October 17, 2008
Barack O'Bonaparte, Man of DestinyBy James Lewis
What's so odd about Barack Obama is his extreme sense of self-confidence, matched with his extreme lack of experience. It seems as if Obama is utterly convinced he can do no wrong, and that Destiny is on his side. "Do you ever have any doubts?" asked a TV interviewer early on. "Never!" said the O with his big, trademark smile.
That's not rational. Anybody who harbors no doubts about doing the toughest job in the world, the job that makes you a scapegoat for all the ills your enemies can dig up, and one which visibly ages all its occupants -- anybody without doubts about that isn't thinking like an adult. Instead, he is starring in his own, child-like fantasy world.
That is what Men of Destiny do. Lenin had it, Napoleon had it, and George S. Patton had it . Probably Ahmadinejad has it, too. They have no humility, and they feel justified in sacrificing others for the higher good they are convinced they know. A contemporary journalist wrote of Patton
George S. Patton had a lifetime of training and experience behind him when he assumed command of his Army divisions in North Africa and Europe. Barack Obama has no executive experience at all, except for the failed Annenberg education project, which was a payoff to radicalize the Chicago schools and utterly failed to improve children's test scores. That's 160 million dollars down the sewer of educational faddism and political corruption. But it launched Obama's campaign (with the crucial help of Bill Ayers, who got him the job). It's interesting that Obama still believes in the fad idea of a "black based curriculum," in which jazz music would be used to teach kids in the inner cities.
In contrast with Obama, George Patton was constantly ridden by his chain of command to keep him in line: Generals Ike Eisenhower, George C. Marshall and Omar Bradley constantly battled to keep George from acting out. As president, Obama would have no such constraints.
If you remember the George C. Scott movie Patton, any time those background trumpets would sound, General Patton was having a Man of Destiny moment. Patton sincerely thought he was a reincarnation of the famous generals of history: He had a true Napoleon Complex, which gave him that more-than-human sense of confidence.
Obama appears to have a similar fantasy-driven sense of Destiny. Obama's use of the word "Audacity" is very similar to Patton's demand that his soldiers show audacity -- "L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace," as French revolutionary Georges Danton famously said. In actual war, General Patton's audacity sometimes resulted in futile suicide missions for his men; but much of the time, it was that audacity that kept the enemy off balance and losing. It makes sense for a tank general, where mobility and risk taking can lead to fabulous victories.
But Obama also believes in that kind of risk-taking, which is why his Berlin Speech began with "Citizens of the World!" He is extremely reluctant to accept that he is wrong, or to accept any criticism at all. That's why, after wasting 160 million dollars on an "education" project that had no results, he still believes in a "black curriculum." Barack Obama is an overconfident rookie, a "hot-dogger" in Air Force slang, who is overconfident and therefore likely to make mistakes.
Revolutionary personalities are often convinced they are Men of Destiny. A UCLA professor of political science, Victor Wolfenstein, has done in-depth studies of Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Mahatma Gandhi. Wolfenstein concluded that they all had something in common besides that more-than-human sense of Destiny. According to Wolfenstein, Revolutionary Personalities have close relationships with early life mentors -- substitute fathers -- who give them a sense of personal significance. They use their mentors to shift their identities to a more grandiose one, through the god-like father substitute, who validates that sense of specialness that little kids tend to have --- because there is something profoundly irrational about that more-than-human sense of destiny.
Well, we know about Obama's father figures. CP-USA propagandist Frank Davis was his father-mentor during his teenage years in Hawaii. It is a good guess that Bill Ayers was his father figure in Hyde Park, along with Jeremiah Wright and Emil Jones (the power-broker president of the Illinois Senate from the Chicago South Side). These are all ideologically and politically corrupt mentors. They all believe that the end justifies the means, as the ACORN organizer manual even states out loud:
William Ayers has the same sense of absolute certainty in his beliefs: That's why he was able to set bombs that killed his girlfriend in the Sixties -- along with a policeman and others --- and express no regret even forty years later. At the end of his life, mass-murderer Pol Pot, caught and convicted, expressed no remorse whatsoever for the two million Cambodians he had murdered.
People with Napoleon Complexes can be dangerous.
George W. Bush is different. Bush agonizes over the cost of war. He prays on his knees every day, and even non-believers must recognize that he has a profound sense of humility and personal limitations in making more-than-human decisions that he knows will result in death and injury for good and courageous soldiers. He cries when they come back wounded or dead. But he still keeps the ability to make decisions that have to be made. That is an adult reaction to those immense burdens. Bush is not Napoleonic; he is Trumanesque. Napoleon would never have retired back to Kansas City to live modestly, the way Truman did. He was too much in love with his own glorious destiny.
McCain is more like Bush. He used to be a hot-dogger back in Naval Air. But he's had some tough experiences since that time, and he's grown up. He's made his mistakes, and knows it.
The trouble is this huge gap between Obama's inner convictions and his actual abilities and understanding. That's what is troubling about Barack Hussein O'Bonaparte --- it's not at all obvious that he can do anything well. But he believes he can do anything, and his devotees pick up that sense of more-than-human Destiny.
Reasonable people don't risk their country just to alleviate their racial guilt. If Americans do it, they will end up with more guilt, and a frighteningly irrational administration.
James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com.