The Quest For Insights Into Obama’s Essential Character
This newsletter despairs of being able to puzzle out what makes any human being the person he is, or even arrive at a good list of his character traits. True, some progress can be made — we can tell the difference between Pol Pot and Mother Theresa, for example, and describe that difference pretty well. But a genuine understanding that suggests how we might predict the subject’s future actions and explain his past behavior is impossible.
That said, it still seems helpful to try to figure Obama out. He needs to be understood at least a bit because he’s important. When he comes up for re-election, he will have to run on his political record and on the public perception of his personality, values and vision.
So without attempting psychoanalysis, can we discuss his values and vision? Yes. If you disagree, this is where you stop reading.
It is peculiar that so little is known about this man. It’s not just that his time in state and federal offices before becoming president was so brief, or that he voted “present” so much of the time, but that he has been fastidious about sealing up all records of his history. We have no access to any of his academic record beyond the superficial. While the people demanding his “real” birth certificate are nutcases, one has to wonder why Obama has not shrugged, said, “OK, you idiots, here it is,” and settled the issue. It seems he does not want to allow the slightest crack in the wall that seals off his life before becoming president.
There are strong suspicions that he has been far from forthcoming about his relationship to Billy Ayers, which is understandable. Ayers is a moral leper, and the suggestion that he wrote Obama’s Dreams From my Father gives one pause. How radical was Obama a few years ago? What were his political views and goals when he worked for ACORN and SEIU? We don’t know. There is some information, none of it from the contemporary Obama, that as a university graduate the aspiring president was a seriously committed Marxist who intended to alter the nation’s course.
This newsletter is satisfied that Obama is a Utopian collectivist, and that he lacks the political skills needed to see his radical program enacted. Whether those conclusions are valid and what they might mean are highly debatable subjects.
The following ruminations are, therefore, intended to provoke thought. With that proviso, TLB plunges into the controversy with some — but not reckless — abandon.
Utopian concepts can be divided into two main types: global and community. The former intends to bring all of humanity to perfection, while the latter deals with small clusters of people who attempt to found harmonious, self-sustaining towns that offer a refuge from the stresses of the prevailing lifestyle. Utopian communities in the USA typically have strong religious overtones. Examples include Amana and the Theosophical Society at Point Loma, California. In no sense can either of these types of Utopianism be said to be anything more than experiments that lie outside the mainstream of US culture and history; they are tolerated diversions from the extraordinarily diverse spectrum of the USA’s social, political, religious and economic patterns.
The fundamental attribute of global Utopian thinking is that history has an end. That end can be reached by one of at least two paths: either by natural evolution, as set forth in Marxist theory, or by deliberate planning. The great contradiction of Marxism is the teaching that society will of its own accord and inevitably become communist, yet violent revolution must be fomented in order to achieve perfection. Contemporary Marxism is a confusion of authoritarian coercion and the naive belief that somehow democracies will legislate their way into communism. True Believers in the Marxist Utopia are required to accept many vague, implausible concepts in order to justify their political/violent struggle.
Socialism can be thought of as a variety of Marxism that approaches Utopia without bomb-throwing and the murder of the capitalist class. By using the existing government and society’s own rules, socialists attempt to raise class consciousness to effect what might be called a soft revolution. The socialist cant iterates that when the proper legislation is in place, people will adapt and society will be reformed; from that point on, further change can and should be prevented, as there will be no need for improvement.
However “soft” the approach to perfection, the impulse to Utopia strikes TLB as a mindset that favors authoritarian, if not totalitarian, ways of coping with problems and difficulties. While Marx taught that mankind, if left to itself, would evolve to Utopia, the path he predicted was bloody indeed — conventional revolutions and mass murder would mark the advances. That stunningly immoral rationale is used by monsters like Che Guevara and Pol Pot and Mao to dismiss their crimes as necessary for the greatest good.
To the rational and humane mind, Liberty, which at its base means the maximum number of options consonant with respect for the rights of others, is preferable to the quest for Utopia.
That introduction concludes with TLB’s insistence that at some point, the question of whether Obama is a Utopian will arise.
One might, for example, ask whether those who want to see the government take over all health care in the USA are Utopian dreamers. In so far as the urge to handle illness and injury collectively rather than privately is present, the answer is probably that when it comes to health care, yes, Utopians are those who believe the “problem” will be solved by Uncle Sam if only he can impose his rules on everyone. The best solution is known, in other words, and can be achieved. That slippery-deceitful thinking expresses the essence of the Utopian conceit.
Others point out that we cannot know the future, and that if each person is free to make choices from among a number of alternatives, the overall response to health crises will evolve and improve. That is not Utopian, though it is a statement of what is best. It lacks the finality, the specific plan, the one-size-fits all aspects of true Utopian thinking. “Once government health care is in place, we can relax,” says the socialist. “No,” replies the individualist; “don’t cast anything in bronze, and do allow for flexibility from the first. That means each person must have options.”
Instead of pitching his proposals as ultimate solutions that restrict options and limit possibilities even as they sweep problems aside, Obama declares that his plan will meet today’s unmet needs. We have to provide health insurance for millions of people, he says. That seems reasonable. So the overall plan to make health care a function of government, though such schemes are everywhere disappointments, is to be imposed. That limits choices and restricts future reforms, adjustments, and adaptations. But it settles things. It puts an end to matters.
One of the problems with Utopian thinking is that it tends to oversimplify problems. It also produces exasperated frustration when it is rejected. Obama shows signs of the stress caused by the fuss over his health care legislation, as do the legislators who have taken sides on the issue. People are upset, grimly determined, angry and bitter. What did Obama expect? After all, the fight is about mindsets, fundamental values, huge amounts of money, and very personal matters (one’s health is as personal a subject as can exist).
Obama’s proposals are radical, yet he seems surprised that they stimulate such emotional reactions. That demonstrates his ideological abstraction from the electorate, whom he does not understand — and whom he is inclined to mock, when he thinks he is in discreet, politically correct company. He literally does not know the people he wishes to lead. To him, people are not individuals, but a herd. He sees the big picture, he has a plan, and opposition astounds and angers him; that pattern is precisely diagnostic of the Utopian fantast.
If the improvement of the delivery of health care were incremental and flexible — even if too slow to help everyone immediately — the grim nature of the political struggle could be avoided. In his impractical impatience, the Utopian ignores that simple truth.
One of the hallmarks of Utopian insistence on radical reform is that the effort is always described as a valuable goal to be achieved. That goal is defined precisely (but often with some deceit; for example, the glittering generality of “universal free health care forever” is itself utterly beyond possibility): pass this bill, and then stand down. Enact this program, and then shut up.
Utopians, in other words, never tinker willingly. They prefer to toss out and replace the old with something infinitely better. That ends it.
Libertarians, for all their commitment to the individual and to freedom, make that mistake in promoting their programs. The legalization of all recreational drugs, for example, would cause numerous problems and fall far short of banishing all the distress caused by today’s insane “war on drugs.” But Libertarians imply that all we have to do is get rid of the bad laws, let thousands of prisoners go, start selling heroin cheaply, and that will result in a system that can’t be improved.
The all-or-nothing demand is a Utopian tactic. “Here is the answer,” they say; “accept it, you idiot, and don’t try to water it down.”
Life is not so simple. Well, for Obama, it is, just as it is for doctrinaire Libertarians. “Pass this legislation, and things will be fine.”
No, they won’t, as the VA and the federal delivery of health care to Native Americans so blatantly tell us. And what about spreading the wealth around, as Obama describes governmental confiscation and subsequent transfer of ownership (properly called “theft”)? We do thatvoluntarily every day, and having it imposed on us by a governmental authority — wealth redistribution on the Marxist model — is unethical, absurd and unnecessary. The president cannot grasp that.
Obama is a kind of man-child, a dreamer and spoiled brat who cannot understand why anybody would reject his simple-minded, immoral concepts of fairness in economics and governance. Frustrated, he will become petulant and inefficient. Questioned, he will become more secretive. Opposed, he will become vindictive. His essential authoritarian urges are suggested by the fact that he sees the world as simple: it suffers from conditions that can be corrected. Once the corrections are in place, things will be fine, and anyone who fusses about the new regime will be ignored or set aside.
These personality quirks are partially attributable to Obama’s Marxist background. His affinity for absolute solutions, draconian measures and simple responses to hopelessly unfathomable situations (such as the US economy, which no one fully understands) all refer back to the simplicity and clarity of the Marxist vision. Marx’s plan for mankind was extraordinarily simple — so simple, in fact, that he scarcely described what Utopia would be like. He envisioned a state of ultimate grace in which no political authority would be necessary, for each man would think of himself as a part of the collective, and only the collective would have existential importance. This insane rejection of reality is the Marxist goal of all human endeavor, and the end of history. As soon as it is achieved, it simply goes on forever.
So…who is this man in the White House? Secretive, unwilling to deal with details (his voting record displays that, as does his turning health care over to the morons and hyenas in Congress), eager to inspire (hopeandchange!), impatient but at the same time hesitant to make hard decisions (three months to decide what to do in Afghanistan), Obama is a dreamer who seeks the ultimate and final reform of the system. He wants to end history, for he knows that the solution to all our problems will end our irritatingly individualistic need to tinker.
By nature and background, as well as by education and conviction, Obama is utterly unqualified for the office he holds. His values run counter to the experience of the US population, counter to the unfolding of history that has constantly informed and modified the USA, counter to the people’s deep love of Liberty and respect for personal values. He is culturally estranged from the people he leads; he literally does not know them. His perspective is the narrow contentiousness of an Alinsky disciple and SEIU militant. Accordingly, his perceptions of US society are crude stereotypes, smacking of sociological and psychological jargon, but cynical, hostile and condescending.
One should not make the mistake of thinking of Obama as a liberal, a “progressive,” or a socialist or Marxist. Those labels mislead because they apply to him only superficially. None of them begins to describe the bizarre nature of the role he plays as the chief executive of a land he finds so imperfect and stubborn.
Obama is not a son of the land of his birth. He is in every significant sense an alien.
Some Links To Anthropogenic Global Warming Information
Yes, the topic is dead as far as science and facts are concerned, but a lot of faith-based nonsense is still abroad, so this newsletter continues to provide relevant information.
You warmers know that Arctic ice is melting furiously, and polar bears are drowning; but did you ever think that polar bears don’t live on ice floes? There are lots of polar bears far inland, as the Canadians can tell you. The animals appreciate access to the ocean on occasion, but have no interest in ice as such; they use it occasionally as they hunt. But they also hunt efficiently on dry land. As to the melting, well, here is a map showing Arctic ice in 1906, when it was possible to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific by a route that took you north of Canada (and industrialization was a tiny, embryonic fraction of what it is today). Compare that with this map of Arctic ice today. Oops!
Next up: you say the East Anglia CRU data are admittedly a mess, but James Hansen, Al Gore’s chief adviser on AGW, works at NASA, and NASA has its ducks in a row? Sure, NASA never makes mistakes — if Richard Feynman were alive, he’d have a thing or two to say about that. But back to AGW: if you are intellectually honest, you will read this commentary on NASA’s climate data. It’s rather long, but remember, you are intellectually honest, right? The URLs: part one is here, and then you have to slog through part two, followed by part three, and then you get to finish off your homework with the fourth and final installment. That should answer all your questions and settle the NASA issue.
At last! Obama explains AGW to the awed plebs: “The idea is, is that as the planet as a whole gets warmer, you start seeing changing weather patterns, and that creates more violent storm systems, more unpredictable weather.” Oh, so that means if you have unchanging weather patterns with not-so-violent storm systems and the weatherman always predicts accurately, things are stable, meaning no warming, which is good, right? For crying out loud — this rascal takes the citizens to be morons. Read all his ignorant, flat-earth “anything at all — heck, everything — proves AGW is a fact” babble, and get a link to a good article as well, by going to this website.
Moving right along…. Warming? What warming? One of the oldest temperature monitoring sites in the world records no significant warming in central Europe over two hundred years, disputing the nonsense promoted by the global warming cult. So what happened to those data, pray tell? Cripes…what do you think happened to them, Pilgrims? If you really don’t know, click on the link.
Quoth the editor: “What? The climate is news? Global warming was thoroughly covered by Al Gore’s film, and there is nothing new. So no news. What? No, no, we don’t report on that old stuff. Why do you ask? There’s nothing to report. Nothing new at all. East Anglia University? Never heard of it. Huh?” — Oh, never mind.
Related: the response to “Climategate” (hate the word) is said to be similar to the response to “Swift Boating.” No, that’s not true at all. The two phenomena are dissimilar. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand anything about this subject. Read past issues of this newsletter, especially Nr. 133. Damn!
In the (unlikely) event you lust for yet more AGW links, here is a small cluster of them.
Yikes! Coup in Turkey, just as this issue goes out. GB, let TLB have the benefit of your insights, please….
A guy gave a speech the other day, and made his audience laugh. The jokes were jibes directed at political ideas and figures. (You know, sort of like Sandra Bernhard getting snotty about how Sarah Palin wears her hair up. TLB would ask you to see and hear Bernhard in full cry, but the video of her obscene howl has been removed from YouTube.) Now here’s what’s interesting: you have the word of a NYT columnist that the guy making the recent speech is a racist appealing to racists, which is why everybody laughed. Well, unfortunately for the journalist, the video of the “racist” speech is still available. Authoritarians hate it when information is not censored, because that means folks can look at the facts and draw their own conclusions. So, Folks, click on this link for a discussion of events and a link to the video. (Don’t miss Andrew Breitbart’s video! It’s linked there, too, but it’s so good it deserves a link of its own here.) Look it all over and then decide whether the “racism” charge in the NYT is a mean-spirited slur or an accurate call. — A bit later: whack! And ka-pow!
“Talk of racism is an important tool for marginalizing ordinary Americans and making them feel insecure.” Source
It’s the In Thing! It’s trendy, it’s hip, it’s cool, and you can get away with it every time! What is it? It’s a rule of progressive journalism that you can call any conservative a racist in print, and Zap, that’s it, the bastard is toast! — What? You say it does not seem to be working very well? You say it’s backfiring? (Background here, in case the issue is not crystal-clear.) Hey, as Mad Mary Mapes used to say when stuff blew up in her face, “Oh, well….”
The proper function of post-Enlightenment government begins with its realization that the individual is the residence of all rights. Government’s first seismic error is usually the assumption of a collectivist mentality; that prompts a legal limitation of the public’s options. The result can be terrible, as paragraph 9 in this commentary makes clear.
Today’s guessing game: who would be likely to say of the US electorate that “They’re not bright enough to really understand the issues.” Hint: he works in the news media (that was no real hint, now was it?). The elitist boor is revealed here. Sorry if this disabuses you of your opinion of the guy….
TLB presses its campaign to end the Olympics.
The collectivist plan for a tame information distribution system is simple, so it must be explained in boring, somewhat confusing jargon, lest it be understood and recognized. Here’s a report. TLB wonders, though, why the “progressives” have a problem with things as they are; there is a good reason why this newsletter calls US journalists in general Obama’s lap dogs. Could it be that talk radio and some websites infuriate their targets more than those targets are willing to admit? Or have the Tea Parties proved that the old media’s gatekeepers are simply not doing their jobs well enough? No, and no. TLB thinks it’s Andrew Breitbart. He’s really scary. Somehow he has to be stopped.
Geert Wilders is on trial for telling the truth about the contents of Islam’s holy book, and for pointing out that the evil tome is more dangerous than Mein Kampf. This mockery of justice is a signal disgrace, and especially so since the star-chamber trial is taking place in Holland, where Hitler’s infamous book is banned. View this video and understand what is at stake. — By the way, the word “dhimmitude” has seldom appeared in TLB, so some readers may not know what it means. Find out here, or use a good search engine.
Those who would understand the class war, the US news media, and the current political situation must read this article. Teaser quote: “…what may infuriate those liberals who have been castigating the idiocy of the angry (Tea Party) mob…is as follows. Their program is premised on believing a select group of superior people should be empowered to organize everyone else’s affairs. The Tea Party proles who reject the interference, reject also the premise that the Obama administration and its progressive supporters constitute a superior class: America’s would-be overseers really are no better than anyone else. For those who profess to care about equality, this must be terribly hard to hear.” By all means, read it all. It’s not just a polemic — it’s genuinely informative.
The financial crisis is explained in a short article…it’s short, that is, considering the topic and the authoritative completeness of the clarification. Highly recommended.
Overheard somewhere or other on the internet: “If Joe Biden were arrested on a felony charge, would he be competent to stand trial?” Can’t stop laughing…. They worried about Sarah “you can see Russia from here” Palin, yet who’s presiding over the Senate? That’s hopeandchange for you!
You know not to miss any of Michael Yon’s dispatches from Afghanistan.
A tip of the hat to loyal reader JH for this: eighty-eight thousand? That’s the possible number of US service personnel MIA. Stunning, heartbreaking.
Glimpse the future, Pilgrims, and rejoice!
Israel tends to keep its military stuff under wraps, so one has to wonder why this is now visible. The craft is almost certainly capable of things not hinted at…ten years in development? Yes, it’s not a Plain Jane plane.
Fearless prediction: Islamists will protest this joke. Maybe the Germans won’t care….
The mass-murderer was released from prison six months ago because he had three months to live. He’s living in a luxury villa in Tripoli. TLB considers this sentence to be the most significant in the news report that is to be found here: “Megrahi’s release came after Libyan leaders warned that lucrative oil and trade deals with Britain would be cancelled if the bomber died in jail.” Britain blundered.
Jews in a European city caught in the embryonic Islamification of the Continent. If you think this won’t happen in the USA because it can’t, you are just plain crazy.