The American Dream: Not This Way
The maddening thing about being a conservative these days is watching our liberal ruling class, rotten to the core, prancing around the public stage acting all pure and innocent -- and getting away with it. I suppose that's why God invented divine justice, so that people could at least hope that the bad actors would get their just deserts.
But divine justice doesn't always work. I just finished up watching most of Wagner's four-opera Ring Cycle here in Seattle. What begins with great lordly pride and high hopes ends up in everything going wrong and the betrayal of the good guys. The bad guys get their just deserts in the end, but only because the whole of civilization gets flushed down the toilet with them when the fat lady sings. That's not quite my idea of divine justice.
What about us? In one week we have the president dodging and weaving on the illegal delay of the ObamaCare employer mandate. We have Jeff Bezos approved as a good guy by all the beautiful people for buying the Washington Post. We have the U.S. retreating from the Middle East. We have the student loan program turning into an utterly corrupt political slush fund. Will the rest of America get flushed down the toilet with the corruptocrats?
In his latest pivot to the economy, President Obama talks about growing the economy from the middle out. Again. It's a good line and it comes right out of the Obama campaign research for 2012, for the focus groups told the Obamis, according to Peggy Noonan, what "the American middle class has been thinking the past few years: The guys at the top and the bottom are taken care of while I get squeezed."
You have to admire the president's conjuring skills. Day in and day out he manages to distract the American people from the truth that his over-under Democratic coalition of billionaire subsidy whores and the poor benefit whores is the real problem. He almost seems to have people convinced that top-down big government of liberals, by liberals and for liberals, is really good for the middle class.
There's a reason the president can get away with this. When a Democratic president gives a speech and says that "I believe that the way you grow the economy is from the middle out" the mainstream media does not write the paragraph that always accompanies such a speech by a Republican president: "But critics say," the paragraph begins. "But critics say that the president's economic policies are more likely to benefit well-connected campaign contributors and government union members than ordinary middle-class wage-earners in the private sector." Somehow the critics are tongue-tied where Democratic political claims are concerned.
It's no use whining. Republicans and conservatives don't get to set the political weather; in 2013 it is still liberals that get to define reality and liberals that get to teach our children in school. We conservatives only flourish when the failure and corruption of the liberal ruling class is knee high even to a low-information voter. As in 1980. As in 1994. Like maybe real soon.
As a result, people don't understand that Obama politics and Obamanomics and executive orders and QE and deficits and top-down bureaucracy can never deliver them the American Dream.
Yet left-of-center thinkers are no slouches when it comes to critiques of the liberal administrative state. James C. Scott in Seeing Like a State argues that modern states want their people to be legible so the rulers can control them.
Then there is Michel Foucault. His Discipline and Punish argues that the modern state is a power project that features "three primary techniques of control: hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment, and the examination. To a great extent, control over people (power) can be achieved merely by observing them."
Normalizing judgment requires national standards in education and health care and diet against which people can be observed and graded, and the modern state does not punish so much as "correct deviant behavior" as the PC police demonstrate daily.
Jürgen Habermas has critiqued modern administrative systems as inherently dominating and hegemonic; they need to be balanced by communicative negotiation and action in the person-to-person lifeworld.
This is not completely lost on President Obama. He says that he is "pro free market;" he says he is for growing the economy from the middle out. But his policy always enlarges the administrative state and its dominating systems.
Obviously the president says the right things because he knows the American people want to hear them.
He says he's for the American Dream while he and his willing accomplices to everything they can to destroy it.
Christopher Chantrill (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) 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. Get his Road to the Middle Class.