Monday, May 11, 2009
Bowden on Chavez
Tom Bowden of the Ayn Rand Institute manages to put Tweedledum and Twee-- I mean Hugo Chavez and Barack Obama -- to very good use in the lead-in to the following question:
Capitalism needs defenders. Who's willing to join us?And he did it without even having to raise the nettlesome issue of whether Obama is stupid or evil...
In a stray moment yesterday evening, I indulged a twinge of curiosity I've had for some time by looking up Saul Alinsky on Wikipedia. Alinsky is probably best known to most Americans as having been a major influence on Barack Obama as a community organizer. The article excerpts the following overview of Alinsky's strategy from his work, Rules for Radicals:
There's another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevski said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution. To bring on this reformation requires that the organizer work inside the system, among not only the middle class but the 40 per cent of American families - more than seventy million people - whose income range from $5,000 to $10,000 a year [in 1971]. They cannot be dismissed by labeling them blue collar or hard hat. They will not continue to be relatively passive and slightly challenging. If we fail to communicate with them, if we don't encourage them to form alliances with us, they will move to the right. Maybe they will anyway, but let's not let it happen by default. [bold added]If Obama realizes that his foreign and domestic policy decisions have been uniformly bad for America's self-interest, perhaps this strategy serves as his motivating purpose.
This is a strategy for making people ready to be ruled, instead of being masters of their own fate. If America has enough of its soul left, enough of a backbone, this strategy will massively backfire.
The Court Jester of King Barack the Mild?
Poe's Law holds that, "real fundamentalism can also be indistinguishable from parody fundamentalism." Elaborating on that point after considering an example, I noted that:
Past a certain point, Poe's Law doesn't just describe a resemblance between the words of a "fundamentalist" and a jokester, but an identity: Depending on how well a given pronouncement is crafted to "fit in with" the overall mis-integration of a system that incorporates the arbitrary, the only difference between a frank statement and a joke will be in who is making it.Given the following "joke" delivered by Wanda Sykes at the White House Correspondents' Dinner -- and Obama's obvious approval, perhaps a codicil is in order:
This is what [Sykes] said: "Rush Limbaugh said he hopes this administration fails, so you're saying, 'I hope America fails', you're, like, 'I don't care about people losing their homes, their jobs, our soldiers in Iraq'. He just wants the country to fail. To me, that's treason.The Codicil: What a leftist will laugh about and what he will make illegal depend entirely on who is saying it and about whom.
"He's not saying anything differently than what Osama bin Laden is saying. You know, you might want to look into this, sir, because I think Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker. But he was just so strung out on OxyContin he missed his flight."
She then concluded: "Rush Limbaugh, I hope the country fails, I hope his kidneys fail, how about that? He needs a good waterboarding, that's what he needs." Obama seemed to think this bit was pretty hilarious, grinning and chuckling and turning to share the "joke" with the person sitting on his right. [bold added]
The Telegraph's Toby Harnden sums it up quite well: "And Obama laughing when someone wishes Limbaugh dead? Hard to take from the man who promised a new era of civility and elevated debate in Washington."
But there's more going on here than a bad night by unfunny comedienne (to put it too charitably), or mere hypocrisy on the part of Obama the Mild, and it directly pertains to who the jester really is in this court. (Hint: My calling Obama "King" is merely rhetorical.) Ayn Rand had an interesting thing to say about that:
This what I would call the "court-jester premise." The jester at the court of an absolute monarch was permitted to say anything and to insult anyone, even his master, because the jester had assumed the role of a fool, had abdicated any claim to personal dignity and was using self-abasement as his protection. [bold added] ("Apollo and Dionysus," in For the New Intellectual, p. 116)This whole event was held out to be tongue-in-cheek (although, obviously, what went on would be very well publicized), and Obama himself joined in with a self-effacing teleprompter shtick of his own. Incidentally, it made light of the recent flyover of New York that caused such panic.
The message I got from America's court jester as he cavorted about on the television screens of the actual rulers of his country was, "I don't care about your safety, welfare, or opinions, and I think you are too stupid to notice."
If more of us keep failing to notice, we won't remain rulers for long.
Thanks again to Amit Ghate, I can end this post on a pleasant note: This orchid is particularly stunning.