Why Western Democracies Are No Longer Interested in Truth

June 26, 2020 Updated: June 28, 2020

Commentary

As a young boy, I often asked my father, a man who had been a political prisoner in communist Cuba from 1965 to 1970, why politicians don’t tell the truth.

It was an innocent question, coming from a boy. At that time, my parents, sister, and I were living in Miami, not as immigrants, but as political refugees. As Catholics, my parents refused to have their small children indoctrinated in the ways of communism.

I followed up on my question throughout my teenage years and high school education, into my undergraduate university life, and throughout my 20s.

My idea was that if politicians are elected to occupy public servant positions, they should lead by informing their constituents about the intricate inner workings of the challenges they face as leaders.

In my 20s, I began to understand the inspiration behind my childhood question in terms of words like “transparency” and “oversight,” which are fancy bureaucratic words that suggest honesty. Part of my disillusionment grew from the realization that there are always greater powers at work than meet the eye.

As a middle-aged man, I now realize my innocent transgression: One can’t conceive “oversight” and progressive bureaucracy in the same sentence—circa 2020. This naiveté gives one away as an unwashed and unsophisticated person, reminiscent of the town idiot of old.

But, why? To answer that question in good faith requires even greater knowledge of the 20th century political and cultural conditions that delivered Western democracies to our current nihilistic, backdoor socialism.

The fundamental grown-up answer to my innocent childhood question is that, today, the world lacks statesmanship. Statesmanship is, by definition, a quality found in leaders of democratic nations only.

This is because democratic, open societies must contend with problems and difficulties—including by fifth columnists within these societies—that are meant to destabilize the culture and psyche of people in free nations. This is one reason why stability and tranquility in democratic nations today is so rare.

Let’s make no bones about it: The disinformation campaigns used by enemies of liberty to destabilize democratic societies originate in bad will, not misunderstanding. This should hardly come as a surprise to people who have lived under or studied the goals of communism throughout the 20th century.

It’s obvious to people of goodwill that today, statesmanship must combat a vat of evilwill that it must nullify or neutralize. This requires decisive action. This is also why free nations cultivate so few statesmen in the 21st century. A good example of this is the great degree of difficulty that Konrad Adenauer encountered when he tried to rebuild Germany into a democratic nation post-World War II.

The basic definition of statesmanship is the skill to manage public affairs. Management of public affairs ought to be a practical concern that aims to coalesce the demands brought about by conglomeration, as this condition informs the often conflicting views of human reality of individual persons.

Healthy democracies require goodwill from statesmen and the public. In Western democracies, statesmanship is always up against lawlessness and the totalitarian impulse. The upkeep of healthy democracies requires goodwill; the enemies of democracy exploit that by debunking statesmanship and the cowardly character assassination of those who rise to the task.

This brings me to statesmanship in 2020, which is, in effect, an aberrant postmodern world of make-believe run by infantilism. It’s mind-boggling to fathom that a world that tolerates communist governments that possess nuclear weapons enjoys a relative but precarious peace. The absence of statesmanship leaves a power vacuum to be exploited and filled by radical ideologues—executioners-in-training.

The communist mindset is patient. Communism is about envy and resentment, hatred, and power—not governance. The 20th century is proof of that.

Communism, and its many variants, regardless of its perpetual rebranding, is secular messianism: “If not this generation, maybe the next will enjoy world domination,” the totalitarian psyche has been trained to accept.

Victory, communists are promised, will be theirs in the long run. Then comes the firing lines, gulags, reeducation camps, and the unveiling of statues of their latest martyrs—heroes who fought for the victory that the current generation of fanatical criminals in power enjoy.

Pedro Blas González, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at Barry University and author of several books, including “Human Existence as Radical Reality: Ortega Y Gasset’s Philosophy of Subjectivity” and “Ortega’s ‘The Revolt of the Masses’ and the Triumph of the New Man.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.