the Rise of Washington’ Scandal Culture (2010) – and it got me to thinking about a few things. Among other things, the book is a review and recap of the Watergate mess and the era – talk about “a vested interest in the chaos” that politicians promote for their own sinister purposes!
Nixon’s dirty dealings and the outright illegal operations (e.g., using the CIA – an agency charged with spying only on foreign enemies – as a private P.I.-cum-goon-squad for going after personal domestic enemies) to stem the general unraveling after the ‘plumbers’ were caught at the Watergate make for a hair-raising story — of much of which I was not aware. And really scary reading, at that!
If you’ve ever wondered – as I have and no doubt many others – how we ever got to the point in the debased discourse of our political life where we now find ourselves, Feldstein’s book offers an illuminating discussion of how that happened, starting with Nixon going black-ops domestically. Wrapping himself and his thugs in that well-known and still ubiquitous justification of ‘national security’, he personally ordered the gloves-off campaigns to out, damage, traduce this – I emulate his scurrilous lexicon of opprobrium — &@+!-ing *$+!#$)^& and that &@+!-ing ^**(%_+=. And where compromising dirt could not be found, well, it’s all so chaotic that who could tell the fake from the real and the real from the fake? After the damage had been done in a press avid to sell titillating copy to a public avid for titillating copy, you could always issue retractions and clarify that ABC really was not a &@+!-ing *$+!#$)^& and we apologize for calling ABC a &@+!-ing *$+!#$)^& ; and XYZ really was not a &@+!-ing ^**(%_+= and we apologize for calling XYZ a &@+!-ing ^**(%_+=.
You get the drift!
Since Richard “I Am Not A Crook” Nixon resigned (so he could not be impeached!) in August of 1974, there have been seven American presidents: Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush G., Clinton, Bush W., Obama. Nixon’s marginal ethos in connection with his countless ‘enemies’ in a sense opened up Washington to the current SOP of ‘gotcha’ in any and all arenas. We just saw in late December and early last month the scandalous workings of this doomsday machinery. Now, if in an essentially pre-digital era Nixon could get away with everything he got away with until he didn’t, what can go on in our brave new world of ‘digital connectedness’ – and what can be ferreted out now that couldn’t then?
Personally, I don’t believe (but, of course, do not know) that those seven subsequent administrations were/are clean as the driven snow in Iowa: deeds that we still do not know of no doubt have been and are right now being done in our name and that of ‘national security’, and when the historical record comes out some half a century or so down the road, it will shock us all for their very un-American ways of being America.
And for me, the fact that we in fact do not know what nefarious doings are going on in the slandered name of that pimped-out term ‘national security’ that in fact have nothing at all to do with ‘national security’ is the most disheartening of all.
Whatever else you and history may think of Nixon, I believe he was right about all those bureaucrats in every administration up and down the hierarchy from top to bottom who have a vested interest in the chaos in which they exist.