Obama and the Liberal Conceits
When Peggy Noonan writes in her weekly sense-of-the-sensible-people column that President Obama is "a president who is at once over his head, out of his depth and wholly unaware of the fact," you know that the world has changed.
But really, President Obama -- in his life, his person, and his career -- epitomizes the liberal bubble of the last 50 years. It is not that just President Obama is over his head, out of his depth and wholly unaware of the fact. It is liberals in general.
In my view, the liberal bubble was wafted aloft on four conceits.
The first conceit is the idea that centralized administrative bureaucracy, inspired by science and reason, can work. Forget that the centralized administrative state was invented by the absolute monarchs. Forget that the centralized bureaucracies of the communists and the fascists were a failure. Let's remember that the lefty Frankfurt School chappies wrote during World War II that instrumental reason in the hands of humans is a weapon of domination, making corporate and government bureaucracy all about domination. So what does President Obama do? He passes the mother of all bureaucratic programs, ObamaCare. Even conservatives' favorite liberal, Camille Paglia, can see what is wrong with that.
Also the Obamacare: of course, we need health care reform in this country. What a mess! Everyone agrees about that. But the Obamacare is, to me, a Stalinist intrusion - okay? - into American culture.
But most liberals don't get it. They think that a one-size-fits-all administrative program of health care is a wonderful idea.
Cure for the conceit: the Max Horkheimer Memorial Graduate Seminar "Bureaucracy and Domination." The average social service bureaucracy has the same form of organization as the Pentagon or the police. Analyze and explain.
The second conceit is that liberals gave America the civil-rights revolution. Tell you what: let us stipulate that liberals singlehandedly passed the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s. So then why did liberals turn right around and implement the institutional racism of quotas, affirmative action, and "diversity"? Well, now they got their comeuppance, with an affirmative action president "over his head, out of his depth," etc., who looks like he's going to send the independents running screaming into the arms of Mitt Romney next week. That'll teach you to play the race card, liberals.
Cure for the conceit: the Frederick Douglass Memorial Graduate Seminar, "Do Nothing with Us!" Or anyone else, liberals.
The third liberal conceit is that you can fix the economy with a dose of Keynesian stimulus. There is a pony in there, of course. It is that the government's credit is needed, about once in a generation, to stem a financial panic. See the classic Lombard Street by Walter Bagehot. But once the panic is over, the government should get out of the way and stop meddling. The danger from government meddling is a capital strike, as in the late 1930s and in President Obama's early 2010s.
Cure for the conceit: The Alexander Hamilton Memorial Graduate Seminar: "Dutch Finance vs. French Finance." For you undergrads, "Dutch finance" is a credit system based upon a funded national debt, as in Hamilton's refinancing of the revolutionary debt; "French finance" is John Law, assignats, and 20th-century government pitchers inflating and defaulting their way out of a jam.
The fourth liberal conceit is the idea of peace. It seemed like a good idea when dear old Immanuel Kant proposed Perpetual Peace two centuries ago, and liberals have encouraged each other in the conceit that they, and they alone, believe in peace and justice. Now we see, in the ruins of the president's foreign policy -- all the resetting, apology tours, and Benghazi foul-ups and cover-ups -- how peace works out in practice.
But apart from the folly of imagining that the lion will ever lie down with the lamb, there is another dimension to the peace question, and in this we may say that our liberal friends, like their liberal president, are truly out over their heads, out of their depth and wholly unaware of the fact.
Societies seem to need enemies to unite them. If there are no foreign enemies to unite us, then the politicians will create domestic enemies as a substitute. Since liberals have foresworn foreign enemies, they create domestic enemies instead, branding anyone who disagrees with them as a dangerous racist, sexist, classist, and homophobe.
Cure for the conceit: the Ronald Reagan Memorial Graduate Seminar "Peace through Strength." How did that amiable dunce turn the Carter malaise into Morning in America in four short years, and then win the Cold War without firing a shot?
In four short years, the partisan, racist President Obama has demolished his party's once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a durable liberal majority. The conceits he shares with the liberal ruling class are the reason why.
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.