|After Ferguson: Yeah, Let's Have a Conversation Mr. President||It's the Liberal Oppression, Stupid|
by Christopher Chantrill
November 25, 2014 at 12:00 am
TO THE CONSERVATIVE mind, President Obama’s executive order on immigration is unexplainable. For us, the whole point of the modern political experiment is to stick to the rules. Why would anyone think differently, especially after the disasters of lawless communism and fascism?
But President Obama is no conservative, and so we must try to understand his actions by peering into the mind of the “other.” Here are my five attempts to understand the president.
The Need to Do Something. We often like to sneer at the politician’s knee-jerk response to every event, the need to be doing something. But when you are a leader, you are expected to be a man of action. Leaders lead, or they get replaced.
The Need to Keep the Progressives Loyal. You all know my model of government. As an army must feed and clothe its soldiers on the march or see its soldiers mutiny and desert, a government must satisfy its supporters. Barack Obama has proven to be a great disappointment to his less-committed supporters. Where’s the hope? Where’s the change? When the soldiery starts to get restive then the wise general must make certain of the loyalty of his Praetorian Guard, and the “progressives” are the Obamic equivalent of the Roman emperor’s Praetorian Guard. Without them the regime comes to an end. Obama must keep the progressives happy.
Liberal Faith in Government by Rational Administration. To readers of The New York Times and other residual legatees of the Progressive Era the idea of congressional legislation is something of an embarrassment. The sight of all those hoggish politicians wheeling and dealing in smoke-filled rooms to come up with an immigration bill offends the refined sensibility. What’s needed is a rational plan drawn up by credentialed experts and large-minded people that read The New Yorker. And the original Progressives had a point. A committee of 535 people is completely inadequate to the task of converting a rag-tag organism of social humans into a comprehensive and mandatory national program designed as a rational administrative system, whether the issue is health care or immigration. So an executive order is just the ticket.
“Activism” is the Only Thing the President Knows. We conservatives have dined out endlessly on the Alinsky maxim for the past six years. That’s because there’s a lot of truth in it. The president believes in activist politics, the separation of the world into three parts: oppressors, oppressed, and the champions of the oppressed. If you are a champion of the oppressed the whole meaning of your life is bound up in “speaking truth to power.” Sarah Hoyt addresses that here.
The President Just Doesn’t Have the Chops to Negotiate with Congress. The information we got from the president’s confrontations with Congress after the 2010 midterms suggested that the president wasn’t very good at negotiating. Moreover, he infuriated the Republican leaders by reopening issues that had already been agreed to. If you hate negotiating and you aren’t very good at it, then you would do anything to avoid the unpleasantness of a full-dress, six-month negotiation with Congress over immigration. Thus the executive order.
The five reasons I’ve listed to explain the president’s action on immigration last Thursday may or may not explain why he did what he did. But they add up to this: the president is acting from weakness rather than from strength. Let’s face it, the president’s party has gone in a short six years from overwhelming strength in the Congress and the nation to the worst position of the Democratic Party since before the Great Depression. All the heady talk of the Emerging Democratic Majority has collapsed in failure and ruin. All over Washington, Democratic officeholders must be asking themselves how bad things can get. You can say that Republicans can hardly expand the map much further, but that doesn’t comfort the Democrat in a swing district that could lose his seat if things do get worse. At some point, perhaps when Republicans start passing bill overwhelmingly supported by the American people, Democrats are going to start running for the exits.
What would you do as president if you knew that pretty soon the summer soldiers would be deserting the colors? You would play to the progressive base. The progressives are not calculating opportunists, like party politicians; they are true believers. They want rousing sermons, they want bloody sacrifices on the altar of progressivism. The president is happy to oblige.
There is only one problem with the president’s plan. It may drive the rest of America into the arms of the Republicans. But at least he will still have his Praetorian Guard of progressives and social justice warriors standing guard, all the way until noon on January 20, 2017. He hopes.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists
conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family.
Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is merely relative, is asking you not to believe him. So dont.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy
Paul Dirac: When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated
by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that
I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion.
However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and
inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he
suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.
John Farrell, The Creation Myth
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization