As a recent graduate from an American high school, I’m very aware of the impact of rumors. Whether or not the rumor is true is irrelevant. All that matters is that the idea is out in the open and can now be interpreted in a number of different ways. Very often the victim’s reputation, even if the rumor is disgustingly false, is ruined. People now associate that victim with that rumor even if they know it to be inaccurate. Once I escaped high school, I thought for sure that I wouldn’t be seeing such childish shenanigans take place in the real world. But then I remembered: the leftist mind is not one of realism.

Georges Sorel was a French philosopher of the 19th and 20th centuries. He is known for many things, including his hatred of capitalism and his connections to Fascism and Communism, but he is easily most remembered for his idea of the power of myth. Jonah Goldberg explains it better than I ever could in his book Liberal Fascism:

“Sorel’s greatest contribution to the left- and Mussolini in particular- lay in his concept of “myths”, which he defined as “artificial combinations invented to give the appearance of reality to hopes that inspire men in their present activity”. Goldberg continues: Sorel held that Marxist prophecy didn’t need to be true. People just needed to think it was true. Sorel was an irrationalist who took this sort of thinking to its logical conclusion: any idea that can be successfully imposed…becomes true and good. Enlightened revolutionaries would act as if Marxism were gospel in order to bring the masses under their control for the greater good. Today we might call these aspects of this impulse ‘lying for justice.'”

Simply put, Sorel believed that politicians should publicize these myths, or rumors, just to get that information into the mind of the masses. Truthfulness meant nothing as long as these myths achieved their goal of igniting a movement. This is starting to sound familiar…

Let’s briefly go back to 2008 when (junior) Senator Obama was campaigning for president. Speeches like this were uncomfortably frequent. He would simply say the word “hope” and get immediate applause from his praising audience. This type of speech had no meaning whatsoever. “Hope” and “change” were nothing more than hollow myths used to manipulate the masses into believing that this man actually stood for something. But naturally, it was irrelevant whether or not they were true. They achieved the intended goal of getting Barack Obama elected.

The new 2012 campaign provides even more examples of the leftist acceptance of Sorelian myths. A recent pro-Obama campaign commercial portrays Romney as something close to a murderer, pinning responsibility on him for a woman dying of cancer. This is just ridiculous. It’s hard for me to imagine that the super PAC that created this commercial can actually believe this. But, once again, the level of truth is completely irrelevant. I remember in the 3rd grade when Beth told Sammy to tell Linda that I liked her, even though I really didn’t. For the rest of my 3rd grade career, everyone thought I liked Linda! The same idea applies here. The leftists are trying to start the movement of getting Obama reelected, and in order to do so they may have to “lie for justice.” They need the masses to begin moving, and a myth like this is a perfect way to do so. (CNN actually did a great job of proving the myth to be inaccurate.)

“Of course, a lie could not become “true” – that is, successful – unless you had good liars. This is where another of Sorel’s major contributions comes in: the need for a “revolutionary elite” to impose its will upon the masses.” I should only have to say the name of one person to show where I’m going with my last example — Harry Reid. Nothing reminds me more of a good high school rumor than this man’s idea that Governor Romney didn’t pay his taxes for ten years. I mean, he heard it from somebody, so it must be true. This may seem repetitive, but there’s truly no other way to explain it. Just as Georges Sorel believed, the myth that is being put out there does not, in any way, need to be true. Followers need simply to think it is true. Mr. Reid cannot be completely confident in the truthfulness of such an attack. Once again, Mr. Goldberg chimes in beautifully:

Unfortunately for leftists, Mr. Reid (and Ms. Pelosi) is not that good of a liar.

I pride myself on both my conservatism and my ability to question what is popularly believed. While liberals drool at the sound of such myths, we conservatives are not so easily fooled. We cannot, for a second time, let the use of myths dictate what happens in November. Truth, not myth, is the only path to justice. While myth may have led to President Obama’s initial election, it is truth that is exposing the results of that election; and it is truth that will lead to his defeat.

“Truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”

Winston Churchill

Daniel Pellegrino | Franklin and Marshall College | @dannpellegrino