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Imagining the Worst

April 24th, 2009 by Myrhaf · 6 Comments · Politics

How does Obama manage to get everything wrong? In economic policy he wants more government intervention and massive spending increases. This does not lead to prosperity. In foreign policy he has apologized for America, befriended America’s enemies and snubbed her friends. This does not lead to security and peace.

Is he incompetent? Does his lack of experience doing anything but rabble rousing and running for office make him inept?

Or is it that he has the best intentions, but does not understand that consistently following altruist-collectivist-statist premises leads to failure? Is he so stupid that he cannot see how his policies will lead to disaster?

Stupid or incompetent? That is the question. Or… could there be a darker explanation?

We know Rahm Emanuel counseled never let a good crisis go to waste. Hillary Clinton’s eyes light up like a girl on her first date when she expresses the same thought.

Consider this quote from Saul Alinsky, whose radical theory Barack Obama taught with ACORN:

“Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution.”

By this theory America needs to get worse in order to condition the American people against the present system and prepare them for revolutionary change. This is the theory Obama once taught as a “community organizer”; there is no evidence he has ever rethought his adherence to these ideas.

Could it be that Obama’s policies, both foreign and domestic, are designed to bring about further crises and create among the American people a readiness for fundamental change?

The White House has been occupied by some good people. It has also been home to political hacks, mediocrities and blockheads. We might be witnessing the first president who was a monster. I hope that raising this possibility is not “Obama Derangement Syndrome.” I leave it as a possibility because I’m not 100% sure Obama is not merely a mediocrity or a blockhead. Anyone who can mention an Austrian language, instead of calling it German, is a little slow. But then, anyone who would want America to suffer in order to destroy capitalism would have to lack intelligence.

Although Obama lies as a matter of policy — and that in itself reveals a radical mindset — he cannot help revealing himself now and then. As the clues mount up over the next few years, we will figure out if he is just another statist hack, a fool, a cynical revolutionary or what.

6 Comments so far ↓

  • TW

    I believe that Obama is neither stupid nor consciously malevolent. He seems to be of at least average intelligence, and I have no reason to think he actually wishes the country ill. I think it’s just that he’s a firm believer in some very false things: that we can create lasting prosperity through government spending, for example, or that amoral tyrants around the world will be won over and change their ways if we are charming enough.

    I think it’s clear that even very intelligent people can believe false things, and persist in those beliefs for a lifetime. This is not surprising when we consider the multi-layered nature of personality and decision-making. People by and large believe what they want to believe, and act on those beliefs hoping for the best and squelching doubt at lower levels of awareness.

    Objectivism is attractive to me as a call for people to go against this general tendency and to be receptive to reality; to measure beliefs against what they actually see.

    On another note: I think the number one thing that motivates Obama is his image. He is a narcissist first and foremost. See him in photographs, and you know that he knows he cuts a beautiful image in a suit. He poses, literally and figuratively. His policy ideas are things he wants to believe because they make him look wonderful. That, to a narcissist, is all that really matters.

  • Jim May

    But then, anyone who would want America to suffer in order to destroy capitalism would have to lack intelligence.

    I don’t see how this follows. Why would a Cloward-Piven operative have to be dumb?

    Immoral, certainly. But intelligence and rationality are independent variables.

  • Myrhaf

    Maybe I’m thinking too much like Socrates, but to blank out to the point that you think it’s good to destroy capitalism is not smart. I think the left’s epistemology makes them stupid. If you believe reason is useless, then you will stop using it and over time you will become less intelligent, no matter what your IQ is.

  • TW

    “I think the left’s epistemology makes them stupid.”

    In a sense, yes, but not in the sense of their general IQ being low.

    “If you believe reason is useless, then you will stop using it and over time you will become less intelligent, no matter what your IQ is.”

    I know there are people who believe that reason is useless or at least untrustworthy, but how widespread is that particular belief actually on the part of the left? Do leftists typically say things like “Oh, forget about reason. That stuff’s useless!” I don’t think so, not the ones I’m familiar with anyway. They tend to think they are very rational.

    I’m also not so sure it’s rationality that’s the problem, per se. Are the left really having a hard time getting the hang of Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens? I think it’s not that. It’s the lack of receptiveness to reality.

  • Michael Labeit

    Austrians would call it “Austrian.”

  • Jim May

    If I had to, I would characterize the Left (and their conservative siblings) as being closer to insane than stupid, simply because stupid isn’t nearly so dangerous.

    The problem is that both of these characterizations are problematic, because neither is a function of the subject’s ideas. Both stupidity and insanity are metaphysical conditions, i.e. not a function of one’s ideas, so much as a constraint and/or determinant of them.

    Rationality — and its negation, irrationality — are no doubt the problem here. Regarding TW’s last comment: a disconnection of a mind from reality is part of the meaning of “irrational”. I think what he’s getting at is that the Left still groks logic despite tossing it to the wind when it suits them.

    On the ground, the consequences of actual stupidity and/or insanity, versus irrationality, blend together, and they should; both involve a disconnection of minds from reality. The key distinction to be made is this: where the physically insane and stupid cannot help these facts, irrational people CAN. Being physically healthy, they don’t have those excuses –they are in control of and therefore morally responsible for their indifference to reality.

    We could certainly describe their actions as being stupid or insane, but to treat those descriptions as being the actual explanations for what they do risks losing sight of the moral culpability involved — not to mention the *reversibility* thereof (metaphysical stupidity and/or insanity, or any other “brain brokenness” is usually not reversible, at least not by the person acting on his own; he usually is incapable of grasping his own “brokenness”).

    Michael: Do Austrians call their language “Austrian”? If so, it’s a foible (assuming that the language Austrians speak is linguistically German); I don’t speak (or post) in “Canadian”, and I’ve only heard a few people call it “American”.