Posted on | January 22, 2013 | 15 Comments
The best Inaugural Addresses make an argument for something. President Obama’s second one, which surely has to rank among the best of the past half-century, makes an argument for a pragmatic and patriotic progressivism.
This country remains founded upon individual liberty. That a pack of liars over the last century have sold an unsustainable falsehood is neither deniable nor right. ‘Progress’ remains the most expensive and destructive scam in history, and Brooks is truly a false prophet for peddling it.
Modern problems like globalization, technological change, widening inequality and wage stagnation compel us to take new collective measures if we’re to pursue the old goals of equality and opportunity.
Obama wasn’t explicit about why we have failed to meet these challenges. But his critique was implicit. There has been too much “me” — too much individualism and narcissism, too much retreating into the private sphere. There hasn’t been enough “us,” not enough communal action for the common good.
Oh, you Devil. And I mean that in the theological sense of a deceiver selling the very causes of the problem as solutions. Human nature remains constant, technology, the variable. It’s a fine sales pitch that the variable can be used to tweak the constant. If your audience is totally fools. Peaking out at the current 51% is not likely to cut it. The implicit critique of ‘too much “me”‘. Has any President ever been so immodest as to deploy the personal pronoun like #OccupyResoluteDesk?
Emphasis mine here:
I am not a liberal like Obama, so I was struck by what he left out in his tour through American history. I, too, would celebrate Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall, but I’d also mention Wall Street, State Street, Menlo Park and Silicon Valley. I’d emphasize that America has prospered because we have a decentralizing genius.
When Europeans nationalized their religions, we decentralized and produced a great flowering of entrepreneurial denominations. When Europe organized state universities, our diverse communities organized private universities. When Europeans invested in national welfare states, American localities invested in human capital.
America’s greatest innovations and commercial blessings were unforeseen by those at the national headquarters. They emerged, bottom up, from tinkerers and business outsiders who could never have attracted the attention of a president or some public-private investment commission.
I would have been more respectful of this decentralizing genius than Obama was, more nervous about dismissing it for the sake of collective action, more concerned that centralization will lead to stultification, as it has in every other historic instance.
What in the world are ‘entrepreneurial denominations’, you clown? Do you really think sincere sacred business is secular? Sure, people sell books, and yes, one might argue at length and in detail about the contents, but that’s peripheral to the question of faith. Come visit my Sunday School class, Brooks, for some desperately needed insight.
And what is the point of being ‘respectful of this decentralizing genius’ in a speech? Obama is more honest in his contempt for the fundamentals of American greatness than you, Mr. Brooks. He tosses our seed corn under the bus with a personal pronoun on top. You’re making some wistful nod to what, were you actually a conservative, you’d be snarling a ????? ???? and defending.
Reinvigorating a mature nation means using government to give people the tools to compete, but then opening up a wide field so they do so raucously and creatively. It means spending more here but deregulating more there. It means facing the fact that we do have to choose between the current benefits to seniors and investments in our future, and that to pretend we don’t face that choice, as Obama did, is effectively to sacrifice the future to the past.
Our first task for recovery is to ignore false prophets like yourself. Our political Winter, while cold and bitter, can be followed by a Spring of reform. But that involves understanding that the centralization of policy is the garrote about the neck. Your ‘patriotic progressivism’ piffle is absolutely not the answer, Brooks.
via Byron York