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Roger’s Rules

Ripley’s Believe It or Not

August 17th, 2012 - 6:04 am

The well known author Dinesh D’Souza published  an extraordinary piece yesterday. It tells the story of his encounter with a fellow called George, the youngest of eight children, who lives in a shanty in the Huruma slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Dinesh met George last February while working on a documentary. Then, just a few days ago, he received a sad call from George, who told him that his son was in the hospital with a chest condition.  He pleaded with Dinesh to send him $1000 to pay the medical bills. Dinesh spoke to the nurse to confirm the story and then agreed to wire the money.

Before I hung up I asked George, “Why are you coming to me?”  He said, “I have no one else to ask.”  Then he said something that astounded me, “Dinesh, you are like a brother to me.”

Good for Dinesh.  But the story doesn’t end there.

George has a real life brother who just happens to be the president of the United States. . . . George’s brother is a multimillionaire and the most powerful man in the world.. . . One  of Obama’s favorite phrases comes right out of the Bible: “We are our brother’s keeper.”  Yet he has not contributed a penny to help his own brother.

Gosh. And it’s not as if Obama has singled out George for neglect. As Dinesh points out,

 Obama also has an aunt named Hawa Auma, his father’s sister, who ekes out a living selling coal on the streets of a small village in Kenya.  She says she would like to have her teeth fixed, but she cannot afford it.  Obama hasn’t offered to help her either.

You can read the whole of Dinesh’s column here. I’ve long known that abstract benevolence, a specialty of liberals, was eerily compatible with practical indifference or even cruelty. (I go into some of the reasons for this in “What’s Wrong with Benevolence” in my new book The Fortunes of Permanence.) But this spectacle of callous familial neglect by, as Dinesh rightly describes him, the most powerful man in the world is something special. Forget politics. This is about simple humanity. I have to assume that Dinesh’s facts are true. No one would dare fabricate such a story. But what does it mean?  For once I am speechless.

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