Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Real Barack Obama

People often wonder who is the real Obama: the Machiavellian power-luster who only uses liberal-statist ideas and people to advance himself, or the sincere altruist who wants to use power to help the needy. In the end, does it matter?

Last night, Barack Obama delivered his manifesto. His 30-minute video focused on the plights of several families around the country and his recommendations for helping them and others like them. All of them, no doubt not by accident, live in states and within demographics that Obama badly needs to win and where he has had the toughest slog starting as far back as the primaries.

Still, the ad provided enough evidence that, whether he is a lying manipulator or whether he is completely sincere, the 2008 Democratic nominee for President is the most dangerous man to run for the office on that ticket in several generations, perhaps ever.

Given that the list of his predecessors includes such modern liberals as Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Carter, and Gore, that is a large claim. Here's the argument to support it...


It's bad if Obama is a cynical liar whose real goal is simply to acquire personal power.

The world economy, which follows the U.S., is in a parlous state. There is an ongoing jihad against the West. History shows that such men are often too busy protecting their flanks and making themselves look good to actually address any problems. Experience also shows that such men have an unscratchable itch to acquire still more power. His desire to push for yet more Federal control over health care, education, and the economy in general isn't a matter of speculation. He has said as much many times, and repeated it very clearly last night.

You don't have to be an advocate of pure laissez-faire economics, as I am, to believe that increased government control of those sectors can only lead to worsening conditions. A fair assessment of history will suffice. Look at all the knees in the curve toward greater control — the Wilson terms, the Hoover/FDR era, the LBJ administration, the Carter presidency. All pushed harmful economic legislation. Each was a foreign policy disaster. One needn't be a consistent advocate of individual freedom, like me, to believe that autonomy and respect for individual rights would erode still further under Obama.
  • We have Wilson to thank for the FTC and the Federal Reserve, and his Attorney General was diligent in suppressing political dissent.

  • Hoover strong-armed businesses into higher wages and ordered troops into action against American citizens.

  • There were such stringent controls by the FDR administration during WWII that the black market was big business and he expanded public works programs like no one in U.S. history, not to mention appointing environmentalists like Douglas to the Supreme Court.

  • LBJ created Medicare/Medicaid and employed a military draft to fight a war having nothing to do with American self-interest.

  • Carter's cowardly inaction bequeathed us the jihad we're fight today, with theocratic Iran at its core. He also gave us the Department of Energy and contributed heavily to producing several years of stagflation and high unemployment.
[None of this is meant to imply that Republican Presidents in general have been friendly toward freedom or good for the economy. Nixon imposed wage and price controls and founded the EPA. Bush Sr. refrained from taking out Saddam at the end of the Gulf War, leading to the Iraq War. Bush Jr. pushed for the prescription medicine entitlement, cozied up to CAIR and did nothing about Iran, and has semi-nationalized the financial markets. On all that, another day.]

Yet, with all these disastrous policies to learn from — ones which made economic conditions worse and decreased liberty — Obama advocates still more control. Perhaps that bespeakes an unquenchable lust for power. Or, it could signal something far worse. It's just possible that Barack Obama is a true believer in his vision for America.

What is that vision?


Forget for a moment all of Obama's questionable alliances and mentors, past and present. Set aside, just for now, his early Communist education by Frank Davis and Saul Alinsky. Never mind for the nonce his willingness to work with Socialists/ex-terrorists William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, his relationship with Chicago criminal Tony Rezko or PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi, and his adoration of the Marxist racist, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

After all, there are much more powerful and equally fervent Anti(s), Statists, and gangsters in Illinois and Washington D.C. where Obama has spent his mature adult years. Chicago Mayor Daley is much more of a gangster than Tony Rezko. Ted Kennedy has done more to achieve socialized medicine than the Reverend Jeremiah Wright ever could. Joseph Biden has harmed the judicial system more than William Ayers ever will. Barney Frank impoverished more Americans by far than Saul Alinsky, Frank Davis, and the entire leadership of ACORN combined.

No, we don't need to look at Obama's alliances old or new to understand what he believes or wants. The half-hour program broadcast last night is by itself enough to reveal what a sincere Obama is like.

The ad presented one hard luck story after the next: an elderly couple struggling to stay afloat amid rising health care costs and declining health and income, a single mother and "educator" working two jobs while attending classes at night, a blue-collar couple once employed at Ford laid off or nearly so.

Let us assume for the sake of argument that Obama is genuinely focused on helping these people. After all, he was a community organizer. He did do legal work for ACORN. He was the Chairman of the CAC and allocated educational funds to 'the needy'.

Clearly, this is a man whose prime focus in life is on the sick, the poor, the ill-educated, the 'powerless'. To Barack Obama, America is a giant hospital emergency room and he has striven hard to rise from bed pan orderly to triage nurse to physician and is now seeking to be chief administrator.

What Senator Obama, who has asked many questions of Americans over the past 20 months, has obviously never asked himself is: why should we care about any of these people?

No doubt to be ill and lack health insurance is a worrisome situation — for that person, and her friends and family. To have a low-paying job and live in squalor is unpleasant, to say the least. To see the Ford plant that has employed three generations of your family disappear must be gut-wrenching.

But, outside those who know them and perhaps as far out as their local citizens, is there anyone who should care about the problems of those people? Everyone I've ever met has his own set of goals and the inevitable, often enormous, challenges to achieve them. A healthy-souled person is focused on achievement and overcoming the challenges themselves.

The Barack Obamas of the world focus on the disease, the poverty, the lack of personal ability or resources to overcome the challenges. As Ayn Rand wrote so insightfully in The Fountainhead: "Ellsworth, you are a maggot. You feed on sores." He replied: "Then I shall never starve." Barack Obama seems to thrive on his diet.

But such people are never satisfied to assist others themselves. They endlessly exhort others to assist, too, on the premise that the individuals and those nearest them are inadequate to the task. "We are all in this together," they perpetually whine. To Obama, it is the cripples in life that should command our attention. As he often says: "We are our brother's keeper."

I have news for Mr. Obama. I am nobody's keeper, nor do I ask them to be mine. I got my own troubles, brother.

For those whose value system is such that they feel compelled to focus their life on helping others, so be it. I don't regard it as particularly noble, but far be it from me to stand in their way. But when that mentality turns to government to compel my assistance, then I'm no longer sanguine about his plans.

Such infectious plans always lead to selective economic harm, sacrificing the productive to the parasites, until the host either counteracts the virus or dies. It leads to large-scale violation of individual rights — forcibly redistributing money, curtailing individual choice, and pitting neighbor against neighbor in an endless low-level civil war.

Those plans — whether it involves welfare disguised as tax cuts, increased Federal intrusion into health care, subsidizing 'alternative' energy, or any other of the endless stream of now-common modern liberal schemes — should be opposed with all possible vigor.

Beyond the clearly predictable disastrous practical effects, there are more fundamental reasons. That approach to government is based on a false view of life and a heinous ethical principle. Life (in America, at least) is not a hospital ward, and we should not be forced to carry another's bed pan. Let Obama go tend to the downtrodden in Detroit or Africa, if that's his desire. Leave the rest of us free to get on with living.

Summing Up

So, Barack Obama might be as some paint him — a cynical, power-hungry con-artist of the first order. Or, he could be a garden-variety altruist, driven by his parasite's philosophy to use the strong arm of government to enslave the able to care for the needy. In the final analysis, it really doesn't matter. Either way, he'll be a serious threat to every productive person in America if he gets elected.

Update 11/3/2008 Out of his own mouth:
So this idea, that somehow everybody is just on their own and shouldn’t be concerned about other people who are coming up behind them, that’s the kind of attitude that I want to end when I am president.
I'm not concerned with every random stranger, and no one has any good reason to be. But if, contra reason, Obama is so concerned the last organization and method he should want to employ is the Federal government. Their track record ain't so good. Given how little he spends of his own money on charity, I'm doubtful about his sincerity. But, giving him the benefit of the doubt, he should seek instead to join a recognized private charity.

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