Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Metaphysics of a Thug

I was asked for an elevator pitch to explain why someone like Obama acts like a thug and resorts to thuggery.

In brief, it's his metaphysics -- Obama views reality as totally malleable, yet himself as utterly impotent in that reality, and the only control he sees himself possessing are lies and threats.

Reality to Obama is purely social relationships.  He views the choices of human beings as arbitrary, and being arbitrary himself in all things, he believes a strong enough person of sufficient "will" (in the Nietzchean sense) can make anything real.  He denies any objective reality of facts or principles outside his control.  He doesn't believe he has to conform to any facts.  Oil leaks in the Gulf?   He simply has to "kick ass" to stop it.  It doesn't matter that the oil is 1 mile below the surface, or under 1000 pounds per square inch of pressure, or that the nature of geologic formations can't be fully predicted, or that hardened steel pipe has a finite breaking point or anything else -- Obama just has to "kick ass" and the problem will be solved by generating enough fear.

At the same time, Obama feels completely impotent to exist himself and suffers a complete lack of self-esteem--which he conceals from himself with a form of megalomania.  He's never done anything productive his entire life except manipulate people.  He's never made anything, designed anything, conceived anything to prove he is efficacious or independent.  All his ideas are second-hand hand-me-downs from his communist parents, his communist grandparents, his communist mentor, his communist friends, and an endless assortment of the usual suspects in his network of Leftist associates who consort regularly at cocktail parties, church socials and golf course meetings to congratulate themselves on their own brilliance.

His pursuit of self-esteem is the epistemological method of a self-licking ice-cream cone.   His brain is filled with cliches and bromides and slogans and a littany of lies which he has mouthed his whole life and heard repeated back to him by friends and acquaintences and gullible groupers swimming along after him.  He counts on looks, style, race, smile, a smooth voice, cliches of public speaking ("look stern, lower your chin, look left, look right, chop the air with your hand to punctuate each word") and a lot of moxy and chutzpah to carry him forward with the illusion of competence and strength, while he clings to a teleprompter in public and and profanity in private like a lifeline.

But he knows, at some level -- conscious or not -- that it's all a sham.  He knows that he himself is a sham.  He knows he doesn't know anything about existing except manipulating people.  So how do you control them when they don't cooperate?  You've only one tool:  you threaten them. His lack of ability and lack of self-esteem are reflected in the psychology of a bully:  do it or I'll knock your teeth in.  It's his only control over existence.

Again, Atlas Shrugged is illustrative.  In the scene leading up to the Taggart Tunnel disaster, a second-rate politician, Kip Chalmers, on a trip to San Francisco for a political rally, is held up in the Colorado mountains for lack of a diesel locomotive -- so he threatens the railroad workers until they do the only thing they can do:  use a coal-burning locomotive. Kip orders them to proceed without caring about the facts of a coal-burning locomotive traveling 6 miles through a tunnel under the Continental Divide without adequate tunnel ventilation to protect the passengers from the exhaust.  All he cares is that he wants to get to San Francisco:
        Kip Chalmers swore as the train lurched and spilled his cocktail over the table top. He slumped forward, his elbow in the puddle, and said: "God damn these railroads! What's the matter with their track? You'd think with all the money they've got they'd disgorge a little, so we wouldn't have to bump like farmers on a hay cart!"

        ...Kip Chalmers had curly blond hair and a shapeless mouth. He came from a semi-wealthy, semi-distinguished family, but he sneered at wealth and distinction in a manner which implied that only a top rank aristocrat could permit himself such a degree of cynical indifference. He had graduated from a college which specialized in breeding that kind of aristocracy. The college had taught him that the purpose of ideas is to fool those who are stupid enough to think. He had made his way in Washington with the grace of a cat-burglar, climbing from bureau to bureau as from ledge to ledge of a crumbling structure. He was ranked as semi-powerful, but his manner made laymen mistake him for nothing less than Wesley Mouch.

        For reasons of his own particular strategy, Kip Chalmers had decided to enter popular politics and to run for election as Legislator from California, though he knew nothing about that state except the movie industry and the beach clubs. His campaign manager had done the preliminary work, and Chalmers was now on his way to face his future constituents for the first time at an over publicized rally in San Francisco tomorrow night. The manager had wanted him to start a day earlier, but Chalmers had stayed in Washington to attend a cocktail party and had taken the last train possible. He had shown no concern about the rally until this evening, when he noticed that the Comet was running six hours late.

        "God damn these railroad people!" said Kip Chalmers. "They're doing it on purpose. They want to ruin my campaign. I can't miss that rally! For Christ's sake, Lester, do something!"

        "I've tried," said Lester Tuck. At the train's last stop, he had tried, by long-distance telephone, to find air transportation to complete their journey; but there were no commercial flights scheduled for the next two days.

        ....Kip Chalmers sat staring at his glass. "I'm going to have the government seize all the railroads," he said, his voice low.

        ...It was half-past two when the Comet, pulled by an old switch engine, jerked to a stop on a siding of Winston Station. Kip Chalmers glanced out with incredulous anger at the few shanties on a desolate mountainside and at the ancient hovel of a station.
        "Now what? What in hell are they stopping here for?" he cried, and rang for the conductor.
        With the return of motion and safety, his terror had turned into rage. He felt almost as if he had been cheated by having been made to experience an unnecessary fear. His companions were still clinging to the tables of the lounge; they felt too shaken to sleep.
        "How long?" the conductor said impassively, in answer to his question. "Till morning, Mr. Chalmers."

        ..."Damn your tunnel!" he screamed. "Do you think I'm going to let you hold me up because of some miserable tunnel? Do you want to wreck vital national plans on account of a tunnel? Tell your engineer that I must be in San Francisco by evening and that he's got to get me there!"
        "That's your job, not mine!"
        "There is no way to do it."
        "Then find a way, God damn you!"
        The conductor did not answer.
        "Do you think I'll let your miserable technological problems interfere with crucial social issues? Do you know who I am? Tell that engineer to start moving, if he values his job!"
        "The engineer has his orders."
        "Orders be damned! I give the orders these days! Tell him to start at once!"
        ...In the dilapidated office of Winston Station, he confronted a sleepy man with slack, worn features, and a frightened young boy who sat at the operator's desk. They listened, in silent stupor, to a stream of profanity such as they had never heard from any section gang.         "--and it's not my problem how you get the train through the tunnel, that's for you to figure out!" Chalmers concluded. "But if you don't get me an engine and don't start that train, you can kiss good-bye to your jobs, your work permits and this whole goddamn railroad!"
        The station agent had never heard of Kip Chalmers and did not know the nature of his position. But he knew that this was the day when unknown men in undefined positions held unlimited power--the power of life or death.
And there we have Barack Hussein Obama: a little boy who never grew up, who conned his way into a man's job, with only one tool at his disposal: a fist.  And where are we?
        It is said that catastrophes are a matter of pure chance, and there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet were not guilty or responsible for the thing that happened to them.
        The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 1, was a professor of sociology who taught that individual ability is of no consequence, that individual effort is futile, that an individual conscience is a useless luxury, that there is no individual mind or character or achievement, that everything is achieved collectively, and that it's masses that count, not men.
        The man in Roomette 7, Car No. 2, was a journalist who wrote that it is proper and moral to use compulsion "for a good cause," who believed that he had the right to unleash physical force upon others--to wreck lives, throttle ambitions, strangle desires, violate convictions, to imprison, to despoil, to murder-for the sake of whatever he chose to consider as his own idea of "a good cause," which did not even have to be an idea, since he had never defined what he regarded as the good, but had merely stated that he went by "a feeling"--a feeling unrestrained by any knowledge, since he considered emotion superior to knowledge and relied solely on his own "good intentions" and on the power of a gun.
        The woman in Roomette 10, Car No. 3, was an elderly schoolteacher who had spent her life turning class after class of helpless children into miserable cowards, by teaching them that the will of the majority is the only standard of good and evil...
        The man in Drawing Room B, Car No, 4, was a newspaper publisher who believed that men are evil by nature and unfit for freedom, that their basic instincts, if left unchecked, are to lie, to rob and to murder one another-and, therefore, men must be ruled by means of lies, robbery and murder, which must be made the exclusive privilege of the rulers, for the purpose of forcing men to work, teaching them to be moral and keeping them within the bounds of order and justice.
        The man in Bedroom H, Car No. 5, was a businessman who had acquired his business, an ore mine, with the help of a government loan, under the Equalization of Opportunity Bill.
        The man in Drawing Room A, Car No. 6, was a financier who had made a fortune by buying "frozen" railroad bonds and getting his friends in Washington to "defreeze" them.
        The man in Seat 5, Car No, 7, was a worker who believed that he had "a right" to a job, whether his employer wanted him or not.
        The woman in Roomette 6, Car No. 8, was a lecturer who believed that, as a consumer, she had "a right" to transportation, whether the railroad people wished to provide it or not.
        The man in Roomette 2, Car No. 9, was a professor of economics who advocated the abolition of private property, explaining that intelligence plays no part in industrial production, that man's mind is conditioned by material tools, that anybody can run a factory or a railroad and it's only a matter of seizing the machinery.
        The woman in Bedroom D, Car No. 10, was a mother who had put her two children to sleep in the berth above her, carefully tucking them in, protecting them from drafts and jolts; a mother whose husband held a government job enforcing directives, which she defended by saying, "I don't care, it's only the rich that they hurt. After all, I must think of my children."
        The man in Roomette 3, Car No. 11, was a sniveling little neurotic who wrote cheap little plays into which, as a social message, he inserted cowardly little obscenities to the effect that all businessmen were scoundrels.
        The woman in Roomette 9, Car No. 12, was a housewife who believed that she had the right to elect politicians, of whom she knew nothing, to control giant industries, of which she had no knowledge.
        The man in Bedroom F, Car No. 13, was a lawyer who had said, "Me? I'll find a way to get along under any political system."
        The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 14, was a professor of philosophy who taught that there is no mind--how do you know that the tunnel is dangerous?--no reality--how can you prove that the tunnel exists?-- no logic--why do you claim that trains cannot move without motive power?--no principles-why should you be bound by the law of cause-and-effect?--no rights--why shouldn't you attach men to their jobs by force?--no morality--what's moral about running a railroad?--no absolutes--what difference does it make to you whether you live or die, anyway? He taught that we know nothing--why oppose the orders of your superiors?--that we can never be certain of anything--how do you know you're right?--that we must act on the expediency of the moment--you don't want to risk your job, do you?
        The man in Drawing Room B, Car No. 15, was an heir who had inherited his fortune, and who had kept repeating, "Why should Rearden be the only one permitted to manufacture Rearden Metal?"
        The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 16, was a humanitarian who had said, "The men of ability? I do not care what or if they are made to suffer. They must be penalized in order to support the incompetent. Frankly, I do not care whether this is just or not. I take pride in not caring to grant any justice to the able, where mercy to the needy is concerned."
        These passengers were awake; there was not a man aboard the train who did not share one or more of their ideas. As the train went into the tunnel, the flame of Wyatt's Torch was the last thing they saw on earth.

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