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Works and Days

Nemesis, After All

July 7th, 2013 - 10:52 pm

A Plodding Goddess

Like a broken record, for the last five years I have invoked the Greek concept of Nemesis, or divine retribution for unchecked hubris, to explain what was in store for the Obama administration.

Most readers have sighed, “OK already, but where’s the divine retribution, given this president’s overweening arrogance and the damage that he’s doing to the economy, our social fabric, and foreign policy?”

Patience — Nemesis takes her time surveying human kind before figuring out the properly ironic punishment.

She must soak in vero possumus, the fake Greek colonnade, the “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” narcissism, the cooling the planet and lowering the rising seas riffs, the tingling legs, the “perfectly creased pant,” the Obama “as god,” the smartest president ever, and the Obama who is by his own admission better at each of the crafts of his specialized staff.

Then she must consider “punish our enemies,” “fat cat bankers,” “you didn’t build that,” “bitter clingers,” “spread the wealth around,” and dozens of additional slurs and banalities. To digest all that takes even the goddess some time.

The Non-Olympian

The young, inexperienced, but haughty Obama is a stereotypical figure right out of Greek mythology. Sometimes he is poor arrogant Icarus — flying too high on his frail and melting waxen wings. Or is he arrogant young Phaethon? The latter demanded the reins of his father’s sun chariot — only to end up in flames as his out-of-control divine car scorched the earth (unfortunately we are the earth). Often Obama seems a know-it-all Oedipus who believed that he was so smart that the far older world of chance and fate had to yield to his superior reason. Or is he vain Narcissus, so taken with his image in the reflecting pool that Nemesis allowed him to stare forever transfixed at himself?

Do we remember the bloody battle over health care in 2009: the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, the war against Catholic institutions, the advice to pass the bill unconditionally to learn what was in it — all at a time of massive deficits and high unemployment, when we could ill afford such a divisive and costly boondoggle?

Obama in hubristic fashion got his wish, as he sought his own “legacy” or “signature achievement” over what was good for the country.  Obamacare became the law of the land. Its freebies of wider coverage supposedly at first came at no cost.

Obama vs. Obama

Who, after all, was against putting their 24-year-old kid back on the family health plan? Then started the insidious new taxes, then the planned diversions from Medicare to pay for new humane coverage. Now looms the awful reality of its 2014 enactment and the burdens to come on small businesses that are desperately preempting the law by converting full-time positions into part-time jobs.

Once again comes the ancient warning: beware of what you wish for. Suddenly the 2014 election looms. Democrats in mixed districts are anxious. The new Obamacare rules are slated to hit voters right before most of the Congress seeks reelection. The signature achievement of the Obama administration is ending up as the proverbial albatross around its neck. When the author of the bill, Sen. Max Baucus, dubbed his own creation “a train wreck,” the description stuck.

Then Nemesis struck. Not Republicans in the House, not right-wing judges, but Obama himself tabled much of the most important parts in the implementation of the bill. For now he has almost killed off his own offspring, not in the promised most transparent fashion in the history of the presidency, but cheaply and perhaps cowardly on a little read website at the start of a long holiday. It is as if the president can pick and choose which laws he administers and which he simply ignores, but is terribly ashamed to admit such.

Nemesis warns us on the eve of the immigration debate that if Obama will ignore the legal requirements of his own bill, then he surely will be even bolder in subverting the legislative work of others. When shortly he will again lament that he is not a king or tyrant, remember that the disclaimer usually presages his attempt to act like one. Also remember that the best warning about Obama always comes from Obama: when he sermonizes to us about cheap photo-ops, endless campaigning and fund-raising, spiking the football, going after enemies, etc., then we expect that he is shortly to do all that and more.
The Whole World Is Watching

Abroad it was more ironic still. Bashar Assad, we were reassured, was a “reformer” whom Bush had unfortunately alienated. Bush’s neocons had emboldened Israel to be obstructive, and thereby sabotaged peace in the Middle East. Leading from behind, dialogue, reset, soft power, the Nobel Peace Prize — all that and more would make the world love us.

Those abroad wanted in on the giddy American experience that Obama had ushered in. Balance of power, deterrence, alliances, notions of good and bad, and military readiness belonged to the ossified world of the past, the Risk board games that our fancy-pants elites played so  distant from the hearts and minds of foreigners on the ground. It was as if the very little our Phaethon president knew about foreign affairs, so the more he boasted about his soon-to-be successes.

Then Iran ignored five deadlines. Syria thought our red lines were pinkish. Russia dubbed reset a cruel joke, as Putin played with Obama as a spider does a fly. China was bewildered about whether their good fortune in having Obama as president had to be some sort of American preplanned trick.

Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, North Korea? The more we reached out, the more these corrupt nations thought us weak and guilty rather than formidable and proud. Turkey was no more a new nexus of American interests in the Muslim world than had been Pakistan. The best way to create a nuclear tinderbox in the Pacific was to assure Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines that we already had too many deployable nukes. The more Obama talked about the new American morality, the more our allies were puzzled that such abdication of responsibility seemed to them immoral.

So Nemesis proved even busier, as Obama’s polls dived abroad, as he expanded or embraced the very protocols he had once derided, as he saw his own reset reset by others.

Nemesis Is Also Busy Elsewhere

John Kerry in 2004 railed about the need for high taxes to prevent the rich and greedy from having too large a slice of the pie. Nemesis struck a bit then, too. We learned that the multi-billionaire, redistributionist Kerry was not much of a redistributionist himself — not when he docked his multimillion-dollar new yacht off Rhode Island to avoid paying the high sales and excise taxes on yachts that his beloved high-tax Massachusetts levied.

Now when the Arab world from Syria to Egypt is going up in flames, Kerry either is irrelevantly hectoring Israel or back on his infamous yacht, as a coup takes out the Muslim Brotherhood government in Cairo. The secretary of State serially jets to Israel, the one stable oasis that is not the problem of unrest, while at home his sailing reinforces the image of privilege, tax avoidance, and escapism.

If a right-wing critic lambasted Kerry as a hypocritical naïf about the Middle East, more interested in yachting than the dirty work of dealing with an explosive crisis in Egypt, he could level no better cheap shot than what Kerry has leveled at himself. Nemesis so often allows the hubristic to craft a divine punishment all their own. Ask liberal and green Al Gore. The former vice president somehow, in vain hopes of avoiding new higher capital gains taxes that he supports, managed to rush the sale of his failed left-wing cable channel to an anti-Semitic news agency, which is funded by a zillionaire authoritarian sheikdom that was enriched by trafficking in planet-heating fossil fuels (which he opposes). Only Nemesis could pull off those myriad hypocrisies.

That Was Then, But This Is Now

When a newly inaugurated president stays fixated on his predecessor, trashing him for endangering civil liberties, for waging a hyped-up war on terror, for bogging us down in a no-win bad war in Iraq while neglecting the good war in Afghanistan, he should beware of Nemesis. Again, if in 2009 a reactionary critic had written that Obama was an abject hypocrite who would keep Guantanamo open, expand renditions and tribunals, protect preventative detention, keep the Patriot Act intact, up the drone assassinations by a factor of ten, and lose the inherited peace in Iraq while suffering more casualties in Afghanistan in four years than Bush had in seven, he would have been considered a cheap partisan hack. All that, however, Obama did to himself, as he became the anti-Obama no opponent could.

Do we remember when Obama soared about an end to lobbyists in government, the cessation of the revolving door, or the new transparency?

Imagine if a skeptic in 2009 had rejoined: “No, your IRS will ruin its reputation by crude efforts to punish enemies and ensure you reelection. No, your State Department will lie about four American deaths to ensure that a silly fiction about a video preserves the re-election myth of al-Qaeda on the run and Libya on the mend. No, your NSA will be exposed as a vast spying octopus, as the most delicate national security secrets are revealed abroad, and by a two-bit, high-school dropout hacker who earned six figures as he outsmarted the NSA’s best and brightest. No, your own Justice Department will monitor the private communications of the Associated Press, as your attorney general lies about such surveillance in the manner that your director of national intelligence lies while under oath about the activities of the NSA.” Barack Obama, not Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, engineered all that.

Leopards and Spots

If five years ago some pundit or some politico had predicted that Chicago conmen do not change when they come to Washington, that ends-justifying-the-means radicals never become across-the-aisle moderates, surely we would have dubbed him unhinged, delusional, a racist, and a hater. Yet Obama’s own hubris accomplished all that and more — in a way that his most vehement critics could never have imagined.

So there is a Nemesis, after all.

Omnipotent and omniscient, she watches all of us to ensure that we do not fancy ourselves gods rather than mere humans who are no better and no worse than those around us.

Keep humble and avoid Nemesis.

News Update

Our annual PJ public Sierra hike is this Saturday, July 13, starting at 8:00 AM, from the Badger Flat Trailhead on the Kaiser Pass Road. We are hiking again to Twin Lakes, about 4 hours round trip of moderate hiking. All are welcome. (In the past, about 30 have participated.) More details are at my Private Papers personal Website.

Also, try having a look at Strategika, a new online military history/foreign affairs magazine that I am editing along with Bruce Thornton and David Berkey under Hoover Institution auspices. It takes a current issue of war and peace, and offers two diametrically opposed positions on it, as well as an historical background essay, commentary, and a reader poll. We are now in issue #3, in which we discuss women in the military.

Finally, I want to thank readers for comments on and support for The Savior Generals, which has now been out 8 weeks. When a historian also offers political commentary, then the latter sometimes means the former is looked upon differently. So thanks again for showing support. In the book I argue, inter alia, that Belisarius was both a military genius and a rare moralist, that William T. Sherman knew how to save Lincoln the election of 1864 and did just that, and that Matthew Ridgway is one of America’s great unsung heroes. (Click here for my recent audio interview on The Savior Generals with PJM’s Ed Driscoll.)

I am working on a new book of military history, The End of All Things. When Wars Become Armageddon, about the rare occasions in history when defeat leads to utter annihilation and the end of a civilization — and why and how these rarer tragedies come to pass.

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Top Rated Comments   
Doctor Hanson, I love your erudition, your ability to rampage through history and tie the historical to today, but in the case of President Obama we are not seeing history repeat itself and there are no moral lessons to be taken from ancient gods and goddesses. Comrade Obama is no faculty lounge intellectual suddenly thrust into the real world where his theories painfully collide with reality; that's a common enough story. He is the front man for an unholy alliance of leftists, gay activists, black activists, and Muslims put together and generally directed by George Soros. I don't know whether Ayers and his communists came to Soros or he to them. Somehow the fledgling Ayers/Obama communist political operation hooked up with the Gil Foundation and its money and alliances; there's a reason the immaculation was in Denver. Sometime, probably in early '08 the Soros connection was made and steps began to push the Clintons out of the picture. I really thought Obama was merely a foil that she could run right of and make herself look moderate but it soon became apparent that the Obama operation was for real. Soros and the collection of lefty foundations and crony capitalists that Ayers/Obama had didn't have the money or power to push the Clintons out so they solicited investors. Now it is obvious that those investors were Middle Eastern and probably organized by Iran. They spiked the price of oil and a willing media blamed it on Republicans generally and GWB specifically. The no third term for Bush meme began to resonate. Soros et al. attacked the US Treasury and the volitile deriviative-based housing market and almost overnight confiscated the net worth of a huge percentage of Americans and once again a complicit media helped them blame it on Republicans. Somebody called in a chit on the Clintons, a big chit, or they would never have sheathed their swords and even joined the adminstration of the man they both hate. For once Slick was telling the truth when he said Obama should be bringing their coffee.; that's what he really thinks of him. Somebody knows something that could destroy Slick and the Harridan. Somebody called in a chit on McCain and he essentially withdrew from the Presidential campaign; that's where the McCain/Palin controversies began; she didn't get the memo that they were supposed to lose.

Since being "elected," he as been on a much of a rampage as possible while still maintaining the illusion that the US is still a functioning republican democracy. The price the left demanded is being steadily paid with an ever larger and more powerful government. The gays are being appeased. The US has not only withdrawn from the Middle East and abandoned Israel, it was steadily helping deliver the MENA to Iran. And then first the Russians and then the Saudis had had enough. Russia wasn't going to let the US give away its client and its Mediterranean base and the Saudis weren't going to let them deliver Egypt to Iran because they knew they were next. Now we have one Helluva mess.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anyone else find it interesting that the same guy who chided Americans for,
" clinging " to religion encourages the Egyptian people to make room for religious political parties.

I guess it's all about which religion you cling to.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, Victor ... It seems that Nemesis in your book is simply irony, and that Obama should be chagrined by having had so many things go exactly opposite to his publicly-stated positions. But what if the political rhetoric was just a pose, a useful tool to gain and maintain power? Then it did what it was intended to do and the fact that it didn't mean much of anything real, doesn't matter to him (or the majority of the Democrat Party). We see the irony of the poseur caught in his pose, but for him the joke's on us, since we are being governed by his Justice Dept, his IRS, his EPA, his NSA, his Democrat Party. When something threatens to rock the boat for them politically they just change it (like the deadlines for Obamacare penalties). They then gull enough of the American voters with another round of political rhetoric to ignore the change. And so they still hold power (or the money in the case of Gore), irregardless of Nemesis ... So enough of Nemesis, bring on the Furies ...
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (112)
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This is a great article. Thanks for paying and giving attention to what's goping on in the world.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"We" of this known supposed "republic" did not elect him; it was all the people, whether educated or uneducated by the system, that did.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
All the morons saying that The Won belongs on Mount Rushmore? I say Mount Blushmore, because he is a national embarrassment. We are never going to live down the fact we elected this Chicago shyster, at least among people with an IQ over brain-dead.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
We are being judged by God as were the divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah through the mouths of the "prophets"; we are being exhorted to repent of our hedonistic, humanistic, ignorant ways and turn yet again to the Truth. From the Truth flows Grace and Wisdom. Two Foundations this country was built upon. How to convince the masses that their lacksadaisical worship of their Dieu Terrible D'enfant will end in their complete captivity and destruction?

Perhaps it is enough (and this time the right thing to do) to let this behemoth's corpulent body fall in upon itself and be its own demise...taking with it all those that did not heed the warnings of those that had been awakened. Maybe chaos would not be such a grievous state-of-affairs for those that were prepared for the calamities sure to arise.

I have to admit, for me, seeing so many chinks in the well-constructed myth of the ObamaTron has flooded me with a sense of calm and quiet resolve.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are two issues that plague me every time I read a brilliant piece like this or one by Barry Rubin on Obama and the ME:

1. There is no evidence, on the legal, practical, moral, etc., plane that this Administration is actually legitimate.
2. There are layers of evidence, increasingly visible, about the loyalties of Obama and the people around him.

In other words, all liberal commentators and about 70% of conservative ones write on the assumptions that Obama meets, and met, the qualifications of the office, and that his foreign policy is a combination of incompetence or leftist tendencies. About 30% of the conservatives here, to differing degrees, challenge both these propositions. So, by extension, the vast majority of adult, voting-age Americans remains in active denial about the nature of the Administration, its roots, and the essence of the President himself.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's called "normality bias". Studies have shown that about 70% of populations hesitate before reacting upon hearing news of large scale disasters. I guess that applies at Works and Days also.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"the Obama who is by his own admission better at each of the crafts of his specialized staff"

If we he says is true, he is a horrible administrator. Which is what the job of President is supposed to be about.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hang on, everyone. Let's talk about this from a different perspective.
Most everyone who reads VDH agrees that BHO is a calamity. Yet despite the nonstop public relations carnage of the first 6 months of his second term, a majority or near majority of Americans STILL APPROVE OF HIM.
Pretty weird, ain't it?
I think I have it partially figured out. I believe it may be some sort of 'generational schism' that has old roots, and if I'm right, then there's no solving this until some truly wrenching catastrophe happens.
Let me explain:
I'd be willing to bet that almost all of us have parents from the same generation. Our parents grew up during the Depression, WW2 and the Korean War. They shaped our worldview, which is mostly a pragmatic, no nonsense, roll up your sleeves and get the job done attitude. There's some flexibility in it, but there is a base of underlying values which can loosely be framed as "the group deserves a certain respect and even some deference, but the individual cannot be commanded or oppressed - each must be given some constraints so that we can all live together but must have enough freedom to pursue his/her dreams."
Today, the children born from parents who grew up and got married during those wrenching years of the early to mid 20th century are all over 45. As a group, we majority-voted AGAINST Obama, TWICE. So did our parents, who are well into their 70's and 80's.
However, there is a group that reached the age of 18 between, say, 1965 and 1980 (thus, they were born between 1947 and 1962.) This group is pretty notorious for having rejected what they considered to be the 'old order' established by our parents and grandparents, and became known generically as 'hippies.' Their rejection of the Old Order seemed to be particularly intense when it focused on the old social system and it's set of priorities, limitations and responsibilities that society placed on the individual. These hippies rejected any and all constraints on the individual, and had half baked ideas that they needed to destroy the old order to achieve the perfection of the individual (some echoes or Robespierre in there....)
These Flower Children, now fast approaching or just entering retirement, had kids of their own. Using a rough approximation and assuming that their parents were around 25 when they first started having kids, the descendants of the Hippie generation were born between 1972 and 1987. Today, all of them are 44 and younger.
These 'flower power kids' have grown up with attitudes inculcated from their Hippie parents, and in an educational system and cultural environment which, over time, increasingly reflected the ideas, aspirations and values of the Hippie generation. The social, cultural and educational environment seems to have continued evolving along these lines, affecting later generations of kids as well.
What I'm getting at is that the 60's were not only a turning point for American culture, but the effects don't seem to have played out yet - we're still moving down a trajectory that was set a good 45 years ago.
Sure: we had our moment in the Sun during the Reagan years. It wasn't a perfect decade, but there were an awful lot of things that made sense back then. In fact, America's GDP per capita (discounted for inflation) reached its historical high right around 1985-1987.
But our culture's leftward drift resumed right after the Reagan era.
Polls show that there was a definitive 'generational' split regarding support for Obama in the last two elections, right around the age of 45, with those older leaning increasingly against Obama and those younger increasingly for him. Thus, we have to face the fact that the younger folks simply cannot conceptualize the inherent faults of Obama's worldview, because they more or less share it.
What's most interesting about the younger folks nowadays is that they profess to love individualism above all things, yet demonstrate levels of communalism that are considered shockingly anti - individualistic by us, our parents and our grandparents.
There's really nothing any of us can do to alter this leftward trajectory our nation has been on or most of the last 50 years. The only thing that can derail it is if this Irresistible Force encounters an Immovable Object - some sort of cataclysmic event that alters the course of history.
The younger folks will become near catatonic as a group when this happens. It will be up to us to set them on the right path so we can rebuild. The Hippie generation will resist this furiously and will assuredly do everything imaginable to keep the country on a course for some sort of authoritarian socialist 'Shangri-La.' It will be a trying time.
But between now and then, there's nothing we can really do to change the course of the country. We must endure until the great event of Change arrives.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
" These 'flower power kids' have grown up with attitudes inculcated from their Hippie parents, and in an educational system and cultural environment which, over time, increasingly reflected the ideas, aspirations and values of the Hippie generation. The social, cultural and educational environment seems to have continued evolving along these lines, affecting later generations of kids as well. "

Please don't assume that all from the Post-Hippie generation are beyond reach. Some of us grew up sensing the invasive tentacles of the "machine" attempting to wend its way through our consciousness and mold our behaviours and our thoughts in its likeness.

Some of us did not know "its" name since we were indoctrinated with revisionist history and taught GroupThink. But some of us rejected what we were brought up believing and sought the Truth. There are more of us no longer in the dark than you might imagine. So don't give up hope in that regard.

I will also say that those of us from the Post-Hippie generation now have children of our own; and we are raising them in the awareness and Truth that we now have,and they are very receptive as they are not deceived and do not have blinders on like so many others.

I believe, in my heart, that this is not a time of hand-wringing and lamentations. I believe, in my heart, this is a time of quiet preparation and keen anticipation.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I painted the generations/groups with a very broad brush, and intend no slight or offense in mislabeling or mischaracterizing any individuals. However: whatever we as individuals do with ourselves or our descendants, I fear it is not enough. The Hippie 'Vector' has momentum and continues to gather adherents to its trajectory. The conquest of the MSM and educational system provide them with these fresh recruits supplementing the descendants of the Hippies.
The outcomes I can envision at this point are: (1) The train keeps rolling until we are all entrapped in an authoritarian/semi-fascist state, with very restricted social, political and economic freedoms, and a domestic security/surveillance regime supported thru pervasive electronic means. Such a state could last for many decades, until it collapses from its own rot in a similar manner to the Soviet Union; (2) a sudden cataclysm of military and/or economic nature that crushes everything in its path, sweeping away the nascent socialist state that is arising and making it the focus of blame for the catastrophe; and (3) the fragmentation of the USA into smaller unions/republics, going their separate ways culturally, economically and politically.
I suspect all of this will become crystal clear over the next 5 years.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
You obviously have a military background. Do you believe in the Lord above? Do you know scripture? Then you know that this is supposed to happen; it's been foretold. Bide your time, my friend. Be prepared so that you can help your family and your friends.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"the fragmentation of the USA into smaller unions/republics, going their separate ways culturally, economically and politically."

I do not find this to be a bad thing; perhaps, now is the time for such a thing.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Stallion,
You are on to something, but I suggest you have hit upon symptoms rather than root causes. We collectively, and I include myself, have fallen away from God and our society and its values and trends reflect that. We wanted freedom and liberty, but we gave in to comfortable shortcuts and let the foundations erode. The generational shift that you described is mirrored in the decline of faith over the generations. Presumably the cataclysms you outlined would serve to "wake up" those who are lost. Unfortunately history shows that sometimes the wake-up never comes (Roman Empire) and other times it must be forcibly applied (Allies on Nazi Germany). Every tyranny precedes its attempts to power with attacks on God and those who believe in God. Once in power they are relentless in increasing oppression of God and those who believe.

We don't need to passively wait for external events that we see coming. We can each make our own decision to turn to God. Granted it can be uncomfortable at the beginning, frightening even, but it is the lot of a Patriot to overcome fear whenever the country is in danger.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
If I could, I'd like to take your thoughts and ideas in a slightly different direction that might prove useful to us.
When you mention God and the precipitous drop in Christian affiliation and participation in American society (not as bad as the collapse in Europe, but still dramatic), the end result (in my view) is that our culture has become less humble. The devotion to a diety is another way of an individual saying that they believe there is something far greater than themselves, and that their own desires, aspirations, thoughts and existence are, from that perspective, not all that big a deal. This sense of personal humility is a mainstay of thriving, energetic, successful and prosperous cultures throughout history, and such societies are in the whole considered to be virtuous. Such societies seem to have an inner glue that binds their peoples together with a sense of mutual responsibility and support, creating a civic spirit and the ability to withstand great trials and tribulations.
The Hippie generation, on the other hand, forcefully rejected the constraints that such humility imposes on personal behavior in favor of unlimited freedom. They also proclaimed the freedoms that the Old Guard granted themselves at the individual level as actually being vices, excoriating them for the pursuit of individual excellence and success and accusing them of 'stealing' their success thru the suppression of others. Such venal, hypocritical, covetous and downright silly concepts lead to ridiculous contradictions in personal behavior and public norms, inevitably resulting in such laughable contradictions such as "you didn't build that" or Kerry and Obama advocating "spreading the wealth around" while parking a yacht in a tax haven or spending enormous sums of public funds to rub elbows with the 1% in The Hamptons or Vail or taking over an entire luxury hotel in the Costa Del Sol. These conflicting life philosophies could be summed up as "I will humbly pay my taxes, obey the laws, roll up my sleeves and not be too proud to work hard and sacrifice to put bread on the table, as long as I get to believe what I wish, have the freedom to pursue my dreams and ambitions, and get to keep what I've rightfully earned" versus "I want total freedom from responsibility to do what I like and indulge my desires, but YOU have to give up what you have that I don't, because it's not socially or economically FAIR."
And, naturally, with the second mindset now truly starting to predominate nationwide, all it takes is a political class willing to promise that every day will be like Christmas, and in exchange for security and comfort, a growing number of people will gradually and thoughtlessly relinquish their liberty. That's why Obama still has decent approval ratings and there have been no arrests, expulsions from Congress or initiatives for Impeachment from the NSA scandal (or any of the other atrocious violations of the constitution.)
The Romans went thru this. It actually did catch up to them, as they became increasingly incapable of holding off the hoards of animal-skinned savages that earlier generations of Romans had turned into mincemeat.
The only thing that can save a people in such an enervating downward spiral is a severe trial. As best as I can tell, such trials are so severe that they destroy the weak society. This clears the way for something new to grow from the scorched earth. What arises from the ashes hearkens back to the conquering spirit of the previous society, when it was dynamic and energetic, yet also humble.
And that's the only way the current trajectory can be derailed - by it's running into a brick wall that will, in all likelihood, be of it's own making.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Stallion, I agree with everything you said except your conclusion. I believe we both agree that each of us individually and our society as a whole needs to repent and turn to (or return to) God. I interpet you to be saying that only a calamity will be sufficient to cause such a repentance, and I agree that history and the Old Testament overwhelmingly favor your point of view. My only point is that we need not wait for a calamity before choosing repentance. I know it is a long shot, but I feel the need to seek it anway.
40 weeks ago
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Sorry, my last comment ended in a fat-finger aposiopesis. I meant to end by saying that united, we Americans could really kick butt.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Terence57, You've isolated the ground of our disagreement: "The point is, you're dealing with a man whose every gesture supports the, in your eyes, 'misinterpretation' of the man's words."

I don't believe that the President's "every gesture" supports the interpretation that I reject -- you do.

I don't believe that he believes, or intended to say, that Mr. Smith did not build Smith's Hardware. You do.

I don't believe that even if he thought that, he would have been politically careless enod tugh to have said it in an important speech. Would he have wanted the headline: "President Say Government Does Everything; Individuals Are Useless"? I don't think so. You do.

So there we are. We judge this man differently, and our difference is rooted in something different than our different ways of parsing sentences. We can't argue our way past that sort of difference.

I desperately wish the people of this country were not so bitterly divided on issues. United, we could re
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree that you believe what you believe, but in contravention of evidence to the contrary.

We are not gainsaying each other. I have my facts straight on this man. The president decries industries, which would include; Pharma, Energy, Medicine, Insurance, Banking---it is a very long list, actually---and supports 'remedies' to those industries. He isn't big on 'doers.' He considers them, for whatever reason, 'takers'(!)

I, too, desperately wish the people were not so divided, but not for the sake of healing the division, for the sake of sharing our miseries so democratically, so fairly...so interminably. I wish that persons who should, and could, know better were not wedded to the idea that consensus equals reality or that the equal distribution of unhappiness equals fairness and equanimity.

As for the president's canniness and political instincts, he can be a compelling speaker, no doubt. But, remember, he no longer has to appeal to a 'middle.'
Unlike the reality-dodging opposition, his handlers know that he gains nothing by appealing to a bigger tent. The progressives HAVE the big tent waiting for them a la immigration reform. Just as the president's view of American Exceptionalism ("Every country thinks it's exceptional" [para]) belies his distinction of us from other nations, his view of voters is that ANY dem vote is to be garnered by whatever means. In fact, individuals ARE useless, and ideas don't matter, only votes do.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, we know what he and others really meant by "You didn't build that." They are saying that without government, you couldn't have made that business possible, so the government should feel free to tax the heck out of you. It's just rationalization of unlimited taxation, so that they can have ever more money with which to buy votes.

However, it is backwards thinking. Businesses can and have existed without government. They came first. Businesses are the economy. Without them, government cannot exist. IOW, business built government, not the other way around. These politicians know that, which is what makes such sophistry so appalling.

You, however, fall for such tripe. Bitterly divided? Yes. We have the people who can see the sophistry for what it is, and OTOH, we have you and your ilk, who simply cannot see through the lies and propaganda. We are supposed to accommodate with you? We must yield to you in your ignorance? Why? We are not the problem here. You are.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Forgive me, but I disagree.
When Obama said 'you didn't build that', his words were said in front of an audience for the particular purpose of rousing a rabble. Obama's entire statement that day was, effectively, "The group is vastly more important than the selfish individual, and since the group has LESS than a particular individual, the group is OWED something by that individual in the interest of fairness and social & economic justice." THIS IS THE CORRECT INTERPRETATION OF HIS STATEMENT. Any whitewashing is nothing more than deliberate deception.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's say, I give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you believe every thing you say. Actually, I do believe that, hence the problem. I was ready to say something smarmy like, "ohhh yeaah, that aposiopesis thing--" you get my drift. But, I found it interesting and so, kudos to you for gracing this board
with something I'd never come across. You're no dim bulb, for sure, so why is the content of your thoughts playing second fiddle to your command of grammar?

The point is, you're dealing with a man whose every gesture supports the, in your eyes, 'misinterpretation' of the man's words.

If the people who populate this board have correctly discerned what president Obama said, it's because he meant what he said and his words are buttressed by his prior actions. If he was using the device, aposiopesis (knowingly or unknowingly), he was lying, because his actions heretofore would belie his words.

Art, Burns and Fortibus will attest that sanity doesn't always feel like a blessing.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
My comments are addressed to JesseFell.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Terence,
Well said. "You're no dim bulb, for sure, so why is the content of your thoughts playing second fiddle to your command of grammar?"

Grammar-concern troll has played his part all the way through.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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