It’s been well established that this country, in fact the entire world, is suffering from a dearth of leadership. We desperately need bold and courageous leaders. Until as recently as Friday, Hillary Clinton was being celebrated by much of the media for her courageous stand in the face of a House investigation on Benghazi as she demanded, “What difference does it now make?” Aside from her awkward phrasing, was this an example of courage under fire?
Glenn Beck has theorized that the entire flare up had been rehearsed, as her husband once rehearsed responses to anticipated questions with the help of Hollywood buddies. This is certainly possible. But giving Hillary the benefit of the doubt that her outrage was genuine, and in light of the fact that four Americans were killed on her watch, what she displayed certainly didn’t represent courage. In fact, instead of displaying a positive character trait, Hillary was providing a classic example of a very negative and very dangerous trait. Hillary was displaying hubris.
While courage is born of virtue, hubris is born of arrogance. While courage recognizes one’s own limitations, yet perseveres despite those limitations, hubris elevates self to the point of delusion. Hillary Clinton didn’t pound the table in those hearings because she was battling valiantly for truth; she did so because she was clinging desperately to the myth of her own infallibility. In so doing, she perfectly illustrated that the old, “birds of a feather flock together” adage applies perfectly to this White House.
From the Press Secretary, to the Chief of Staff, to the Vice-President, these people (at least in their own minds) are incapable of being wrong. That’s why, no matter what is brought out in the Benghazi hearings, no matter how much evidence there is that they should have done much more to prevent the Boston bombings, and no matter how high up the IRS scandal goes, these people will never feel that they are responsible for wrongdoing. It simply cannot be. They are, after all, special, gifted, even anointed. They know this because their sycophants in the press and in Hollywood have told them this regularly since they each came onto the political scene.
Nowhere is this more clearly on display than with the President himself. Consider these comments from his Ohio State University graduation speech. “Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”
This is not an accurate commentary on the attacks of Obama’s critics (like me) at all. Our criticisms are not aimed at self-government, they are aimed at those who would run roughshod over the checks and balances that are integral to our government. The President scoffs at charges of tyranny, even as he implements Obamacare over the right to religious freedom; or seeks to limit the second amendment; or taps the phones of the AP; and uses the IRS to bludgeon your political enemies. These statements by the President demonstrate an air of narcissism and an inability to be remotely self-critical. It cannot possibly be that his critics have a point. It must surely be that they are paranoid ninny’s who look for black helicopters in the sky.
Likewise, the President’s comments yesterday on Benghazi reflect a complete lack of introspection. Among other things Obama said, “The day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism.” This is patently false. And it is hubris that convinces Obama that he can stand before the world and make a demonstrably false statement that is easily disproven by reams of video tape, and then expect the world to believe him.
I could go on and on. There is no shortage of examples of the arrogance of this President and this White House.
Contrast the behavior of this administration with the filibuster that Senator Rand Paul did regarding drones. The symbolism of that act emboldened others to stand up to the Administration. Or consider Senator Ted Cruz. In just over four months in office, Senator Cruz has boldly stood up to Harry Reid, Diane Feinstein, and John McCain. Both these men take stands based in virtue. They do this because they have an understanding of and an appreciation for the principles upon which our government must be based. And they possess adequate humility to recognize that these principles have withstood the test of time, and are in fact larger and of more value than the opinions of a handful of modern-day politicians who would like to turn our system on its head.
Courage stems from virtue which, like our inalienable rights, flows from God to us. Hubris stems from pride, which dangerously places undue worth upon self. Perhaps Russell Kirk summarized it best when he wrote: “…the wilderness in which Satan tempted Christ was not more dreadful than the arid expanse of intellectual vanity deprived of tradition and intuition, where modern man is tempted by his own pride.”
Chris Skates is the author of the novel, Going Green: For Some It Has Nothing To Do With The Environment, which is available in the Patriot Bookstore. He has been published in dozens of national magazines and has authored multiple technical articles in his field of Chemistry. You can follow his blog at www.chrisskates.com