Review of Lying As a Way of Life: Corruption and Collectivism Come of Age in America, by Alexandra York, 2016, FutureNow Press, 62 pages, $.0.99 at amazon.com
This brief and extremely affordable e-book will prove for most to be an eye-opening intellectual examination of the roots of contemporary discontents, both depressing and enlightening but perhaps the best dollar you ever spent.
Alexandra York is an accomplished, award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction works, and her writings are always thought-provoking. Though brief, this book reads like a life’s work which has been submerged for years just beneath the surface of her mind. It is aimed at saving America from the ongoing subversion of the values on which our Founding Fathers laid the groundwork for our exceptional nation, though she warns of the difficulty of maintaining those values in the face of more than a century of concerted attacks upon them.
York opens with Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1840 admonition that “America is great because she is good, and if America will cease to be good, America will cease to be great.” The years since that prescient declaration have abundantly proven Tocqueville right.
America’s founding on values, rather than strictly on ethnicity or religion, makes this nation exceptional among the countries of the world—but only as long as we retain those values. Many other countries, York notes, are neither moral nor immoral, but rather “amoral,” with their regimes simply doing whatever they think will sustain them, without reference to any moral compass. This creates problems for the United States in our foreign entanglements. We continue to deal with Iran under the belief that its government will keep its promises regarding development of nuclear weapons, and with China under the premise that its government will attempt to reduce greenhouse gases. In reality, York says, the only way to do business with many countries is through bribery, fabrication, and collusion.
Unfortunately, the United States is coming increasingly to resemble those nations. Throughout the book, York identifies examples of how lying no longer brings the negative consequences it once did in America. Can there be a better example, she says, than the fact that the vast majority of Americans see Hillary Clinton as a dishonest liar, yet voted for her anyway? Does this mean, she asks, “Americans now accept lying as normal by politicians”?
Although York avoids partisanship, she uses many of then-President Barack Obama’s claims for his programs as examples of blatant lies. Of course, all readers, even Obama’s greatest supporters, will recognize that his arguments for Obamacare were fraught with outright lies. As part of her explanation for what she characterizes as Obama’s continuous disregard for the truth, York notes that he grew up in Indonesia, where lying was a way of life. As a young adult in the United States, he came under the influence of community organizer Saul Alinsky and his book Rules for Radicals (1971), which has helped to guide so many groups desiring to undermine America through deceit.
Lying As a Way of Life doubles as a political history of all the political-economic systems based on deceit, including communism, socialism, fascism, and today’s progressivism, all of which stand together at the opposite end from America’s foundations of blind justice, individual freedom, subsidiarity (government always at the most-local level possible), and market capitalism. Progressivism is widely misunderstood as benign, she says, “because the word sounds forward-looking and full of promise, seducing the uninformed into thinking they are supporting a better future when in fact the system is as destructive as the other three.” These systems can all be categorized under the broader concept of collectivism, which proposes that the welfare or good of society should prevail over the rights of the individual.
York has considerable experience in art of all kinds, and she uses it in the book to explain how Hollywood delivers collectivist and anti-American messages with subtle plots in fancy wrappings, while art galleries and museums display all forms of junk, robbing people of their own aesthetic and moral judgement. She has little good to say about social media, either. She documents the percentage of the population on welfare and in government employment, both of which stifle creativity and individualism just as the cultural gatekeepers do.
York’s extensive documentation of lies across a variety of institutions inevitably carries something of a conspiratorial flavor, but the possibility of cooperation among various elites should not surprise anyone and certainly ought not to make the reader doubt the veracity of her claims. On the contrary, you will recognize every government scandal she documents, and the book will slowly but surely erode any remaining belief you may have in the honor of our leaders and their appointees. The scandals include the healthcare deception, the Supreme Court’s perversion of the constitution, crony capitalism, Medicare fraud, welfare scams, and IRS attacks on political out-groups, among others.
York’s fury over the deceptive imposition of the Common Core national (not state-level as advertised) education standards is brilliantly summed in this statement: “Mandatory education prepares the yet-uninformed minds of young people to accept a nanny government as normal and paves the way to ensuing tyranny.”
York fears that the pervasive government and corporate corruption will result in mass amorality among the public. She sums up her concerns as follows: “When a country that is historically moral, tolerates leaders in the political and business worlds who are proven to be chronic liars,… a previously honest general population begins to feel free to adopt deceptive practices as well, resulting in corruption becoming the dominant and in America’s case destructive norm throughout the culture.”
She closes with a list of 19 actions that Americans can take to prevent our decline into the malevolence that infects too many other countries. Some of these actions: not accepting lies when you know better; refusing to be intimidated; standing firm in your moral beliefs; refusing to cave in to others; reading Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals to know the enemy; supporting honorable politicians; fighting for our Constitution; fighting groupthink; getting informed; and not lying.
It is a scary book, but the journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first step.