Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fruits of an Obama re-election: "Dodos," "The Chicago Way," "The Chinese Model" and civil war.

The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. It stood about a meter (3.3 feet) tall, weighing about 20 kilograms (44 lb). The dodo lost the power of flight because food was abundant and predators were absent on Mauritius. It was related to pigeons and doves, and its closest relative was the Rodrigues Solitaire, which is also extinct.
The dodo was first mentioned by Dutch sailors in 1598. By 1681, all dodos had been killed by hungry sailors or their domesticated animals. This was not realized at the time, since the dodo barely left any traces after its extinction, and was later believed to have simply been a mythological creature until the 19th century, when research was conducted on some of the few surviving remains of specimens that had been taken to Europe in the 17th century. . . The dodo was made well-known to the public due to a notable role in Alice In Wonderland, and it has since become a fixture in popular culture. Its name has subsequently become associated with the notion of extinction and obsolescence. -- Wikipedia.
Best modern reconstruction of what a dodo bird looked like.
Fred Siegel and Joel Kotkin write in City Journal about "The New Authoritarianism: A firm hand for a 'nation of dodos'" The title refers to this comment from Time magazine columnist Joe Klein, who cried out in frustration when the American people didn't seem to appreciate what was being done for them, or to them, with the stimulus package:
It is very difficult to have a democracy without citizens. It is impossible to be a citizen if you don’t make an effort to understand the most basic activities of your government. It is very difficult to thrive in an increasingly competitive world if you’re a nation of dodos.
So, Siegel and Kotkin write, if people won't do what their betters want, the "new clerisy" of collectivist Mandarins will force them to.
Much of the administration’s approach has to do with a change in the nature of liberal politics. Today’s progressives cannot be viewed primarily as pragmatic Truman- or Clinton-style majoritarians. Rather, they resemble the medieval clerical class. Their goal is governmental control over everything from what sort of climate science is permissible to how we choose to live our lives. Many of today’s progressives can be as dogmatic in their beliefs as the most strident evangelical minister or mullah. Like Al Gore declaring the debate over climate change closed, despite the Climategate e-mails and widespread skepticism, the clerisy takes its beliefs as based on absolute truth. Critics lie beyond the pale.
The problem for the clerisy lies in political reality. The country’s largely suburban and increasingly Southern electorate does not see big government as its friend or wise liberal mandarins as the source of its salvation. This sets up a potential political crisis between those who know what’s good and a presumptively ignorant majority. Obama is burdened, says Joe Klein of Time, by governing a “nation of dodos” that is “too dumb to thrive,” as the title of his story puts it, without the guidance of our president. But if the people are too deluded to cooperate, elements in the progressive tradition have a solution: European-style governance by a largely unelected bureaucratic class. . .
After the 2010 thrashing, progressives seemed uninterested in moderating their agenda. Left-wing standard bearers Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation and Robert Borosage of the Institute for Policy Studies went so far as to argue that Obama should bypass Congress whenever necessary and govern using his executive authority over the government’s regulatory agencies. This autocratic agenda of enhanced executive authority has strong support with people close to White House, such as John Podesta of the Center for American Progress, a left-liberal think tank. “The U.S. Constitution and the laws of our nation grant the president significant authority to make and implement policy,” Podesta has written. “These authorities can be used to ensure positive progress on many of the key issues facing the country.”
Podesta has proposed what amounts to a national, more ideological variant of what in Obama’s home state is known as “The Chicago Way.” Under that system, John Kass of the Chicago Tribune explains, “citizens, even Republicans, are expected to take what big government gives them. If the political boss suggests that you purchase some expensive wrought-iron fence to decorate your corporate headquarters, and the guy selling insurance to the wrought-iron boys is the boss’ little brother, you write the check.” But the American clerisy isn’t merely a bunch of corrupt politicians and bureaucratic lifers, and the United States isn’t one-party Chicago. The clerisy are more like an ideological vanguard, one based largely in academe and the media as well as part of the high-tech community.
Their authoritarian progressivism — at odds with the democratic, pluralistic traditions within liberalism — tends to evoke science, however contested, to justify its authority. The progressives themselves are, in Daniel Bell’s telling phrase, “the priests of the machine.” Their views are fairly uniform and can be seen in “progressive legal theory,” which displaces the seeming plain meaning of the Constitution with constructions derived from the perceived needs of a changing political environment. Belief in affirmative action, environmental justice, health-care reform, and redistribution from the middle class to the poor all find foundation there. More important still is a radical environmental agenda fervently committed to the idea that climate change has a human origin—a kind of secular notion of original sin. But these ideas are not widely shared by most people.
"Not widely shared by most people." That's one way of putting it. But even though unpopular with a majority of people, Obama may still be reelected, with results that the authors are frankly frightened of. As well they should be, even if they don't take their fears to the logical conclusion.
Despite the president’s clear political weaknesses—his job-approval ratings remain below 50 percent - he retains a reasonable shot at reelection. In the coming months, he will likely avoid pushing too hard on such things as overregulating business, particularly on the environmental front, which would undermine the nascent recovery and stir too much opposition from corporate donors. American voters may also be less than enthusiastic about the Republican alternatives topping the ticket. And one should never underestimate the power of even a less-than-popular president. Obama can count on a strong chorus of support from the media and many of the top high-tech firms, which have enjoyed lavish subsidies and government loans for “green” projects.
If Obama does win, 2013 could possibly bring something approaching a constitutional crisis. With the House and perhaps the Senate in Republican hands, Obama’s clerisy may be tempted to use the full range of executive power. The logic for running the country from the executive has been laid out already. Republican control of just the House, argues Chicago congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., has made America ungovernable. Obama, he said during the fight over the debt limit, needed to bypass the Constitution because, as in 1861, the South (in this case, the Southern Republicans) was “in a state of rebellion” against lawful authority. Beverley Perdue, the Democratic governor of North Carolina, concurred: she wanted to have elections suspended for a stretch. (Perdue’s office later insisted this was a joke, but most jokes aren’t told deadpan or punctuated with “I really hope someone can agree with me on that.” Also: Nobody laughed.)
The Left’s growing support for a soft authoritarianism is reminiscent of the 1930s, when many on both right and left looked favorably at either Stalin’s Soviet experiment or its fascist and National Socialist rivals. Tom Friedman of the New York Times recently praised Chinese-style authoritarianism for advancing the green agenda. The “reasonably enlightened group” running China, he asserted, was superior to our messy democracy in such things as subsidizing green industry. Steven Rattner, the investment banker and former Obama car czar, dismisses the problems posed by China’s economic and environmental foibles and declares himself “staunchly optimistic” about the future of that country’s Communist Party dictatorship. And it’s not just the gentry liberals identifying China as their model: labor leader Andy Stern, formerly the president of the Service Employees International Union and a close ally of the White House, celebrates Chinese authoritarianism and says that our capitalistic pluralism is headed for “the trash heap of history.” The Chinese, Stern argues, get things done.
A victorious Obama administration could embrace a soft version of the Chinese model. The mechanisms of control already exist. The bureaucratic apparatus, the array of policy czars and regulatory enforcers commissioned by the executive branch, has grown dramatically under Obama. Their ability to control and prosecute people for violations relating to issues like labor and the environment—once largely the province of states and localities—can be further enhanced. In the post-election environment, the president, using agencies like the EPA, could successfully strangle whole industries—notably the burgeoning oil and natural gas sector—and drag whole regions into recession. The newly announced EPA rules on extremely small levels of mercury and other toxins, for example, will sharply raise electricity rates in much of the country, particularly in the industrial heartland; greenhouse-gas policy, including, perhaps, an administratively imposed “cap and trade,” would greatly impact entrepreneurs and new investors forced to purchase credits from existing polluters. On a host of social issues, the new progressive regime could employ the Justice Department to impose national rulings well out of sync with local sentiments. Expansions of affirmative action, gay rights, and abortion rights could become mandated from Washington even in areas, such as the South, where such views are anathema.
Not to mention gun control, and thus:
A nightmare scenario would be a constitutional crisis pitting a relentless executive power against a disgruntled, alienated opposition lacking strong, intelligent leadership. Over time, the new authoritarians would elicit even more opposition from the “dodos” who make up the majority of Americans residing in the great landmass outside the coastal strips and Chicago. The legacy of the Obama years — once so breathlessly associated with hope and reconciliation — may instead be growing pessimism and polarization.
Well, there are "dodos" and then there are dodos. Certainly a great portion of Americans these days resemble the dodo, a bird which "lost the power of flight because food was abundant and predators were absent." But I rather suspect that a lot of folks that these elitists consider to be dodos are in fact raptors best left alone. Enough, in fact, to prove that that the elitists are themselves dodos of a sort, stupid to the point of provoking a civil war that will mean their extinction.


rexxhead said...

I'm no longer sure that an Obama second term would be noticeably worse than, say, President Romney.

As I've read often on this blog, better the devil you know...

But then maybe Oleg Volk's worst fears might come true: of 'Tipping Point' (tinyurl.com/TipgPt) he said "Frank, I sure hope you haven't written a documentary."

Tango Juliet said...

Yep, that about sums it up.

Anonymous said...

I've watched them become far more calculating over time, far more guileful. It is true that they cannot keep some of their people "quiet" but most of them, have no power other than violence. They are deliberately decimating and destroying the greatest country ever existing on earth because they believe the principles which allowed it's creation, freedom, liberty and self-determination are wrong and bad.

Conversely, they believe that Marx and Marxist theory are right and proper and they mean to replace, what we have had for 250 years with that, instead. Replacing a proven system, with a proven failure, led by college professors who somehow believe that they will not eventually enjoy the same fate as Trotsky and company.

One thing is absolutely certain and that is that this, has not been done in the open light of day, allowing for all to consider what was contemplated. It was done one mind at a time, in institutions of "higher learning" and through hiring practices, as well as the passage of "little" laws which empowered "their" people. As opposed to the American people, although they will claim a mandate. They always do, They always lie to get power and then to keep it, they do that and much more.

SWIFT said...

Obama's "rule by decree" will eventually lead us all into a parallel of, "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich". That is an unthinkable reality! I pray that we are indeed a nation of raptors. The alternative is right out of Solgenitzen when we are incapable of resistance.

Mt Top Patriot said...

The Dodo is extinct.

I and my brothers and sisters in Liberty by any standards imaginable, are not.

I think klyne and all the rest are enthralled by their own place in history, I think they have delusions of grandeur. I think they think they are all that and then a lot more.

I think they have diarrhea of the mouth.

Anonymous said...

I think this is an excellent article, but let's be clear. The Founders (and us) are in many ways no bigger fans of democracy than the progressive totalitarians. They want a bigger government dedicated to egalitarianism, environmentalism, and social justice. We want a smaller government dedicated to preserving individual liberty, property rights, and the rule of law.

However, neither side wants the public to be able to vote away the form of government we are championing. Whether it's a progressive mandarin, or a vote by "the people", I don't want either one stealing my money for their own purposes, and I consider either government illegitimate if they try.

Anonymous said...

"Replacing a proven system, with a proven failure, led by college professors who somehow believe that they will not eventually enjoy the same fate as Trotsky and company."

No, Man! This time it's gonna be different! No really, Man! This time they have all the mistakes figured out!

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that these Marxist eggheads and their useful idiots in the MSM cannot do this by themselves. They will have to rely on legions of willing troops and police.
When the economy tanks and they cannot pay their minions, or they are paying them with worthless Weimar paper, do not expect the donut eaters and the college freshmen/weekend warriors to blin dly march into the the jaws of death.
Keep prepping. Scout out your A/O. Prepare your tribe. And, be ready to put on your gameface.

Bob57 said...

If the events in the run-up to presidential election are not a clarion call to arms, nothing is. After Obama is re-elected, it will be to late to prepare for the imposition of totalitarianism. As I've previously predicted, this president will promise free goodies to everyone in order to win. The 47% of the population already being net receivers of money from the federal government constitute a huge permanent Obama voter base. That's only 3% away from a win. As a nation, we have become so conditioned to getting things from the government, that otherwise conservative friends have had their heads turned by promises of things such as student loan forgiveness. Just the ones who fall to the siren song of 'free stuff' will be well more than the requisite 3%.

I am not concerned by the lack of a quality Republican candidate because that unfortunate shmo will be cannon fodder for the Obama re-election steam roller.

If this president fails to win re-election, I'll cut a check to Mike for $50. If not, I'll need the money for ammo.

AJ said...

@Bob57---If anybody other than Ron Paul wins this election, we had all better stock up on ammo.