Our Hollow Leaders
Socrates: Where virtue is concerned [a genuine statesman] would be … like a solid reality among shadows
-Plato, Meno (100a-c)
Throughout his political career, Joe Biden said that he was personally opposed to abortion because good Catholics like himself believe life begins at conception and, therefore, he supported the Hyde Amendment that prohibited the use of federal funds for abortion.
In 2019, when he ran for president in a strongly pro-abortion Democratic Party, he suddenly discovered that he opposed the Hyde Amendment and now believes in using federal funds to violate his sacred religious views on the sanctity of life.
Similarly, in 2015, Biden stated that, as a good Catholic, he believes that life begins at conception, but in 2021, as president, paralysed by the crowd of radical pro-abortionists in his party, he discovered that he no longer believes that.
In 2019, when Donald Trump was president, Biden harshly criticized Trump for “coddling” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who had murdered and dismembered Saudi Washington Post op-ed contributtor Jamal Khashoggi. Biden promised to punish Salman. In 2022, however, after having been installed as president by the Left and undergone an astonishingly quick conversion to his party’s radical green agenda, Biden found himself forced to go, hat in hand, to the murderer-torturer prince to beg for an increase oil production, and, in a heartfelt show of brotherhood with the killer, Biden fist-bumped Salman. The earlier talk of punishing the prince was, as usual, so much straw, not a genuine belief. In response to criticism for his flip-flop on his response to the Saudi murderer-torturer, Biden laughed.
In 2006, back in the old days when border security was regarded as common sense in both parties, Biden literally yelled at an audience that because Mexico’s corrupt government that keeps the people in poverty and sends “tons” of cocaine and heroin into the U.S., he courageously voted for a 700-mile fence at the border and did not care if people did not like it. He also yelled at the same audience that in order to secure the border, it would be necessary to punish employers who hired illegal aliens. In fact, as president, Biden alternates in his speeches between angrily yelling at people and creepily whispering to them.
In 2020, however, months before the November 2020 election that pitted him against Trump, and needing a campaign argument against Trump’s proposal to put a wall at the southern border, Biden suddenly discovered that he didn’t like barriers at the southern border at all. Biden angrily told the audience: “The impulse is to ... shut the gates, build walls,” but: "There will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration!"
Perhaps, most famously, Biden stated in his inauguration speech that “I will be a president for all Americans.” It must therefore be a surprise that he recently declared that the 74 million Americans who voted Donald Trump are “the most extreme political organization in political history,” sounding more like their declared enemy than their president.
Biden is not the only Democrat whose sacred positions change when the political winds blow. In the June 2019 presidential debates, Kamala Harris, stuffed full of politically useful racial animus, “sharply criticized” Biden for his past praise for racial segregationists. However, when, in an August 2019 interview, Stephen Colbert asked her how she could criticize Biden on such basic issues of principle so harshly and then support him for the Democrat presidential nominee, Harris, laughing, said several times, “It was a debate.” She doesn’t even hide the fact she feels no responsibility to tell the truth to the American people anymore. She wanted to be the president, and since power is the most important thing to her, she fabricated a narrative in an attempt to get the Democrat nomination and laughed about it.
One must also consider the surreal Cuban-born Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas who has recently stated several times, with a straight face, that the U.S. southern border is secure. Comrade Mayorkas does not, apparently, think that the American people can see the endless caravans of destitute and not-so-destitute people crossing the border into the U.S., some explicitly thanking Biden for the invitation, shown regularly on the nightly news. Nor does he appear to have noticed the fact that a recent United Nations report stated that the U.S. southern border, with “historically high number of migrants dying in the Rio Grande and on U.S. soil this year,” is the world’s deadliest land crossing.
One could continue adding similar examples indefinitely but everyone, including Democrats, can see what’s going on already even if they are unwilling to admit it.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a new philosophy called “existentialism,” advanced by such diverse philosophical and literary figures as Friedrich Nietzsche, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Gabriel Marcel, Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, T.S. Eliot and others, began to emerge. Although existentialism is a very diverse philosophy, it was often a reaction to a world in which everything had become inauthentic, hollow and false. In response, existentialists called for a return to authenticity, i.e., to return to one’s true self or destiny from the near universal “lostness” in “the crowd.”
Of course, it didn’t work. A few obscure philosophers cannot change the way of the world. The existentialist’s call for a return to authenticity inevitably decayed into a purely academic attempt to publish more verbiage as the world happily returned to the usual “human all too human” pursuit of money and power in the “wasteland” of the crowd. Philosophers found other things, like the “language of thought hypothesis,” to amuse themselves. Only a handful ever really thought that human life is worth taking seriously.
Our present age is much like that age that spawned the rise of existentialism. Presidents don’t preside, the police don’t police, teachers don’t teach, prosecutors don’t prosecute, news outlets cover up the news, “intelligence” agencies aren’t intelligent, pastors don’t believe in the Bible, etc. It seems that no one believes, authentically believes, anything anymore, and the few that do are investigated. Everything has become false, a con, an empty gesture, a bumper sticker, a joke. Of course, people mouth the required words in order to obtain power or, at least, a paycheck but most are actors who don’t know they are acting.
The first black woman SCOTUS justice pretends she doesn’t know what a woman is. Her party pretends they don’t know either. Yesterday Biden advisers knew that a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Today they pretend they don’t.
What America desperately needs is a real statesman, a solid leader who, even if they are coarse, some coarseness being, apparently, one of the concomitants of authenticity, actually believes what they say. Unfortunately, that is not the age we live in,
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless.
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
-T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men
This problem, that has been building for a long time, is not going to end well for the United States or the world.
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