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What Is Obama’s Standard of Practicality?

January 19th, 2009 by Myrhaf · 3 Comments · Politics

Finally, after months of speculation as to just how bad the Obama presidency will be, it begins tomorrow. From tomorrow on we will see the results, the facts of reality as they happen. Or perhaps we will read the MSM and see only the propaganda of the left. Those who pay attention and read the internet will likely be more informed than those who play video games or watch Oprah.

Obama and his spokespeople like to brag of his pragmatism. As the Nation put it,

In case you haven’t heard, Barack Obama is a pragmatist. Everybody agrees on this. Joe Biden, accepting Obama’s nod as VP at his unveiling event in Springfield, Illinois, called him a “clear-eyed pragmatist.” Describing Obama’s rise through Chicago politics, the New York Times stressed his “pragmatic politics,” while the Washington Post‘s David Ignatius refers to “The Pragmatic Obama,” and one of Obama’s most trusted confidantes, Valerie Jarrett, told USA Today, soon after his election-day victory, “I’m not sure people understand how pragmatic he is. He’s a pragmatist. He really wants to get things done.”

But what does Obama mean by pragmatism? What is his standard of the practical? Is is practical to pick Carol Browner, a socialist, to be his “climate change czar”? Is it practical even to have such a post? How can we tell what Obama thinks is practical without an understanding of his ideals? 

I get the impression that some on the right assume that once we all understand that a $1 trillion stimulus package does not work, then the government will act rationally and we will return to supply-side economics. But how do you convince people like Paul Krugman government does not work, when he wrote this today?

Old-fashioned voodoo economics — the belief in tax-cut magic — has been banished from civilized discourse. The supply-side cult has shrunk to the point that it contains only cranks, charlatans, and Republicans.

So now it’s uncivilized to advocate tax cuts. (Does it not seem that Republican is the absolute worst thing Krugman can call someone?)

I’m beginning to fear the worst about the next four or eight (or more?) years.  I fear that Obama has a different standard of what “works.” Most of us by “works” mean general prosperity, a rising standard of living, etc. Environmentalists, on the other hand, think it is better for the “planet” if humans have less prosperity. What does a president who appoints a socialist to be “climate change czar” think?

There are leftists who actually think Cuba has a better health care system than America because everyone is covered. Never mind that the quality of care is inferior — never mind that the island is one big slave pen — all that matters is that no one is left out by greedy doctors as happens in our heartless capitalist system. By the left’s standards, Cuba’s health care system works. It achieves egalitarianism.

My greatest fear about Obama is that he is an anti-capitalist leftist who wants expanded state power over the economy not to achieve prosperity but to achieve “fairness.” By this standard the economy can get worse — a lot worse — and it will still be “working” better than that uncivilized supply-side stuff pushed on the American people by cranks, charlatans and Republicans. Might he not hold that a massive decrease in the standard of living is an acceptable trade off for a more egalitarian society?

Obama was a red diaper baby whose parents were communists. He chose to associate with an anti-American preacher and an unrepentant anti-American terrorist. When first confronted about these associations, he lied. Eventually, he turned his back on Reverend Wright when he saw he had to in order to win the Presidency. The MSM accepted his tergiversations at face value. Is it foolish to fear that this man might hold socialism as the standard of what works?

We’re about to find out.

UPDATE: Slight revision.

3 Comments so far ↓

  • Burgess Laughlin

    In my experience, democratic socialists generally follow the line presented by John Rawls in his Theory of Justice. Politics in this context consists of negotiating within the “community.”

    They believe society creates reality. If the elements of society negotiate, they do so because reality is negotiable. What matters is the process–negotiation among all the “stake holders.” Results are optional. They can always be renegotiated.

  • L-C

    Social metaphysics, yes.

    “Might he not hold that a massive decrease in the standard of living is an acceptable trade off for a more egalitarian society?”

    This principle is nothing new over here. It has ruled unquestioned for a very long time. The standard of value in egalitarianism is equality. In a theoretical vacuum, this could go either way, up or down. In reality, the tall poppies are always sawed off at the ankles.

    One example is the school system. You will readily find people (including top officials) who would rather have everyone worse off by outlawing “special treatment” for gifted students than risk a decrease in equality. This has, at times, been cautiously questioned with the magnitude of the puff of vapor that an ice cube plopped into a volcano emits.

    Oh, to avoid any confusion, I’m referring to Sweden.

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