Folks I know say that Cheney, Bush and Wolfowitz are just natural-born liars but theyíre missing the entire point. Thereís nothing natural-born about it. When a neocon lies, thereís a whole damned philosophy to it. There was this Professor Leo Strauss down at the University of Chicago back in the '60s, who had it figured out that folks like you and me are too stupid to understand what's going on, so it's up to the government to lie to us for our own good. So when you go home tonight and the TV says the war in Iraq is making America safer and that America is promoting liberty around the world and the wife says well ainít that a sweet load of crap back to the TV, you just look over and say, honey that ainít just any old crap, thatís Straussian exoterica. If that don't impress her, Iíd just like to know what will.
I have taken the time to look into this subject and I will explain it. Leo Strauss was a philosopher and a big fan of Plato. Now Iím not up to speed on my Plato. I even got him mixed up with Goofy that time we took the grandkids down to Disney but the gist of Professor Straussí philosophy is that sometimes the government needs to hide the true nature of things from the common people, for the common good.
The way it works is you have your exoteric idea and your esoteric idea. Exoteric is what they choose to tell us (kind of like the halftime show in the Superbowl a few years back. I mean I didnít ask to see Janet Jacksonís right one. But the media went ahead and decided itís what me and the family was going to see). Same thing with the fellas who work for Mr. George W. Bush. Sometimes they decide what it is we need to see in the media. Letís say that the President gets up one day and decides to bomb the living bejesus out of another country over there. And letís say that the esoteric reason (thatís the true reason, the one we ainít likely to hear about) is that Bush wants all the oil over there and because Israel just called him up the night before and Israelís sweating bullets cause the way they figure it is this new enemy countryís gone nookulur. Now the president knows how much of a strain that kind of thing would put on the rest of us. Thatís where your exoteric reasons come in, the ones they tell us. So they tell us this new country is helping kill our kids in Iraq. And anyway itís world headquarters for Al Qaeda or some damned thing and, while weíre at it, we might as well kill all the terrorists over there before they come over here.
So Mr. Bush goes on TV and he says bring it on again like the baddest cowboy in West Texas and he kicks butt all over the Middle East and we get all the oil and America and Israel get to carry on with their ďspecial relationshipĒ (kind of like that special relationship the wife had with the UPS man that year she was out on workerís comp).
I talked about my grandkids already, little Merle being my favorite (you guessed it -- they named him after me). Heís seventeen now and he says to me the other day Iím going to join the Marines when I get out of high school. I says you mean if you get out of high school. He says whatever. I also says take them earphones off when you talk to your grandpa and why the hell anyway is the crotch of your pants down around your knees? He just bounces his head along with the hip hop.
So I says, What you want to do that for Merle, join the Marines? He says, it will make me look tough. I says youíd look a sight tougher you took that earring out , but he donít hear me. He says the Ay-rabs (thatís the way he says it) are our enemy. I says maybe some are and maybe some ainít but what kind of sense does it make to bomb the crap out of all of them over there in I-raq (in his particular parlance). It just makes them hate us all the more, donít it? I says where did you hear the Ay-rabs are the enemy. He heard it on TV. TV? I says. Remember that Super Bowl and Janet Jacksonís right one flopped out and they told us it was a wardrobe dysfunction or some damned thing? Well didnít we have a laugh over that one? My point being boy you donít believe everything you hear on TV.
Now I ainít unpatriotic. I guess they have to lie once in a while cause they know whatís best. They ainít about to tell the likes of me whatís really going on in the world any more than Iím likely to tell little Merle about that duffle bag full of weed I blew through that year I come home from the Nam.
Anyway, I explained all this to the wife the other night. Now she has a habit of watching TV even when Iím talking. Hell, especially when Iím talking. I says you ainít heard a blessed word I been saying. She stops to think and just when I figure I have her dead to rights, she says if they think weíre giving the grandkids over to their damned wars they must really think weíre stupid. Let them send their own damned kids to die she says. I says what about a draft, you ever think about that one? This Iraqi thing keeps on going and theyíre just as like to come and take the boy.
The wife thinks that one over for a bit and her face gets all red and she says to me thatís around the time when sheís gonna take the twelve gauge down and do what she needs to when the federal man comes up the walk looking for him. If I were the federal man I wouldn't fool with her. Or me neither.
And that's just the exoteric and the esoteric of it.
Michael Nolan is a freelance writer. His work has appeared in Common Dreams, Lew Rockwell.com, OpEdNews and the Vermont Guardian. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.