Thursday, September 06, 2012
But not so fast; someone is trying to be a killjoy. I was reading George Will's article today, and he was writing about what a radical president Obama is because of his political ideology and leanings.
I suppose, that in his mind, Mr. Will felt that he was dissing Obama by comparing him to Wilson and Roosevelt. In his mind. For those of us secular progressives in America, that article was actually an approbation of Barack Obama. If only Barack Obama himself would embrace all of the labels that the [right] wingnuts constantly throw at him.
"As such, Obama has earned what he now receives, the tribute of a serious intellectual exegesis by a distinguished political philosopher. In “I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism,” Charles Kesler of Claremont McKenna College rightly says Obama is “playing a long, high-stakes game.” Concerning the stakes, Obama practices prudent reticence, not specifying America’s displeasing features that are fundamental. Shortly before the 2008 election, he said only: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming” America. Tonight, consider Obama’s acceptance speech in the context that Kesler gives it in the American political tradition.
Progress, as progressives understand it, means advancing away from, up from, something. But from what?
From the Constitution’s constricting anachronisms. In 1912, Wilson said, “The history of liberty is the history of the limitation of governmental power.” But as Kesler notes, Wilson never said the future of liberty consisted of such limitation"
I am not sure that Mr. Will -or Mr. Kessler for that matter- can read President Wilson's mind anymore than I can, but I certainly hope that is what he meant. Because, I would submit to Mr. Will, that by limiting government we do not insure liberty for all. Quite the opposite. Those individuals who owned slaves in the South were not going to end that practice on their own. They weren't going to stop the practice because their pastors said that it was wrong. Women didn't get the right to vote because their husbands all of a sudden wanted to discuss politics with them over the dinner table.
I have some news for Mr.Will: we are the government.The people. That is what makes a true democracy.
"Wilson, the first transformative progressive, called this the “New Freedom.” The old kind was the Founders’ kind — government existing to “secure” natural rights (see the Declaration) that preexist government. Wilson thought this had become an impediment to progress. The pedigree of Obama’s thought runs straight to Wilson.
And through the second transformative progressive, Franklin Roosevelt, who counseled against the Founders’ sober practicality and fear of government power: “We are beginning to wipe out the line that divides the practical from the ideal” and are making government “an instrument of unimagined power” for social improvement. The only thing we have to fear is fear of a government of unimagined power:"
No, the "only thing we have to fear" are individuals who would choose to subvert the government (and thus the will of the people) to push forward their own selfish and backwards agenda. The right is full of radicals, it's time the left got some radicals of their own. Sorry George, I know that it doesn't fit into your narrative, but Barack Obama is not a radical.
"This, says Kesler, is “the First Law of Big Government: the more power we give the government, the more rights it will give us.” It also is the ultimate American radicalism, striking at the roots of the American regime, the doctrine of natural rights" [Source]
Remember George, we are the government. It can't get any more natural than that.