Dan Rather and The Allegory of the Cave
Plato (427-345 B.C.) was concerned about what is real and what is just perceived to be real. To explain the difference to his students, Plato devised The Allegory of the Cave.
Down in Plato’s imaginary cave you find a captive audience seated so they face a blank wall. Several feet behind the captive audience a fire burns that is large and bright enough to throw light onto the wall in front of the captive audience.
Between the brightly burning fire and the captive audience is a roadway across which showmen or hand-puppeteers cross. As they cross the roadway, the showmen hold up various real objects -- the shadows of which are cast upon the wall in front of the captive audience.
The members of the captive audience cannot turn their heads. They must look straight ahead at the wall. Thus, to the captive audience what they see projected upon the wall is the only reality their senses can perceive. To them, the shadows are real.
So, what does Plato’s Allegory of the Cave have to do with Dan Rather? Gentle readers, for far too many years we have been the captive audience of the showmen from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. Collectively, they took their liberal version of reality, cast it on the wall in front of us and expected us to accept what we saw as real.
But what if the captive audience were unchained? What if we could turn our heads to actually see what the liberal showmen had chosen to show us? What if a group of conservative showmen got into the cave and began to show us new and different things?
Well, those “what ifs” have come to pass. Thanks to the Internet, ordinary workaday Americans are no longer captive. We can turn around to examine what the liberal media are showing us. Moreover, the new showmen are here in the form of: Rush Limbaugh, Roger Hedgecock, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Mike Rosen, Michael Reagan, Oliver North, Fox News Channel and The Washington Times, et al.
Prior to the Internet and the entry of the new showmen into Plato’s Cave, Dan Rather would have gotten away with rushing to accept obviously bogus documents simply because they tended to suggest what Rather wanted to hear, i.e., that preferential treatment had somehow allowed Lt. G.W. Bush to be less than diligent in carrying our his Air Guard duties.
If Rather wanted to know the facts, he could have consulted Bryon York’s recent article in “The Hill” – the magazine of record for Capitol Hill. Because President Bush had already authorized the release of all of his military records (something John Kerry refuses thus far to do), York found evidence that Lt. Bush had compiled enough federal points to complete his six-year service obligation eight months early.
Also, if Rather and CBS had cared to check, about the time Lt. Bush learned to fly the F-102 interceptor, the F-102 was withdrawn from Vietnam service. Moreover, as Lt. Bush neared the end of his service obligation, the F-102 was being replaced by the F-106. To transition a pilot with less than a year to go into the F-106 would not have been cost-effective. Thus the needs of the service to free up flying slots for career pilots and the desire of Lt. Bush to go to graduate school coincided.
So, what does a partisan liberal such as Dan Rather do if the official records do not cast dark shadows on the President whose reelection you are eager to defeat? Readily accept forged documents that are to your liking.
Old Dan Rather won’t be casting shadows much longer. But the larger point is this: The Internet and the “new” showmen have set us free. Free to begin the long journey out of Plato’s Cave and up to the light of day.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2004. William Hamilton.