I have often written about the Progressive tendency to think every problem can be solved by dialogue. If everyone just sits down with enlightened beings like Barack Obama, there is no issue that cannot be resolved. All will be made manifestly clear; agreement will be universal; peace and justice will reign. Therefore, one of the keys to the resolution of every problem, in America and the world, is to shape and control the narrative, to construct a reality that is actually at odds with reality, but which must be spun and defended at all costs. Barack Obama defines the world; we just live in it.
With Orlando as backdrop, with Mr. Obama blaming guns and as always, ignoring Islamist terror, it may be useful to once again visit this topic.
David Hazony at The Tower has written an important essay titled The Mind of the President. An excerpt:
The word ‘rationalist’ is a little confusing. In fact, there are two kinds of rationalists. One kind believes in a dynamic intellectual process of generating ideas, testing them against reality, leading to better understanding. We can call this rationalism, or the scientific method, or just being a smart person. And then there is the other kind: People who believe that the world’s problems will be solved when everyone stops fighting and starts talking, because the answers are obvious once your mind is freed of irrational things like tribe, religion, or the past. The former type has an acute appreciation for the limits of his knowledge and, accordingly, surrounds himself with people who bring a wealth of experience into a constructive conversation, and consider angles and implications, laying the groundwork for a good decision. The latter type, however, despises such discussion, viewing it as an unnecessary, even bureaucratic, constraint on his power. His instinct is to resist the whole process. The answers are obvious, and anyone who pushes back is not just wrong but worthy of ridicule: Ignorant, a ‘know-nothing’ (Rhodes), an advocate for (in Obama’s words) ‘doing stupid shit.’
This is not very scientific, of course. It is much more like faith—faith in reason, and in its glorified human intermediaries, who provide answers so true as to obviate the process of truth-seeking. The hard work, rather, is in the presentation, the eloquent language, the spin. In finding the right words that’ll help people see it.
Harzony’s thesis, at least in part, is that if one accepts that Mr. Obama is a believer in this sort of rationalism, his actions because much easier to understand. The alternative–my belief–is not anti-rationalism, but that Barack Obama is possessed of a kind of arrogant, malignant narcissism that makes him believe he is the most brilliant man to have ever occupied the White House, perhaps to have ever lived. The mere questioning of his ideas is an affront to the majesty of Barack Obama and to reason itself. Barack Obama actually thinks himself incapable of error, therefore there can be no mistakes, no need to admit error, to apologize, or to change policies. If Barack Obama thinks America’s allies are enemies, that thought transforms reality. If he thinks giving America’s most crazed and dedicated enemy will become somehow an ally if he helps them obtain nuclear weapons and gives them money to build up their military and terror proxies, that too transforms reality.”
Consider this from Hazony’s article (it has appeared widely elsewhere):
Obama has also not had much patience for Netanyahu and other Middle Eastern leaders who question his understanding of the region. In one of Netanyahu’s meetings with the president, the Israeli prime minister launched into something of a lecture about the dangers of the brutal region in which he lives, and Obama felt that Netanyahu was behaving in a condescending fashion, and was also avoiding the subject at hand: Peace negotiations. Finally, the president interrupted the prime minister: ‘Bibi, you have to understand something,” he said. “I’m the African-American son of a single mother, and I live here, in this house. I live in the White House. I managed to get elected president of the United States. You think I don’t understand what you’re talking about, but I do.
The arrogant, ignorant presumption is stunning. Barack Obama, a man with no military experience, a man who has no foreign policy experience, a man who knows nothing about nothing but firmly believes he knows it all, a man who hides his college transcripts, lecturing one of the most well informed, capable men on the planet when it comes to the Middle East. And what is the source of his knowledge? He was the half-black son of a single mother and was elected President. What greater qualification could there be for expertise on the Middle East? What greater delusion?
One can only imagine the depth of Mr. Netanyahu’s disgust and horror upon hearing that. Mr. Netanyahu lives in the real world. He is responsible for the lives of his people. As a military veteran, he understands that his decisions affect millions. Barack Obama constructs his own reality and expects everyone else to live in it. He has proved over and over (Benghazi, Syria, Libya, etc.) that the lives of others mean little to him.
Therefore, he surrounds himself with people who either see him as a god, perhaps the god, or people willing to play along with him, to feed his delusions as a means of attaining and wielding power and wealth they could never otherwise attain. In either case, these are deeply flawed, even mentally ill, people, soulless people without empathy, people who, like Barack Obama, see themselves as elite, nearly otherworldly superior beings whose mandate to rule the masses is written on the holy tablets handed down by Mr. Obama. Or, of course, they’re con men, manipulating Obama and circumstances, praising him while playing him to get what they want, and sneering at all the marks out there over whom they rule.
I’m not sure which is worse for America and the world.
Consider this classic, though slobbering, and utterly bizarre statement by Valerie Jarrett:
I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. . . . He knows how perceptive he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows that he has the ability — the extraordinary, uncanny ability — to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them, and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. . . . So what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy. . . . He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.
By all means, take the link to the Hazony article and read the whole thing. Then, please gentle readers, take the time to comment. Is our President merely a rationalist? Is he a deranged narcissist with delusions of grandeur? Or is the problem something else? I look forward, as always, to your ideas.