Saturday, October 20, 2012

Obama the Profound

In the October 15th Weekly Standard, Jeffrey Anderson reviews Charles Kesler's new book I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism. Says Anderson:

Professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and editor of the Claremont Review of Books, Charles R. Kesler says that Obama "is playing a long, high-stakes game, and it’s not at all clear he’s losing."

Kesler reminds us of Obama's proclamation - like a new version of the Emancipation, stirring to some, ominous to others - in October of 2008, that "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." To which "Kesler cautions: 'Those words mean this will be a different country when he’s finished with it — a new land.'"

Now, Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, is one of those things I will never read. But at one point, Kesler

highlights a passage from Obama’s The Audacity of Hope (2006): "Implicit .  .  . in the very idea of ordered liberty," writes Obama, is "a rejection of absolute truth." Yet the Declaration places absolute truths at the core of the American creed ("We hold these truths to be self-evident  .  .  ."). In marked contrast, Obama — who, when reciting the Declaration’s language as president, has repeatedly omitted its reference to our Creator as the source of our rights — says, "Lincoln, and those buried at Gettysburg, remind us that we should pursue our own absolute truths." Kesler replies, "Our own absolute truths? Those words ought to send a shudder down Americans’ constitutional spine."

Should, but don't.

I already knew this about the Christian Obama - that his relationship with truth was a completely feel-good, spur-of-the-moment, make-it-up-as-you-go-along sort of thing - but I am mildly aghast that in trying to lay out the case for it he had written such sentences. Even if ripped out of context, they are simply incomprehensible and cannot be made otherwise by putting the context back in. Perhaps in the phrase "ordered liberty" he was blinded to the 'ordered' and saw only the 'liberty,' which understood absolutely might lead him to think it was a thing without form until molded by individual desire. I have read only pieces of Lincoln's writing, but never took from it what Obama would have me. I did once read a short, book-length biography of him, and what I do know is that as yet a young man he developed and articulated to others his hatred of slavery. He was, shall we say, absolutely against it, because he thought it, you know, absolutely wrong. And how Obama manages to communicate with the dead at Gettysburg is known only to him and his medium.

I'm sure that in the book I will never read he gives it that missing context and explains it all to his own satisfaction, to the satisfaction, that is, of a third-rate orator in search of the soaringly profound, but whose stultifying mediocrity keeps him prisoner to all the liberal pieties of our time. In other words, he is incapable of saying anything that wasn't spoonfed to him by someone else who said it first. And again I can't help but wonder what kind of country this is that would choose such a man to be its leader.





2 Comments:

I can't help but wonder what kind of country this is that would choose such a man to be its leader.

A country in the throes of white guilt. I had a relative who was dying of cancer, and one of the things he was visibly happy about being able to do before he died was to vote for the first black president. I discussed a stated position of Obama's - a non-controversial one, I'm not talking about born-alive or anything like that, it was a trivial thing that happened to be against this man's stated preferences - with a man in the doctor's office, and he flat-out refused to believe that Obama would hold a position contrary to his own.

Romney holds and has held all sorts of despicable positions, but he is almost the exact opposite of Obama as a human being. Obama is a chip-on-the-shoulder black ideological affirmative-action hire of limited competence and monstrous ego. Romney is a supremely competent white anglo who is well aware of his own strengths and weaknesses, and who has no principles.

By Anonymous Zippy, at 10:41 AM, October 21, 2012  

one of the things he was visibly happy about being able to do before he died was to vote for the first black president...he flat-out refused to believe that Obama would hold a position contrary to his own.

So one guy was blinded by color, the other blind to reality. On your own theory of voting, this ought to be held as formal cooperation with evil. No one has an invincibly ignorant right to be that stupid.

Romney is a supremely competent white anglo..who has no principles

He lacks them in some areas, has them in others. For example, he seems to think he is married to his wife in perpetuity, and ought to remain faithful to her. (Of course, I could probably say this of Obama as well.) On matters of interest to most traditionalists, we'll find more in common with him than with Obama, who seems a genuine moral shape-shifter. I think what often makes people doubt whether Romney is principled is that he is an overt panderer. If you saw the last debate, when asked about women, he came up with his binder full of them, to prove his white man's affirmative action bona fides. Like your dying relative's deep need to vote for a black man, Romney's need to appoint women just because they are women reveals an intellect so fascinated by the trivial that I cannot imagine him trying to roll back the diversity, affirmative action multiculturalist doctrine that governs the federal bureaucracy, and thus corrupts our state and local versions of the same (think public schools, among other things). He will, in short, perpetuate (not as radically as Obama) the reigning liberal ethos, which you claim to be the primary function of universal suffrage, mass-participation elections.

Obama is a chip-on-the-shoulder black ideological affirmative-action hire of limited competence and monstrous ego.

Zing.

By Blogger William Luse, at 5:31 PM, October 21, 2012  

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