Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Kinds of Allegiance
Last week, Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama made a speech in
The Grand Revision on
It is no doubt true that those who win wars get to write history, but it is just as true that just about anybody, from any political legacy, can attach themselves to a victory they did not foresee, in a struggle they did not support, for an objective they did not seek.
This is just as true when speaking of the Cold War, as when speaking of our emerging victory in
For many on the Left, the Cold War was an invention and a series of provocations; communism and socialism were appealing doctrines, marred only by unfortunate implementations. Such idealists, like those in public broadcasting, like to think of themselves as Citizens of the world. So does Obama:
I come to
In fairness to Obama, however much an internationalist, there’s no doubt Obama knows what side he needs to be on when it comes to the Cold War:
Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.
On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West,
This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in
The way Obama spoke in
In the 1980’s, however, many of Obama’s Democratic Senate colleagues thought Reagan irresponsible, bellicose, antagonistic. They, like Obama in recent months, insisted that jaw, jaw, jaw, was better than war, war, war. Yet in less than a decade, Reagan’s challenge was met, with the
Along the train of thought Obama pursued in his speech in Berlin, he suggested that while the fall of the Iron Curtain “brought new hope,” the bringing of East and West together somehow left us more vulnerable to new dangers.
Obama then juxtaposes two very different threats, represented by the “terrorists of September 11th” training globally, and automobiles and factories “melting icecaps” and “shrinking coastlines.”
Obama is certainly not alone in displaying hysteria over what he perceives as the “grave threat” of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). However commonplace this view of AGW, in politics or media, emerging science is acknowledging the gross distortions, faulty data models, exaggerated projections, and flat out bad pseudo-science pervades global warming hype from Al Gore, Obama, and other AGW shills.
Nor is Obama the first Democrat to equate or compare AGW as a threat with radical Islamic terrorism. But by definition, such a view minimizes terrorism while it grossly inflates any actual danger from a warmer climate.
Later in his speech Obama sucks up to his green-fetishist European audience by insulting
Let us resolve that all nations – including my own – will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere.
By all means, we should resolve such a thing: the rate of US CO2 emissions is lower than any country in
Others have also remarked on Obama’s odd locution of how 9/11 terrorists killed “thousands from all over the globe on American soil.” While a slight number of foreign victims are counted within those lost at the
Obama then sets up another comparison of European and American attitudes towards each other:
In Europe, the view that
I offer a couple of observations. Obama remarks that in Europe, “the view that
But Obama is just warming up rhetorically. He then proceeds to equate the “wall” of European and
That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another. The walls between old allies on either side of the
How could anyone question the moral imperative of tearing down these walls? Wait a minute, what’s that about “countries with the most and those with the least?”
What kind of wall exists, that relates in even a metaphorical way, between “countries that have the most” (think
Marxist economic theology, pure and simple. One has to wonder if Obama thinks of human wealth and poverty the same way. Moments later, Obama makes it certain:
This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.
Any (well-informed) trade economist will tell you, free markets are inherently fair, to the extent that they are truly free, without internal subsidy or tariff. But that’s not what Obama thinks. He is describing here the Demon Globalization, Old World Colonialism in another guise. Note how trade and economic growth must somehow be constrained, or better, distributed in a fashion that rewards many, rather than a few.
This alludes to the classic Progressive (and Marxist) mythology that free market capitalism rewards the few at the very top of some economic pyramid, by exploiting all those at any level below the highest tier. When he demands that any economic policy must “truly reward the work that creates wealth,” Obama isn’t talking about entrepreneurs, but standard Marxist solipsism for the Means of Production, the Common Man of the masses.
Obama ended his speech with a call to action for the “people of the world,” declaring “this is our moment.” In doing so, Obama referred to an America that has spent more than two centuries striving to perfect an imperfect nation, in which we often did not “live up to our best intentions.”
That’s true, we often have not. But at several decades older than two centuries,
Obama’s witness of
Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom – indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us – what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores – is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.
Without a doubt, immigrants and their cultures, languages, arts, ideas and ideals have greatly enriched our Nation, in fact made us who we are in every tangible and intangible way.
But we are a Nation with an allegiance to a very particular tribe and kingdom, that of Americans, and their
Most of us – but not all, and perhaps not Sen. Obama -- grew up reminding ourselves of that allegiance, in the form of a pledge we recited every day in school, in classrooms, auditoriums, in stadiums, ballparks, village squares, and on holidays and civic remembrances (from Wikipedia):
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the
One nation, indivisible. Many of us still find that a worthy object of allegiance.
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