Our original intent, for a November feature, was a more detailed development of the section on "Mucking Up The Future," below. Yet as the election approached, and the intellectual quality of the major party campaigns continued to decline, we decided to delay posting; to let events run their course, the dust settle, before trying to make sense out of the irrational. That purpose only reads like an oxymoron on first impression. Understanding irrational, emotion driven behavior, is essential to an understanding of how to mitigate its consequences. Yet our long term purpose must go far beyond mere palliatives or mitigation.
The usual suspects in the mass media positively gushed for at least 48 hours over the "Historic" moment, event or achievement, of the Obama victory. A formidable array of American business leaders rushed out to be interviewed, a theatrical chorus to echo the media pundits. Enthusiastic White middle-class Americans called local radio talk outlets, expressing exuberant pleasure at having played a part in finally "burying" America's "evil" past--breaking what some described as a "color line," others as a "racist glass ceiling." The general consensus seemed to be that this election had somehow removed race or "skin color" as a factor in American politics; had somehow vindicated a new status for those whom the media has lately insultingly patronized as "African-Americans." A listener, respectful both of the White & Black communities across the continent, one familiar with the actual history of America & the Americans; a listener proud of America, devoted to the achievements of the Founders of the political institutions of the federated peoples, now known as the United States of America, might not know whether to laugh at the lunacy, or weep over those Founders' failed experiment in popular Government. After drawing a deep breath, this listener did neither.
The election of Obama was anything but a repudiation of racial factors in American politics. The idea that Barrack Obama somehow represents a fulfillment for Black or Negro American aspirations, takes the 'theatre of the absurd,' to which American politics have descended, to a new low. We have addressed Obama's lack of any strong American ties in our previous essay "The Accidental American" (note below). But to specifically focus, for a moment, on the racial question over which the media and slavering--contract or 'bailout' hoping--business executives now obsess: The only ties Obama does have to American roots, are totally White (Caucasian)! Obama's success does not end any racial factor in American society; rather, it reflects the delusional aspect of a deteriorating popular culture, where the oft disparaged phenomenon of judging people by the "color of their skin" now overrides virtually every other consideration.
Obama's father--who only spent a short time in America before returning home--was indeed a "man of color," a Luo from Kenya. But that is the opposite side of Africa from the lands of origin of the long settled American Negro population. Confusing the Luo section of Kenya with the roots of Black America would be the equivalent of confusing a White Yankee tie to Yorkshire, with that to some Islamic valley in Albania. Moreover, the fact that the Luo speak a Hamitic language, suggests some Caucasian infusion, even in the old country.
What may be even more revealing, is the suggestion of a misunderstood role in the historic slave trade. Notwithstanding the curse of Noah, Hamitic speaking peoples--both Caucasian and non- Caucasian--have often tended to be the marketers rather than the marketed of other human beings. [Now, please! I am not suggesting Obama's father was a slave trader. The sole point, is the absurdity of treating Obama's election as some sort of referendum, essential to the well-being of millions of Black Americans, whose ancestors never went anywhere near Kenya anytime in the last thousand years.] The popular delusion among those obsessed with Obama was not a repudiation of judgment based upon skin color. It was its ultimate enshrinement in popular mythology. Many who voted for Obama & "Change," could not tell you what change they advocated, other than the fact that their candidate was the first man to be elected President with sepia colored skin. For millions of Obama voters, it was all--and only--about the color of a man's skin!
To most American Conservatives, it was not Obama's race that spread alarm, rather his involvement with notorious American hating Leftists, such as William Ayers; Obama's repeated disparagement of the American Constitutional tradition; his hypnotic chanting about "Change" and unity, without clear definition of either --reminiscent of techniques that brought Hitler to power in Germany;--Obama's advocacy of the redistribution of other people's wealth, with compulsory universal service for their school aged sons & daughters--not for military necessity, but to meet a still ill defined social agenda. In short, Obama reminded students of Twentieth Century history, of the monolithic totalitarian enterprises, which Socialist revolutionaries and politicians imposed in Russia, Germany, China & Cuba, to mention obvious examples. (In each case, the Socialist totalitarians both trampled property rights and pressed the youth into involuntary service in pursuit of Socialist objectives.)
Now, the first post-election images of the candidate have been intended to reassure. Obama has been meeting with well known mainstream economists and business leaders. As we write, it is widely expected that he will move to the Center, and that his Cabinet will feature a moderate, respected, Secretary of the Treasury. We certainly hope that such expectations are fulfilled. They may, whatever Obama privately believes--if only because he does not yet really control the Military, and dare not move too rapidly in the direction advocated by some of his mentors. Yet consider the progression of change in Cuba.
Former Virginia Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr., in a book of interesting vignettes from his life in both Journalism and Politics (Double Trouble, Harrisonburg: RR Donnelley, 2007), recounts a visit to Cuba in April, 1959, the fourth month after Castro's January 1st takeover, on behalf of the two Byrd newspapers in Virginia (pp. 128 & 129):
In April, I lunched with two leading Cuban businessmen, large landowners. When I asked whether they expected a leftward lurch by Castro, one responded, "Don't worry about Fidel, we can take care of him."
In July, when I returned to Cuba, I tried to locate the two businessmen only to learn they had fled the country, their property confiscated.
Senator Byrd makes the point that Castro's success in January had come with the backing of intellectuals, professionals and businessmen, tired of corruption in Cuban society, rather than from any mass Communist uprising. A somewhat parallel change of focus had taken place in Nazi Germany, when Hitler, by purging Ernst Rohm and others in the most radical wing of his Party, had persuaded many business & military leaders that he was really someone they could work with. As in Cuba, the pretended moderation soon gave way to a species of monolithic utilitarian collectivism, which neither middle class Germans, Cubans nor Americans would ever, previously, have believed possible. We are not the first to fail to understand how fragile are many things we take for granted. In the chanting automatons at Obama rallies, we have seen the same psychological dynamic as in the stadium at Nuremberg, or at a Castro rally in the public square in Havana. Will it all end the same? Only God can know!
Whatever the next few months may bring; the economy is today in shambles, American society in chaos--the very Obama phenomenon, as we have explored in other essays, demonstrating a people who have no clear sense of their own identity; a people out of touch with their roots, indifferent to the legal bases of their societies, confused as to what actually works in human affairs. This is the climate in which liberty usually dies; when someone picks up the shattered remnants of a civilization that was. It does not have to end thus, of course. But those who would adhere to the tradition that gave us independence; that brought us liberty, and the greatest prosperity ever known on so grand a scale; that from Magna Carta through the Declaration and the Constitution, had a clear focus, now almost forgotten; certainly have our work cut out for us. Those cognizant of the 20th Century history of Russia, Germany and Cuba, may be aware of other dangers, unstated here.
One final point on purely economic questions: Obama's socialistic bias makes it very doubtful that American capitalism will fully recover from the present market upheavals in the next few years. This does not mean that markets will continue to fall. At some point, probably not very far distant, all of the paper (fiat money) liquidity will burst upon the price structure, and prices generally will spike higher. The dollar lost over 97% of its buying power over the past century, although, during much of that time at least, somewhat more responsible monetary management continued. Our point here is that the true conditions in the American economy will not be reflected by a comparison of stock averages to historic measures. There may, at some point, be a great "Obama rally." It may have all the actual relevance of the "Big Rock Candy Mountain."
In their final debate in mid-October, McCain & Obama sparred over Federal involvement in education & health care, avoiding all that was significant. Neither showed any knowledge of Constitutional direction, of different aptitudes, of the Hippocratic oath or the idiocy of imposing layers of bureaucracy over important interactive functions in any human society.
Our September Feature, "The Price Of Egalitarianism," emphasized the social price America--and the West generally--pay for a Socialistic pursuit of egalitarian values and concepts, premised upon a denial of the realities of Nature and the bases for human action & interaction. The final Presidential debate between Senators McCain & Obama, in mid October, clearly illustrated our point.
The Constitution envisioned no Federal role in local education outside the Federal territories, and certainly no involvement in the relationship between a physician and his patient. Common sense, also, would argue against the advisability of such a role. For a remote central agency or authority--alternatives involving major philosophic questions--to create a large bureaucracy to seek to macro manage something so inherently individual or micro as relationships, either between a teacher & pupil or between a physician & patient, is a prime example of the fantasy, wish driven, projects that grow out of the egalitarian mindset. It is certainly not a cost effective way to manage either education or health care.
In the one instance, a burgeoning Federal bureaucracy has directly stimulated growing State & local bureaucracies, needed to interact with the Federal; making essential local (teacher & pupil) decisions, all the more difficult. We discussed the effect of Federal involvement in health care in the Chapter on Medicare in the Conservative Debate Handbook (note below). While an explosion in the total percentage of American income spent on civilian Health Care has been evident with Federal involvement, figures alone understate the actual damage. Physicians' offices used to be staffed, largely, by personnel trained to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of illness or other medical problems. Now they are filled with personnel processing forms, pushing buttons on computers to generate files that have more focus on finance than medicine. Hospitals, once eleemosynary institutions, have changed even more.
There is little question but that this monstrous waste of resources has been prompted, not by fiscal or functional reality, but by an egalitarian compulsion to suppress the normal inequalities that flow from the internal dynamics of human societies. The promoters realize that such meddling is expensive. Yet without it, they fear that some school districts might continue to perform better than others; that some more affluent areas or segments of the population may obtain both better health care & education than others. That notwithstanding the Hippocratic Oath, which prevents physicians from denying anyone, no matter how poor, their trained services; that without more Federal interference, the poor may still not be able to obtain the same level of service that those with greater means afford.
Of course, the same inequality exists with respect to needs yet more immediately essential than health care: Food, shelter, raiment, etc.. The current, expanding, Federal political involvement with health care, may be only a slower, Fabian, approach to a Socialist society, where the collective, not the individual, provides for all necessities; appropriating the fruits of productive labor to a common (communist?) purpose. (Is the next step to be the compulsory service for American youth, promised by Obama for various, not yet defined, social projects? It reminds one of the Young Communist League or the Hitler Youth. But you won't hear about them from a mainstream media, still gushing over our "Historic" moment.)
Yet, the most pathetic aspect of the debate was not the promise of greater waste or more Federal moves in the wrong direction; rather in responses to the Moderator's query as to how the candidates would deal with the poor showing of American Public Education, at or near the bottom among developed Nations in scholastic achievement in Math & Science? While neither made a stab at realistic explanation, showing no awareness of the actual dynamics; each embraced a major remedial Federal role.
The explanation, of course, was demographic. Aptitudes are not evenly distributed among diverse peoples; they never have been. "One size" does not fit all. The fact is that a larger proportion of American public school children come from ethnic stocks whose native lands have never demonstrated the levels of scientific or mathematical expertise, found in the schools of those other "developed" nations. The fact is that the genetic heirs of those, who developed those other "developed" nations, continue to display superior aptitudes for math and science both here in America and in their ancestral homelands. This is, also, precisely what anyone familiar with the results of psychometric testing, over the past 95 years, would expect.
Nor is there anything remotely idealistic in the failure to address the actual determinant for the phenomenon under discussion. The fact that students lack a particular aptitude, does not mean that they do not have others. What this deliberate ignorance of reality means for millions of minority students, is that their actual aptitudes are not addressed, while the egalitarian theorists teach them, instead, that they have a grievance; a reason to hate America and mainstream Americans, rather than to develop their actual abilities in a useful way, which would enable them to prosper and win genuine respect. This is not tolerance but, as we described in Chapter 5 of the Conservative Debate Handbook, "The Rape Of Tolerance." Conservatives need to stop winking at this outrage, which is ruining young lives without benefit to anyone but demagogues, and begin to openly discuss the subject.
The Obama victory certainly raises serious questions about the American future. It has come at a terribly bad time, considering deterioration in the American infrastructure, both social & economic, during the Clinton/Bush era. Still, there are fundamental differences between America in 2009 and Germany in 1933 or Cuba in 1959--or the Chile in which the Marxist Allende sought to consolidate power in 1972 & 1973. Obama, despite the Marxist influences, may well move towards the Center. He would hardly be the first to do so. The only thing that is certain is that as Jefferson advised, "Eternal vigilance" remains the price of Liberty. The most sobering thought is how completely we have failed the Founders' purpose over the past 16 to 20 years. Will this election prove the wake up call to forgotten duty? God Willing, we will rise to whatever needs must follow!