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February 20, 2008

Assessing current politics and Obama-bots

Observing the electioneering on the tube last night I was struck, listening to Barak Obama, at the similarities of the scene to those described in The True Believer, by Eric Hoffer over 50 years ago (a book I'd strongly recommend being re-read . . . or read, if you haven't.)

"People in the atmosphere of a mass movement are fashioned into incomplete and dependent human beings . . . The blindness of the fanatic is a source of strength. He sees no obstacles(!) yet is the author of intellectual sterility and emotional monotony. At root it is his conviction that life and the universe must conform to a simple formula--HIS !"

Do I hear change, anyone? Change to what? From what? Where are the "sheepul" being led?

"Mass movements substitute for individual hope. Folks who see their lives as spoiled cannot find a worth-while purpose in self-advancement, and look at self-interest as something tainted. Unless someone sufficient talent to make something of himself, freedom is a burden."

So he's selling hope, but hope for what? Prescribed by whom? To what purpose? Seems I rremember a time not long ago when the man from Hope was selling some of the same stuff. Now it's his wife competing with Barak to see who can offer most.

It is frustrating to witness what is most easily compared to the "Beatle-mania"of the 60's, Elvis in the 50's, or the fainting for Sinatra in the 40's, becoming the political activity of the new century. Politicians always promise more than they can deliver, but one senses that Barak doesn't even recognize that what he promises cannot be delivered. It is politically, economically, socially, and philosophically (not to mention rationally) impossible.

He really believes that what he says is the truth, the whole truth, etc. True believers, as was noted long ago by Hoffer, believe that everyone does--or ought to--believe as they do. Anyone who doesn't is wrong . . . at least!

Our government is not responsible for the people--at least that was not the intention of the founders of our republic. Our problem today is that people too willingly give over to government the responsibility for making life worthwhile. It cannot be done by government, and the sacrifice of the freedom to be in control of one's own destiny is frightful, at least to me. Barak is promising a government solution to everything: safety from the terrorists to security in your mortgage payments. He presumes to take responsibility for all of life's activities in our name. Do we want that? Should we? And if so, can it really be done?

The answer is NO! So, let's try a little analysis and reality, shall we? It's especially important before November's election.

“When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lay low until the wrath has passed. There is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows. It is as if ivied maidens and garlanded youths were to herald the four horsemen of the apocalypse. . . . .”

Posted by respeto at February 20, 2008 8:53 AM