“In a dying civilization, political prestige is the reward not of the shrewdest diagnostician, but of the man with the best bedside manner. It is the decoration conferred on mediocrity by ignorance.” from A Coffin For Dimitrios by Eric Ambler in 1939.
Over 70 years have passed since British novelist, engineer, and Lieutenant Colonel Eric Ambler wrote those words. Ambler knew the pessimistic work of German historian Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, and thought that Europe, especially after World War I, was in danger of declining, and perhaps had already entered a terminal phase.
One can debate whether our civilization is dying, or whether it is sick but curable, or simply has the political sniffles. Here I want to point out the unfortunate truth in Ambler’s last sentence quoted above: it was proven in the 2008 presidential election.
Nobody sensible would call BIG BRObama a “shrewd diagnostician” of economics or even politics, despite his success in getting the highest office in the land. The last 18 months have proven that he has no desire to help America economically: when his supposed cures are shown to be worthless, the shrewd diagnostician would find a new cure to treat the disease. “The man with the best bedside manner” has no interest in curing our disease, because he does not know how, or worse, intends on confiscating our property after our demise!
Instead, he simply lies to us and says that we should trust him, and that everything will be fine, as he smilingly injects us with just a little more strychnine, even though we know that strychnine cannot possibly be what we need. But he is such a nice young man, that we trust him, and accept this most curious cure.
The man with the best bedside manner wants the best for us, he says, and when he tells us that “up” is actually “down,” e.g. with unemployment numbers (rf. the deliberate inflation of employment numbers with temporary Census workers), that high taxes and the throttling of businesses make society fair and better for everyone (rf. Joe the Toledo Plumber), that “Wall Street greed” caused all of our problems and that the government’s role was not connected (rf. Dodd and Frank and the other clowns at the imperial court of Fannie and Freddie), that petty dictators are actually to be admired and courted and even imitated (e.g. joining Chavez in condemning Honduras’ attempt to resist dictatorship), that our allies are actually our enemies and must be cast aside (e.g. the constant insulting of England and trashing of Israel), we have to understand that things in our disease have “changed” and we must “hope” for the best!
We see now that this result of mediocrity came from ignorance, the ignorance and gullibility and guilt of the electorate. An electorate who did not read his books, or pay attention to his background, or seek out information about his speeches, e.g. against American defense programs. An electorate who believed the televised image and saw a thin, young, and (seemingly) dynamic 40-something speaking those calm, soothing bedside lies vs. an old bristly grandpa.
BIG BRObama may be thin, but his youth is fading fast, and instead of dynamism, we see that he is almost pathologically lazy, letting Dem operatives run with the extreme left-wing agenda.
The patient must be told that his doctor is incompetent or worse.
The only way to break mediocrity and ignorance is with energy and persuasion. Conservatives must continue to expose the bedside manner of lies and incompetence: this takes time, money, and constant vigilance.
And it takes style: the mediocre man does not like to be told that he is mediocre, that his mediocrity has led him and his country into choosing disaster, albeit disaster hidden behind a mask of duplicitous sweetness. Conservatives must consolingly and diplomatically explain to the masses, similar to the detective who shows the wife the photographs of the husband at the motel with another woman and reveals an unpleasant truth, that they have a choice to make in 2010 and in 2012.
Do you stay with him, or start the proceedings for a divorce?
(Note on A Coffin for Dimitrios: it was made into an excellent movie in 1944 and re-titled The Mask of Dimitrios with Peter Lorre (as the hero!), Zachary Scott, and Sydney Greenstreet. Available on VHS, but not yet on DVD.)