Forty years ago last month, President Richard M. Nixon resigned his office. No American President had ever resigned before. None has done so since. Furthermore, several of Nixon’s men went to jail. And only because they lied about a third-rate burglary in a political rival’s office. The country had a strong sense of ethics then. (Or so we thought.) Where is that ethics today? Or has a new anti-ethics taken its place? A new moral code that rewards those who promise “bread and circuses,” and no one cares whether anyone in government lies or not?
Anti-ethics in action: Benghazi
The last twenty-four hours has seen new interest in the events of two years ago in Benghazi, Libya. Remember the central event: a United States Ambassador and three other men died on September 11, 2012. That alone should have cost Barack H. Obama re-election. It didn’t. And later then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously ranted,
What difference, at this point, does it make?
Now we know Hillary Clinton knew what was happening all the time, and never let on. Worse yet, several people at Foggy Bottom cleaned up the record of e-mail and other letters between Foggy Bottom and Benghazi. Mr. Raymond Maxwell, one of four who lost their jobs (then got them back) over Benghazi, told the tale.
When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment. “She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers. “I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ” A few minutes after he arrived, Maxwell says, in walked two high-ranking State Department officials.
One of them: Cheryl Mills, chief of staff to Hillary Clinton.
The problem for Mr. Maxwell: he told the tale to Sharyl Attkisson. And Sharyl Attkisson lost her own job at CBS News. Why? Because she wouldn’t toe the pro-Obama line. She now writes for The Daily Signal. That’s not exactly Mainstream Media. So the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign (which exists in all but name) can easily say, “Sharyl Attkisson? Oh, that one. She’s yesterday’s news. She’s dead. You’re not going to believe her, are you?”
How did we come to this pass? Behold anti-ethics in action.
What does anti-ethics mean?
Anti-ethics means: don’t worry about doing things the straight-up way. That’s square. So an Ambassador and three other men died. So what? As long as you’re getting your Free Stuff, don’t worry about it.
The Mainstream Media seem to have that memo down pat. Sharyl Attkisson can bring her story to Fox News Channel and, as above, The Daily Signal. But no one else takes the slightest interest. Fox News Channel seems to have many “default exclusives” lately. They include this latest Benghazi story.
Bill O’Reilly “called it” when Obama won re-election. The American people want their Free Stuff. As long as they get it, ten Ambassadors can die while running guns to Syrian rebels.
That’s how anti-ethics works.
The only way the new anti-ethics can ruin itself, is by not working. People can watch a building burn in some faraway place, and not care. But people can’t watch someone cut an innocent man’s head off, and not care. Maybe if Sharyl Attkisson can show that had anything to do with Benghazi, and what Ambassador Stevens was doing there so often, then people would care about someone sanitizing the record.
Because the anti-ethics doesn’t look so good if it can get you killed.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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