Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Is There a There There?

It is early yet. The election was one week ago. Obama will be President-Elect until January 20, 2009.

After one week it looks like the defining theme of Obama's presidency will be his famous self-definition, "blank screen." I think it was Tallulah Bankhead who said, "Deep down I'm really quite shallow." I'm beginning to think this a good description of Obama. At his core he has no core. He is a man whose essence is the desire to show other people what they want to see.

What would you expect from a Democrat blank screen? The Democrat status quo. Ron Radosh writes,

The appointment of Rahm Emanuel is more evidence for what I suggested the other day, that Barack Obama will seek to govern from the political center. As Ben Smith and John Harris suggest on Politico.com today, one must not confuse Emanuel’s tough game playing with ideology. As they and others have argued, Emanuel’s reputation is that of a centrist, who has often sought to reign in the left-wing of his party, “who does not share the reflexively liberal views of many of his House colleagues.” That judgment was seconded by Rep. Jim McCrery (R-LA) who said that Emanuel “is closer to the center, from a policy standpoint, than many of the Democratic Party.” It was also shared by Lindsey Graham, who said that while a “tough partisan, he understands the need to work together.” Graham called him “honest, direct, and candid” and a man who will “work to find common ground.”

Max Boot sees Encouraging Signs From Obama:

I worked for the other guy in the presidential race, but I have been cheered so far by the early indications of how the Obama administration is shaping up. Scuttlebutt has it that the front-runners for Treasury secretary are economist Larry Summers and New York Fed President Timothy Geithner. Either one would be a good, centrist choice. So, too, would be Jim Steinberg, a deputy national security adviser for Bill Clinton, who is now a rumored choice for national security adviser in the Obama administration.

It goes almost without saying that nothing would signal Obama’s moderate credentials more than retaining Bob Gates at Defense. So it is encouraging to read in the Wall Street Journal that the president-elect is “leaning toward” such a move, and that Gates “would likely accept the offer if it is made.” As the Journal notes: “the defense secretary strongly opposes a firm timetable for withdrawing American forces from Iraq, and his appointment could mean that Mr. Obama was effectively shelving his campaign promise to remove most troops from Iraq by mid-2010.”

Going with the status quo is better than the wildest fears of the right, that Obama would try to create a socialist dictatorship from day one. However, in a time when Republicans socialize Wall Street with some trillion dollars and Democrats want to nationalize 401k plans, the status quo is bad enough. There is no widespread movement to cut spending and dismantle government intervention in the economy.

But what choice does Obama have, if he wants experienced hands in his administration, than to choose from, well, those who have experience? Radical leftists are a double risk in that they have no experience. In today's climate, when politicians are terrified of taking blame for anything that goes wrong, it's hard to see how the Democrat establishment would let Obama fill his administration with unknown faces.

Another sign of Obama's deep down shallowness -- an amateurishness that merits watching in the coming years -- is his uncertainty and flip-flopping, the same stuff we saw during the campaign.

First, he was for involuntary servitude for college students, then he decided that it should be voluntary and pay $40 per hour! Then he deleted his website and we have no idea what he wants.

Then, he was for the Polish missile-shield when he was talking to Poland's president, but backtracked when he was talking to the U.S. press. (Now, Poland is kowtowing to Obama, saying it was all a misunderstanding.) This is an echo of Obama's NAFTA gaffe with Canada, which was also blamed on a misunderstanding with one of Obama's advisers.

This morning he was for closing Guantanamo Bay, and having the detainees face criminal charges in U.S. criminal courts, courts using the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or new, specially created national security courts. This evening, he has backtracked yet again.

"There is absolutely no truth to reports that a decision has been made about how and where to try the detainees, and there is no process in place to make that decision until his national security and legal teams are assembled," said Denis McDonough, a senior foreign policy adviser for the transition team, in a statement.

So where did those original reports come from? According to the AP, Obama's legal advisers.

One hand doesn't know what the other is doing so we end up with many conflicting statements. Mr. President-elect has to keep "clarifying" the positions his subordinates keep releasing on his behalf. It's almost like he has no leadership experience whatsoever.

If this goes on, then Obama will quickly disappoint his more intelligent supporters.

Competence isn't just a technique you learn from reading management books. It rests on having firm convictions. A man who can be blown one way or another by any gust of wind will be incompetent. All the evidence we have so far, from the campaign and one week as President-Elect, points to a man without principles, a man who can change 180 degrees on an issue if the need of the moment requires it.

I find all this immensely encouraging. If my analysis is correct, then Obama will be the second Democrat president in a row who was a social metaphysician -- a man who primary orientation to reality was not the facts but what others think of the facts.

A man without a core is easy to push around. Look at what the Republicans did to Clinton, a Democrat who was so intimidated by the right that he declared the era of big government to be over. The best thing that could happen to America right now is a neutered Obama worrying about uniforms for school children.

But it is still early and Obama could have big surprises in store for us. Clinton had to suffer the national health care debacle before his presidency diminished. Plus, Obama will not be hampered by Clinton's sexual appetite and risky behavior.

Gertrude Stein said of Oakland, "There is no there there." Will Obama be an Oakland president?

UPDATE: From Gabriel Melor:

Obama appears to be abandoning his promised commitment to end government torture.

Melor concludes:

The Administration-elect is only a week old and already it's foundering because of a lack of leadership.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe he's aiming for 8 years?

L-C

Myrhaf said...

I have no doubt he wants eight years.

Jim May said...

Tricky to call. He might be backtracking because he's a naif being brought up to speed in a hurry on what's really going on -- including things about which we the people are completely unaware.

If that's the case, then I might let myself grow a bit more hopeful that the damage might be contained.

Of course, that's in opposition to the part of me that wants him to try pusing a far-left agenda, and fail miserably enough to discredit it.

Mike N said...

Myrhaf:
I hope you're right about him being a social metaphysician. I have had him pegged the other way: as an idealogue in pragmatist's clothing. I guess we'll see soon enough.

Joe Z said...

Myrhaf,
This post is the best thing I've read all day, which is a shame.

I still worry about REAL crises emerging and flip/flopping Obama goes ideologue left.

Dismuke said...

I too hope you are right. My fear is that he is either similar to what mike n says or that he IS a social metaphysician but one who is completely manipulated by and psychologically dependent upon some behind-the-scenes Toohey From Hell.

I think the prudent thing for all of us to never forget that Leftists over the past few decades have been completely Stalinized and are motivated by little more than power lust for the sake of power lust and nihilistic destruction for the sake of nihilistic destruction. They now have guns to play with - and when you have guns in the hands of irrationalists, that is always a dangerous situation.

Thus I think we need to be prepared for a number of worse case scenarios and if things turn out better, then that will be WONDERFUL.

I think, short term what we need to be eternally vigilant about is attempts to silence opposition via some form of direct or indirect censorship and rigging the outcome of future elections in advance.

I seriously doubt that they will implement the Fairness Doctrine outright - too many people are expecting it and are prepared to go ballistic. The danger is that they will find a less obvious way to bring about identical results. For example, there are proposals afloat to require radio stations to become more "community oriented" and to shorten the time between license renewals. "Community activists" (i.e., ACORN) will be solicited for feedback and allowed to bring forth protests at license renewal time and stations which do not adequately "serve the needs of the community" will be granted to some other license holder. They might also pass a law that would allow groups such as ACORN to sue radio stations for not being sufficiently community oriented. Either way, the results would make it financial suicide for the big media companies which own most radio stations to carry controversial programing. And it would be very difficult for a would-be independent station owner to find financial backing for a radio station that carries programing that puts it at risk of bankruptcy when the license is awarded to someone else. Same with bloggers too - if in the name of anti-fraud and anti sexual predator protection or homeland security it becomes illegal to use pseudonyms on the Internet and if ACORN style activists are allowed to use the courts to harass bloggers who build up a large following - well, people will think twice about blogging in order to escape the harassment and potential financial ruin of a legal battle that would be a definite risk if they built up enough of an audience.

Those of us - Objectivist or otherwise - who do NOT wish to live under a dictatorship, really ought to be giving a LOT of thought about what our strategy will be to fight back if something like this is attempted. We also need to be prepared to act quickly and have a general plan if the economy deteriorates significantly and Pelosi and Reid start talking about granting Obama "emergency powers" or a Chavez/Hitler style Enabling Act.

And perhaps we also need to give some thought as to what we will do if they attempt something like that and we are not successful in beating it back and find ourselves actually living under a dictatorship. I know this much: if I am sent to a gulag, I sure hope that when I am in line for the firing squad, I look over and see right next to me in the line of fire IDIOTS such as Warren Buffet and the head of Google, both of whom pushed for and gave financial support for what we are about to endure. If I have to die like that, I will die knowing that there is at least SOME justice in the world, however sick and twisted. I would include George Soros in that list too - except I suspect he would probably be one of the ones giving the orders to "fire."

amber said...

Myrhaf,

What is the deal? We live together for almost two years and you don't write and you don't call. Is it because I am a liberal (yet alarmingly attractive for my age) Special Ed teacher? A snotty elitist? An actress of questionable abilities? A poor speller? You really should do a better job of staying in touch with your friends, Sweetie!

Amber (Talvi) Hastings Cook Herold

Myrhaf said...

Amber, dear, send me an email: wagreeley@roadrunner.com. I haven't seen you in ages.

Grant said...

You mentioned Clinton and it got me thinking. Thinking about the personality differences between yesterday's and today's Democratic Darling.

Clinton, I think - despite all of his flaws - had a certain innocently stupid core which made him able to grasp that he was playing a big joke on everyone. His behavior suggested that he sensed, if only on a deeply subconcious level, that all of his rhetoric and lying was just that. He seemed to know that the only reason why it was working is because everyone else was letting him get away with it. It might be why he risked it all in such an obsurd manner. He simply couldn't believe that the public had let a baffoon like him into office and, to escape the tumult of signals suggesting he wasn't one, he went and proved it to himself.

Obama doesn't seem to have that. I think that when he manipulates others, he truly believes that he is changing the axioms of metaphysics. I don't know if he has even the slightest inkling that what he is doing is metaphysically impotent. I gave it some serious thought when you wrote about his ungracious comment regarding Nancy Reagan, but despite that, I have noticed a stark, much more serious change in his demeanor since the election. I think that could very well be his essence. This guy is cold, focused, and in a trance-like state that, if it were geared towards something objectively good, would be incredibly admirable. Clinton as least tried to accomplish something to respect himself with before he ran for President. Obama didn't even bother.

Of course, Obama will have his foilbles and his equivocations, but what I have seen in the brief time since he won is a slight decrease in the willingless to acknowledge and elaborate upon them. Almost a "how dare you? I am the President-Elect of the United States!" kind of attitude. I mean seriously, who stands in front of a podium with a sign that reads "Office of the President-Elect" hanging from it? Is that an actual office, or is it more a concretization of an "I can get away with anything now!" state of mind?

I just don't see Obama willing to get into a debate about the meaning of the word "is." Instead, in a back against the wall situation like that, I see him leaping up and physically attacking the questioner.

Mike N said...

Dismuke:
"We also need to be prepared to act quickly and have a general plan if the economy deteriorates significantly and Pelosi and Reid start talking about granting Obama "emergency powers" or a Chavez/Hitler style Enabling Act."

I agree, but the ability to do this is already in place thanks to Republican George W. Bush. In an Oct. 17 post Myrhaf reported:

"(The foolish George W. Bush has given statist Presidents a new tool to use in any ginned up "crisis":

On October 17, 2006, President Bush signed into law the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007. The new law allows the President to declare a “public emergency” at his own discretion, and place federal troops anywhere throughout the United States. Under this law, the President also now has the authority to federalize National Guard troops without the consent of Governors, in order to restore “public order.” The President can now deploy federal troops to U.S. cities, which eliminates the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act. In short, Bush can now declare Martial Law anytime he pleases.)" Bush is a Republican.

The fuhrer wannabes out there ought to be licking their chops.

Dismuke said...

"I just don't see Obama willing to get into a debate about the meaning of the word "is." Instead, in a back against the wall situation like that, I see him leaping up and physically attacking the questioner."

Yes. Or turn his goons on the questioner. And if he is truly against the wall and must go down, then go down with a scorched earth policy.

As for Clinton, I agree. I also think Hillary was also most likely a major power behind the throne. It was Hillary who provided him with his focus and discipline and reinforced his Machiavellian instincts and my guess is, knew how to talk him out of his self-doubts. He provided her with the personality and people skills she lacked and she provided him with the sense of purpose and focus he lacked. They both needed each other in order to make up for their shortcomings. If your analysis is correct, then what that means is that Obama basically has the combined Machiavellian strengths of both Hillary and Bill but in one single person - which does make him MUCH, MUCH more potentially dangerous.

And like Bill and Hillary, Obama seems to have an instinct to know how to surf the wave while taking advantage of his enemies' weakness and to exploit the damage and retardation that our popular culture has done to the minds of younger people. Ask yourself if a few years ago whether you would believe that a candidate with baggage such as Wright, Ayres and others and who snobbishly looks down on non-elitists could ever have gotten through the primaries let alone win the election. Obama knows how to stand quietly on the side while allowing his opponents to self-destruct and implode. That's what happened with Hillary in the primaries. And, as Rush Limbaugh has pointed out, McCain's entire CAMPAIGN was essentially a many months' long concession speech.

That is also how Bill Clinton won his first AND second election - he just played off opponents who were breathtakingly weak.

And that was also the secret to the initial success and rise of George Bush II. He knew how to provoke his opponents into going into negative mode which revealed to the electorate their nasty side. I live in Texas and watched him become governor, his first political office. The existing governor was Ann Richards, who, despite being a Democrat, was not perceived as being a radical and was actually well-liked. She won the office in 1990 in sort of an upset because her Republican opponent, who would have otherwise had every advantage, behaved in a rather boorish and crude manner and made some very nasty and cheap pot shots at her. In 1994, someone gave her some VERY bad advice and her campaign was NASTY and VERY negative against Bush - and, given that it was a good year for Republicans in general, that helped set the stage for what we have had over the past 8 years. Same with how he handled Algore and Kerry Who Served In Vietnam. In both cases it was their nastiness and significant weaknesses that did them in.

That seems to be a trend in American politics. The last time I can recall a successful presidential campaign based primarily on the candidate's strengths as opposed to his opponents' weaknesses was Reagan's reelection in 1984.

And one more point about Bill and Hillary that occurred to me. I think Hillary's failed campaign this year in some respects suggests that Bill might have brought more to the presidency than I had previously imagined. There is no doubt that Hillary was the "brains" behind the outfit. I had always assumed that she pretty much ran the whole show and he was just the front man and window dressing. But it became painfully obvious during her primary campaign that the woman has VERY POOR management skills and eventually had to turn to Bill. So my guess is that was something he brought to the table as well. Successful management skills rely in great part on knowledge about how to successfully deal with people - something that Hillary is NOT good at.

Dismuke said...

"On October 17, 2006, President Bush signed into law the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007. The new law allows the President to declare a “public emergency” at his own discretion, and place federal troops anywhere throughout the United States."

Yes. It is absolutely frightening.

At present, I don't think that troops in the United States military or National Guard would obey orders to go into people's home towns and enforce an Obama/Ayres/Soros style dictatorship. My guess is most people in the military DESPISE Obama the way they DESPISED the traitorous Kerry Who Served In Vietnam and Clinton - and for good reason. One thing to watch out for is for an Obama Administration to radically reconstruct the military on political lines or, more likely, to use his "community service" initiatives to create some sort of parallel domestic military/gang of thugs loyal to the Left.

As for Republicans such as Bush and McCain - observe that the one thing that they actually do well is LOSE and act GRACIOUS when they lose. I guess that is how they feel morally virtuous - they lose to the Left and are very gracious and kind and helpful to those who just ground them into the dust. I guess it, in their mind, helps make up for being so selfish as wanting to win in the first place and the evil of campaigning for capitalism, however compromised and watered down.

Grant said...

"Same with how he handled Algore and Kerry Who Served In Vietnam."

That is absolutely beautiful Dismuke! My sides will never forgive you.

Bill Brown said...

The part about martial law was repealed by a subsequent act in January 2008. That's great news.

madmax said...

"I guess that is how they feel morally virtuous - they lose to the Left and are very gracious and kind and helpful to those who just ground them into the dust."

This has been suggested on HBL and it is an excellent point. Republicans are Christians and they take Christ's suffering and sacrifice themes seriously. In that way I think that sacrifice is more real for them whereas its a Machiavellian tool for the Left. Personally, watching McCain's concession speech made me want to puke. It was Christianity in practice.

Dismuke said...

I think you are right, madmax. In some respects, contrary to popular misconceptions, it is the Left that is "selfish" in the stereotypical meaning of the word in that they are arrogant, condescending hedonists who think that the world revolves entirely around themselves and are willing to create and walk over whatever number of corpses are necessary in pursuit of their all-supreme whims.

When the Left preaches "sacrifice" the sermon is entirely for the consumption of the corpses they intend to walk over so that they are spared the extra bother of having to make them corpses. When altruists on the Right talk about sacrifice, they take what they say SERIOUSLY and lead by example and willingly lay down so that they can be walked on. (I say "altruists on the Right" as there IS a minority on the Right that does NOT deserve to be lumped in with the altruists - but that is not the case with the Left as a non-altruistic Leftist is a contradiction in terms)

Thus we are offered some pretty crappy alternatives: either we can seek to become part of the Leftist elite and hope that we get to walk over the corpses ourselves, we can get walked over by the Left and thus become unwilling corpses or we can feel GUILTY over the fact that we do not wish to become corpses and lay down and become one in order to demonstrate that we really ARE virtuous and are not motivated by selfish objectives.

Of course the only REAL alternative is to FIGHT BACK. The question is: how. We are outnumbered - and our enemies have GUNS and are increasingly willing to USE them.

This is a very interesting time for the more politically oriented ARC arm of the Ayn Rand Institute to come into being. I think a lot of Objectivists are going to be in for a bit of a rude awakening in terms of our default strategy for saving America and the civilized world along with it. The strategy has always properly been long-term and aimed at the young through essay contests with the expectation that some will go on to graduate level ARI programs and eventually move into academia, education, media, etc where they can be in a position to eventually influence the culture. All of that, of course, assumes that there will be enough political FREEDOM to make the case for reason and egoism through PERSUASION and EDUCATION.

We may end up very soon having to shift our focus from long-term efforts in order to make a last stand defense of the very freedom of speech needed to make our case and the right to private property that will be necessary if an organization such as ARI can ever hope to be funded. It may very well be that the ARC might have to step in and help provide the very elementary (elementary to us, at least)intellectual ammunition necessary for what better Republicans might still exist and businessmen and members of the general public who do not wish to perish to develop the spine and strategy necessary in order to save themselves.

The Left may very well recognize that long-term trends with the economy are going to eventually work against them and decide to gamble everything on a huge up front power grab in the hope that the opposition will be too blind-sighted and disorganized to do anything to stop it. If that happens, then SOMEBODY will have to step into the present leadership vacuum VERY quickly in order to fight back.

Who better to provide that leadership than Objectivists to do that, at least from an intellectual standpoint? The problem is that most of us are NOT especially well suited from a strategic standpoint as we are, by choice, outside of the political mainstream and thus have little experience or taste for practical political action. And, of course, we are vastly outnumbered. It might mean that we have to work with in the short term people we do not especially like and who do not especially like us in the same way that we would if we had to fight back the army of a foreign invader.

The closest thing I have ever done to something like that was back in 1994 when the nationwide bus tour designed to promote HillaryHealthCare came to the area. Thanks to talk radio, everywhere that bus tour appeared, the protesters vastly outnumbered the supporters. In one place, they tried to drown out the protesters by turning on water fountains - which was met with a chorus crying out "Whitewater! Whitewater!" in honor of the Clinton era scandal of that name. When the tour came to my area, they made a last minute change of location and kept it secret to all but the supporters and trusted members of the Walter Duranty media whose job it was to report the event in a way to make it look like the country was clamoring for HillaryHealthCare. But the changed location leaked out and within minutes local talk show hosts were announcing the location and some local free market group called Citizens For A Sound Economy that I had never heard of but which had been put in touch with by Americans For Free Choice In Medicine called me and told me where it was at. There were LOTS of Right wingers and Libertarian types with whom I have MAJOR philosophical disagreements with over a number of issues - but there were enough of us that we vastly outnumbered the supports to such a degree that the Walter Duranty media had no choice but to report that fact. I was even interviewed by CBS News - though my interview ended up on the cutting room floor. It was a good example of the sort of ad-hoc political action that Ayn Rand wrote about in one of her articles.

That bus tour was what spelled the end of HillaryHealthCare. Despite a Democratically controlled House, Senate and a Democratic president, the bill was never even allowed to come up for a vote because, thanks to what happened on that bus tour, they realized it was political poison. Later that year, the Republicans took control of the House and Senate for the first time in over 40 years.

I have a feeling that we may very well end up having to participate in something similar and on a much bigger scale - or else, a good number of us might very well find ourselves in a gulag before our natural lifetimes are up. If you doubt me, consider that there are people who are ALREADY being attacked, assaulted and harassed for wearing McCain-Palin campaign materials. If the Left becomes that violent over pathetic apologetic and appeasing wimps such as Bush and McCain, imagine how they will react if Objectivism ever comes on to their radar and they are able to maintain the almost absolute political power it looks like they are about to assume. So I am sure hoping that the ARC is successful and that the situation with the economy does not force it to significantly scale back its efforts. It may very well be that that aspect of ARI's efforts will end up being needed to save all of its other efforts and perhaps even the organization itself and possibly even our lives. We are dealing with Stalinists with guns - so we ought to be VERY alert and VERY cautious.

Grant said...

dismuke,

Would David Kelley qualify as one of those people whom "... we have to work with in the short term..."? One of those "...people we do not especially like and who do not especially like us..."?

Dismuke said...

"Would David Kelley qualify as one of those people whom "... we have to work with in the short term..."? One of those "...people we do not especially like and who do not especially like us..."?


Well, despite the fact that I have a VERY low opinion of David Kelley, if the Left came after him and attempted to silence him through censorship/force, then I would most definitely come to his defense. Same too if it were Pat Robinson or Dr. James Dobson being silenced. And if Obama tried to censor me or other Objectivists or had me thrown in a gulag, I would certainly welcome any outcry and assistance that any of those people might be able to provide.

So, yes, given a dire enough context, I would work with him and even people I consider to be worse than him to take emergency steps to beat back an imminent attack by a common enemy. In such an instance, there WOULD, presumably, be an actual common ground: all people concerned would be in agreement that some SPECIFIC governmental action must be STOPPED in its tracks within an VERY short period of time - something such as a Hitler/Chavez style Enabling Act, or a declaration of martial law, or a suspension of the Constitution, etc. And that governmental action would need to be stopped by means of very immediate and delimited NON PHILOSOPHICAL measures such as a mass protest, a work stoppage or by spreading word of what is taking place.

My differences with David Kelley are PHILOSOPHICAL and because those difference are rather profound and because of the nature of those differences, I would never align myself with him in a PHILOSOPHICAL context. But my ability and his ability to even HAVE those philosophical disagreements rests on both of us being able to argue our case without fear of being arrested or worse. If someone tries to silence either of us at the point gun - well, then we BOTH have a common enemy and it is in the self-interest of BOTH of us that the other's rights be preserved and defended.

So, yes, there are contexts within which I would work with even David Kelley. If David Kelley happened to live in the same neighborhood that I did, I would have no problem at all cooperating with him in terms of one of us working the neighborhood crime watch. Nor would I have a problem working side by side with him fending off a hostile military invasion. Nor would I have a problem working in conjunction with him to foil a terrorist attack. In all three instances, we would have a legitimate common enemy and in all three instances, I would have a selfish interest in taking whatever concrete steps I can in order to help him defend himself from that enemy. In such a context, our particular philosophical differences would be IRRELEVANT.

And if we ever get to the point that Obama/The Left attempts to impose censorship or an Enabling Act, then it will be necessary for EVERYBODY who is going to be squashed under its boot to immediately rise up in overwhelming numbers to protest and stop it. It matters not if their ranks include Kelleyites, Libertarians, Republicans, Mormons, Scientologists or Flat Earthers. It is profoundly in our self-interest that such people have the freedom to express and practice their views no matter HOW bizarre and dishonest they may be because only then will WE have the freedom that we will need to make our case and defeat them PHILOSOPHICALLY.

So, yes, if Obama imposes censorship or pushes an Enabling Act through a Pelosi-Reid controlled Congress appointing him Dictator, then I would more than welcome David Kelley to stand up next to me in a protest march or in a general nationwide work stoppage in order to beat back the threat. And once the immediate threat is over and has been beaten back, I will politely thank him for his help and happily go back to wanting to have nothing to do with him.

In a way, it is no different than supporting the government of Israel. That government is a theocracy and, all things being equal, should be condemned accordingly. But reality puts us in a dramatically different context: in contrast with its enemies in the region, all of whom are theocracies of the most barbaric sort, Israel, by contrast, is civilized, Western and, yes, SECULAR despite the elements of theocracy in its government. It would be absurd for us to not have an alliance with Israel on grounds that it is a theocracy. In the context of the world situation, it is not the irrational elements in the Israeli government who are our enemies, it is the barbaric Dark Age mystics who seek to obliterate Israel and ourselves as well. Likewise, in a battle to beat back a piece of legislation imposing censorship or a dictatorship, David Kelley isn't the enemy - it is the people who are about to impose the legislation. And being on the same side as him in that context is no more of a sanction of his perversion of Objectivism than our support for Israel is a sanction of theocracy.

Jim May said...

Obama will not impose an Enabling Act. The religious rightist elected some years down the road, in reaction to the depression and chaos his policies help to bring about, on the other hand, very well might.

For the duration of the emergency, you know.