Open Book
Light Bulb

lies & fantasies

~ Adapted from a written opinion by Lance Morrow, senior fellow Ethics and Public Policy Center ~

As a teenager in the 1930s, my mother was an idealistic, card-carrying member of the Communist Party. When she quit the party, her Philadelphia cell declared her “an enemy of the people.” My father was an editor at the
Saturday Evening Post in the days after World War II, when America imagined itself as a Norman Rockwell painting.

Absorbing the points of view of both my parents, I became a journalist. When I started it wasn’t considered unprincipled for a journalist to be able to see both sides of an issue. My double-mindedness persists in the Age of Trump. And what I see are the passions of the 1930s replaying themselves in 21st-century variations.
One similarity between the eras is the presence of accomplished illusionists in the White House—Franklin Roosevelt and Donald Trump. They’re all too alike in how they handle truth and treat the presidency as performance. Both are artists of fake news, but are opposites in all other respects. They would not have liked each other.

The ’30s are a vanished world, except for the metaphysics of lying. 400 years ago
Francis Bacon wrote that human beings have a “natural although corrupt love of the lie itself.”

Mr. Trump uses huckster falsehoods. The progressive left relies on conceptual falsities. Perhaps voters choice in 2020 will be to decide which style of lies we prefer.

Mr. Trump’s abuses, he and his followers believe, somehow come right by advancing a larger truth—the mythic America that radiated from my father’s
Saturday Evening Post.

The progressive left embraces new visions of perfection—actually tamer in its methods than the 1930s, but sometimes outdistancing them in the fusion of group-think with a fairly advanced decadence. They contrive new genders, for example—ones the deity didn’t think of. Their new vocabulary includes
cisgendered, heteronormative, intersectionality; terms designed not for enlightenment but for bullying. They fantasize a new humanity that blends social justice with sexual nullification.

In my mother’s time, the far left wanted to crush capitalism and usher in the workers’ paradise. Today progressives want to sweep white civilization and toxic males into the dustbin of history.

The progressive notion of gender as a “social construct” rather than sex as a fact of nature, contradicts ages worth of human experience about the biological roles of men and women in the drama of procreation and survival. They disparage
masculinity as evil and Western civilization as monstrous. They hope to extinguish the intellectual and moral legacy that created America. Their strategy might work.

The revolutionary 1930s came to a violent end on Sept. 1, 1939, when the Nazis marched into Poland. Three weeks later, I was born in a small hospital in downtown Philadelphia whose primary business was performing illegal abortions. I am delighted that they made an exception in my case. ~

Dan Nygaard