Saturday, August 3, 2013

Smart and Accomplished

In today’s America real accomplishment doesn’t much matter any more. What matters is saying that someone is accomplished. The same applies to saying that someone is smart. It doesn’t matter that said individual has never accomplished very much or has ever done anything to demonstrate superior smarts. It’s true because everyone says its true.

Some might call it clever PR, but it feels more like propaganda.

Yesterday, Mark Steyn addressed the meaning of the words “smart” and “accomplished,” especially as they apply to Anthony Weiner’s wife and Hillary Clinton’s bff: Huma Abedin.

Steyn writes:

By universal consent, Huma Abedin is “smart, accomplished” (the Guardian), “whip-smart” (The Week), “accomplished” (Time), “smart and accomplished” (the Daily News) — oh, and did I mention “accomplished” (Forbes)?

A stickler for correct reasoning, Steyn then asks:

So, if she’s so smart, what has she accomplished?

Or better, one might ask what qualifications she brought to her job in the first place.

Be that as it may, Abedin is currently on leave from her sinecure as head of the Hillary transition. Beyond that, she has not amassed a very impressive resume:
She was Hillary’s right-hand gal in the 2008 campaign for the Democratic nomination. Which Hillary lost. So not much of an accomplishment there. Subsequently, she was deputy chief of staff at the State Department, a job so demanding she latterly combined it with some private-sector consulting. What accomplishments does the State Department have to show for the Clinton-Abedin years? Secretary Clinton, as her supporters like to brag, “traveled a million miles.” “One is always nearer by not keeping still,” wrote the poet Thom Gunn. So Mrs. Clinton flew a million miles — to “reset” our relationship with Russia, and lead from behind in the Arab Spring. This weekend, America’s embassies in Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, and a bunch of other places will be shut down because everybody hates us. Meanwhile, Putin has embraced the first American defector to Moscow in decades, and is all but egging Obama to pull out of the G20 Summit and the insufficiently LGBT-friendly Russian Olympics. As Hillary in her more reflective moments must surely wonder about those million miles, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

If Abedin is smart and accomplished, Hillary will be portrayed as brilliant beyond reason and possessing an excellence that no other human being has every shown. She will be touted as a genius who “reset” relations with the rest of the world, managed the Arab Spring skillfully and restored respect for America around the world. 

That's not meant to be humor. The media will become so completely saturated with such nonsense that you will feel compelled to assent, lest your be shunned from polite society.

Be that as it may, Abedin’s hapless husband matches her in the world of non-accomplishment:

What accomplishments does Ms. Abedin’s husband have for his lifetime in “public service”? Other than the $3 million Park Avenue apartment that mysteriously came his way after his enforced return to the private sector. Carlos Danger’s pitch to the electors of New York is that they need him: His gifts are so extraordinary, his talent so prodigious, his skill set so indispensable that, like all great men weighed in the scales of history, he must be taken, as Cromwell said, warts and all. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Yet his time in Congress left no trace whatsoever. The most ridiculous thing about Anthony Weiner is not the tumescence of his Tweets but the flaccidness of his résumé.

Steyn does not stop there. He dares ask exactly what our president and first lady accomplished before they took over the reins of government. Again, the record does not really sustain the labels of “smart” and “accomplished.”

[President Obama is] “smart” and “accomplished,” too. He had a million bucks of elite education — Occidental College, Columbia University, Harvard Law School — and became a “community organizer.” His wife went to Princeton and became a 350-grand-a-year diversity-outreach coordinator, a job so vital to the University of Chicago Hospitals that when she quit to become first lady they didn’t bother replacing her. This is what it means to be “smart” and “accomplished” in the hyperpower at twilight.

It is not, Steyn concludes, a good sign. Americans no longer have a sense of value. It’s almost as though our language is suffering from inflation. As long as the government and media say that it’s money, it’s money.

Americans no longer recognize the value that you earn by actually accomplishing something. It’s a form of magical thinking. You think it; you make everyone say it; ergo, it’s true.

Steyn writes:

But nobody adds lack of value like America’s present leadership class — diversicrats, community organizers, and “power couples” comprising somebody handling the transition of a government official and somebody handling the transition in his boxers. If this is “smart” and “accomplished,” no wonder Putin’s laughing his head off.


Sam L. said...

I will be exceptionally impolite re: Hillary!

Carlos Danger I take for all wart, nothing else.

And Putin has nothing to fear until 2017. If then.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for shining light on the relentless assault on fundamental concept of value by the Left. These are, after all, the same people who costumed massive government spending as "stimulus." Eliminating the idea of value is what it's all about. It's in your face every single moment of every single day. For example, in this whole immigration "debate," I have yet to hear someone explain what the value of citizenship is today. Why be a citizen of the United States of America? It used to mean something, it was something that people wanted. The pride we used to have is fast vanishing. After all, America is exceptional in the same way Great Britain is exceptional, etc...

Putin's Russia is actually the Left's endgame for us: power for it's own sake, ruthlessly wielded by corrupt elites to crush any hint of opposition. Putin is a moral relativist whose whole life is about power. That's their highest value, and that's why we hear very little condemnation for Snowden as he finds "political asylum" in a country where people are mysteriously murdered or poisoned with polonium when they become threats to Putin's state... inside or outside Russia's borders. Now that gives a whole new meaning to the openness, transparency and justice people like Julian Assange and Eric Schmidt are striving for. Remember: it's all about "no more secrets." Do you have secrets? Of course you do! Every person does. But their vision of an open society is a bait-and-switch, where Eric Schmidt gets to protect his private life, but yours is up for grabs.

Remember Wikileaks' slogan: "We open governments." What's going to happen when Snowden tries to open Putin's government? Where will he find asylum then? No worries, he has all the freedom he wants now as he is under GRU surveillance 24-7. That's the new concept of freedom... after all, you can call it whatever you wish!

Yep, the Left's position is that nothing is real, everyone is equal. Relativism is the philosophical scourge of our age because it can be wielded by any "smart and accomplished" narcissistic sociopath. This, I suppose, is the "progress" the Progressives favor.

Where can I get off this ride, please?


Sam L. said...

But Tip, some are more equal than others, and a few are lots more equal.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'll qualify something I said. The correction to my last paragraph above should be "The Left's position is that nothing is real, YET everyone is equal." The conjunction is the key point, and the source of their self-contradiction. But they don't care about the self-contradiction, because it's all relative. Right? If yes, then you're only left with power as its own end, because that's all that can be true... you've either got it, or you don't.

Then by what standard does one judge the Left's vaunted stand for equality? What's so great or valuable about equality? "Everything," they will say, if only to muttering it to themselves in polite company.

Yet it's a ruse. The moral concept of equality is self-evidently indicative of value. The only thing Progressives value is power -- power over others to create their imagined utopia that they themselves don't want to live in. It's blind service to the IDEAL, regardless of its contradiction with physical reality or the reality of human nature. The Progressive/Leftist worldview has nothing whatsoever to do with reality.

They hold aloft the shining standard of equality, while affording themselves sweeping, exclusive exemption from the consequences of their ideas. It's the realization of Orwell's dystopian dreamscape, whether in the pages of "1984" or "Animal Farm," or the classic essay "Politics and the Enlish Language," which calls attention to the obfuscation of public discourse, screening their intentions and denying the destructive results. That's the game: it applies to others, but not to themselves. And therein lies the profound conceit, the cleverly-veiled contempt they have for their fellow men, all the while ecstatically celebrating diversity and openness. That's right... they with the most closed, comforming and monolithic thinking amongst us.

It's a grand vision that never works, but that's just collateral damage. Lives are ruined, yet they double-down on their speculative sciological theories in the name of the cause, posed as "progress.". Progressives stand against those they deem "mean" -- the heartless people -- supposedly to protect the "most vulnerable" (yet, most often, fully capable) among us from ever having to grow up, commit, assume responsibility, and stand for something greater than themselves. The Milennials Generation is their masterpiece: emasculated, adrift, terrified and over-stimulated.

It's a delusion. The Leftist will tell you nothing is real, yet it's clear they're the purest materialists known to this world. It would be a great joke if only it was funny. It's not funny. The primary rule of a joke or comedy is that no one gets hurt. The Progressive ignores the real pain caused by their ideas, with any objection drowned out by the deafening cries for MORE intervention to realize their dream world. It's La-La Land.

Our only power is our refusal.


Dennis said...

Ever wonder why the "Smart and Accomplished" are almost always the ones who do the most damage to us? The same can be said of the "Best and Brightest." Could it be that none of them are what they and their followers think they are at all?
All of these terms are abstractions that lack factual basis and are neither empirical or scientific. They are value judgements, or social constructs, based on matriculating at educational institutions that have long lost any semblance of scholarship and are more in tune with propagandizing.
Can anyone point to any real accomplishments by most of the people who are described as the above terms? Are we a "freer" nation because of them? Is our economy better off because of them. Are we safer and more productive? Take any metric that denotes a growing prospering culture and what have these people done to improve it?
Until we stop using abstraction to denote success and start using actual actions then we are going to stay on the downward spiral we are now on. It is some what like "show me the money" except it should be "show me the accomplishments that have made things better."