A Soviet-era Russian dissident once wryly described his society as one in which the Regime could revise yesterday’s weather by decree. Orwell captured this facet of totalitarianism in his description of Winston Smith’s job at the Ministry of Truth, where he was employed to “rectify” the official record to bring it into conformity with the Party line:
“The messages he had received referred to articles or news items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, as the official phrase had it, to rectify. For example, it appeared from The Times of the seventeenth of March that Big Brother, in his speech of the previous day, had predicted that the South Indian front would remain quiet but that a Eurasian offensive would shortly be launched in North Africa. As it happened, the Eurasian Higher Command had launched its offensive in South India and left North Africa alone. It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother’s speech, in such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actually happened.”
“This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs — to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance,” Orwell continued. “Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record.”
As the exalted vanguard of the revolution, the Party must preserve its pretense of infallibility. Whatever it decrees is a self-ratifying truth, one to which any contrary historical record must yield.
The Regime ruling us hasn’t yet reached that stage of ripeness, although Commissar Cass Sunstein is doubtless working on a way to bring that evil dream to fruition. In the meantime, those who presume to rule us have to practice piecemeal “rectification” of the kind proposed by Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan), chairperson of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
As far as I can tell, Senator Levin is not related to the purulent little blatherskite named Mark Levin, but they — along with war criminal John Yoo — share a disdain for the Constitution’s assignment of war powers. As exponents of Fuhrerprinzip, the Levins and Yoo all assume that the incumbent dictator in the White House has the legal authority to commit the United States Government to a foreign war without a declaration of war, or congressional authorization of any kind — and that Congress’s role is either to ratify the presidential action after the fact, or to bring an end to a war by cutting off its funding.
Where the assault on Libya is concerned, there is one annoying little detail to be addressed: Comrade Obama never bothered to involve Congress in any way before ordering U.S. military personnel to attack a country that never harmed or threatened us in any way. The UN Security Council resolution that supposedly authorized this crime was issued after Congress was in recess, and hostile action was undertaken before Congress re-convened. This is complicated further by the fact that both the Dear Leader himself and his political consort Joe Biden are on record stating, in unambiguous terms, that a presidential action of this kind is grounds for impeachment (to which we should add prosecution and imprisonment).
Not being able — yet — to “rectify” the historical record by expunging the earlier statements by Obama and Biden, Sen. Levin wants to do the next best thing: issue a congressional resolution “authorizing” the war after the fact.
“I’m interested in a vote authorizing military action,” Levin said yesterday (March 29) — a week and a half after that war had begun. “The president said he’d welcome it and I think it would be helpful. It’d show public support for the effort. And that’s always useful.”
Were this an actual constitutional republic, public support for a formally declared war, expressed through an appropriate vote by elected representatives before the war began, would be mandatory. Now we’re told that a useless resolution issued well after the fact would be taken as a binding statement of “public support,” which is “useful” but materially irrelevant to the actions of our rulers.
Of course, no human being has the moral authority to coerce others to make material sacrifices on behalf any government’s war. What is remarkable in this case, however, is the cynical contempt displayed by the American Nomenklatura for what we’re supposed to call the “rule of law.”1:17 pm on March 30, 2011 Email William Norman Grigg