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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

3/31/2009

Barack Obama: Pied Piper of the Plethos


Ignorance, illiteracy, stupidity always have been relevant social factors. This has been the case in any historical human social organization one cares to name — from clan to nation-state.

In every civilization, there is a very thin upper stratum of the people who are concerned with questions of truth, justice, the good — in other words, with the life of reason, or of the human spirit if you prefer. Historically, such people have tended to believe these ultimate values have a claim on every man in terms of the constitution of the good order of his soul, and on the direction of his actions as they translate into the social sphere.

Such people are surrounded by a vastly larger mass of “stupid people” who simply do not see the world that way, generally because they are ignorant, thus personally disordered/disorderly, thus irresponsible — and (thus) ever needy. This mass of “stupid people” has been called: “slaves by nature.”

In Aristotle, we find the distinction between the mass of the people, the plethos — who basically function on the “stupid level” — and the spoudaioi — the prudent, virtuous, public-minded “mature men.” It is the latter class that actually maintains the civilization.

Nowadays, however, progressive educrats like Barack Obama’s old friend, Bill Ayers, teaches teachers to teach their pupils that these spoudaios characters are really nothing but a reactionary, usually male, usually white gang of fascist thugs who are selfishly trying to preserve their own interests against the just claims of disadvantaged people, who are usually either women or “people of color.” The spoudaioi are oppressors you see.

Regarding our present era, Eric Voëgelin had a warning for us:

If the establishment of the spoudaioi is disrupted by external events, then the civilization breaks down very rapidly within a generation. And that is the problem we have to deal with…. When certain disruptive events occur, civilization breaks down, and the plethos in the classical sense — the mass of passionately directed people who are more or less illiterate and who do not know what they are doing — come to predominate. (1)

In the American experience, an excellent example of the spoudaioi class would be the Founders and Framers themselves. The foundation of our rule of law was laid by these brilliant, classically-educated Christian men. Their magnificent legacy, especially the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, has been conveyed to us over the generations by other spoudaioi, including certain great presidents, jurists, and representatives of the people, as well as public-minded private people. That legacy is what created and sustained the freest, most just and prosperous nation in the history of mankind. The problem is, that line of genius is obviously running out.

For the fact is, America has become “a government of the plethos, by the plethos, and for the plethos.” Certainly, this was not what the great spoudaios Abraham Lincoln had in mind.

Case in point: Barack Obama is President of the Plethos of the United States, not of the whole People of the United States. For there is still a substantial majority of the people who, while not necessarily spoudaioi themselves, are well content to live by rules that promote liberty, personal autonomy, initiative, self-reliance, thrift, production, creativity, risk-taking — provided they aren’t being systematically looted by the State. We’ll just call this group “the middle class.”

The State’s interest in the matter, however, is to claim as much of the fruits of the labor and genius of the productive members of society as it can get away with, and then to transfer the loot to the unproductive, ever expanding politically-dependable (and dependent) plethos — to grease political “friends” that help it (1) gain power; (2) stay in power; and (3) expand its powers.

The Framers were very clear about this: Individual liberty (the person’s power over himself) vs. State power is truly a zero-sum game, in which one side can increase its power only by decreasing the power of the other. The very people who demand an increase in government benefits (i.e., expansion of the State) of one kind or another seem blissfully unaware of these dynamics. They do not realize they are “on the road to serfdom.”

It is quite clear that Barack Obama on his record is a socialist of the most progressive stripe. I gather he believes his great presidential mission is to “organize” the American “community.” But then, what would you expect of a man, whose résumé lists “community organizer” as his main professional experience?

Now, to organize the American community the way Obama wants it organized is going to cost a whole lot of money — so much that, if the entire U.S. productive economy were put up for sale tomorrow, the proceeds likely would not cover the projected costs of “organizing” America into the type and scale of healthcare, energy, education, cradle-to-grave income-maintenance, and God-knows-what-else policies that Obama says we Americans “deserve.”

Now Obama’s not going to hold a fire-sale of U.S. productive assets any time soon, for a very simple reason: He wants the entire productive base of the economy to be “nationalized” — that is transferred to State ownership — so he and his cronies can run the whole shebang as they see fit. So the strategy is to expropriate the wealth held in the hands of productive people. To do this, you have to hide the expropriation behind a screen of well-sounding words, which conceals the enormity of the extraordinarily opaque financial restructuring of the national economy, using the banking system as leverage, being transacted behind it. Yet smooth words of reassurance — or alternatively, the frequent calls to hit the panic button — cannot disguise the fact that a good deal of the net worth of many Americans — mainly the middle class — has melted away since Obama was elected.

One thing that community organizers get the hang of pretty quickly is how to mobilize the plethos as shake-down artists. ACORN specializes in this sort of thing, and Obama is an expert at it. He’s out there ginning up demand for government programs, which your average plethos person believes will come to him at little or no personal cost. Meanwhile, he’s being relieved of his personal responsibilities; increasingly it is the State that looks after his needs. He’s been “educated” that this is a proper function of the State; indeed, that it is his right to have all his needs and wants supplied without any trouble to himself. And not only that, but to think as he is told to think, to have no opinions that have not been blessed by his political “benefactors.” In thus rejecting his own humanity — which he probably doesn’t miss too much — he reveals he is “a slave by nature.”

And just plain dumb as a box of rocks, ignorant of American history and heritage — about which he evidently cares not a fig:

    José: What a crazy world! The rich, who could pay cash, buy on credit. The poor, who have no money, must pay cash. Wouldn’t Marx say it should be the other way around? The poor should be allowed to buy on credit, and the rich should pay cash.
    Manuel: But the storeowners who give credit to the poor would soon become poor themselves!
    José: All the better! Then they could buy on credit too! (2)
Lest anyone claim the above dialog is “racist,” may I point out that, while “José” is obviously a card-carrying member of the Plethos Union, “Manuel” is not. Possibly “Manuel” is a storeowner himself. If so, regardless of his apparent Hispanic heritage, as a small businessman, Obama would fleece him just as badly as any White or Black or Asian proprietor.

It appears that President Obama is no friend of small business, the backbone of the economy and the engine of the middle class — which is the strength and genius of the American system.

Wealth has a tendency to accumulate in an even smaller number of hands of the ruling class; the number of independent proprietors, the mainstay of liberty, will decrease; and the end is an economic despotism of a small minority that rules the people for its private interest. (3)

“Manuel” has the common sense to understand how the world actually works. Unless someone is creating wealth through productive activities, there is no basis for credit formation. Wealth usually sits in banks, forming the bank reserves that must be there to back up the issuance of credit. When storeowners and other people who create value in the economy become poor themselves, there is no wealth generation, no bank reserves, and lending dries up. Not to mention that wealth-creating productive activity dries up as credit becomes unavailable. It’s a vicious cycle.

Marxism assumes that one can still get golden eggs from a dead goose. It just never explains how this is actually to be done in the real world.

But Obama and Geithner have got it all figured out: The government issues more taxpayer-obligated debt and gives it to the banks to secure their capital base/reserves. But now we are issuing public debt that taxpayers must repay as the basis for private (so far) bank lending. Considering that taxpayers are not only responsible for financing the bank bailout-out, but are also responsible for financing the trillion-dollar-a-year deficits in Obama’s federal budget, plus the trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities in the Social Security/Medicare system, in what way is the “Geithner plan” effectively different from a Ponzi scheme? One that’s likely to come crashing down on our children and grandchildren? After having impoverished this generation, the Obama policies will impoverish our progeny as well, and for generations to come.

Meanwhile, Obama plays Pied Piper to the growing mass of the plethos. They see no danger in following him, thinking only to receive “free” goodies from the State. They rarely pay income taxes themselves these days. They think all the other taxpayers are going to be “good for it.” Always. Forever. Even while the Obama administration seems to be doing everything in its power to ensure that they won’t be: You can’t get blood out of a stone.

In the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, whatever or whoever followed the Pied Piper met with doom — whether it was the rats, which he drowned in the river, or the children that were forever lost to their families when the Piper “disappeared” them after they followed him out of town. The point is, both the rats and the children were utterly unsuspecting that the Pied Piper deliberately meant to harm them. After all, he wore “a coat of many-colored, bright cloth,” and played delightfully on a small fife. He was there to impress, delight, and to charm….

After absconding with the children of Hameln, the Pied Piper was never seen again. Alas, but the same cannot be said of Obama who is still very much with us, evidently doing everything in his power to transform the greatest nation on earth into a Third-World banana republic, with himself as its Dear Leader, by any means fair or foul.

And on the record so far, it appears he prefers the foul.

Citations:

(1) Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy through Jokes, New York: Penguin Books, 2008, p. 162f.

(2) Eric Voëgelin, “Autobiographical Statement at Age 82,” in The Drama of Humanity, Vol. 33 of The Collected Works of Eric Voëgelin, Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2004, p. 437.

(3) Eric Voëgelin, History of Political Ideas, Volume 26 of The Collected Works of Eric Voëgelin, Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1999, p. 78.

by Jean F. Drew
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

©2009 Jean F. Drew

21 comments:

cw-patriot said...

A brilliant and well-documented analysis, Jean!

I have heard quite a few people say recently that they are astounded at the speed with which Obama and the 111th are realizing their left-wing agenda. A friend said to me just the other day, ‘It’s amazing that Obama has steered our republic more strongly to the left in just two months than all our other left-leaning leaders have in the past two decades combined.’

While on the surface that may be true, Obama is simply spreading the icing on the cake that has been in the oven for fifty years. And he is able to do so with such speed and intensity simply because the minds of the Plethos have been sufficiently prepared to allow for it, without the widespread outrage or alarm that would be expected in response.

For the past five decades Marxists, or Marxist sympathizers, have been infiltrating our public education system, our ‘higher education’ system, our entertainment industry, and our mainstream media, to the point where they now virtually control the thoughts of the large majority of Americans.

Ninety-plus percent of what is taught in what passes for ‘education’ in America is now laced with, if not permeated by, left-leaning demagoguery.

Nintey-plus percent of what passes for ‘entertainment’ in America is now focused on either promoting the ideology of the left, or turning the nation’s attention to bread and circuses while that which is truly important goes unnoticed.

Ninety-plus percent of what passes for ‘news reporting’ is simply leftwing propaganda, or subterfuge aimed at interesting the populace in nonsense while keeping that which threatens the realization of the left’s agenda out of eye- and earshot of the citizenry.

Thanks to all three of the above malevolent forces, we have now reached the unenviable point at which the (large, I’m afraid) majority of the citizenry not only have no clue regarding the noble foundations of their republic – and the fact that those foundations are being premeditatedly dismantled – but also have been taught to suspect, even despise, those who understand from whence we came, and who value that heritage (i.e. a superb illustration of the Bill Ayers syndrome you so beautifully describe).

I go to bed each night in veritable disbelief at the latest assault on our Constitution that occurred that day in Washington. And I invariably awaken the next morning to witness a new and even more obscene one.

Take yesterday morning, for instance. It is quite a surreal experience to learn that the President of the United States has effectively fired the chairman and CEO of General Motors, and is now dictating the terms under which the corporation may (or may not, apparently at his discretion) continue to exist.

There is so much wrong, unconstitutional, and unjust about that state of affairs that it makes one’s head spin.

The man performing the tyrannical maneuvers was a major contributor to the catastrophic economic conditions (an example of one of Voëgelin’s disruptive events) that have, at least in part, resulted in the automakers’ financial problems.

The man performing the tyrannical maneuvers has never so much as run a business. As a matter of fact, the only job he has held, the performance of which would result in a meaningful contribution to society, has been that of a one-term senator. And he never even took that job seriously, having sponsored no meaningful legislation, and having missed far more votes than most of his fellow senators. And yet he has the audacity and arrogance to believe that he is qualified to dismantle the U.S. Constitution and dictate all manner of economic and social policy, including holding in his hands the future of one of the largest corporations in the history of the world.

God bless you for having the courage to ‘tell it like it is’ regarding the mentality of the majority of the citizenry: dumb as a box of rocks, ignorant of American history and heritage — about which he evidently cares not a fig. I’ve never heard it said more candidly, or more succinctly.

The American Tyrant’s approval rating stands today at 59% -- with nearly three out of five of our countrymen either (1) approving of the lightening speed with which the socialization of America is now occurring – not to mention the fact that the man at the helm is probably no more qualified to occupy the White House than is the president of their local Chamber of Commerce, or (2) not really even giving a damn in which direction their country is headed, just as long as their favorite contestant on American Idol doesn’t get eliminated this week.

Individual liberty (the person’s power over himself) vs. State power is truly a zero-sum game, in which one side can increase its power only by decreasing the power of the other.

While that may appear to be a simple observation to some, it is anything but. And, as you so insightfully point out, Jean, the large majority of the American people either (1) do not recognize the zero-sum nature of that precious dynamic, or (2) do not value liberty sufficiently to see to it that the power of the state remains miniscule and clearly-defined, as our Founders demanded.

I included the following picture, taken at an Obama rally in June of last year, in one of the essays on my weblog.

http://www.fileden.com/files/2006/11/12/372088/Obama_revival_1.jpg

I don’t know the young women in the foreground (and, should my impressions of them be false, I offer apologies in advance), but the faces of those two young women in the foreground somehow epitomize for me the modern American Plethos: adoring mental adolescents, who simply want to be allowed to go to the mall, download music/noise, and worship celebrity. Plethos poster girls for whom political allegiance is determined by catchy slogans and white, toothy smiles. Unable to recite for you one sentence from the U.S. Constitution. Unable to tell you in which century the American Civil War was fought. And completely unaware that citizenship requires allegiance, duty, vigilance, knowledge and personal responsibility.

I am sixty-two years old. I remember when my Dad was exactly the same age as I am now. Having just retired, he said to me, ‘I have seen America’s best days. Although I would like to live another twenty or thirty years, I do not look forward to seeing her worst, but I fear they are just over the horizon.’

He passed away shortly after 9/11/01. As we all were, he was devastated by the events of that day, not only because of the loss of life, but because those tragic events represented to him the fact that we had let our guard down during an era in which the enemies of America, both within and outside of our borders, were stronger and more determined than ever before. And he feared that the patriotism and vigilance that followed the attacks would be short-lived. Although I miss him terribly, I am somehow glad that he has been spared the need to witness what has occurred in the 7½ years since. It would break his heart.

God bless you, Jean! You are a modern American patriot, and an inspiration to us all in these troubling times.

~ joanie

Blackie said...

Awesome column, Jean!

Awesome response, Joanie!

Thank you.

lori_gmeiner said...

This is an excellent, insightful commentary that should appear on the editorial page of every major newspaper (not that I'm so out of touch with reality that I think there's any chance of that ever happening).

kathymlynczak said...

Jean, you're absolutely right in comparing these economic "solutions" to a Ponzi scheme. Obama, Geithner, and the Dems in Congress know full well that this "plan" isn't going to solve our economic woes. They know full well that they're condemning our children and grandchildren to living in a Third World country. But their quest for power trumps all of those considerations.

Thank God there'll be a final judgment. Little do these monsters know that they're busy crafting their own eternity.

Max Shapiro said...

And just plain dumb as a box of rocks, ignorant of American history and heritage — about which he evidently cares not a fig

Jean, you just described 80% of the people I know, and probably a larger percentage of the American people in general.

Abraham Lincoln said something like, "If America fails, it won't be at the hands of a foreign enemy. We will commit suicide." His crystal ball was pretty accurate.

Joanie, I can hardly look at those young people in your picture. What do they know about this country?????? Nothing! And yet they think they know it all!

robmaroni said...

This column and the one below it are the reason so many of us keep coming back here week after week. We need to read an intelligent perspective when pretty much everything else we're reading and hearing is garbage.

Jean and Joanie, thank you for providing an oasis.

Anonymous said...

Quod erat demonstrandum.

(And well done.)

trustbutverify said...

I think I need to see a shrink.

I read this excellent article and when I got to the citations and read the title of the Cathcart and Klein book ("Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar") I couldn't stop laughing.

After reading all that truth, I guess I really needed some comic relief. ;)

Thank you for this good dose of logic and common sense.

Lou Barakos said...

If the establishment of the spoudaioi is disrupted by external events, then the civilization breaks down very rapidly within a generation. And that is the problem we have to deal with…. When certain disruptive events occur, civilization breaks down, and the plethos in the classical sense — the mass of passionately directed people who are more or less illiterate and who do not know what they are doing — come to predominate. (1)

There’s the crux of what’s wrong with America, and the world.

You write an excellent exposé, Jean F. Drew!

Joanie, you wrote:

Take yesterday morning, for instance. It is quite a surreal experience to learn that the President of the United States has effectively fired the chairman and CEO of General Motors, and is now dictating the terms under which the corporation may (or may not, apparently at his discretion) continue to exist…..

The man performing the tyrannical maneuvers has never so much as run a business. As a matter of fact, the only job he has held, the performance of which would result in a meaningful contribution to society, has been that of a one-term senator. And he never even took that job seriously, having sponsored no meaningful legislation, and having missed far more votes than most of his fellow senators. And yet he has the audacity and arrogance to believe that he is qualified to dismantle the U.S. Constitution and dictate all manner of economic and social policy, including holding in his hands the future of one of the largest corporations in the history of the world.


James Lewis agrees with you. From this morning’s American Thinker Obama’s Revenge Against GM:

Watching Obama is a psychiatrist's delight. Here we have a middle-aged man with no real-world accomplishments, but with truly astonishing grandiosity and a rock-star following that confirms his Jesus Christ Complex at every opportunity. Obama must have real, ingrained grandiosity, the kind that is anchored deep in the soul. He goes ‘way beyond the usual high-fallutin' rhetoric from presidential speech writers -- because he has just fired the President and CEO of General Motors, something no previous president, including FDR or JFK, would ever have imagined doing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this.

Cal Brindisi said...

An (almost) equally good read, from the WSJ:

Obama's Dangerous Bank Bailout

2ndAmendmentDefender said...

Here is video of President and Mrs. Obama meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip today at Buckingham Palace. The Obamas shake hands with the Queen and engage in some chit-chat. Then, it was time for a photo-op and they turn to face the camera. Prince Philip gently tries to usher Michelle Obama into place on the far right, but notice how she instead moves in front of the Prince and stands beside the Queen. Prince Philip quietly moved over to the far right. The video does not show Obama giving the Queen an Ipod.

President and Mrs. Obama Meet Queen Elizabeth II

John Cooper said...

Hail to His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Obama Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the American Republic and all of the Industry therein.

Michelle Noblin said...

This is a VERY informative site. I learn things here that I haven't heard anywhere else. Thank you for taking the time to discover so many things that we all need to know about what is being done to our freedoms and our country.

John Cooper said...

People call Obama a 'socialist' but he's not. He's a 'fascist'. Glenn Beck mentioned a website on his show today, and this piece accurately describes the political system Obama has planned for America: Fascism by Sheldon Richman, published at the Consise Encyclopedia of Economics.
~~~~~
"Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. Entrepreneurship was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions."

...To maintain high employment and minimize popular discontent, fascist governments also undertook massive public-works projects financed by steep taxes, borrowing, and fiat money creation.
~~~~~
Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.

Clay Bieber said...

Joanie, if everyone who is still supporting this fascist would read Jean Drew's article and your "Stranger in a Strange Land" article, I wonder what they would say. Would they still be thick enough to believe he has our best interests at heart? Sadly, I think they would.

John Cooper said...

Speaking of fascism, three (?) TSA agents detained a man at the St. Louis airport because he was carrying $4,000 with him. They took him to a windowless room, and tried to browbeat a 'confession' out of him. Unbeknownst to the agents, the guy was carrying a tape recorder and taped the whole thing. The guy also knew his rights, which infuriated the agents.

Man detained and harassed at airport for carrying CASH! (9:02 YouTube video from Fox News)

Clara Good said...

The only thing worse than Obama is the people who voted for him.

Luis said...

Very insightful essay.

I think the point that the mass of people are effectively "the plethos" and have been prepared for the changes that are now happening is the key here.

The fact that the President has effectively fired the CEO of General Motors and this goes largely unregistered and certainly not noted as a remarkable event.

It does seem that the interests of the state and a few key large corporations are lining up together. It is horrifying that so few people seem to recognise what this really means.

Barry up the road said...

Brilliantly stated Jean.

Thanks for posting if Joanie.

I think the biggest problem we have is that the plethos are unable to recognize themselves as such. I know many of them who would be mortified to be thus described, and so they plod ignorantly on to "our" doom.

Stan Dombrowski said...

I just read about six of the columns here. Outstanding job! Keep up the good work. We need more vocal patriots if we're going to turn this ship around!