The Objective Eye

"Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demand for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen."
- Ayn Rand, "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business" (1961)

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Location: Los Angeles, United States

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pay No Attention To That Klan Behind The Curtain: Obama, Wright, and the Poison of Collectivism

Now Playing: U. Shrinivas' Samjanitha

In Asimov's Sci-Fi classic "Foundation," a great mathematician develops a science of predicting the future using mathematical probabilities involving vast numbers of people over vast periods of time. In the real world we only have that kind of certainty in hindsight, but philosophy performs a similar role in the forward direction.

It certainly did after the Reagan-engineered collapse of Soviet Socialism ca. 1989. We saw in vivid detail the practical expression of something philosopher Ayn Rand had told us repeatedly a full quarter-century before that collapse: Ideas shape the course of people and of nations, and the mere absence of an evil regime does not imply the automatic rise of a good one. The Russian Federation had a promising start on the road to a free society under Yeltsin, but there was never an explicit rejection of Russia's collectivist culture, much less an embrace of an explicitly individualistic one. The result has been Russia's descent, following the death of Yeltsin, into a neo-authoritarian regime under Putin. A vacuum does not make for a solid foundation.

It's taken longer in America, but the same philosophic void exists here. Perhaps due to the gulf between the rank-and-file American and the Ivory-tower intellectual with regard to individualism vs. collectivism, respectively, we haven't slipped into a Putin-type quagmire. It's been more of a study in "wishy-washy," under the back-to-back vacuity of the Clinton and Bush Administrations. We've bumped along more or less intact, government of course has continued its unchecked growth in size, expense and its progressive elimination of rights (pun intended,) but we've maintained a kind of uneasy continuity. Rand identified that phenomenon as: coasting along on remnants of the principled structures of the past. Also not much of a stable foundation for a robust civilization.

But 2008 is a Presidential election year, and this time a situation exists that America hasn't faced before: Our only viable (electable) alternatives for President are three committed collectivists, and at least one of them is steeped in an intellectual sewer of virulent, frothing hatred for the very country he seeks to lead.

By now the rants of Jeremiah Wright are a matter of public record, as is Obama's initial attempt to sweep his twenty-year association with Wright and his church under the rug as a "distraction" over someone he "stands behind." That attempt failed miserably, so following a series of public appearances by Wright over the weekend that culminated in his finding a new 'deep end' to go off of, Obama on Tuesday tried some stronger wording, which got rave reviews from the media (what a shock!) but not quite the same reaction from less-incestuous quarters.

At this point I think we can accurately categorize Wright as an Afro-neo-Nazi and Obama one of his followers, and if that sounds like hyperbole try the standard substitution test:

Imagine a GOP Presidential candidate, say Sam Brownback, having been found to have attended one of those creepy white supremecist churches for twenty years with his family. Imagine him suddenly, after those 20 years, finding reason to denounce that church - at a time that just happens to be seven months before a contentious election. What would you say about his apparent worldview, folksy public persona aside? What would you say about his fitness for the Presidency?

Imagine that same GOP candidate's wife going on record expressing the sentiment that she had never been proud to be an American before "appearances" within a Presidential campaign required it.

Imagine news reports surfacing that that candidate had surrounded himself with violent domestic terrorists - as close personal friends - who for forty years had maintained an explicit hatred of America, a stated desire to destroy it, and who made their names via deadly terrorist bombings committed in the attempt. Imagine that those domestic terrorists had reaffirmed that hatred of America and that commitment to its destruction as recently as a year ago.

Taken as a whole, what would you say about this hypothetical Sen. Brownback's suitability for the position of American President?

So...what of Obama's?

What we have in Obama is a stark contrast between words and deeds, and I don't think it's necessary to spell out which is the indicator of a given person's core beliefs.

He says he is "outraged" and "angered" and "saddened" by Wright's "wrong and destructive" comments. Even if we take him at his word, one inescapable fact looms over the carefully-chosen public pronouncements:

Obama has only found this "outrage" and "anger" and "sadness," has only recognized Wright's neo-Nazi rhetoric as "wrong and destructive," a paltry seven months before a Presidential campaign, only after sustained political backlash, and, again, after a full twenty years of uncritically accepting those same "wrong and destructive" ideas.

Obama can't have it both ways: He is a highly-educated graduate of a prestigious law school. Either he is a closet adherent to the Wright school of racism and hatred of Western Civilization, and is lying to the world about his "not knowing about" Wright's message - or he is, frankly, far too stupid to be holding the post of County Alderman, much less the President of the United States. Again: We are talking about two decades of chosen intellectual immersion in Jeremiah Wright vs. a sudden, pre-election stab at damage control.

Here too is another place where conservatism falls on its face:

The world of conservative punditry has generally granted to Obama the rather absurd leap that he doesn't really agree with anything in Wright's worldview - they're essentially taking him at his word.

I think that the duration of attendance at Wright's institution argues that Obama's worldview corresponds to far more of Wright's spew than he desperately hopes we will believe. His personality is as mild-mannered, guarded and reserved as Wright's is exhibitionistic and bombastic, but a thinking human being does not spend ten minutes in the audience of someone screaming "wrong, destructive and outrageous" neo-fascism. Obama clearly embraced Wright's raving as a deep, "spiritual" element of his family life. Else why, how, could he remain a part of that noxious community?

The philosophic link connecting Obama's strident hard-left worldview and ominous paeans to "change," Wright's (and presumably Obama's,) strident racism, and the broader Left's strident hatred of America and of Western Civilization, is: Collectivism.

That toxic philosophy's sole antidote is: Individualism.

Too bad we don't have an individualist candidate to support.


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