Those lucky enough to live in free societies generally take a dim view of socialist and communist regimes, sometimes referring to supporters of those ideologies as “useful idiots.” They see them as uninformed or misinformed dupes, tools of corrupt forces that promise a better life for the masses, but deliver only widespread poverty and despair.
But the term can broadly be applied to any people unwittingly used by others in their ruthless pursuit of power. Those would-be leaders often begin as obscure nobodies, and somehow manage to build a following using nothing more than charisma, deception, and powers of persuasion. Based on pure emotion, or the promise of some reward, they extract absolute loyalty from their followers. It is that mindless loyalty that empowers them, while subjugating those who offer it. The cult leaders and despots who periodically emerge to wreak havoc on society show that even intelligent people can be manipulated en masse under the right circumstances.
Barack Obama has proven to be, if nothing else, a brilliant manipulator. That skill could have helped him unite and inspire our nation, except for one thing. Like his early mentors and associates, he has never demonstrated an abiding love for the country. He has always seen it as deeply flawed, a nation that needed to apologize. During his first campaign, he convinced enough voters that the greatest county in the world needed to be “fundamentally” changed, and that he was the instrument of that change. He feigned outrage over the $5 trillion in national debt President Bush incurred during his eight years in office. Since then, in half that time, Obama expanded the debt another $7 trillion to nearly $17 trillion, with more to come. Soon after beginning his first term, he banned waterboarding, calling it torture. He pompously announced that it was “contrary to our ideals. It’s not who we are. It’s not how we operate.” Yet Obama, the self-righteous moralist, seems perfectly comfortable using his executive power to execute American citizens by remote control when he alone decides that they need executing.
His false promises and deception would be legendary by now, were it not for a supportive and suppressive news media. When he pushed Obamacare at us, he repeatedly vowed that it would reduce costs and allow those already insured to keep their insurance. Since then, costs have increased, in some cases significantly, and his new regulations are causing many companies to drop health insurance entirely for their employees, or to cut back on hiring. He promised his stimulus package would keep unemployment below 8% and reduce it to 5.8% by mid 2012. It rose to 10% before settling down to roughly where it was when he first made that promise.
Whether it’s health care, the economy, unemployment, gas prices, or international affairs, Barack Obama manages to convince his supporters that his policies are working; and when that becomes too much of a stretch, he convinces them that someone else is to blame.
He did it again with the sequestration budget cuts, which we now know were originally introduced and adamantly defended by Obama, and which he desperately tried to blame on Republicans. But more disturbing than his trademark denial of responsibility, is his shameful exploitation of those insignificant cuts.
His administration is now releasing thousands of criminal illegal aliens from our correctional institutions. He’s reducing our naval forces in the volatile Persian Gulf, and he’s even suspended long-standing White House tours, blaming sequestration, and ultimately, the Republicans.
Anyone who’s ever been associated with the federal government knows that periodic budget cuts far greater than these have been absorbed in the past with much less impact. Every reasonable person understands that 2.4% could easily be trimmed from the wasteful spending of this government without affecting crucial or even routine operations. They also understand that Mr. Obama is again manipulating the situation for political gain. His abuse of power and intentional infliction of pain on American citizens are the actions of a despot, not an American President.
Yes, Obama is a manipulator extraordinaire, but he would fail miserably without the blind loyalty of his followers. Reasonable people denounce the breathtaking hypocrisy and outrageous lies coming from his administration. His loyalists don’t even see them. They long ago abandoned reason, and now close their eyes and ears to anything that might diminish Obama’s luster. They don’t see that, while Obama promises a better life for the masses, he’s been delivering only poverty and despair. And when confronted with all the dishonesty, deception, and duplicity, they can only offer a one-word response: “racist.”
We all choose our own heroes – people we admire, or see as great leaders. And loyalty certainly is an admirable quality. But those who offer their loyalty in exchange for some expected reward are really just useful tools. And when their boundless loyalty blinds them to the truth or deprives them of their common sense and principles, they become nothing more than useful idiots.
Sadly, they confirm the adage: “In a democracy, voters get the government they deserve.”
Peter Lemiska is a military veteran and former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service.
He holds a BA in psychology, and his commentaries can be found at renewamerica.com and various other political websites. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org