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Monday, July 02, 2012

Lies We Can Believe In

Civil disobedience is the act of breaking the law and defying the authorities to do anything about it. So is tyranny. The difference between the two lies in which side of the power equation the breaker is on. When the law is broken, two things happen. Either the law is upheld or the authorities back away from a confrontation and find some way to save face.

The ObamaCare process involved breaking a long list of rules and laws and then defying the ragged remnants of the system to do anything about it. At every turn the United States was unable to stop a rogue chief executive and his ruling party from trampling the law. When the case finally reached the Supreme Court, the leading judicial body in the land sidestepped a confrontation by redefining what the action was, rather than rule on the law. It was a classic case of the authorities saving face.

Civil disobedience balances moral absolutes against legal principles. The Supreme Court exists to serve as the final bastion of the law against runaway moral absolutes. But, just as in its showdown with FDR, the Court blinked, and our court, unlike that court, didn't even at least put up a good fight for the law before backing down. Obama didn't even have to threaten to pack the court with justices. All he had to do was make it clear that he wasn't going to follow the law, which forced the law to save face by following him instead.

The American chief executive has a great deal of power and a chief executive who dons imperial robes is a danger with few precedents. There have been conflicts between the branches, but even FDR made a pretense of bowing to some outside authority. Obama never has, with the exception of the King of Saudi Arabia.

If he were to be impeached tomorrow, as some urge, he simply wouldn't leave. I don't know what he will do if he loses the election, simply because I don't think he knows what he will do-- I don't think the prospect of losing has seriously entered his mind. If he loses it will be a pitched battle between Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama on one shoulder telling him to stay and Joe Biden and whatever unfortunate soul is Chief-of-Staff at that point acting as the voices of reason telling him that it's over.

Even absolute monarchs make concessions to something outside themselves, to religion or tradition, but Obama never has. History, religion and tradition are nothing but lines that he drops into speeches in praise of himself. The American flag and the Constitution are trophies that he uses as backdrops, the same way that he uses Greek columns-- these aren't things that mean anything to him. They're decorations for the sets playing the eternal movie of him.

Obama is not a politician. Politicians learn to compromise. They learn that they can't always get their way. Obama has never learned that lesson. He always gets his way. Or he did until 2010. No one has ever told him "No" and made it stick. There is no weight of life experience that tells him what to do when this happens.

Unlike many of his predecessors, Obama was never in the military. Unlike all of them, he never held anything resembling a real job that required him to do anything but show up and make speeches. Children are natural tyrants. Take a child throwing a tantrum off the playground, give him every privilege in life, leave out any real challenges, keep telling him that he's special for 50 years and he will be an actual tyrant.  

No one ever thought that a man with the emotional maturity of a child, with no life experience and no principles, would occupy the White House, surrounded by sycophants and worshiped by a press that acts as an extension of the White House Press Office. It took an extensive breakdown among multiple institutions and the national culture for that to happen, and the inability to assert the rule of law is a further symptom of that breakdown.

No one is fooled, unless to some degree they want to be fooled. To believe a lie, you have to want to believe it, and that means that at some level, you know that it is a lie.

Obama was elected because we, Democrats and quite a few Republicans, wanted to be saved from ourselves. We wanted to be saved from our policies, our debates and our guilt. In a time of crisis, we weren't looking for a reliable experienced professional to do the job; if we had been, McCain, for all his flaws, would have won by a landslide. We were looking for someone who would lie to us and make us feel better.

The man we picked had no experience and no skills beyond his surface charm. He was irresponsible, and that was why the country chose him. His irresponsibility made our irresponsibility look good. Even his racist associations were a plus, they made voters feel better about their own prejudices. Every wrong, ugly, stupid and irresponsible thing that he did only made him more appealing to the people who voted for him.

Every now and then people like to get drunk. When things are a complete mess, that's when the temptation to open the bottle and pour it down the hatch comes. Things were a complete mess in 2008, and the country got stinking drunk. It decided to be completely irresponsible and, feeling sorry for itself, it elected someone who wouldn't have been qualified for any position in his own Cabinet.

Since then, the country has sobered up. It thinks that Obama is doing a bad job, but it doesn't know how to tell him that he was only a one-night stand. He seems like such a nice guy, and it would hurt his feelings to tell him why he was really elected. It wasn't because anyone, besides zombie liberals, thought that he knew what he was doing. It was because he seemed like a cheerful bright spot in a dour time and everyone felt sorry about slavery and segregation.

The problem is that Obama won't leave. 2010 was a sharp hint. Any halfway-competent politician would have caught it and changed direction. But Obama refuses to understand hints. He refuses to understand the unspoken message because that gives him power. The power of the rude is in their rudeness. The rudeness is a challenge to anyone with manners to match him equally or shut up and take it. Some Republicans, like Joe Wilson, have matched him rudeness for rudeness; many more, like Justice Roberts, have chosen to take it instead.

A Head of State who refuses to follow the law is engaging in rudeness squared, but Obama is doing what the left has always done. The left rejected manners and mores; it trashed the culture, threw out its morals, defied the law with acts of civil disobedience and, once in office refused to accept any limitations on its power. And most of the time it won. It stared down the society, the police and the politicians, defied their rules and took their rulemaking powers for its own.

The power of the left lies in challenging the lies that society tells itself and creating the illusion of credibility and sincerity through that challenge. It succeeds when its enemies lack faith in their own ideas, their own policies and their own values. The more abrasively it challenges norms, the more it refuses to follow any rules but its own, the more credibility it gains as a liberation movement.

Obama is the apotheosis of the left's project, a brat nurtured on self-esteem, weaned on white guilt, educated to play with words and rewarded for staged confrontations with equally staged surrenders. All these qualities have shaped him into the entitled monster that he is, squatting in the Oval Office and grinning from the covers of a hundred magazines, determined to always win the only way he knows how, by ignoring the rules of the game.

If you have ever encountered someone genuinely worthless yet successful, it was almost certainly a man or woman who refused to take "No" for an answer. That can be a useful quality in some fields, but it's also a perfect way for people with no useful skills to get what they want out of life. These are the people who don't get fired or denied promotions because it would cause too many problems, who get discounts they aren't entitled to, because they keep demanding them, who use determination and confrontation as substitutes for knowledge, ability and competence-- who become a success story purely based on their enormous sense of entitlement and complete lack of shame.

Today such a man occupies the highest office in the land and rules accordingly. What the left once practiced as civil disobedience has become tyranny. Under Obama, the country is turning lawless because its chief executive is lawless. But Obama's rise to power is a symptom of deep-rooted problems in the country. They cannot be fixed just by voting him out of office, because there are other Obamas out there.

Obama's rise to power is a mirror of the national problems that got him there. All the things wrong with him are reflected, to some extent, in the men and women who voted for him. It could not be otherwise. His lawlessness is a symptom of an existing lawlessness. His contempt for values and morals, for tradition and history, for the nation itself, is a symptom of the contempt that the left has fed over the years until it has become a poison in the national bloodstream.

To truly defeat Obama, we have to be able to defeat those negative traits as well. To understand what gave someone like him power over so many people. It is not enough to just remove him from office, because, unless we understand the corruption that made his rise possible, he, or someone like him, will rise again.





27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Obama is a maggot that rose from a swamp; squash him and another maggot will squirm up to replace him... drain the disgusting swamp of modern Leftist liberalism... take back the schools and institutions that represent the future of America and which were the source of its strength in the past..

Leah said...

Yes. Once again, Daniel, you have hit the mark correctly in defining the issues. We must take back our country for it definitely has been hijacked.
So many who voted for him do not have the ability to simply look into his eyes and see the disgust he has for his country.
I fear they will vote for him, again The other thing that I fear is "dead people" voting in places like Chicago like the last election.
What he sis not do in this set of four years, I fear he will do if elected for the next four.
He truly is a self hating Socialist. He is resentful ad jealous.
So many people that I know who are in the psychology field look at him and know that he is schizotypal and a narcissist...scary....

Anonymous said...

We are in trouble because of men like Obama and the half of the population that supports him.

We are doomed because of Roberts and men like him who acquiesce and betray the rest of us.

Ex-Dissident said...

Frightening and so true. I have said countless times to friends that the heart of the problem is not Obama but the country that elected Obama; he is a symptom. This past weekend, I went upstate with friends to enjoy a picnic at the Caramoor historic park and listen to classical music. I noticed a bumper sticker Obama2012 on one of the parked cars and felt like punching someone in the nose. Some days, I just don't want to see anymore.

At work, I am surrounded by these Obama loving, entitled degenerates. I want to describe 2 of the patients I recently saw. One is faking back pain in order to sue for money. There are enough staff surrounding her who blindly support her plight and make it very difficult for me to speak freely. Another is a product of a delusional environment who got very sick and now takes pleasure in spitting on her caretakers. Cultural sensitivity stewards constantly remind the nurses and doctors about how we must be tolerant of these eccentricities.

I can't cure them of this behavior. I just want them out of my sight.

Keliata said...

You're right. This is a poison that must be removed from our country.

You hit the nail on the head in you're anylsis on Obama. His adminstration is like an eight-year long episode of TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras.

Parents use their small children as show dogs for their hobby of...treating kids like show dogs and, as one little five-year old Birdgett recently said, "My mom is so jealous to me! Because she just wants to be on stage! Ouch!"

Far too many liberals want to be on stage but obviously can't so Obama is their little toddler in a tiara.

Keliata said...

Future toddler in tiara to make it to the White House? I can't believe the stuff this 4-year old is allowed to get away with just to support her mom's hobby:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3wXyyE4_m0

Pessimist said...

Good point regarding the two sides of civil disobedience. I hadn't made that connection before.

And of course you're right about Obama (or Roberts, for that matter) being reflections of our current society.

Many on the right wonder how we get out of this mess. But frankly, I don't think you can get there from here.

When the left took over academia, whether by design or natural selection, they set in motion a patient, organized, all encompassing attack on American culture that has gone largely unchallenged and unanswered.

If you want a good indicator of how much the mass consciousness has shifted, look at the lack of any serious support for American values even on the right: no full throated defense of free markets, capitalsim, or liberty there.

Instead, just concessions, tweaks - tacit admissions, all.

Anonymous said...

Bill in KS:
This is as great a column as any I've ever read. DG is absolutely right -- retiring Obama is going to take an emphatic mandate vote. I also like (in Liberal Fascism)how Jonah Goldberg draws parallels with JFK as another example of 'the cult of personality tradition' of liberalism. You aren't supposed to question our Great Leader!!

joan said...

I agree with Ex-Dissident. Obama is a symptom of a much deeper problem in our country; we have to face the entrenched leftism in our political and cultural institutions that has corrupted our society.

Ar'nun said...

It's easy to say that Obama is the problem, but the real problem are those morons that voted for him and continue to support him and/or the ideas he concocts. Look at the recent pols about Obamacare, there are a lot of morons that would willingly give their freedoms for freebies. there is no work ethic left. People would rather collect 99 weeks of unemployment than workat a fast food resteraunt. People would rather get free insurance rather than work a second part-time job. People would rather own two cars, a big McMansion in the burbs and complain about the "Liberal Schools" than take the responsibilty of Home Schooling. Obama is just the tip of the iceberg. Liberals far worse are on there way to DC. I fear this election may be the last.

Ar'nun said...

And the people supporting him are not just Liberals. There are not that many actual Liberals out there. This is why a RINO is the Republican nominee this year and in 2008 as well. This is whya RINO is the Speaker of the House. This is why a RINO is the Senate Majority leader. This mentality has in fact over taken our society.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

...that is actually the point of the latter half of this essay

That Obama's rise is a symptom of a deeper problem and getting him out alone won't fix that

thank you leah, ex-dissident, pessimist, Bill and KA

civil westman said...

A laser illumination of the fundamental problem once again, Daniel. Perhaps the seed of self-destruction is in the DNA of traditional Western liberalism, as Bork suggests. Or, perhaps human beings lose all sense of meaning and character when relieved of the struggle for material subsistence; they seem to blindly substitute raw power over others for the other basic survival instincts after they have enough to eat, drink and make merriment.

It is no longer a question of small adjustments, 'pivots', or increments. Relentless repetitions of these moves to the left have got us to this state of tyranny. If you still doubt this is a tyranny, you will be persuaded when you seek care for a serious medical condition after the ACA is fully implemented, especially if you are old and learn you have become disposable.

The required lesson can only be learned by a nation of 51%+ entitled victims when insufficient wealth is being created (we have been there for several years) AND we can no longer borrow more (we are on the cusp of that). Then, reality will become undeniable in the form of inflation or sovereign default. There are simply no alternatives.

When the dependent children who worship the adolescent-in-chief are deprived of their fixes and bribes via economic collapse, expect a massive tantrum. As with addicts in withdrawal, anything goes. The only question is which tantrum will be more destructive - the 'leader's' or the masses.

Then, maybe, we can start over having relearned what our predecessors so well understood about human nature.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

all cultures carry within them the seed of their own destruction and a culture is often destroyed by the very thing that once made it successful taken to the extreme

Anonymous said...

"The American chief executive has a great deal of power"

He only has power because lots of people, especially in uniform and carrying weapons, will unquestioningly obey him.

Anonymous said...

"Civil disobedience balances moral absolutes against legal principles."

I've had to think about that. I think I understand but would value any development of the premise, if you feel inclined.

"If he were to be impeached tomorrow, as some urge, he simply wouldn't leave. I don't know what he will do if he loses the election, simply because I don't think he knows what he will do"

I've been pondering this notion for quite some time now. I'm inclined to believe that he will perpetrate a gargantuan fraud - perhaps based on racism, perhaps on GOP fraud, maybe nothing more than an act of pure defiance. It will be riveting to watch.

The dénouement may be the way these things often end: a pitched battle.

It's all good.

Churchill

You keep serving this stuff up every 48 hours and I'm dazzled. I did say I would stop blowing any more smoke up your butt, There you go - another broken promise.

Marcel said...

In every culture from the beginning of written history when the homosexual perverts lost their shame that caused them to hide in the closet and became bold and shook their fists at God ,that culture,nation,empire was soon destroyed.
Obama has been handpicked by God to president over the destruction of America, Sodom land and no little god with a voting card is going to stop what is most deservedly coming.

Anonymous said...

The decay of our society ...can it be turned back ? I have my doubts. Half this nation see's nothing wrong at all with giving up their liberties and the destruction of the constitution, they don't care that the power of the IRS to be in their personal business has increased 100 fold. I have a friend who home schooled her 10 kids..a devout Christian family. She taught them well about the Constitution, the Bible etc. One of sons now near 40 recently started going to college for a degree in art as he does beautiful art work. He's only been in college 2 years and his whole outlook has changed, so much so that during a recent discussion with him on current events he said " The Constitution ? ! The Constitution is just STUPID ! " and oh yes he likes Obama now..even kids that were raised right and had values instilled in them are weak enough to be brainwashed by the liberal machine...sad, sad, sad.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait until all these liberals lose their employee health coverage when their employers announce they are no longer offering health coverage and employees will have to go on the government exchanges..IT WILL happen..why would an employer pay$700-1200 EVERY MONTH for each employees health cover when they can pay the $2000 fine per employee...a large corporation with 50,000 employees you do the math...and how much they will save. State jobs, County jobs, Universities...small business.. retirees who have employer paid health as part of their pensions-they will all be dropped and thrown into the government exchanges -these entities are already strapped for cash and it will save them millions..

Anonymous said...

Thank you Daniel for the analysis of the supreme courts roll over and play dead trick. I was discussing the decision with a friend of mine and we both agreed that it looked like a case of "the fix is in." The arguments before the court were theatre for the masses. As far as the man in the white house leaving if not re-elected, I suspect that will depend upon how the military will react to the "commander in chief." Marcos was unable to get his generals (actually his cronie appointees) to fire on the protesting civilians (the front line soldiers refused to kill friends and family). He was then invited to leave. What will our military do? Also, about McCain, I am one of those who voted for a third party candidate as it appeared to us that McCain was going to roll over and give a liberal democrat congress everything they wanted, including amnesty, wide open borders, and Ted Kennedy ad nauseam. The problem as I see it, we now have a country run by oligarchs, for oligarchs, all at the expense of the people. Roberts knew who signs his paycheck.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the most comprehensive analysis of this disastrous miscreant's reign.
It appears to be emblematic of the Frankfurt School approach - destroy the family, religion and its moral teachings, reduce all endeavour to self-gratification and encourage more of it. Destroy the country's history and thus its culture and traditions. Indoctrinate the children through 'education' that tells them what to think instead of how to. Bribe the parents with unearned and un-needed entitlements. Communist nihilism. And to think, we thought we'd won the Cold War. The West is infected and we have more than an inkling of the antidote, but not of who will administer it - yet. America's only hope is the people with memory. Are there enough of them to demonstrate that the moronic left mis-timed its coup?
But really, there's nothing anyone can add to your essay. It's simply brilliant. Thank you. Yet again.

fsy said...


even kids that were raised right and had values instilled in them are weak enough to be brainwashed by the liberal machine


That story is about the scariest thing I've read here, and there's some very scary stuff here.

pst314 said...

"His contempt for values and morals, for tradition and history, for the nation itself, is a symptom of the contempt that the left has fed over the years..."

I know a follower of Ayn Rand who voted for Obama because he loathes and despises religion (and especially all Christianity) with an abiding hatred. He told me that he would not vote for a believing Christian like Sarah Palin. I tried to show that Palin was not his enemy, and that Obama was a radical leftist, but he wasn't interested.

Thomas said...

"It wasn't because anyone, besides zombie liberals, thought that he knew what he was doing. It was because he seemed like a cheerful bright spot in a dour time and everyone felt sorry about slavery and segregation."

We all know Obama was elected because he’s black. Moreover, we further know the election of this derelict is a symptom of a much greater problem. I believe the problem is our country is being ruined by a steady tidal wave of third world, non-European immigrants, courtesy of the 1965 Hart-Cellar Act. I am convinced the treasonous Ted Kennedy had this in mind when he stood on the floor of Congress in support of this poisonous legislation, circa 1965.

You destroy a county by destroying its culture and what better way to do that than to invite millions of third-world "immigrants" into our homeland; that care nothing for our heritage and founding stock.

In fact, a great many of them despise White America, willingly supporting a brown thug like Obama and the racial rhetoric he spews forth.

So now the chickens are coming home to roost as a result of the Hart-Cellar disaster, and nobody will ever do anything to reverse it, because that would be “racist.” We cannot even enforce our laws against illegal invaders, much less repeal legislation that is killing this country. It’s just a matter of time until the brown masses overtake our once great country and nothing will be done about it.

DAN III said...

The POS is illegal in every sense of the word.

Hemp or lead.....

DAN III

SamenoKami said...

I'm saving a few vacation days for Wed-Fri. after the election. IF Obama loses I don't think it will be pretty.
Excellent piece.

Daniel K Day said...

"The power of the left lies in challenging the lies that society tells itself and creating the illusion of credibility and sincerity through that challenge"
Yes. In other words, this is why the charge of hypocrisy is one of the Left's favorite accusations.

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