web analytics
July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Obama’s Vision: Government Itself as the American Ideal

Obama wants Americans to believe that government is only the sum total of their efforts together. But that is nonsense.
obama-food-stamp

But Obama’s argument can be reversed: We know this country cannot accomplish great things if we excessively limit the ability of individual ambition which has been the motive force of American success. The trick, of course, is that the potential for “individual ambition” must be opened to the maximum number of people. Yet taxes, regulations, and other restrictions block that from taking place.

Moreover, as is typical of Obama, his audience is offered an all or nothing approach. We can either have unbridled government or unbridled individualism. The whole point of American history is the debate over where to find the point of balance, the need for a stronger government than existed in pre-industrial America but not to have a government that was too powerful. Similarly, he continues:

Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.

“Nothing more,” “all,” “tyranny,” such phrases obscure real issues of how much debt, how much regulation, how much government intervention is beneficial for the “unique experiment.” Obama dismisses this argument as a “sham,” as purely phony. So one cannot have such a debate. And that kind of stance—often echoed in the universities and mass media—kills democracy.

Leaving aside the accusation that American citizens are deliberately sabotaging the common good—those who disagree with Obama are thus defined in effect as enemies of the people—the key word is “separate.” Obama wants Americans to believe that government is only the sum total of their efforts together. But that is nonsense. Government is a separate institution with huge power and its own interests and logic.

I want to use an analogy here and to make it clear I don’t think Obama is a Communist or Marxist-Leninist. But it was the concept of Marx and Lenin that the state was merely the tool of the proletariat. Once the revolution took place, the state could be given total power because there was nothing to fear. How could the people repress or hurt the people?

Yet the state was not merely the unfailing conveyer belt of the public will. All the things predicted by America’s founders came true in the USSR: the state should be distrusted. The destruction of liberty led to inevitable abuses. The state did become a separate entity, its master not the people but the Communist Party. A privileged elite arose whose behavior was ultimately worse than if Russia had a democratic capitalist revolution. And of course the whole enterprise stagnated and collapsed.

Again, I am not saying this is the same situation as the one Obama favors. But there are important parallels. Contrary to Obama’s trickery on this point, in the “brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule,” the word “self” here doesn’t mean only rule by the state but self-rule by the individual to the maximum possible extent. That is what made America unique.

We have never been a people who place all our faith in government to solve our problems, nor do we want it to. But we don’t think the government is the source of all our problems, either. Because we understand that this democracy is ours. As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government.

This is a straw man argument. The use of the words “never” and “all” is the tip-off here. But what percentage of our problems would Obama attribute to government? Could it be that government has made the economy function worse in the last four and a half years? Might it be possible that there are problems like this in other areas? So might it be conceivable that less government, lower taxes, and less regulation would reduce some problems? Obama is fundamentally dishonest because—unlike other politicians–he cannot and will not cede that there be any merit to his critics’ arguments.

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Obama’s Vision: Government Itself as the American Ideal”

  1. Anonymous says:

    "secure our God-given rights for all our citizens, regardless of… who they love". Does he include people who "love" their siblings in this? What about people who "love" their (adult) children? If not, why not?

  2. Roy Neal Grissom says:

    The "state" as an organic entity made up of all its people the way organs make up a living body is the original definition of "totalitarianism" as coined by Benito Mussolini. And wasn't the left originally anarchist? Even in Marx the state is supposed to "whither away." I guess the newest Marxist genius (Obama, whom I would not doubt in the least may be an actual Communist) has by imperial edict reversed the "wisdom" of Communism's founding father.

  3. Roy Neal Grissom says:

    The "state" as an organic entity made up of all its people the way organs make up a living body is the original definition of "totalitarianism" as coined by Benito Mussolini. And wasn't the left originally anarchist? Even in Marx the state is supposed to "whither away." I guess the newest Marxist genius (Obama, whom I would not doubt in the least may be an actual Communist) has by imperial edict reversed the "wisdom" of Communism's founding father.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
President Obama overlaid against photo of Jonathan Pollard.
Jonathan Pollard To Be Freed in November
Latest Indepth Stories
Open Tent

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through} Some passionate and eloquent liberals have bemoaned the state of inclusiveness among Jews today. Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic penned an angry piece “J Street’s Rejection Is a Scandal” about the exclusion in 2014 of J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. […]

Hamas on the Temple Mount - Jul 3, 2015

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

Community-Jewels-logo

It was modeled upon a similar fund that had been set up by Sephardic Jews in Venice. But Amsterdam’s Dotar was initially more ambitious in scope.

Brudner-072415-Rav-Aharon

Rav Aharon Margalit is a bestselling author – his book, As Long As I Live, has been translated into four languages – and a standing-room only lecturer. Both religious and non-religious audiences flock to hear him. What makes him so extraordinary? Rav Margalit is a Chasidic Jew who experienced incredible challenges from a very young […]

J Street is the vanguard (Jewish face)in support of Obama’s Vienna Accords Nuclear Deal with Iran

“I hold the woman’s place over that of men in every fundamental aspect of public and private life.”

The US-UNRWA accord is another example of this White House, hostile to Israel, disregarding truth.

On the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, Tisha B’av, a reflection on the dangerous deal with Iran

The Kotel gained significance around 1550. Previously, many Jews prayed on the Temple Mount itself.

All Jews MUST stand together to oppose boycotts against Israel. So why does NIF & JCF support BDS?

This year it is hard to concentrate on anything but Iran building nuclear weapons to destroy Israel

Bibi failed the moment he transferred Israel’s Iran problem to the international arena.

I was entranced by Kaddish, a song of sorrow of the whole of Israel for the 1000s of years of exile

Like the Avos, we are invested with the mission to inspire humanity to become nobler and greater

Iran accords are worse than Munich; even Chamberlain would be shocked at what is transpiring again.

An unhappy person cannot become happy by acquiring items. Happiness has to come from somewhere else.

More Articles from Barry Rubin
Youssef Ziedan

The interviewer responds, “There was also Balfour.”

peace_clowns

If the Obama/Kerry peace deal does go through, what would the risks be?

Let me make it plain. There will be mass murder, even genocide in Syria.

A large number of pro-Obama and radical or even anti-Israel cadre are Jews.

Does anyone think the Palestinian Authority will resist daily attacks from Hamas and Fatah radicals?

Secret Service security arrangements were overruled.

The Obama Administration plan is very simple, assuming that everything goes smoothly–which of course it will not.

The less you know about Islam, the better. Ignorance is strength.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/obamas-vision-government-itself-as-the-american-ideal/2013/05/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: