06 April 2009

Obama: By Interfering in Your Lives I Fulfill Mine

Barack Obama gave a speech in France; (this is the transcript: REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AT STRASBOURG TOWN HALL) the ideas in it being more suitable to the docile serfs of Europe than self-reliant Americans - but Obama hopes to change that.

The most revealing part came at the end in the question period. What he said in the body of his speech can then be better seen in light of this. Here is his answer to a question:
But having said all that, I truly believe that there's nothing more noble than public service. Now, that doesn't mean that you have to run for President. (Applause.) You know, you might work for Doctors Without Borders, or you might volunteer for an -- or you might be somebody working for the United Nations, or you might be the mayor of Strasbourg. Right? (Applause.) I mean, they're all -- you might volunteer in your own community.

But the point is that what I found at a very young age was that if you only think about yourself -- how much money can I make, what can I buy, how nice is my house, what kind of fancy car do I have -- that over the long term I think you get bored. (Applause.) I think your life becomes -- I think if you're only thinking about yourself, your life becomes diminished; and that the way to live a full life is to think about, what can I do for others? How can I be a part of this larger project of making a better world?

Now, that could be something as simple as making -- as the joy of taking care of your family and watching your children grow and succeed. But I think especially for the young people here, I hope you also consider other ways that you can serve, because the world has so many challenges right now, there's so many opportunities to make a difference, and it would be a tragedy if all of you who are so talented and energetic, if you let that go to waste; if you just stood back and watched the world pass you by.

…but you'll have a great adventure, and at the end of your life hopefully you'll be able to look back and say, I made a difference.

Let's see if we understand this. If, according to President Obama, you think only about yourself, how to improve your life and pursue your goals, you get “bored.” Not making a difference in others’ lives is “letting the world pass you by” - after deciding that improving and living your own life is “boring” and “unfulfilling.”

Please, Mr. President, speak for yourself. There is no justification to project your emptiness on everyone else.

How Obama descibed himself is exactly like what Ayn Rand wrote in The Fountainhead about "second-handers": "They have no self. They live within others. They live second-hand." The reason is because they "have no sense of reality. Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another. Not an entity, but a relation - anchored to nothing ...the source of his actions is sattered in every other living person." Obama concluded that prime concern with his life was boring and diminishing - and that is what must happen if one goes about living one's life as a second-hander lives. "He can find no joy in the struggle and no joy when he has suceeded. He can't say about a single thing: 'This is what I wanted because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me.' Then he wonders why he's unhappy. Every form of happiness is private."

Holding that the individual pursuit of happiness is necessarily ultimately “boring” is not based on reason - nor is deriving from that that serving 'the greater good' brings fulfillment to one’s life.

Notice that none of these “noble” public servants, like our Comrade President, ever explain how merely shifting perspective and purposeful effort from oneself to the collective transforms “boredom” and “emptiness” to “a larger purpose.”

If it is true that being concerned with oneself is boring and ultimately empty, then it is true for me, you, him, her - everyone. If the individual life has no meaning and satisfaction to offer how can any collection of lives mean more when they are made of - individual lives that are meaningless? Why do things for others if they themselves are individual nothings like you are? Imagine a group of people who share this view getting together and saying, “we all have been pursuing our lives and goals and found them boring, so to fulfill and enlarge our lives we’ll serve the good of all.” This is utterly bizarre, even surreal - but this is what this view necessarily implies. If one person's life equals zero, or, 0 x 1 is equal to zero, then how does 0 x 1,000,000 (for that many people's lives) equal something larger than zero? Concern only with yourself diminishes your life - but concern with others who have “boring” and “diminished” lives equals: enlarging your life!? How is the sum worth more than all its individually worthless parts? Comrade President’s conclusion is a whopping non-sequitur, so “making a better world” is not “a larger project,” according to his own premises. It is just as "diminished" and “boring” - if not more so! - as is making his own life better.

Even putting that aside for a moment, just how is a “noble” public servant going to achieve his goal of "making a difference" in others’ lives if they are similarly “bored” and “diminished” by being concerned with themselves? What can he do for them that they cannot? There is nothing moral or noble about this. What gives Obama the right to take it upon himself to use others as a means of removing boredom from his life by meddling in their affairs? To think that he finds that to be a “great adventure”!

So where exactly, Comrade President, does your “fulfilling” of your life by “nobly” “making a difference” in mine end, and my liberty to live my (not-boring) life begin?

Public service is most noble? Look around. Is the ACORN voter-fraud group Obama worked with, noble? What about corrupt, career politicians who serve the public as a phony way to really serve themselves? Is the corrupt Rod Blagoevich “most noble” for being a public servant? How about Barney Frank and Chris Dodd who brought us the mortgage fiasco? What is noble about the countless other “public servants” of their ilk?

What this adds up to in the "noble " practice of serving that "larger purpose" is explained by Comrade President in the body of his speech:
We also know that the pollution from cars in Boston or from factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, and that that will disrupt weather patterns everywhere. The terrorists who struck in London, in New York, plotted in distant caves and simple apartments much closer to your home. And the reckless speculation of bankers that has new fueled a global economic downturn that's inflicting pain on workers and families is happening everywhere all across the globe.

The economic crisis has proven the fact of our interdependence in the most visible way yet. Not more than a generation ago, it would have been difficult to imagine that the inability of somebody to pay for a house in Florida could contribute to the failure of the banking system in Iceland. Today what's difficult to imagine is that we did not act sooner to shape our future.

Now, there's plenty of blame to go around for what has happened, and the United States certainly shares its -- shares blame for what has happened. But every nation bears responsibility for what lies ahead, especially now, for whether it's the recession or climate change, or terrorism, or drug trafficking, poverty, or the proliferation of nuclear weapons, we have learned that without a doubt there's no quarter of the globe that can wall itself off from the threats of the 21st century.

The one way forward -- the only way forward -- is through a common and persistent effort to combat fear and want wherever they exist. That is the challenge of our time -- and we can not fail to meet it, together.


This is our generation. This is our time. And I am confident that we can meet any challenge as long as we are together.


...our fates are tied together -- not just the fate of Europe and America, but the fate of the entire world.

The rest of the speech, like the above excerpts, casts every problem and proposed solution through the perspective of collectivism. We are all interdependent, we are all responsible to and for each other, even if separated by an ocean, and collective action is the only way forward. We need more "noble" government officials interfering in and controling as much of our lives a they can. He says nothing about individual freedom and flourishing - other than primary concern with it bores and diminishes oneself.

Then Comrade President gives us insight in to his larger philosophical beliefs:
We know that transformational change is possible. We know this because of three reasons: First, because, for all our differences, there are certain values that bind us together and reveal our common humanity: the universal longing to live a life free from fear, and free from want; a life marked by dignity and respect and simple justice.

Bound together in our humanity and common values, in a utopia of effortless existence: a heaven on earth with the negative safety of not fearing and not wanting and having unearned dignity and respect. Like a second-hander, he means "dignity and respect" as coming from others, not oneself. Then one has "dignity and respect." How is that vision of society supposed to inspire anyone? What rational person would want that pathetic fantasy world? And where in Comrade President's utopia does independence of purpose and values along with the struggle to achieve and earn them fit in? How can it in a world of men who lack desire to grow one's own mind and self because they have automatic dignity and lack of want? Of course, he fails to answer how dignity and respect are possible for induividual lives that are necessarily "boring" and "diminished."

Next, Comrade President reveals where his philosophical roots lie:
Our two republics were founded in service of these ideals. In America, it is written into our founding documents as "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." In France: "Liberté" -- (applause) -- absolutely -- "egalité, fraternité."

America was founded on the principles of individualism, that a man is free to live his life as he sees fit provided he violates no-one's rights; that he must work to support his life and reap the fruits of his own labor; that government exists as the means of securing these and similar ends - a far cry indeed from the stagnant, heaven on earth he mentioned.

That, in its modern guise, has its roots in the French Revolution and is expressed in its egalitarian-collectivist slogan that perverts the concept of liberty. The American ideals and the French ideals are not the same, but like many collectivist-statists who want to stealthily impose the shackles of French "liberte" on free Americans, our Comrade President package-deals the two as if they are related. "Freedom from fear and want" came from FDR, who in turn got those phrases from the Soviet constitution. (We know how free from fear and want Soviet citizens were!) And it is the French Revolution that gave us communism and socialism (not to mention political terrorism). It is the French Revolution that served as the model for communist revolutions and coups from Lenin's in Russia to Pol Pot's in Cambodia.

It is highly worrisome that an American president is inclined philosophically to the egalitarian-collectivist-statist ideas that led to and grew out of the French Revolution. Obama's words are eerily similar to those of the villans in Ayn Rand's novels. But those are the kinds of philosophical ideas that are suited to people who find placing prime concern on one's own life to be "boring and diminishing" and therefore need to find a "larger purpose" of "making a difference" in the lives of others.
What if, hypothetically, all our lives were fabulously successful and problem-free, Comrade President? What would a handful of "noble" public servants like yourself who got bored by pursuing your own diminished lives do to "serve a larger purpose"? You all would have no real reason to interfere in our lives and lacking that, you would be facing utter irrelevancy in your own - deservedly so.

What to do then?

That's easy. Simply concoct "problems" and "crises," "fears" and "wants" that (allegedly) can only be addressed by government interference and government-imposed collectivism.

This way out of your own irrelevance you then publicly rationalize as "serving a larger purpose than oneself."

How noble.


  1. Not being bored, I would like it very much if The ONE would leave me alone, thank you very much!
    I volunteer for selfish reasons.

    Thanks for letting me get that off my chest!

    Your reference to the French revolution is apropos! Many forget that the cries of "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite" ended with the Reign of Terror. I much prefer the assertion of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

  2. circa 1848, French Assembly.

    "You stop at mere Liberty. We go on to Equality and Fraternity."

    "The second part of your program will destroy the first." Frederic Bastiat

  3. pursuit of happiness? i recall that being changed and the original being the right to own property

  4. Right. It was changed so holding slaves - 'property' - could not be said to be protected by the Constitution.