Victor Davis Hanson, in his article, almost “gives in” to Obama’s consistency. Like a younger brother or cousin you tickle till he is gasping “uncle” almost peeing his pants. (In the case of my son who would hold off in habit to the very end, he would… love those dad moments. It was a teachable moment about not waiting to the last second to respond to your body’s call to nature.) In same fashion Victor pleads with Obama… Please, No More Teachable Moments. After getting his reader built up, Victor ends well with about the last third of his column:
….Where to start with all these teachable moments?
All these controversies involve issues addressed at the state and local level, with presidential action unnecessary. In such contentious matters, why intervene when Obama cannot do much other than polarize millions?
We have learned that President Obama has a bad habit of impugning the motives of those with whom he disagrees. In the Gates case, he rushed to condemn Crowley and the police. Arizonans were not to be seen as desperate citizens trying to enforce federal law, but instead derided as bigots who harass minorities when they go out to get ice cream. And in the mosque case, the president disingenuously implied that opponents of a Ground Zero mosque wanted to deny the legal right of Muslims to build religious centers.
Note that all three issues poll badly for the president, and belie his former image as a conciliator and healer.
Again, why does Obama go off message to sermonize about these seemingly minor things that so energize his opposition and make life difficult for his fellow Democrats?
First, off-the-cuff pontificating on extraneous issues is a lot easier than dealing with a bad economy, two wars and heightening tensions abroad. Sermonizing is a lot different than rounding up votes in Congress, fending off reporters at press conferences or dealing with aggressors abroad — and it can also turn our attention away from near 10 percent unemployment and a heavily indebted government.
Second, Obama has spent most of his life around academics, lawyers, journalists and organizers. That insular culture tends to pontificate and lecture others far more than do action-oriented business people, soldiers, doctors and farmers — the doers who are few and far between in this administration.
Third, as an Ivy League-trained lawyer and former Chicago community organizer, Obama embraces an overarching race/class/gender critique of the United States; the story of America is not so much about an exceptionally independent and prosperous people, a unique Constitution or a vibrant national past in promoting global freedom, but about how the majority oppressed various groups. Clearly, these local instances of purported grievances have excited the president — and almost automatically prompt his customary but unproven declarations that the majority or establishment in each case is biased or unfair….
Which brings me to the second Victor David Hanson article, which really is the precursor to the above one. By the way, to break away here, most major criminals have three names: guys who shot presidents, serial killers, and the like. Victor is doing all those things, just in pen against the Left. He is a great historian and columnist, to say the least. Okay, back on track. In this article he makes the point that there is a lot of ad homonym attacks that do nothing but try to steer the debate away from that, debate. I will post only his first half of his article that is entitled Everyone a Bigot?, but the whole thing is worth reading:
Anti-Hispanic, anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-black — it is hard to keep track of all the recent charges of alleged bigotry.
State representatives in Arizona overwhelmingly passed an immigration law to popular acclaim — which the Obama administration for now has successfully blocked in federal court. Arizonans simply wanted the federal government to enforce its own laws. And yet they were quickly dubbed bigots and racists — more worried about profiling Hispanics than curtailing illegal immigration.
In California, a federal judge has just overturned Proposition 8 ensuring traditional marriage. Voters in November 2008 had amended the California constitution to recognize marriage only between a man and woman, while allowing civil unions between partners of the same sex.
Californians took that step in response to the state Supreme Court’s voiding of Proposition 22, a similar referendum on traditional marriage that California voters passed in 2000. Apparently, a stubborn majority of Californians still sees traditional marriage as it has been followed in some 2,500 years of Western custom and practice. In contrast, gay groups have framed the issue as one of civil rights, often charging prejudice on the part of their opponents.
Another controversy is brewing a mere 600 feet from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, site of the 9/11 attacks, where a Muslim group wishes to build a $100 million, 13-story mosque. Opponents feel this is hardly a way to build bridges across religious divides, but instead a provocative act that tarnishes the memory of the nearly 3,000 people who died at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists.
New York state residents poll in opposition to the project. Their unease reflects legitimate questions over the nature of the foreign funding for the project, and the disturbing writings and statements of the chief proponent of the plan, Feisal Abdul Rauf. They also worry that radical Islamists will use the mosque’s construction (it will probably rise before the World Trade Center complex is rebuilt) as a propaganda tool.
In response, once again the majority has been dubbed bigoted and prejudiced, this time against Muslims for asking for a more appropriate location, farther away from Ground Zero.
After lengthy investigation, Rep. Charles Rangel, former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is facing charges of unethical conduct. In response, Rangel has scoffed that a plea bargain offer was nothing more than an “English, Anglo-Saxon procedure.” The inference was that ongoing prejudice, not moral lapses, caused Rangel’s problems.
Rangel’s charges come at a time when Rep. Maxine Waters faces ethics questions for allegedly using her office to steer federal money to a bank that was associated with her husband. And since eight members of the Congressional Black Caucus have recently faced ethics inquiries, we are hearing that race, not unethical conduct, is the real reason for the investigations.
These diverse cases offer some lessons….
Dennis Prager has some great insights into why the Left uses such tactics and holds them over our heads in a professorially superior manner. They believe that anyone who disagrees with them isn’t just wrong, but evil. I would love to sit down with a liberal friend at Starbucks and talk for hours on this subject thinking that they are truly mistaken… but deep down they want whats best for the situation and outcome at hand. At most they are severely misguided because of their class-warfare outlook on life, in which case I would love to talk about how to view the world. In their eyes I am not wrong, but evil. Prager explains:
Dennis puts into words, better, the above, when he spoke of Harry Reid in 2006:
The highest-ranking Democrat in America, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, described the Senate bill making English the national language of the American people as “racist.” And the New York Times editorial page labeled the bill “xenophobic.”Welcome to the thoughtless world of contemporary liberalism. Beginning in the 1960s, liberalism, once the home of many deep thinkers, began to substitute feeling for thought and descended into superficiality.
One-word put-downs of opponents’ ideas and motives were substituted for thoughtful rebuttal. Though liberals regard themselves as intellectual — their views, after all, are those of nearly all university professors — liberal thought has almost died. Instead of feeling the need to thoughtfully consider an idea, most liberal minds today work on automatic. One-word reactions to most issues are the liberal norm.
This is easy to demonstrate.
Here is a list of terms liberals apply to virtually every idea or action with which they differ:
And here is the list of one-word descriptions of what liberals are for:
- The poor
- The disenfranchised
- The environment
These two lists serve contemporary liberals in at least three ways.
First, they attack the motives of non-liberals and thereby morally dismiss the non-liberal person.
Second, these words make it easy to be a liberal — essentially all one needs to do is to memorize this brief list and apply the right term to any idea or policy. That is one reason young people are more likely to be liberal — they have not had the time or inclination to think issues through, but they know they oppose racism, imperialism and bigotry, and that they are for peace, tolerance and the environment.
Third, they make the liberal feel good about himself — by opposing conservative ideas and policies, he is automatically opposing racism, bigotry, imperialism, etc.
Examples could fill a book.
Harry Reid, as noted above, supplied a classic one. Instead of grappling with the enormously significant question of how to maintain American identity and values with tens of millions of non-Americans coming into America, the Democratic leader and others on the Left simply label attempts to keep English as a unifying language as “racist.”
Another classic example of liberal non-thought was the reaction to former Harvard University President Lawrence Summers’ mere question about whether the female and male brains were wired differently. Again, instead of grappling with the issue, Harvard and other liberals merely dismissed Summers as “sexist.”
A third example is the use of the term “racist” to end debate about race-based affirmative action or even to describe a Capitol police officer who stops a black congresswoman who has no ID badge.
“Phobic” is the current one-word favorite among liberal dismissals of ideological opponents. It combines instant moral dismissal with instant psychological analysis. If you do not support society redefining marriage to include members of the same sex you are “homophobic” — and further thought is unnecessary. If you articulate a concern about the moral state of Islam today, you are “Islamophobic” — and again further thought is unnecessary. And if you seek to retain English as America’s unifying language, you are not only racist, you are, as the New York Times editorial describes you, “xenophobic” and “Latinophobic,” the latest phobia uncovered by the Left.
There is a steep price paid for the liberal one-wording of complex ideas — the decline of liberal thought. But with more and more Americans graduating college and therefore taught the liberal list of one-word reactions instead of critical thinking, many liberals do not see any pressing need to think through issues. They therefore do not believe they have paid any price at all.
But American society is paying a steep price. Every car that has a bumper sticker declaring “War is not the answer” powerfully testifies to the intellectual decline of the well educated and to the devolution of “liberal thought” into an oxymoron.