The Candidate, The President, The Spill, The Crazies
A lot of Obama voters, outraged by the catastrophe that has overwhelmed a for-profit corporation, are savaging The One for a failure of leadership. Along with Sarah Palin, they are howling that BP (which hates to be called British Petroleum) and the president were too close and cuddly. The claim is that the improper relationship essentially gave BP all it wanted, so effective regulation was lacking.
How odd that it doesn’t bother these people to know that they and the loathed Sarah Palin agree on something.
There is no way to show that somehow the USA could have prevented the Gulf oil spill by getting tough with BP and with the contractor BP hired to set up the platform and do the drilling. Obama was not under BP control any more than any president ever was.
Conspiracy theories about how BP evaded regulation are just ignorant speculation and biased assumptions. They are being promoted by people who have been stung because they invested faith in Obama. They should have seen through the man many months ago.
Look, he was a hardcore Marxist when an undergraduate, a failed instructor in a law school (never a professor), a failed state legislator, and a failed federal senator. He never even left the starting gate. He has hidden his past as well as he can, and with good reason. His accomplishments as a community organizer, SEIU lawyer and all-around hanger-on can hardly be recalled today, and the list contains only one or two trifles; it’s fair to say he failed in those jobs, too.
But he kept moving, and promoted himself with oratory, meaningless slogans, and sharp clothes. It worked, because the Obama-lovers are so pathetically credulous. He played them.
Remember Ronald Reagan? His critics savaged him for kick-starting his career with “The Speech.” The implication was that he was a cardboard cut-out, a hollow man — just an actor who could charm a crowd. Why didn’t that skeptical attitude apply to Obama?
Obama’s adoring electorate put him in office and kept him there because he looked good and made a good speech and was politically correct. He was the iconic supermodel of politics, a fashion plate, a mesmerizing figure, a symbol for the voters who expected him to play the role and entertain them as have other mountebanks and poseurs.
All the obvious signs that he’s a fake were ignored. It’s a shame: in the US version of representative democracy, the obviously wrong people can be maintained in power — recall Strom Thurmond, Al Sharpton, Huey Long, the Daley Chicago machine, Henry Waxman, Maxine Waters, Barney Frank and dozens more who should have been tossed out early in their careers. Politicians don’t have to be good, they just have to be popular.
From TLB 114 (which appeared in November of 2009):
The challenges that Obama faces are literally beyond his ken. He lacks the education, experience and ethics to be able to grasp their nature, and deal with them as a representative of the electorate of the USA. In a very real sense, Obama is not of and from the USA. He is not even an American. His mindset is alien, stunted and profoundly warped by irrational ideology and empty sloganeering. He’s a philosophical ignoramus.
Now read this. It’s essential.
What, one should ask, did the Obama-lovers expect, for crying out loud? That their idol would somehow unravel the million ties between government and Big Oil, decide which were improper or unsafe, vet all the officials tasked with dealing with Big Oil and get rid of those who were too stupid or too corrupt to do their jobs properly, go through all the federal, state and local officials who have no business regulating any industry and toss them all out, re-write all the safety codes covering offshore drilling, arm-wrestle any number of huge international corporations and whip them all, and thereby prevent the blowout in the Gulf that would almost certainly have happened in spite of those Herculean miracles?
Nobody with the IQ of the average housepet believes that. If Obama had undertaken that Quixotic task, he would have been savaged for his baseless, paranoid fears. That BP oil rig had been given a safety award, after all, and there was no reason to predict a one-in-ten-million event.
Facts: The One did not cause the leak, and he’s not Churchillian. He has made things worse since the oil started leaking because he is what he always was: unqualified and incompetent. It won’t help to cuss him for that. Blame should be placed where it belongs — on the voters who put this empty suit in power.
Perspective is required. Obama’s failures in the Gulf oil spill are trivial compared to his reprehensible foreign policy, his undemocratic promotion of Obamacare, his appalling political appointments, and his toleration of Eric Holder.
It is admittedly mean-spirited of TLB to point out that if John McCain had been elected, he would probably have asked Sarah Palin to come up with some household hints for removing oil stains. The odds are that when the Dutch kindly offered their help with the spill (see the Links section below), Sarah would have said to John, “Golly, I mean this seems like a pretty good idea. Let’s let these people from Pennsylvania take over. I betcha they can do something, and I’m not worried that they’ll saw our doors in half.”
Introductory Ruminations On Utopian Socialism
The predominant Utopian vision of the West is a universal society without poverty, war and government. According to the myth, mankind will achieve this evolutionary level when each person is ethically enlightened enough to see all his responsibilities as being social. The creator of this fantasy, Karl Marx, taught that eventually the proletariat would no longer require legal regulation. At that point, history would end.
There are several Utopian dreams in the East, the most prominent being the Islamic universal caliphate. It too will end all change, terminating history. Mankind will not achieve perfection, however, for some will continue to disobey the commands of the creator deity, so laws and punishment will control a stratified society that includes subjugated unbelievers.
Note that of the two imagined futures, the Islamic fantasy is by far the more practical.
A tiny degree of reason has moderated the insane Marxist prediction of an anarchic but uniform and static world. The result is socialism — the collective ownership of the means of production and distribution coupled with the coercive redistribution of wealth. This is the fundamental model for leftist ideologues today.
By admitting that there will always have to be laws and punishment for social deviants, socialists believe they have avoided the lunacy of Marxist dogma. The inevitable evolution of economic systems has been replaced with a partisan effort to impose socialism when and if possible. Socialists know that their program will fail at times, and that they must press on with ever-better attempts to reduce the privileges of the wealthy by whatever means necessary.
Socialism has no inherent link to democracy. Accordingly the great struggle of European socialism has been to reconcile the all-encompassing ideology with majority rule, insisting that eventually the proletariat will see how unnecessary it is to coexist with the obnoxious middle and upper classes. Voting the exploiters out of power makes reform more ethically credible than murdering them. The lesson of the French Revolution and the subsequent Terror has been partially learned.
The ethical paradox of a democratically imposed socialist legal system is that its authoritarian, universal and inflexible nature is no more justifiable than was the USA’s statutory tyranny of Jim Crow laws. In many instances, a majority forced democratically enacted segregation on former slaves and their descendants; in many more, of course, voting was restricted to whites. Either way, the principles of decency and justice were mocked, for inhumane restrictions are a priori substantively unjustifiable. “Social democrats” cannot grasp the lesson behind the disgraceful history: bad laws cannot be transformed into good by majority vote — nor can the courts do it, nor can the electorate’s representatives.
The authors of the US constitution recognized the dangers of democracy as well as they understood the threats inherent in government itself. Their unspoken realization that a Utopia is impossible is evident in their creation of the unique apparatus of federalism. They knew that good people would forever be fending off and overturning bad legislation, so a basic legal structure of limitations on government was essential. Federalism is a legal framework that makes tyranny vulnerable by militating against centralization. (See also Number 111 of this newsletter, 10 October 2010, then called The Penguin Post.)
Perhaps the most important recent development in US politics is the failure of the press to report on the profound significance of the president’s complaints that the constitution gives nothing, but restricts the government substantially. Of course he would say that. His stunningly ignorant criticism reveals a profound ethical flaw necessitated by the president’s ideology and plans for the nation: he knows that government can be both democratic and authoritarian to the point of tyrannical, and he knows that possibility is congenial to his intentions.
Others more endowed with ethical insight argue that precisely because of men like Obama, government must be subject to unbreakable restraints. Democracy can produce abominations. The principle behind the limitation of political power is the ethical imperative called Liberty.
It is only occasionally noted that a distinctly undemocratic (and therefore elitist) socialism has arrived in the United States even as all forms of socialism are failing spectacularly in Europe. When the Congress passed Obamacare, the word went out: the electorate be damned, the silence of the US constitution on this issue be damned, the implicit and nuanced implications of federalism be damned, the demonstrable failures of other nations to make something like Obamacare practical be damned — for the politically sophisticated elite knows what is best for the proles. Let the government in Washington take over.
No one seems to have noticed that the federal US government was a major, if not the, cause of the current financial crisis. Astoundingly, many consider it entirely rational to hand a huge portion of the economy over to Washington’s administration. Meanwhile Greece is being savaged by the socialist dream, and several other nations are about to collapse financially due to their admittedly partial commitments to the socialist agenda.
The socialist estrangement from democracy and contempt for the ethics of Liberty go hand in hand with socialism’s ultimate mockery of peace and freedom. In order to impose and then sustain socialism, the government must be comprehensively repressive and coercive. There is no option.
In one of the great internal contradictions of Marxist and neo-Marxist theory, the collectivist thrust for power has become a virtually identical copy of the fascist model. Not for nothing did the German Nazis call their movement National Socialism. Repression, the abuse of law, is a hallmark of both abominations.
When the European socialists realized that Stalin and Hitler were far more alike than different, and that the two tyrants’ programs were virtually identical, a great shock went through the disparate community of Marxist intellectuals. The truth was only slowly absorbed. To this day, “progressives” are infuriated by proofs that the Nazi apparatus was firmly grounded in a peaceful collectivist theory of social welfare expressing the nurturing love of the government for its citizens — that it was, in other words, socialist at its base.
This state of denial both sustains and hinders socialist thought. It sustains the ideology in that it allows socialists to act like fascists while believing they are exactly the opposite. It hinders the realization of the socialist dream because it permits the zealots to blunder into folly after folly, discrediting their irrational theory.
The crushing burden of the left has always been the unadmitted implications of its goals and predictions. Socialists have failed to come to grips with the ethical aspects of political activism because they have never fully grasped the consequences of what they preach. As their dream of peace and prosperity crumbles into undemocratic machinations, increasing restrictions on the individual, harsher penalties for nonconformists, confiscation of legally acquired wealth and more intrusive surveillance of the population, education becomes indoctrination and the inhumanity of the bureaucracy deepens. The fascist reality emerges, only to be denied by a smothering propaganda apparatus.
Perhaps the most bitter aspect of this degeneration, as far as “progressives” are concerned, is the decline of innovation and productivity. Seeming paradoxes abound. Militant unions exploit workers and cause unemployment; taxing the rich hurts the poor. Regulation spawns corruption and stalls growth. Providing “free” services hinders the productive segments of the economy. Taxing capital gains heavily harms government, industry, and investors, but it remains a cornerstone of a “fair” tax policy. As unintended consequences multiply, the ideology that deifies the worker eventually cripples and abandons him.
This commentary is, of course, just a superficial examination of some of the founding principles and consequences of collectivist authoritarianism. The myths of Marxism, neo-Marxism and various flavors of socialism are complex, but the overall pattern is clear: the violation of the individual is the fundamental flaw in the scheme.
In truth, only individuals exist, and all Marx’s children are blind to that fact. There is, moreover, no such thing as society. Like the idea that there exists a set of all trees under four feet in height and that its name is Fred, the concept of society is a pure abstraction devoid of existential reality. The implication is inescapable: socialism in all its forms is founded on quicksand.
Of course this brief attempt to put the insanity into perspective cannot convert the faithful. Their commitment is irrational. Never mind; those who choose reason over ideological solidarity will see the errors of the reformers who would rescue you from yourself.
Truth Be Damned, Partisan Politics Must Be Served!
Unless you share the political prejudices of the Bicoastal Elite, you will be angered by this development. (Follow-up commentary is located here; don’t skip it. This is additional background information on this web page.) It amounts to collusion between members of the faculties of several universities to render “wingnuts” and others critical of the Obama administration incredible. Note that the professors candidly admit they propose to deceive the public, using a propaganda technique to defeat exponents of Flyover Country’s values.
You might wonder where the inspiration for such a scheme came from. This newsletter suggests that the unethical practices of the news media have created an atmosphere of dishonesty that has contaminated the universities. The widespread practice of journalistic censorship is related to the notion that fake news and bogus opinion should be used to blunt the impact of genuine news and rational commentary. In both cases, deceit is the tactic and the cynical manipulation of the public is the goal.
This will make a seminal contribution to the theory of evolution: “…there is at least some evidence to support the various parts of Lamarck’s concept of acquired inheritance.” No, that’s not a lunatic pronouncement; get a good overview of the science here. This revolution in genetics will re-write the textbooks. Recall Koestler’s The Case of the Midwife Toad.
The major news media have not reported a disturbing fact that, if widely known, would damage the administration. No nation in the world is better qualified than The Netherlands to cope with catastrophic oil slicks, and three days after the blowout in the Gulf, Holland offered its assistance. The Dutch have expertise and equipment no one else has. Incredibly, the USA turned the kind offer down at once; weeks later it was partially accepted, and some Dutch technology will be used, far too belatedly. It will be extremely hard for Obama to explain away this blunder — if he can. The real question the public should be asking, however, is why this story has not been reported. Of course the media editors who have the answer will never admit their complicity in pro-Obama censorship. It’s not just the feds who are looking very bad here.
Related: Is the Gulf oil spill Obama’s fault? No, but that might not matter, because it and it alone could still make him a one term president.
The sinister terminus of the USA’s political spectrum presents a bizarre spectacle to those whose objectivity is intact. It’s fascinating to see the major media coddling Obama, sheltering his inept administration as much as possible under the stressful circumstances, while the wilder elements in collectivist US politics are dreaming up lurid scenarios. The more imaginative fables remind of the claims that FDR knew when and where and how the Japanese Empire was going to attack Hawaii. Consider this “expose” of the supposed connectionsbetween BP and Obama, for example. What a freak show…the old-timers in the journalistic establishment are sitting protectively on the full story, and the search for a scapegoat has the “progressive” vanguard eating its young.
How’s the battle for ethical governance going? So far, Congress is winning. The Office of Congressional Ethics is about to be gutted.
Freedom of the press is under attack yet again in the USA. How did it come to this? The federal government got involved, that’s how.
Oh, this is a really great idea. Hmpf. Morons….
Related: yes, morons!
Understand this: that silly pastime for ne’er-do-wells is properly called soccer, not “football,” and it can’t hold a candle to baseball, the pinnacle of the evolution of sport.