Not Knowing What They’re Doing
It’s becoming unremarkable to remark upon the lack of substance in the latest round of Obama endorsements. Saying he’ll bring “change” or be “transformative” means little. As Thomas Sowell points out, recent pages of history have their share of stories about transformation toward something worse. Of course, as Sowell notes elsewhere, a con man’s “job is not to convince skeptics but to enable the gullible to continue to believe what they want to believe.” In that capacity, Obama is certainly a uniter.
Mark Steyn follows up on Sowell’s comments thus:
McCain vs Obama is not the choice many of us would have liked in an ideal world. But then it’s not an “ideal world”, and the belief that it can be made so is one of the things that separates those who think Obama will “heal the planet” and those of us who support McCain faute de mieux. I agree with Thomas Sowell that an Obama-Pelosi supermajority will mark what he calls “a point of no return”. It would not be, as some naysayers scoff, “Jimmy Carter’s second term”, but something far more transformative. The new president would front the fourth great wave of liberal annexation — the first being FDR’s New Deal, the second LBJ’s Great Society, and the third the incremental but remorseless cultural advance when Reagan conservatives began winning victories at the ballot box and liberals turned their attention to the other levers of the society, from grade school up. The terrorist educator William Ayers, Obama’s patron in Chicago, is an exemplar of the last model: forty years ago, he was in favor of blowing up public buildings; then he figured out it was easier to get inside and undermine them from within.
All three liberal waves have transformed American expectations of the state. The spirit of the age is: Ask not what your country can do for you, demand it. Why can’t the government sort out my health care? Why can’t they pick up my mortgage?
Steyn goes on to make a point that I’ve sounded before, in conversation and writing, and never heard so much as an attempt at a defensible reply:
More to the point, the only reason why Belgium has gotten away with being Belgium and Sweden Sweden and Germany Germany this long is because America’s America. The soft comfortable cocoon in which western Europe has dozed this last half-century is girded by cold hard American power. What happens when the last serious western nation votes for the same soothing beguiling siren song as its enervated allies?
Sowell counts the Soviet Union among the historical transformations toward something worse, and one can imagine a similar trajectory for the United States. One can imagine many things, of course, and if we recall the ideological parity that the last few election cycles have proven to exist between right and left, it’s clear that the path from here to there would necessarily be a bloody one — so much so as to be surpassingly unlikely. However, even just the loss of the United States as an exemplar of stalwart individualism would be an unprecedented shift in the world stage.
Optimist that I am, I’ll predict — in the face of the mantric conventional wisdom — that an Obama presidency would be the last gasp of liberalism. When the hidden supports of Belgian Belgium et al. cease to exist, so will the illusion of many cherished policies of the left. Either the wishfully thinking conservatives who’ve admitted a fondness for him will luck out and Obama will discover the necessity of governing from the right, or the liberal government in the United States will be such a globally abysmal failure that the world will be forced to give up the fantasy.