FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
The President Stands Athwart History Yelling Stop
Obama’s Speech Was like Canute Yelling at the Tides
If you were hoping that the president would set the stage for a grand bargain to restructure America’s entitlement programs and fiscal health for the 21st century, you wouldn’t have found much encouragement.
– David Ignatius (WaPo)
David Ignatius stated the obvious in a very polite and understated manner. The President has hit his high water mark. He won re-election, and has no idea what to do with his power beyond the satiation of the power base that drove his reelection. He can hand out fish-sticks, but he but he won’t teach you how to catch your own. (HT: Moe Lane) * This only reinforces my earlier opinion that Barack Obama is nowhere near as in charge of events as he likes to act. The man is a prisoner of historical trends and of his choice of supporters.
This brings us to the question of “Why is this man still in power?” One theory holds that a lot of people remain on life support from government hand-outs and overwhelmingly vote for the party that hands them out. As long as Republicans are seen as mean-spirited thugs pushing granny’s wheelchair off the Fiscal Cliff, the Dems could nominate Mugabe and The Blind Sheik still win in 2016.
Peddling this brand of epistemelogical fertilizer is more comfortable than facing hard truths. It allows us to be intellectually lazy, bemoan our fate as a movement and avoid the brutal travails of doing work and rethinking the obvious broken state of After-Modern America. Redstate CinC, Erick Erickson describes this defective mindset on the Right below.
We have become humorless, angry opponents of the President instead of happy warriors selling better ideas. We are not even selling ideas. Conservatives, frankly, have become purveyors of outrage instead of preachers for a cause. Instead of showing how increasing government harms people, how free markets help people, and how conservative policies benefit all Americans, we scream “Benghazi” and “Fast & Furious.”
But just in case you were angry, resentful and filled with bilious butt-hurt; it gets even worse… There are people on the political Left who think for a living and would be overjoyed to tell every one of you exactly where to get off the trolley. Let the Walter Russell Mead’s of the world do your thinking for you, and you get the government you let happen – good and hard.
The first thing to say about a post-blue social model is that it will be liberal. That is to say it will be a further exercise the development of the concept of “ordered liberty” that has been the guiding light of Anglo-American civilization since the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The synthesis of enlightened, forward looking governance resting on the acknowledged and inalienable liberties of the people at the heart of the liberal vision remains the best foundation humanity has yet found for running a society in a world of rapid change.
The Walter Russell Meads of the world are smart human beings. As Erick pointed out Sunday, some of them even mean well. We all know where the road those intentions have paved is leading us. It goes to hell. The sad truth of Walter Russell Mead’s quaint and prolific idealism is that he gets it 50% correct. The first part of his closing argument is dead-on. It’s the 2nd part that reasonable men should question and demand that he prove out.
The government will do more than it does now, and regulate activities that are unheard of today, but individuals will have more choices than they currently do and their rights and their property will be better protected.
To be seduced into equating Modern Post-Modern Progressivism with The Glorious Revolution of 1688, but in no way recognizing that it has been effected by the French Revolution about a century later; is to buy a used car from Dr. Mead without taking it to a mechanic first. That seems to be where we are going, because America seems capable of reaction only. We elect fools like Bloomberg and Obama who react to problems only after the fecal matter has hit the rotary oscillator. If Mead is the only one thinking, his ideas then win by default.
So our leaders don’t really try to solve problems. They do what Barack Obama did at his inauguration and yell at history to stop. When he denied the obvious need for our government to reform its entitlement programs, he reminded me of King Canute yelling at the tides. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, our intelligentsia prepares yet another upgrade to the same failed liberal paradigm. If we just overgrow and overspend our government in a more enlightened fashion next time, it won’t continue to be a problem. Very few things would still be a problem if the United States went as fiscally and socially bankrupt as we are now in ideas and in spirit.
*- “Give a man a fish and you can feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Lau Tzu.