Republicus

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty (P.S. Please be so kind as to enter through the proper channels and in an orderly fashion)

Name:
Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Monday, March 31, 2008

Remember

I made a terrible mistake. I think I have paid for it... On the impeachment, I am proud of what we did there, because I think we saved the Constitution of the United States... They have no guilt and no shame.

(President Clinton at a meeting of the American Society of Newspaper editors in Washington, DC, April, 2000)

Beware of those who seek to win an argument at the expense of the language. For the fact that they do so is proof positive that their argument is false, and proof presumptive that they know it is...Those who treasure the meaning of words will treasure truth, and those who bend words to their purposes are very likely in pursuit of anti-social ones. The correct and honorable use of words is the first and natural credential of civilized status.

(Historian Paul Johnson)

The methodical eight-year rehabilitation of the Clintons has been successful. So too has been the aggressive revising of their legacy, impressive feats when considering the depth of the hole both had to be dug out of.

They were helicoptered out of Washington on the cold, drizzling day of Bush’s inauguration on January 20, 2001 stigmatized by Impeachment. They had a negative net worth, owing millions in attorney fees, and were under the clouds of their latest scandal of Pardongate (the latter appearing to have been rashly carried out under pressure by the former), and unresolved perjury charges were waiting for them back in Arkansas that were subject to legal, not political, considerations, and would result in Nixonian resignation from the bar to preempt disbarment.

The hot air balloon that was the vaunted “Clinton Economy”—which saved Bill from conviction and removal from office—was approaching critical mass and about to implode into recession.

And the 9/11 plot was fearlessly underway.

As the door was closing behind them, however, they were able to slip a foot in and keep it from shutting, and squeezed back inside: Hillary’s successful senate run that same election year kept them in the foyer.

And while Hillary quietly worked toward the Clinton recrudescence in her senate office, by the good--some say foolish-- graces of the Bush family, the disgraced Bill was favorably reintroduced to the nation, and the world, in the wake of the Asian tsunami in January of 2005, and he was seen somewhat shyly globe-trotting alongside the elder Bush (who invited him) like a prodigal son welcomed back to the fold, with everything magnanimously forgiven.

And there he was, back in the living-room.

The real son was meanwhile enjoying soared and steadied approval ratings in the wake of 9/11 after vanquishing the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, the Democratic congress, and John Kerry to boot in quick succession as the economy recovered and began to burgeon (perhaps inspiring the clan’s magnanimity towards the former arch-rival).

Victorious, confident, and unafraid, he announced first thing in 2005 his intention to spend his political capital by grabbing the third-rail of American politics in the bold pursuit of privatizing Social Security.

Lyndon Larouche was quickly hired to pull the switch: “Bush is a crooked corporatist who’s planning to plunder of Social Security so as to enrich his pals on Wall Street!” he accused, eliciting gasps from Main Street as retirement loomed for the first wave of Baby Boomers.

Zap.

Lo and behold, the buoyant approvals began to succumb to the gravity of the charges. The depreciation was slight, at first, but was enough to disprove the invincibility that had quelled and cowed the Bush-hating opposition for four years, and they swarmed out of the woodwork en masse, and with a vengeance.

Like armies of angry Lilliputians, they climbed all over and covered the Gulliver that was George W. Bush, and broadcasts, bookstores, and the blogosphere alike exploded in cacophonous concert:

“Bush and his Neocon administration stole the elections! They are war-mongering Militarists! Imperialists! Zionists First! Manichaean Christo-fascists! The Sixteen Words and the Martyrdom of Joe Wilson! Valerie Plame and Treason! The Misleader-in-Chief and his Debacle! A Lying Liar Who Tells Lies! Abu Ghraib! GITMO! The Very Worst Ever in American History…ad absurdum and nauseam.

The ubiquitous noisiness of the dissent itself, justified or not, and as enabled not by mass revulsion but by the revolution in mass communication capabilities which nevertheless impostured as the former, was enough to further depress the approvals.

Such a bratty modus operandi-- as learned by infants since time immemorial--was being practiced by the parallel insurgency in Iraq, but with real, not verbal, improvised devices, and an esprit de corps, even a symbiotic relationship with the common goal of defeating George W. Bush and his signature policy of the War on Terror, could be discerned: The noise from one inspired more noise from the other, and the decibel was raised by both in evident correlation.

For its part, the administration, mindful of the spoiling that indulgence brings, thought it best, it seemed, to just ignore the tantrum-like terrorism of the insurgency and the tandem domestic wailing with a faith that time would bring the calm and maturity that will make their wisdom plain.

More likely, however, the deranged, kitchen-sink quality and implacability of the dissent that evidently had much more to do with partisan rancor than any grievance over principle was simply ignored by a Cheneyesque disdain, which only invited new charges of an administration being “out of touch” and/or apathetic to the passions of the people it claimed to compassionately serve.

In March, the Terry Schiavo case erupted and Bush personally sided with the vegetating woman’s parents and siblings who wanted her kept alive against the wishes of the husband, who called for her demise as warranted by the courts.

The intervention of the chief executive into a private family matter on the side of life—if only by opinion and request, and however fecklessly-- only provided fuel for the fire that the rhetorically-rioting Bush-hating opposition was stoking, and the president was staked for his efforts at maintaining the splintering support of the conservative base, accused of stepping out of his jurisdiction, and imposing his religious beliefs.

The implications and the most extreme of insinuated associations—however far removed-- were immediately seized upon, amplified, and, in all seriousness (astonishingly enough), widely circulated:

The Bush Administration is the American Taliban.

Bush himself is a dictator who is just as bad as Saddam Hussein, and Adolph Hitler.

And while the snowballing onslaught of propaganda was ostensibly pushed and rolled for the sake of the Democratic Party in general in the hopes of winning back the congress in the approaching mid-term elections, a subplot involving the self-interest of specific personalities could be discerned:

Some of the most strident charges directed at Bush at that time—e.g. The Lying, the draft-dodging, the secretiveness, the vindictiveness, the “making stuff up,” the “fake wars,” and even the personal cuts about swaggering and smirking—distinctly sounded as if they were lifted—practically verbatim-- from the headlines and editorials of the 1990’s that were lambasting the Clintons, but hyperbolized to a degree that made the prototype paltry by comparison.

They were vindictive projections, made on behalf of the Clintons to avenge and level the playing field for their recrudescence to power.

“I keep score,” Bill twice informed Charlie Rose at one sitting.

And as the once-popular president plunged in popular esteem, the Clintons’ appeal rose reciprocally by a strange transference.

There was the Reverend Billy Graham, on April 9, during his Farewell Tour in New York, praising:

I told Clinton he should be an evangelist, and he could leave his wife to run the country.

That was incredible.

And the revamping and ho-humming Bill could be seen hitting the links with his newly adoptive father, the elder Bush 41, who seemed cheerfully oblivious to the serpent he was nursing back to health at his bosom (in a manner of speaking).

When asked about his father’s budding relationship, Bush 43 quipped: “Yes, he and my new brother.”

The showcased, bipartisan bonhomie between the former and once-rival presidents did nothing to stop the descent of 43’s approvals. Were they quickened by it? Perhaps, as the bulk of the ten percent that was quickly evaporating from the once-solid approvals (given the 50-50 make-up of the electorate to begin with) were comprised of disillusioned conservatives, who in no small part voted in record numbers, particularly in 2000, to re-coronate the Bush name in reactionary reproof of the Clinton interregnum.

The dynamic duo-ism certainly helped Bill, however, as it quickly groomed and transformed him into the model of international elder statesman (the toast of nations and with a hundred-thousand dollar speaker fees at his command).

Meanwhile, in April, from her senatorial post, Bill’s wife had this to say about her newfound brother-in-law’s administration:

There has never been an administration, I don't believe in our history, more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda.

And this:

I can tell you this: It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing. It is very hard to tell people that they are making decisions that will undermine our checks and balances and constitutional system of government who don't care. It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth.

In the confusion generated by the sight of Bush 41 chumming around with Bill while the latter’s wife publicly attacked the former’s son as a shameless, Constitution-compromising, power-mad liar, it went largely unnoticed that those, too, were characteristic projections that practically plagiarized the critical character profiles made of the Clintons themselves and their administration throughout the 1990’s.

At the end of August of that year, Hurricane Katrina struck and New Orleans was inundated.

What was seen as an anemic response by the Bush Administration to the sudden catastrophe of an historic city that was largely populated by impoverished minorities of a Democratic persuasion added more fuel to a fire of dissent that was already raging uncontrollably: The alleged apathetic ineptitude over the disaster of New Orleans was proof not only that Bush was an incompetent chief executive, but an elitist and racist one, as well.

That was the last straw: A trapdoor was sprung and the president’s approvals abruptly dropped even more, and have never quite recovered since.

By some bizarre transference, the Clintons’ fortunes soared:

In the seven years since they left office impeached and under a persisting cloud of scandal, the tenacious and determined pair settled their debts and amassed $109,000,000 on speaking fees, book deals, and the reaping of relationships with wealthy patrons.

Hillary is now in the running to be the 44th President of the United States, the 1st female Commander-in-Chief with Bill angling to become the 1st First Gentleman, their prospects made possible by popular support along the way and a shotgun team of propagandists and lawyers willing to overturn every rock and convention to return them to power should popular support prove inadequate.

“The Comeback Kid” indeed.

The Clinton Era is now sentimentalized and reminisced on the campaign trail as a sort of Eden before the Fall as Hillary runs on its purported record of Peace, Prosperity, and ethical, competent government that she claims co-enabling and management of.

All in all, an impressive rehabilitation, a credit both to today’s noisemakers and the revisionists who have evidently been able to exploit the notorious short-term memory of the American people and revise history by suggesting-—insisting, actually--that the defining milestone of the Clinton era never really counted as a real Impeachment, because it was politically engineered by Right-Wing Extremists in the context of the raging Culture War that they themselves provoked.

And anyway, it was just about an isolated, sexual snafu that was nobody’s business.

And everyone does it.

End of story.

Instead, remember the Peace, the Prosperity, the competence, and the government ethics that are so sorely lacking today.

Let’s move on to Tomorrow, then, and bring back Yesterday.

The inherent contradiction is there because the Clintons are trying to have it both ways, as champions of the past and future, and the paradox epitomizes their campaign’s quandary:

They achieved victory in 1992 over Bush 41 with their forward-looking youth, charisma, and calls for change, using mottoes like “The Man From Hope” and “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.”

In the 1996 campaign, they used “The Bridge To The Future” slogan to counter the calcified Bob Dole and his “Bridge to the Past” conservatism, and won their second term.

And at every turn Bill flaunted the appropriated and practiced similitude of his hero, the mythical and martyred JFK, presenting himself as the avatar of the long-awaited Second Coming.

(That was an illegitimate and unconscionable grab at the birthright of the true heir to the throne of Camelot, the princeling John-John, who was alive and steadily maturing toward a legitimate restoration but did not have the benefit of a Lloyd Bentsen to fanatically defend the vacant, waiting throne from imposters, especially since the imposter made Bentsen the Secretary of the Treasury and so assured not only his silence but also his complicity in the charade.)

Unfortunately, this time around the winning themes have been co-opted by Senator Obama’s own calls for change, his own “Audacity of Hope,” his—-and now only his-- youth and charisma, and his far more legitimate brandishing of Excalibur (as personally bequeathed to him from the Stewards of Camelot themselves, Senator Edward Kennedy and Princess Caroline).

Now that’s poetic justice (if not karma).

And so the Clintons, while still trying-- in vain-- to recycle and re-animate the aura of Youth and Tomorrow that they emanated yesteryear, find themselves simultaneously (and grudgingly, one would think) forced to about face and emphasize the experience that yesterday and longevity provide.

That “experience” was acquired by, apparently, their presiding over some Golden Age of unprecedented Peace & Prosperity in the bygone era of the last century, and the country can expect more of the same for this one if they are returned to power (“Because we know how to do it”), so they’re essentially banking on Bob Dole’s “Bridge to the Past” sentiment in the process.

(Ironic, that, as their “Bridge to the Future” slogan was an inverted plagiarism to contrast with Dole’s “Bridge To The Past” coining to begin with.)

That’s a tricky proposition to rely on, however. Not only does the contradictive absurdity of trying to have it both ways betray the inherent chicanery on the second thought, but even if accepted brings—-with but a cursory glance to that Yesterday—a “Peace” between a botched (and bloody) military mission in Somalia, terrorist attacks on American soil and interests abroad that escalated from the first year of the Clinton tenure to the last, the gratuitous bombing of sovereign countries without Congressional or UN approval, and a prosperity in the last few years of the second term as fortuitously engendered by Bill Gates and embodied in the dot.com balloon which created a climate of what Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan ominously characterized as “irrational exuberance.”

It is precisely that mindless--and reckless-- euphoria in the second half of the Clinton second term that the Clintons are trying to invoke and re-memorize as a state of national bliss.

That widespread euphoria, however, while being titillated and excited by the sudden, unprecedented ubiquity of sexual content in the culture—a mighty manipulator of dopamine-- was also coaxed and crazed by the diversionary bread and circuses that appeared on the heels of the Impeachment.

The corporate numbers—however cooked and gaseous (think mega-corporations Worldcom and Enron and the bookkeeping cookery of their mega-accountant Arthur Anderson)--were suddenly stupendous, and more people than ever became proverbial fat cats and literally obese as the president made sure to regularly rattle off record after record that was being broken, and thereby goaded the giddiness to create more records for the president to take credit for, as especially provided by the dot.com windfall and CEOs like Ken Lay.

That is not to say that the expansion itself which began in March of 1991-- almost two years before Clinton took office, and as the hapless Bush 41 tried to assure-- was hollow, or that the tech driven boom at the end of the decade entirely illusory, or that Clinton’s announcement of the advent of “A New Economy”—a bigger, smarter, faster, and far more complex one—-untrue.

It is to say that the Clintons arrived on the presidential scene at just the right time in history as the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union left the United States the sole surviving superpower and accelerated the Tech Revolution and global integration, milestones in human history that were already underway and utterly independent of Clintonian empathy and tax hikes, and assuredly the real engines of the prodigious economic growth.

To this day, Bill Clinton credits his 1993 “emergency stimulus bill”—i.e. the historically huge peacetime tax hike—as catalytically “paving the way” for the recovery and expansion that had already began, explaining that the hike lowered interest rates and so set the stage for them, but that’s simply not true: Interest rates followed suit and hiked upward, arguably slowing the recovery that began in the Spring of 1991 because it took another half-decade for it to kick into overdrive.

And besides, even if the tax-hikes actually did have a suppressive effect on interest rates, to credit that effect as being the impetus for an expansion that was steamed by the Tech Revolution and globalization is like the proverbial rooster saying that his crowing caused the sun to rise.

It should be added here that Candidate Clinton pledged not to raise taxes knowing full well that Bush 41’s lipless de-pledging on that issue was largely responsible for his diminished prospects for a second term. Once installed as president, however, Clinton then explained that, as an insider, he realized that the economic situation was far worse than he thought as an outsider and so had to renege on his pledge and enact an “emergency stimulus bill,” i.e. he was compelled to raise taxes immediately.

There is no reason to believe that a President Hillary would not use the same excuse for breaking campaign promises, especially since it did not prevent Bill from winning the coveted second term.

No one can say what would have happened to the ambitious but still young and newly-taxed recovery if Hillary succeeded in socializing 1/7 of the nation’s economy in 1993 with her tentacled health care plan, but a clear correlation can be drawn with the inauguration of the reactionary new Republican Congress in 1994 and their mandated “Contract With America.”

The Clintons credit themselves for the (eventual) lowering of taxes, spending cuts, the reformation of the welfare system, balanced budgets, and the surpluses that certainly spurred the expansion and helped streamline the transition into high-tech globalization.

All of those things, however, were forced upon a reluctant Bill by the new Republican majority. The former hemmed and hawed and weighed the political repercussions before agreeing to them. He then got out in front with multiple-pen signing ceremonies of the Republican-sponsored bills that now featured him.

It is also to say that the part of the economy of the 1990’s that the Clintons like to invoke and be associated with the most—i.e. the cultural zeitgeist of exuberance and consumer (over)confidence that arguably saved them from the removal that Impeachment threatened-- was hollow and illusory as the extravagant dot.com frenzy inflated the commodities index and stock exchange with enough hot air to reach unsustainable levels.

The piper was paid early in Bush 43’s new term as he was greeted with a loud series of pops that dramatically shrunk the turgidity of both the DOW and the NASDAQ, exposed corporate fraud, and hemorrhaged labor for good measure.

The new president was, of course, blamed for the implosion which he-- during the 2000campaign-- warned was pending (and was accused for “talking down” the incomparable greatness of The Clinton/Gore Economy for his own political benefit, a tactic the opposition was--and obviously remains-- well familiar with).

So much for the bread.

The circuses from that ravenous period featured the blacklisted and villainous leaders of foreign nations who were suddenly demonized and made globally-destabilizing and dangerous so as to justify the military spectacles that were carried out from the safe comfort above cumulous clouds, beheld from the safe comfort of living rooms, and were over as abruptly as begun.

That the in-and-out attack on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in late 1998 unloaded enough military ordnance to shock and awe the television audience here but risked nothing to remove the perennially destabilizing danger that was Saddam Hussein himself and his entrenched and unaccountable political structure suggests that Clinton’s personal, ulterior motive for the operation—-behind the anterior premonitions of Iraqi WMDs--was sheer showmanship.

Likewise the slapstick overkill of Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbia, in early 1999 which, though managing to remove the villain (after he finally emerged waving a little white flag from the Rembrandt he was hiding behind), seemed like Clinton—-after ignoring pleas for intervention for years—- took the opportunity to use the Yugo-producing country as a stage to launch his very own multi-national military campaign and fireworks show to copycat the superficial aspects (i.e. the sights, sounds, and windfall of patriotic support) of his predecessor’s epic Gulf War.

However, though ostensibly warranting the raining of death and destruction on a sovereign nation for 78 days and nights, the stated necessity of removing Milosevic—-unlike the necessity of removing Saddam from Kuwait—-was apparently not worth having one American boot on the ground for (even after the WMD argument was made—i.e. Milosevic’s rumored possession of “dirty nukes”—to secure support for the urgency of the campaign).

It was a faux war (that nevertheless killed people and destroyed societal infrastructure in the production of it).

As for the superior “competence” and “government ethics” of their tenure, they managed to embroil themselves in the 2nd Impeachment in American history (the 1st of an elected president).

Well, that last one is out of bounds, it appears, as neither Senator Obama nor Senator McCain seem willing to reference it when Hillary glorifies her husband’s presidency, and, of course, the vital part she played in it.

For the last time, as concerning the Impeachment, her husband was just a hapless victim of the dangerous extremists behind the radical Right-Wing Agenda.
It was just about sex, anyway, and the entire drama nothing more than a bit of political theater that was more comedy than tragedy (if you ignore the actual damaged and/or destroyed lives of players from both the central and supporting cast, and the shredding of cultural mores that invoked the Fall of Rome).

And besides, he was acquitted.

Now let’s move on…

…And bring back yesterday:

The acquittal was politically engineered, too. The whole Impeachment process occurs under the auspices of politicians, as ordained by the Constitution.

The sex has always been incidental, but the serious charges themselves of Perjury, Subornation of Perjury, and Obstruction of Justice, whether they be true or false, have been belittled and dismissed in the public realm—-by insistence—-due to their stemming out of that unsavory incident. Legalistic wrangling over the metaphysical properties of verbs like “is” only served to mire all concerned in word-games worthy of Wittgenstein, but as wagered and won: The United States Senate determined that the defendant committed neither High Crimes nor Misdemeanors.

There is no law, after all, that forbids a President of the United States-- whether by buffoonery or pre-meditated calculation-- from committing assault and battery on the nation’s sensibilities and the integrity of its language and undermining the traditional value system of the culture at large in the process if it serves to preserve the power of that president who is expected to safeguard them, especially since the consequences, abstract or empirical, are not easily docketed.

Nevertheless, after his presidency expired, once a court of law got a hold of the case --in Clinton's native state, no less-- it gave the last, unsung word by seeing fit to recommend disbarment. He was then suspended by the Supreme Court in October of 2001, pending that disbarment. Preempting that, he resigned from the Supreme Court bar the following month.

Further investigations and punishments had been pleaded and negotiated away.

Fortunately for Clinton, that litigated confirmation of malfeasance enjoyed the irrelevancy of occurring in the immediate wake of 9/11, so the convicted perpetrator could quietly slink away beneath the headlines that featured the pummeling of Afghanistan.

Yet both the Supreme Courts of Arkansas and of the greater United States adjudicated that crimes—-like Contempt--had indeed been committed, crimes that certainly reside somewhere in the house of High Crimes and Misdemeanors, the Constitutional prescription for presidential Impeachment and removal from office.

Clinton had not only avoided removal, but expressed his pride in “Saving the Constitution,” has since prospered both economically and politically, and is in the process of attempting a triumphant re-coronation as co-regent to the conceivable Hillary queendom.

However, the skullduggery did not escape notice by everyone, and the documented history is there.

One can understand, then, the quandary of having been forced by Senator “Man of Tomorrow” Obama to abandon the “Don’t-Stop-Thinking-About-Tomorrow” mantra of yesterday and instead talk about…yesterday, because, remember, pandemonium erupted across the land during the national ordeal of Impeachment primarily for two reasons:

1) The population's reasoning faculties were subjected to a psychological attack that was sophomoric but nevertheless very effective.

2) The English language was chopped up or racked out to the desired length needed upon a procrustean bed of verbal torture, upon which the president's defense would rest their feeble case.

The tampering of the population's psychological clarity and the purposed mutilation of the nation's language must have been known to have been occurring by the clever defendant, but he allowed both to persist because they were succeeding in buoying him up in the polls, and would prove to save his hide.

Here's what they did:

While the verbally-racking bed of the president's legal defense was still being forged and hammered together, the political, living room carpet-bombing of the psychological attacks were unleashed.

The main strategy had its precedent in the highly-buffed but three-legged table of the defense of the infamous O.J. Simpson trial a few years earlier, a now-primitive but effective prototype that seems to have been recalled by the President's spinners, to wit:

Prosecute the prosecution.

The sophistry of that and the other attacks are not very sophisticated when considering that the nature of them could be found in a Psychology 101 textbook. They were nothing more than the aggressive venting of ego defense mechanisms, which are defined as: "a way of reducing anxiety by distorting reality."

Psychologists who were paying attention could identify the main ego defense mechanism that was relentlessly used as an offensive weapon as "Projection," which is: "Attributing one's unacceptable motives or characteristics to others."

To wit, the sexual behavior that triggered the scandal and snowballed into impeachment will be euphemistically referred to as "target practice."

Before he was an impeached president, he was an indicted one, and he swore in court, in effect, for effect: "I absolutely one-hundred percent am not shooting the gun at that target, Your Honor. And that is that. And that is so. So that is it. Is it not?"

Satis. He was The President of The United States. He was given the benefit of the doubt by the nation at large, and it was assumed that there was no way a little target practice--even if it truly happened, and however immoral-- could ever be compromising enough to compel the President of the United States to break his Oath and further compromise the stature and integrity of his presidency, this time with criminal intent.

But the Investigator decided to continue anyway, knowing about the President's reputedly fond--if not obsessive-- proclivity for gunplay.

The president remained mum (while waiting to see if forensics would be able to determine if the fired but misshapen bullets came from his own pistol).

The Independent Counsel nevertheless plodded on, and so the price tag for the investigation necessarily inflated behind him.

The president was pleaded to, again and again: "Just tell the truth and end this time-consuming--and expensive--procedure."

He refused to cooperate, however (and in the process brazenly obstructed—if only by omission--an investigation that was trying to prove Obstruction of Justice), and therefore became solely responsible for the tax payers' ballooning, multi-million dollar legal expense.

The projection:

"The unrelenting investigation is responsible for the tax-payers' multi-million dollar legal bill."

It worked. The president’s approvals were bumped upward, and the investigator’s downward.

During the investigation, it was learned that the President--in command of the nation's nuclear arsenal as well as (ironically) a staunch promoter of Gun Control-- was compulsively discharging--or recklessly un-holstering-- his own "pistol" at diverse and sundry targets on many reported occasions and letting it cloud his reason (seeing fit to put the nation through that entire, relevant ordeal on its irrelevant behalf, for example).

He also saw fit to use the vast machinery at his disposal to aid in the cover-up of his obsession with his pistol, and--like a little boy-- his urge to point it at a wild array of targets, and fire haphazardly.

The projection:

"The conservatives were letting a little target practice cloud their reason, and used the vast machinery at their disposal to aid in their personal obsession with the president's pistol. And they were firing haphazardly at the wrong target (i.e. they didn't have a case). They should grow up."

Bravo. That worked, too.

Now it had been the appointed business of the Independent Counsel, Ken Starr, to prove that the president had broken the law by his attempts to cover up the target practice.

He was earlier handed a case that outlined the wily Billy-Jeff's tendency to draw quickly, shoot from the hip, dodge, shoot again, duck, tumble, roll on the ground, shoot while lying on his belly, get up, dance over a hail of returned fire, run... hide; polish and reload his pistol... and then emerge out from behind a wagon with both barrels blasting, as performed on any given matter (and as matching the profile of the leader of a jailed gang of Arkansas bank robbers who was still at large).

The new case came from another case that had compelled the plaintiff’s attorneys to search and discover separate but related incidences of gunplay in the defendant’s—i.e. Clinton’s-- history, as allowed by law.

The purpose of the discovery was to establish a repeating behavioral pattern that would make probable, if not likely, the charge of harassing gunplay brought by the private citizen who opened that case.

The defendant denied the occurrence of one of the discovered incidences that was presented by the plaintiffs to strengthen the pattern. The pattern was thus weakened, and the case dismissed.

That denial, however, was made under oath, and so constituted perjury. Furthermore, it obstructed the justice sought by the plaintiff. Finally, as word of what was denied got out, it suborned the perjury of others who the defendant recruited and trained for his defense.

However trifling the gunplay that caused the crimes was, the crimes were nevertheless serious.

The Counsel saw to his business meticulously (so there would be absolutely no hairsplitting haggling on what Ms. Lewinsky meant by the President's "it"), and delivered boxfuls of evidence and testimony in a mountainous display of irrefutability that the president committed perjury, suborned it from others, and obstructed justice .

The out-of-control substance of the findings was provided by the president.

The projection:

It was the investigator--not the provider--of the substance who was "out of control" for investigating an out-of-control substance that was none of his business.

Throughout the ordeal, and as the investigation closed in on the truth, the Clintonites insisted over and over that a person's private proclivities had nothing to do with that person's public performance (which then raises the question of why then the illegal pilfering of 900 private FBI files on prominent Republicans, as pilfered by an underling who was--it is strongly believed, despite the inconclusive conclusion of investigators-- recommended by Hillary herself).

The projection:

It was strongly suggested that the Independent Counsel's private proclivities as a practicing Christian had everything to do with his public performance.

Shoveling the manure away from the president who generated it and dumping it on the investigator’s head--in the full light of day-- was indeed simply astounding.

But that worked, too.

The polls soon indicated that the Counsel-- a brilliant, professional, and gentle family man, a fine American by any measure-- was detested on a large scale by the populace.

According to the book Truth at Any Cost (by Susan Schmidt and Michael Weiskopf of The Washington Post), the savaging of the Counsel was engineered by...

Hillary.

Today, nearly a decade later, Hillary’s campaign manager Howard Wolfson saw fit to malign the Democratic rival—Senator Obama as “Ken Starr,” which was determined to be an insult that is beyond the pale.

The strategy of projecting the public spotlight onto the Independent Counsel and the House Republicans was indeed essentially the same strategy that projected the public spotlight onto detective Mark Fuhrman and the LAPD a few years earlier, with the same results:

Detective Fuhrman and Independent Counsel Starr were booed by the crowd while O.J. and Clinton—former golf-buddies-- high-fived and walked.

So there was the pandemic confusion caused by the widespread and persistent infliction of the psychological defense mechanism of projection on the population’s reasoning faculties, essentially a resorting to a deflective and counter-attacking “I-Know-You-Are-But-What-Am-I” stratagem that proved effective.

Add to that the pro-Clinton big guns in the mainstream media, those of the print, network, and cable information outlets on the East Coast, which fawned on the Clintons and transposed molehill accomplishments into mountainous milestones, and mountains of malfeasance and failures into nothing (and guaranteeing themselves attendance to White House slumber parties, galas, and Renaissance Weekend at Martha’s Vineyard).

Also add the cultural super-cannons in left-coast Hollywood, which bombarded the American landscape throughout the Clinton presidency with big-screen images that subliminally associated the president with the romantic, adventurous, and affable American icons of Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, John Travolta, and, on a weekly television series, Martin Sheen (while the Republican President Richard Nixon was given the Oliver Stone treatment and was played by Anthony Hopkins/Hannibal Lecter), which certainly influenced popular sentiment across the land favorably for the sitting president (and Democrats in general), and which in turn influenced the outcome of the political Impeachment.

With all of that in mind, the greatest projection of them all was braved by Hillary herself:

"There is a vast, Right Wing conspiracy."

That was incredible. Give the lady a cigar (but please, hide The Children).

The First Lady's pronouncement was intended to inflict strife and divisiveness in the country in order to inspire a barricade made of living room chairs and bedroom mattresses to be piled up around her husband (her link to power).

Therefore and predictably, the next thing projected was:

“The right-wing conservatives are trying to cause strife and division in our country."

The president himself was an obvious smoking gun, but he clung diligently to his denial.

In the meantime, balloons were launched that strongly suggested that the target in question—-Miss Lewinsky-- had a history of being a deranged and vindictive stalker who was unable to separate fantasy from reality, and who could not take no for an answer.

A likely projection when considering established—-and still demonstrated-- character patterns.

In any case, the young woman’s grip on reality (among other things) was only confirmed when it became scientifically proven that the bullets on the target that Clinton denied he shot at came from his own pistol.

The Clintonites then pleaded for everyone to calm down, that the conservatives were making too big a deal about a little target practice (the “just sex” dismissal).

That was a knee-jerk projection:

Knowing that the president went well out of his way and saw fit to dance on--if not cross over-- the line of illegality in order to keep his "little target practicing" a secret, and he thought that keeping it under wraps warranted (1) a pre-meditated, large-scale cover-up that tore the nation asunder while many millions of tax-payers' dollars were being spent in order to try to reconcile the President’s sworn word with reality, (2) the insidious defense strategy, and (3) the targeted destruction of the character of a young woman he had been intimate with, who was actually making the "big deal" about a little target practice?

Clinton was.

Caught, the trigger-happy president then assembled three prominent spiritual advisors as a public--and conservative-- show of religious repentance.

It was time to go to Canossa, and he confessed (like the hooker-hankering televangelist Jimmy Swaggart sobbed, and as the cynical Machiavelli would advise): "I have sinned."

So he chose to speak in biblical terms, but what "sin" was he guilty of that tormented him so?

Did the president truly experience some inner, theological revelation on the error of his ways?

Who knows, but after all the defensive--and persisting--assertions that "It was no big deal," it remains muddled as to what exactly the president truly thought his "sin" was.

Was he referring to the "sins" of Perjury, Subornation of Perjury, and Obstruction of Justice?

He still insists he had committed none of the above.

Perhaps he was referring to the "Sin-Lite" of serving a watered-down version of lying—i.e. "misleading."

He did clarify that, and he apologized "Profoundly."

The Leader did mislead. He misled friends, acquaintances, his constituency, and the entire country alike away from the truth that he had lied with a poker-face. He could not clarify that, however, because a perjury rap still hung over his head like a Damoclean sword.

So by indicating that he was only guilty of the quasi-sin of "misleading" people, and had remained mum on the actual transgression at the crux-- outright lying/perjury-- he was lying by omission, and so compounding his lies and necessarily nullifying any "profound" gravitas his sorrow for committing the quasi-sin of "misleading" could possibly carry.

So he essentially confessed nothing.

So again, the question remains as to what "sin" he was referring to.

He did take "responsibility" and apologized for putting the nation through the ordeal.

That sounded good, but what does it mean?

It means that he acknowledges that he was responsible for the ordeal itself and regrets the duration of it that he was also responsible for. The impression transmitted was that if he had access to a Time Machine and was thus able to travel back to the past and plop himself down again in the midst of the raging scandal, he would rescind his "profound" sorrow and do the responsible thing the second time around, by putting an abrupt end to the national madness that he was sorry he caused.

Or would he?

His pollster Dick Morris warned him that he would not survive confessing at the outset. “We just have to win, then,” Clinton decided, which meant—in lieu of evidence beyond the word of Miss Lewinsky-- aggressive denials, the deconstruction of word values (like what is “sex” and what is “Truth”), and character assassinations.

And knowing the outcomes of holding out to the last, the retaliatory, personal destruction of Republican enemies who engaged in their own sexual indiscretion (but had nothing to do with perjury, subornation of perjury, and obstruction of justice), enjoying solid public support throughout, and finally beating the rap, would he nobly take his chance with the "undiscovered country," to achieve inner peace from the "profundity" of his sorrow?

The established pattern of his character answers that.

Maybe he was referring to the biblical sin of committing-- if you will-- "multiple target shooting" while committed to one target, what he presumably referred to as the "terrible mistake":

You shall not commit (multiple target shooting).

Exodus 20:14, The Bible

But how could that be? He assured everyone that he was well-versed in the biblical definition of "target shooting," and said he was innocent of that sin (i.e. he never "hit the bull’s-eye").

Or was he, that is, well-versed?

`You have learned that they were told, "Do not commit (multiple target shooting)." But what I tell you is this: If a man looks on (another target) with a lustful eye, he has already committed (multiple target shooting) with (it) in his heart.'

The Gospel of Matthew 5:27-28, The Bible (NEB)

In other words, you are essentially committing multiple target shooting when you covetously line up your sights on a neighboring target, even if you never pull the trigger.

Clinton not only sighted other targets and pulled his trigger, but had unloaded his barrel on multiple occasions, and at diverse and sundry targets.

Astoundingly, the above biblical passage--which explicitly deals with the subject of "multiple target shooting"-- is not one of those passages that could be called obscure or "buried" in the sacred text, but is actually quite prominent (in a section known as "The Sermon on the Mount," which should sound familiar to most everyone).

That meant one of three things:

1) When he boasted of being "well-versed" in the text, and therefore indicated by the assurance that nothing of that sort of passage was there, he was lying again and was counting on others’ ignorance of it.

2) He was betraying his own ignorance of the text because he knew that everyone else knew that he had not only sighted other targets in his ranging periscope, but had repeatedly fired upon them, as well.

That from a President who was celebrated as being a "voracious reader," and one who listed The Bible as his Number One favorite book, but who somehow missed the Sermon on the Mount while "voraciously" reading his Number One favorite book?

What he was doing there was:

3) Appealing to a legalistic interpretation of what technically constituted “target shooting” as stipulated in Old Testament statutes while ignoring New Testament idealism.

And by so doing he was counting on two things:

A) Although the Christian conservatives were of an antinomian bent to begin with-- i.e. they believed that New Testament idealism supercedes the letter of Old Testament law—they were biblically holistic enough not to reject the biblical basis of his assertion that he did not violate biblical precepts (however dubiously litigated).

B) They wouldn’t know the difference.

Yet all of that disqualifies any sincerity of sorrow—“Profound” or otherwise-- on that score of “multiple target shooting,” especially since his globe-trotting, post-presidential adventures have provided him with big-game, safari conditions, and, living alone and drawing in the spotlight only when he wants it and on his own terms, there is no reason to believe that he has locked his pistol in a drawer pending re-unions with his spouse.

So the question remains: What was the former president sorry for sinning for?

Was the President--speaking biblically—-simply assuring everyone that he was--at heart--a pious man who just slipped a few times?

But how could he be pious?

He did make sure that he was caught on cameras emerging out of church on Easter Sunday morning (and he knows that everyone else knows that churches promote--if you will-- "gun-control"), devotedly holding his wife's hand, and piously toting a copy of The Bible (a gun manual of sorts), but that could just mean that the "avid and voracious reader" of a president had obviously devoured--and digested-- Machiavelli's The Prince, too (which was omitted from the five-star menu of his "favorite books" that was provided to the newspapers in 1992-- an omission made glaring by the fact that The Bible was sure to top the entree section).

The reader can decide:

Later that very same day, in the White House, he un-holstered his concealed weapon and unloaded his bullets on a target, as if the hallway by the Oval Office was a shooting range.

That we had a trigger-happy president is not the issue here. The issue is the fact that that day's unholy target practice occurred on the holiest, most defining day of the faith that he was showcasing, and occurred in the most hallowed public office in the land, which simply indicates a heart that is not pious, but impious.

Did he call for a 24-hour respite of the bombardment of Kosovo for the sake of the sanctuary of Orthodox Easter, as celebrated by the terrified Serbian Christians?

No.

Did he really have to sanction the storm-trooping raid upon the Catholic home of the terrified--and American-- Gonzales family in Miami during the sanctuary of Easter Sunday morning?

No.

Is there therefore any doubt that the only reason why he paused in his bombing of Iraq on the Islamic holy day of Ramadan is not because of any sense of reverence for religion, but because of political concerns?

The ultimate issue here is not even about whether he is pious or impious, but that he goes out of his way-- to an ostentatious degree-- to try to prove the opposite of that which he is, which simply makes him a phony.

And so he meant nothing by saying "I have sinned."

Then why say it?

In consideration of all of the above, and the fact that a bedfellow like Monica Lewinsky candidly told Barbara Walters that the only thing Clinton was sorry for was getting caught, and that he has been quoted by no less than a world-renowned writer like Gabriel Garcia Marquez as saying something very close to the effect of: "The only people I really hate are right-wing Fundamentalist Christians," there can only be but one reason for the religious circus, with its three-ring spiritual advisors, the tight-rope walking and gravity-defying confession of "Sin", the profuse, sad-clown apologies, the petitioning for "Forgiveness and Forgiving" while keeping the roaring lions at bay with a whip and chair, and the trapeze of "Good Works":

He was posturing as a penitent pilgrim to appease the Family Values-based Christian conservatives. They had gained enough political power over the years to compel his triangulation towards them, as seen, for example, in his ad hoc, bone-tossing advocacy of making students in the public school system wear uniforms (ostensibly for the purpose of promoting conservative modesty and orderliness in a culture that—from the public school system to, ironically, perhaps, the White House—had become increasingly immodest and chaotic).

When the ruse was up and it became clear that he embodied the degeneracy that the conservatives wanted extirpated from the culture (or at least a degeneracy not to be role-modeled by the traditional ideal of what the nation’s children are told they could aspire to), the president--a quick study, by all counts-- cracked open his Bible, scanned it like a lawyer, put his fingers on what he was looking for, and then very gently body-slammed the American demographic he had most to answer to--the hated Fundamentalist Christians-- up into a corner, and--muttering something to the effect of "I know I am, but what are you?" or more like "Go ahead, make my day"-- challenged their own integrity:

`You have learned that (our forefathers) were told, "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth." But what I tell you is this: Do not set yourselves against the man who wrongs you. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and offer him your left.'

Then Peter came up and asked him, `Lord, how often am I to forgive my brother if he goes on wronging me? As many as seven times?' Jesus replied, `I do not say seven times; I say seventy times seven.’

The Gospel of Matthew 5:39-42, 18:21-22, The Bible (NEB)

`Pass no judgment, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; acquit, and you will be acquitted...'

The Gospel of Luke 6:37-38, The Bible (NEB)

What could the Christians do?

Challenged to set an example, they could only let it go.

And he knew it.

Deflecting the precepts of The Bible off of himself and turning them back onto the Christians was the easiest projection of all.

Recall that the psychological attacks were but one part of the strategy. The other was by the verbally-racking bed of the defense that was meanwhile being forged and hammered together.

It was a fiendish bed, alright, and The President of The United States, by commissioning and giving his blessing to its construction, and then lying upon it, unconscionably debased and threatened the well-being of the very fabric of American society (not the economy, smarty, but the English language).

The bed of the defense was constructed to deconstruct and create confusion as to what words meant and so prevent the case of the prosecution from breaching--beyond a reasonable doubt-- the threshold of Truth.

The words it would target to molest were located at cornerstones and crucial stress points in the structural lattice of the human mind, and at places where the mathematics of logic intersected with the algebraic dynamics of emotion and began to intertwine with them and be compromised.

For example, when the innate understanding of just these three key words were fiddled with, dislodged, and subliminally rearranged, the entire logical structure of the prosecution's presentation would buckle in the ears of the ultimate jury, the hypnotized American people:

"Sex." "Is." "Truth."

The case rests.

On Friday, February 12, 1999, President William Jefferson Clinton was acquitted by the United States Senate on all counts of Perjury, Subornation of Perjury, and Obstruction of Justice.

Leading up to the final verdict, it was drummed out across the land by the Democrats, over and over, that the Republicans were being guided by partisanship and not principle.

That, too, was a projection:

Ten Republicans flew the nest and voted for Acquittal.

Not one Democrat left The Hive.

Ah, but all that was yesterday, and, as daughter Chelsea Clinton insists, nobody's business.

18 Comments:

Blogger nanc said...

HOLY CRAPPE, JOHN!

good thing i had time to read a small book this morning...and phelonius' interview at kelly's...

ah, the clintons - how soon people forget.

as for the gospel notations within the text - my husband and i were discussing this very matter just last night - clinton had it wrong - it is in things of the Lord we are to turn the other cheek, not things of the enemy. Jesus DID NOT turn his other cheek to judas and that was a prime example for us to follow.

if a person chooses to stay in an unsavory situation, they only turn the other cheek in agreement - such as a woman who is beaten everyday and twice on sunday - she does it at her own peril.

the Lord does not ask us to stay in perilous situations.

the left has it wrong with christians. we're not expected to roll over and die for their ideals.

i'd say you're on a rant today?

*8]

8:28 AM  
Blogger nanc said...

p.s. - where did the author's thoughts end and yours begin? or was this totally his and you're in agreement?

8:30 AM  
Blogger John said...

What do you mean, Nanc? I'm the author of this.

And did this strike you as a raving rant?

Unfortunate.

8:46 AM  
Blogger nanc said...

i meant no disrespect - i thought it was by another author. it's an excellent piece.

i didn't mean to imply you were raving for crying out loud.

we've all got a case of "pistoffitis" lately, myself included.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

John, well said...though I am still trying to get through it all. I will comment later after I have been able to digest it all.

Nanc, good thing you had time to read a small book...or two. ;)

9:28 AM  
Blogger nanc said...

john - "Historian Paul Johnson" - this is what mislead me - are you paul?

9:30 AM  
Blogger John said...

Nope.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Okay, John, I am still trying to read it all...I finally copied it to a Word file ...my goodness...at least 14 pages...possibly more depending on the format.

........still reading....

11:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

You better read it, Kelly, or else!

11:14 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

yes, sir!! ;)

11:27 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

WOW!!

That was good!

And...I must echo what Nanc said about turning the other cheek.

This, again, spoke to my distaste [spit it out, gag me, distaste] for the Clintons. Oh how they blinded the minds of the people...and continue to do so. It makes me sick.

BTW...I got a good laugh from the 'gun control' analogy. VERY well done!

2:18 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

thing is, kell - religion and resting on the laurels of God and church is a-okay as long as the left is doing it - if a conservative practices biblical qualities, we're fundies.

the hypocrisy is far too amazing.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

"religion and resting on the laurels of God and church is a-okay as long as the left is doing it - if a conservative practices biblical qualities, we're fundies."

EXACTLY!! I have seen the left 'call' upon God out of one side of their mouth while deriding those who are religious out of the other side of their mouths.

The whole thing with the Clintons is that he made reference to having "sinned" as a way to get the Christian right off his back side....it was not an admission of guilt.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Phelonius said...

The thing that scares me the most about the american populace is when I run into the Clinton apologists. I would not want to say that I am a GW Bush fanatic at the least. I do not love many of his policies.

What blows me away are the nearly religious testimonies of those that support the Clintoons and their lying, murderous and corrupt regime. You did a good job, John, of outlining their slanderous and lying "re-appraisal" that they have engineered since Billy left the White House in disgrace and shame.

I do understand, as a result, your tendency to deny the american voting public as being total morons, and to some extent unworthy of the voting franchise. I am putting words in your mouth based on other places we have talked, but I appreciate that what you are saying is based on some real and undeniable charges.

I was in Arkansas at the time that Clinton began running for office, and I watched in horror as he gained ground and then won not one, but TWO elections. I lost my lunch on the first one, and just sat in stunned disbelief as we watched the second election.

Then my grumpy but wise father put me aright.

He said that corrupt politicians were the bread and butter of the southern states as much as they are in the northern states. He has always told me to "follow the money" and you will know who is calling the shots. I always thought that my Dad was just being the cantankerous old curmudgeon, but I was wrong.

We knew about Mena, and the officers and civilians that died there in mysterious 'accidents.' We knew that the educational system went to hell in a handbasket under Hillary. We actually laughed when he started to run for the presidency. We did not laugh for too awful long, I can tell you that.

Personally, I consider a second Democratic Regime under the Clintons to be a real and serious threat to our lives as free Americans. The likes of Nancy Pelosi and "Dicky" Durban ought to be a warning, but I fear that there are a lot of Americans that believe in the socialist ideal because they have been fed a diet of sheer pabulum. We have all been taught that JFK was the REAL messiah because he died, and we can ignore the disastrous policies of his regime. For some reason, this country does not remember that Vietnam was the result of disastrous policies out in place by the Democrats under LBJ. We all are supposed to hate Nixon, even though HE was the one that brought that dead-end to a stop.

My God. Do I ever remember Carter? What a disaster HE was, but he is glorified even to this day while he mouths socialist stupidities that make me cringe to this very day. Will NOTHING get that man out of my life?

8:04 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

don't forget - bush took u.s. all on a ride also. i've been apologizing all over the place for those votes!

as i've stated before (lately) - i'd just as soon vote for an athiest whose ideals are more closely aligned with my own as i would for someone with a jesus sticker on their bumper.

i venture to guess how many times HE'S going to say, "I never knew you."!

8:45 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Nothing runs like a river... Plato, "Cratylus"

HERMOGENES: And where does Homer say anything about names, and what does he say?

SOCRATES: He often speaks of them; notably and nobly in the places where he distinguishes the different names which Gods and men give to the same things. Does he not in these passages make a remarkable statement about the correctness of names? For the Gods must clearly be supposed to call things by their right and natural names; do you not think so?

HERMOGENES: Why, of course they call them rightly, if they call them at all. But to what are you referring?

SOCRATES: Do you not know what he says about the river in Troy who had a single combat with Hephaestus?

'Whom,' as he says, 'the Gods call Xanthus, and men call Scamander.'

HERMOGENES: I remember.

SOCRATES: Well, and about this river--to know that he ought to be called Xanthus and not Scamander--is not that a solemn lesson? Or about the bird which, as he says,

'The Gods call Chalcis, and men Cymindis:'

to be taught how much more correct the name Chalcis is than the name Cymindis--do you deem that a light matter? Or about Batieia and Myrina? (Compare Il. 'The hill which men call Batieia and the immortals the tomb of the sportive Myrina.') And there are many other observations of the same kind in Homer and other poets. Now, I think that this is beyond the understanding of you and me; but the names of Scamandrius and Astyanax, which he affirms to have been the names of Hector's son, are more within the range of human faculties, as I am disposed to think; and what the poet means by correctness may be more readily apprehended in that instance: you will remember I dare say the lines to which I refer? (Il.)

HERMOGENES: I do.

SOCRATES: Let me ask you, then, which did Homer think the more correct of the names given to Hector's son--Astyanax or Scamandrius?

HERMOGENES: I do not know.

SOCRATES: How would you answer, if you were asked whether the wise or the unwise are more likely to give correct names?

HERMOGENES: I should say the wise, of course.

SOCRATES: And are the men or the women of a city, taken as a class, the wiser?

HERMOGENES: I should say, the men.

SOCRATES: And Homer, as you know, says that the Trojan men called him Astyanax (king of the city); but if the men called him Astyanax, the other name of Scamandrius could only have been given to him by the women.

HERMOGENES: That may be inferred.

SOCRATES: And must not Homer have imagined the Trojans to be wiser than their wives?

HERMOGENES: To be sure.

SOCRATES: Then he must have thought Astyanax to be a more correct name for the boy than Scamandrius?

HERMOGENES: Clearly.

SOCRATES: And what is the reason of this? Let us consider:--does he not himself suggest a very good reason, when he says,

'For he alone defended their city and long walls'?

This appears to be a good reason for calling the son of the saviour king of the city which his father was saving, as Homer observes.

HERMOGENES: I see.

SOCRATES: Why, Hermogenes, I do not as yet see myself; and do you?

HERMOGENES: No, indeed; not I.

SOCRATES: But tell me, friend, did not Homer himself also give Hector his name?

HERMOGENES: What of that?

SOCRATES: The name appears to me to be very nearly the same as the name of Astyanax--both are Hellenic; and a king (anax) and a holder (ektor) have nearly the same meaning, and are both descriptive of a king; for a man is clearly the holder of that of which he is king; he rules, and owns, and holds it. But, perhaps, you may think that I am talking nonsense; and indeed I believe that I myself did not know what I meant when I imagined that I had found some indication of the opinion of Homer about the correctness of names.

HERMOGENES: I assure you that I think otherwise, and I believe you to be on the right track.

SOCRATES: There is reason, I think, in calling the lion's whelp a lion, and the foal of a horse a horse; I am speaking only of the ordinary course of nature, when an animal produces after his kind, and not of extraordinary births;--if contrary to nature a horse have a calf, then I should not call that a foal but a calf; nor do I call any inhuman birth a man, but only a natural birth. And the same may be said of trees and other things. Do you agree with me?

HERMOGENES: Yes, I agree.

SOCRATES: Very good. But you had better watch me and see that I do not play tricks with you. For on the same principle the son of a king is to be called a king. And whether the syllables of the name are the same or not the same, makes no difference, provided the meaning is retained; nor does the addition or subtraction of a letter make any difference so long as the essence of the thing remains in possession of the name and appears in it.

HERMOGENES: What do you mean?

SOCRATES: A very simple matter. I may illustrate my meaning by the names of letters, which you know are not the same as the letters themselves with the exception of the four epsilon, upsilon, omicron, omega; the names of the rest, whether vowels or consonants, are made up of other letters which we add to them; but so long as we introduce the meaning, and there can be no mistake, the name of the letter is quite correct. Take, for example, the letter beta--the addition of eta, tau, alpha, gives no offence, and does not prevent the whole name from having the value which the legislator intended--so well did he know how to give the letters names.

HERMOGENES: I believe you are right.

SOCRATES: And may not the same be said of a king? a king will often be the son of a king, the good son or the noble son of a good or noble sire; and similarly the offspring of every kind, in the regular course of nature, is like the parent, and therefore has the same name. Yet the syllables may be disguised until they appear different to the ignorant person, and he may not recognize them, although they are the same, just as any one of us would not recognize the same drugs under different disguises of colour and smell, although to the physician, who regards the power of them, they are the same, and he is not put out by the addition; and in like manner the etymologist is not put out by the addition or transposition or subtraction of a letter or two, or indeed by the change of all the letters, for this need not interfere with the meaning. As was just now said, the names of Hector and Astyanax have only one letter alike, which is tau, and yet they have the same meaning. And how little in common with the letters of their names has Archepolis (ruler of the city)--and yet the meaning is the same. And there are many other names which just mean 'king.' Again, there are several names for a general, as, for example, Agis (leader) and Polemarchus (chief in war) and Eupolemus (good warrior); and others which denote a physician, as Iatrocles (famous healer) and Acesimbrotus (curer of mortals); and there are many others which might be cited, differing in their syllables and letters, but having the same meaning. Would you not say so?

HERMOGENES: Yes.

SOCRATES: The same names, then, ought to be assigned to those who follow in the course of nature?

HERMOGENES: Yes.

SOCRATES: And what of those who follow out of the course of nature, and are prodigies? for example, when a good and religious man has an irreligious son, he ought to bear the name not of his father, but of the class to which he belongs, just as in the case which was before supposed of a horse foaling a calf.

HERMOGENES: Quite true.

SOCRATES: Then the irreligious son of a religious father should be called irreligious?

HERMOGENES: Certainly.

SOCRATES: He should not be called Theophilus (beloved of God) or Mnesitheus (mindful of God), or any of these names: if names are correctly given, his should have an opposite meaning.

HERMOGENES: Certainly, Socrates.

4:42 AM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

You are becoming positively Orwellian, John... ;-)

4:55 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

FJ, your link was very enlightening...except now I am going to have to choose my words a little more carefully ;)

9:37 AM  

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