April 25, 2011
Obama Versus the ConstitutionBy James Lewis
The genius of the Constitution is not some person, time, or place. It is a very improbable conjunction of all three. Jefferson and Madison were not the only ones to fear the abuse of power. That idea goes back to the Epic of Gilgamesh. Every family with an alcoholic father or a tyrannical grandmother knows it. In England John Locke and Edmund Burke feared tyranny as much as the American founders, but they never had a chance to build the foundations of a new, independent, great power.
Obama is our first Marxist-Leninist president. He never quite uses those words, but in words and deeds he makes it clear beyond doubt. His two autobiographies all but say it.
The Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation has also published a careful summary of the public record that leaves no doubt about who Obama is.
Obama wrapped himself in his own lifelong cult. Universities are supposed to be places of open debate and open minds, but Obama knew his own life course from childhood on, and never opened up to anything else.
Marxism-Leninism grew out of Europe's totalitarian and imperialistic tradition. It has nothing but contempt for electoral "bourgeois" government. In the free atmosphere of American life, Marxist campus cults are like little cysts that grow in isolation from the real world. Some of them grow bigger and bigger and finally explode into a billion cancer cells, to enter the bloodstream of American life.
No great power in Europe or Asia has ever managed to keep an American-style constitutional balance for long. After Napoleon, France kept trying different Republics, until de Gaulle created its current constitution, which is now being supplanted by the EU. Britain doesn't have a written constitution, but rather a vaguely defined cloud of principles that is now crumbling under the assault of Political Correctness. Canada was a British colony until 1931, and is turning into a PC corruptocracy like Europe. Latin America inherited a hidalgo style of politics from Spain, arrogant and contemptuous of peasants and merchants. Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez are just hidalgos of the left, with Fidel inflicting mandatory six-hour television lectures on his suffering people over half a century. That's what hidalgos do; no American president could get away with it, and when Obama tried one long speech after another, people just turned off their TVs. Obama must have been stunned that people were not listening to him like the Cubans were listening to Fidel. What's wrong with these people anyway?
Europe's trading cities, like Venice, Amsterdam, and Hamburg came the closest to long-lasting electoral rule, but they never controlled the hinterlands.
As for classical Athens, often called the source of Western democracy, Plato and Aristotle were slave-holding aristocrats in a time of endless war, treachery, imperial conquest, mob rule, hedonistic excess, genocide, and tyranny. Plato's Republic argues for a hereditary aristocracy as the golden mean between one-man tyranny and mob rule, because Plato saw so many political horrors.
In Europe and Asia, new power classes just kept taking over, century after century. Europe gave birth to the political ideals of the Enlightenment, but was never able to put them into practice. Today's European Union is another gigantic front for an unelected political elite.
Europe's suicidal weakness today is its cowardice in the face of radical Islam, and the prosecution of heroic Resistance fighters like Geert Wilders, just for saying what millions of Europeans are thinking. In 1938 Churchill was despised by the political elites, but he was never prosecuted for sounding the alarm about Hitler. In the Libyan mess it looked like Europe might finally be growing up. So far it's getting a D-, mostly for trying hard.
Soon after the American Revolution of 1776, history conducted one of its rare experiments as the French Revolution broke out and quickly fell into bloody anarchy. A decade later Napoleon turned Liberté, Egalité, and Fraternité into another egomaniacal empire. That's what Mao Zedong did after the Chinese civil war, Lenin after the Romanoffs, Hitler after the Weimar Republic. Most countries just keep flipping between tyranny and civil war. The Arabs are doing it right in front of our eyes today.
What's new in history is 200 years of peace and stability across 3,000 miles of territory, with only one great breakdown, the American Civil War. Protected by two great oceans and a constitutional balance of powers, millions of people born in the Old World were able to thrive in freedom -- not perfect freedom, which does not exist, but far greater liberty than other major countries.
Obama is our first Napoleonic president whose beliefs are far outside our political tradition. After George Washington was elected, nobody knew how a constitutional president would behave. There was real fear that America had just traded one King George for another. When Washington went home after two terms, there was a palpable sigh of relief and celebration. In the last two and a half centuries only FDR has clung to office more than two terms, and that led to the 22nd Amendment. Washington set the precedent.
Obama acts like a Third World socialist, like his Kenyan father, and his thinking is stunningly rigid. He seems to be woefully ignorant about basic economics, science, and technology, international affairs, and the conventions of American politics. Either that, or he is acting that way as part of his peculiar character disorder. Deliberately violating norms is a way to show contempt for "middleclassness," as Jerry Wright calls it. It's the bourgeois values that Karl Marx hated so much. In psychiatry, deliberate lifelong violations of accepted rules are a sign of "oppositional-defiant personality," closely allied with grandiose narcissism. That describes Obama's lifelong character.
But let's not exaggerate Obama's danger. Politicians come and go. Obama calls Republicans "extremists," "radicals," and "unpatriotic." He's trying to flip the political world upside-down, but the American people know who is really "radical," "extremist," and "unpatriotic." It's not hard to tell. The left is unpatriotic by definition: They simply refuse to believe in "patria," the land of one's fathers and mothers. They are radical transnationalists who pin their faith in some imaginary worldwide command center that will finally solve all human conflict. It will be run by Obama and his kind, of course. This idea is so ancient that it goes back six millennia to Sumer and the Yellow Emperor.
Other politicians in the last 200 years have tried end-runs around the Constitution. The Dixiecrat South was a one-party machine that clung to power for half a century after Reconstruction. Al Capone's Chicago was a one-party machine, backed by threats and violence. Michelle Obama is the daughter of a ward heeler on Southside Chicago. When she told the world that she "had never felt proud of her country," she was just echoing the everyday prattle of her cult. Jesse Jackson is a family friend, and Louis Farrakhan is a big political power in Chicago. They are above criticism, because that's how machine politics works.
Every single imperial ideology in the last two centuries has come from Europe, from Napoleon to Stalin. Obama is not a Jeffersonian democrat. He does not understand or value the European Enlightenment; his roots are in the class war of the 19th century, which has now turned into war of all against all: Women against the men, poor against the rich, blacks against whites, gays against straights. Our media constantly whip up such hatreds, and children learn them in the schools. We have not been able to mount a coherent defense against the leftist divide-and-conquer strategy.
Europe has extreme difficulty with a self-balancing power mechanism like the US Constitution, with the three branches constantly tilting against each other; the States and localities against the Feds; and press monopolies, like today's liberal media, being constantly challenged by new technologies.
Constitutional government is under sustained and vicious assault by the internationalist left. Just read the headlines. It's not a coincidence.
Obama believes in internationalism, with grandiose egos like his own ruling the world. That's what the left is all about, and has been since Karl. Marx is not "progressive" but "retrogressive," because grandiose empires started six millennia ago in the great river valleys of the Old World, where city states amassed the power and ideological beliefs to conquer their neighbors. Obama would be at home in Egypt, Persia, Assyria, Alexander's Greek Empire, Rome, the Inca and Maya empires, Russia, Austro-Hungary, the Soviet Union. They are all pyramid-building empires made up of "soviets" -- councils -- commanded from the top.
The European Union is not an American-style delicately counter-balanced construction, designed to give the people the last word. No, the EU is just another imperial pyramid, and it is systematically disempowering the peoples of Europe.
Americans are the luckiest people in the world, not only because of our material fortune, nor even because of our fundamental decency and good will. We are the luckiest because we can afford to be as dumb as a brick, fail to educate our children, remain blissfully ignorant of the dangers that have killed hundreds of millions of people in the last 50 years, indulge in all the newest drugs, the biggest quantities of alcohol, the widest range of cuisines and tastes, and the usual range of sensual self-indulgence...and we are still protected from doom. So far.
The reason for our astonishing luck can be summarized in a few words. It's the Constitution.
We've been skating on our luck to the point of blind arrogance -- so much that our law schools are teaching their students the "revolutionary" fads of Marxism, explaining how to destroy the legal foundation that is the source of all our good fortune. "Revolution" is celebrated, but "revolution" is just a roll-over of power from one ruling class to another. Even the word "revolution" came from Copernicus's book about the rotation of the earth in the solar system. That kind of turnover of power changes nothing.
Obama really belongs in the post-colonial socialist world, like his father, who also never understood that the land he visited so briefly to father a child, Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., represented the biggest revolution in political history. Barack Sr. flew back to Kenya to join Jomo Kenyatta in just another disastrous post-colonial tyranny, one that may have ended in his own death from alcoholism, despair, and two disastrous automobile crashes. Barack Sr. may have dimly apprehended that things were terribly wrong in Kenyatta's post-colonial paradise, as indeed they were. India and China also suffered terribly under post-colonial socialism. They only began to recover when they found a way to give their own talented peoples a modicum of freedom to become productive. They re-discovered their own abilities to thrive without bureaucratic tyranny. Obama Jr. has never figured that out.
The US Constitution is the revolution; the rebellions of the left are just reactionary throwbacks. Whether the liberals like it or not, it's the American Revolution that is radically new, a genuine step toward a different way of living and governing.