“Obama’s New Scapegoat: It’s Germany’s Fault!”, Liz Peek writes at the Fiscal Times. Given Obama’s mounting woes, the man needs to find a whole new nation of Emmanuel Goldsteins to scapegoat. So why not the country that brought the world first Progressivism, and then National Socialism, and then equally fanatical radical environmentalism?
Obama is going global with his war on success. Not content with blaming domestic bogeymen — the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, millionaires and billionaires, George Bush, “bad apple insurers,” the Chamber of Commerce, oil producers etal– for his administration’s inability to supply jobs, he has now ventured overseas. Achtung- it’s Germany’s fault! The buck, it turns out, stops everywhere but here.
In its semi-annual currency report, Obama’s Treasury department skewered Germany for pumping up exports, claiming that its large current account surplus weighed on the global recovery. It is such a nonsensical charge, given Germany’s relatively robust gains in consumer spending (compared to its neighbors) and the pivotal role played by that country in the EU’s survival, that it was immediately dismissed by German authorities, and rightly so.
As Peek notes, the Obama administration’s attempt to scapegoat Germany could well be an attempt to push back against Germany’s charges that the NSA was spying on Angela Merkel:
The attack on Germany’s economic policies comes at a time when missteps by the White House have soured our relations with many traditional allies. Obama’s embarrassing tap dance on Syria infuriated France and England, his overtures to Iran have created a serious breach with Saudi Arabia and Israel and numerous countries are smarting over reports of NSA intrusions.
A Gallup survey earlier this year (before the latest goofs) shows just 41 percent of the those polled in 130 countries approve of U.S. leadership, only a few points higher than at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency and down from 49 percent in Mr. Obama’s first year in office. Remember how President Obama was going to rebuild our international reputation?
Ah, good times, good times — why shouldn’t German socialists feel like they were played for chumps in 2008 as badly as American socialists? Especially since, as the Washington Examiner noted in July, Germany invented the forerunner to Mr. Obama’s namesake socialized medicine initiative?
Simply put, the digitization of social interaction, economic transaction, the political process and everything in between is decentralizing the world, moving it in the opposite direction of the massive centralization of Obamacare. But nobody needs a federal bureaucrat to tell him what health insurance to buy when anybody with an Internet connection can simultaneously solicit bids from dozens of competing providers, pay the winner via electronic fund transfer, manage the claims process with a laptop, consult with physicians and other medical specialists via email, and even be operated on remotely by surgeons on the other side of the globe. Rather than imposing a top-down, command-economy, welfare-state health care model with roots in Otto von Bismarck‘s Germany of 1881, a 21st century government would ask what is needed to apply to health care access the Internet’s boundless capacity to empower individual choice.
Of course, as we now know, the Internet isn’t exactly a technology this administration has mastered. Perhaps they need some additional education on the topic — and speaking of which, as Jonah Goldberg noted in Liberal Fascism, German education was the well from which many of the original early 20th century American “Progressives” drank deeply:
[N]o nation influenced American thinking more profoundly than Germany. W. E. B. DuBois, Charles Beard, Walter Weyl, Richard Ely, Nicholas Murray Butler, and countless other founders of modern American liberalism were among the nine thousand Americans who studied in German universities during the nineteenth century. When the American Economic Association was formed, five of the six first officers had studied in Germany. At least twenty of its first twenty-six presidents had as well. In 1906 a professor at Yale polled the top 116 economists and social scientists in America; more than half had studied in Germany for at least a year. By their own testimony, these intellectuals felt “liberated” by the experience of studying in an intellectual environment predicated on the assumption that experts could mold society like clay.
No European statesman loomed larger in the minds and hearts of American progressives than Otto von Bismarck. As inconvenient as it may be for those who have been taught “the continuity between Bismarck and Hitler,” writes Eric Goldman, Bismarck’s Germany was “a catalytic of American progressive thought.” Bismarck’s “top-down socialism,” which delivered the eight-hour workday, health care, social insurance, and the like, was the gold standard for enlightened social policy. “Give the working-man the right to work as long as he is healthy; assure him care when he is sick; assure him maintenance when he is old,” he famously told the Reichstag in 1862. Bismarck was the original “Third Way” figure who triangulated between both ends of the ideological spectrum. “A government must not waver once it has chosen its course. It must not look to the left or right but go forward,” he proclaimed. Teddy Roosevelt’s 1912 national Progressive Party platform conspicuously borrowed from the Prussian model. Twenty-five years earlier, the political scientist Woodrow Wilson wrote that Bismarck’s welfare state was an “admirable system…the most studied and most nearly perfected” in the world.
The ultimate result of which, Allan Bloom noted in the Closing of the American Mind, was a fundamental transformation — to coin a phrase — of America:
This popularization of German philosophy in the United States is of peculiar interest to me because I have watched it occur during my own intellectual lifetime, and I feel a little like someone who knew Napoleon when he was six. I have seen value relativism and its concomitants grow greater in the land than anyone imagined. Who in 1920 would have believed that Max Weber’s technical sociological terminology would someday be the everyday language of the United States, the land of the Philistines, itself in the meantime become the most powerful nation in the world? The self-understanding of hippies, yippies, yuppies, panthers, prelates and presidents has unconsciously been formed by German thought of a half-century earlier; Herbert Marcuse’s accent has been turned into a Middle Western twang; the echt Deutsch label has been replaced by a Made in America label; and the new American life-style has become a Disneyland version of the Weimar Republic for the whole family.
Now playing on MTV as well, as Bill Whittle noted in a memorable edition of his Afterburner video series, back in August.
Oh, and one last item regarding Germany, since I was looking for a place to post a link to this, Orrin Judd of the Brothers Judd blog asks, “Does Anybody Edit the AP?”
Officials at the space center described it as a “textbook launch.” If the mission is successful, India will become only the fourth nation to visit the red planet after the Soviet Union, the United States and Europe.
Exit Question: The abandonment of Iraq — and next year, Afghanistan. The meltdown of American-friendly kleptocracies during the ironically-named “Arab Spring.” The return of the Churchill Bust. Obama calling British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne “Jeffrey.” Putin’s victory lap after Syria. Germany’s anger. Are there any nations in the world that Mr. Obama has improved our relationship with?