I’m having lunch alone, and this being Jerry’s Famous Deli, a noted “industry” hangout, there are TV’s all over the place, suspended from the ceiling. Mercifully, the sound is turned down, but the closed captioning is scrolling along. It’s the way overblown coverage of last year’s terrorist attacks, so I lose myself in a newspaper–or try to. And then, I see her…
It’s none other than everybody’s favorite Pulitzer Prize winning, discredited, plagiarist pop historian: Doris Kearns Goodwin!
Landmarks in Lower Manhattan may tumble to the ground, and thousands may die; once great companies such as Arthur Andersen must pay the ultimate price for their lack of ethics; but this miserable Leftist phony is resurrected on national television. It may have been, uh, favors that got her in good with LBJ to start her career, but this time something more pathetic and sinister is at work. It’s the combination of pride, and slavery to the current fashion. Allow me to elaborate.
A bunco scheme is worked by con men, or grifters, who must first gain the confidence of the victim or mark. The scheme succeeds, though, only if the mark denies what his senses must tell him. The sad truth is that most marks are not otherwise stupid, and especially in the case of older victims, are usually quite stingy with their money.
In most cases, the mark knows deep down that he is being swindled, but to admit as much, either to himself or the authorities, would be a confession that he got fooled. Pride simply won’t let him. Far better to take his lumps. This is why most grifts go unreported, and this is why most end only when the mark has run out of money.
Picture a good high school student, who works hard, and gets accepted to a prestigious Ivy League school. He has become one of the elite! As he attends classes, he notices that there is a pervasive air of what might be called an atheistic/humanist Leftist world view. Oh, there may be a few professors who don’t tow this line, but they are stigmatized, or at the very least are termed irrelevant. Unless he has incredible strength of character, and doesn’t mind getting poorer grades for being different, he too tows the line.
After a certain amount of time, he is parroting this world view, and though he may have come to realize that it is not correct, pride and fashion prevent him from speaking out. If he happens to take a faculty position at this university, the cycle repeats itself in its simplest sense. Otherwise, he becomes just another useful idiot to the wonderful Leftist utopian cause.
In Goodwin’s case, she went into seclusion after her misdeeds were made public. There were a few–a very few–condemnations of her plagiarism, and she missed out on some speaking engagements, but for the most part, she got off quite unscathed. In fact, she was defended by some who compared her case to that of historian Stephen Ambrose. Ambrose’s plagiarism was more extensive, and he was even more unrepentant than Doris, so, somehow, that makes her a hero, I guess.
Did any of the media elite notice that she was little more than a groupie to FDR and JFK, and was not anything like a serious scholar? No doubt, but pride and fashion kept them silent.
Is our entire national ethos held hostage to the forces of pride and fashion, strangling our relatively few taste makers?
How far back would you care to go?
In 1861, we are a country divided. Certain southern states want to secede, as did certain northern states about 30 years earlier. So we have the bloodiest war in our history. As a mostly unintended consequence of this conflict, chattel slavery is removed from our land, but as clearly intended, the weak federal government established by the Framers morphs into an all powerful Leviathan. Instead of being vilified as the monstrous tyrant that he was, Lincoln, never popular during his lifetime, is transformed into a secular saint.
After many scandals, in 1998, President Clinton is impeached. Even though he is obviously guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice, he is acquitted of the charges by the Senate in 1999. Few would admit that they were wrong about him, and those who do are tarred in the elite media as “Clinton haters.” Minutes after the House approves the articles of impeachment, Al Gore calls him one of our greatest presidents.
Realizing that he has been given a lifetime free pass by the taste makers, he graduates from petty corruption and lurid sex acts in the oval office, to pardoning hard core felons on his last day. Some speak out, but are quieted by a chorus of “We must move on…”
Not long after he takes office, New York mayor Mike Bloomberg declares his city a haven for illegal aliens, by vowing not to squeal to the Feds, should one of his guests apply for some city service. This, from the top official in a city that was decimated by a terrorist attack carried out by aliens of dubious immigration status.
In Catholic theology, they are called the sin of pride and the sin of human respect. If sin clouds the intellect, welcome to a double dose, and welcome to your world.