04.30.2010 0

It’s All Part of the Plan, Part I

  • On: 05/11/2010 22:53:23
  • In: Barack Obama
  • By Trevor Sides

    After reading Victor Davis Hanson’s piece “A Postmodern Presidency” last week, I was furious for two reasons. One, it was one of those columns that I wish I had written. Two, it made me realize exactly who Obama is and how we conservatives have been battling him on all the wrong fronts.

    The heart of Hanson’s piece is this: Barack Obama is the first truly “postmodern” President. Having been raised and educated on the deconstructed principles of “relativism and the primacy of language over reality,” Obama is a walking, talking and bowing (more on this later) ambassador of postmodernism.

    A brief primer on this “after modernity” ism, quoting Hanson:

    “Genres, rules, and protocols in art, music, or in much of anything vanish as the unnecessary obstructions they are deemed to be — constructed by those with privilege to perpetuate their own entrenched received authority and power. . . .

    “. . . What we signify and brand as ‘real,’ in essence, is no more valid than another’s “truth,” even if we retreat to specious claims of “evidence”— especially if our aim is to perpetuate the nation state, or the primacy of the white male capitalist Westerner who long ago manufactured norms in his own interests.”

    In Hanson’s mind (and I completely agree), everything Obama has done – from “stimulus,” to healthcare reform, to alienating our “allies,” etc. – is for the purpose of removing the centuries-old hegemony enjoyed, namely, by white, Christian men. Postmodernism exhibits progressive liberal “victimhood” ideology in the sense that everything, literally, is a struggle between class, race and gender. Societal norms and “absolute truth” are outdated modes lacking contextualization. Obama believes all of this. And this is what “hope and change” has always been about.

    We can’t expect to win the battle for the soul of our nation (and the stability of the entire world) by battling Obama the way we have. When we question Obama’s numbers on healthcare reform, when that lady at the town hall asked if it’s wise to up the tax burden, when we howl at his narcissism, when we call him naïve, we’ve already lost.

    To us, all evidence points to the fact that Obama is naïve, that he really doesn’t understand how the world works. But as Hanson wrote, “[Obama] is offering us another — a postmodern — way of looking at the world.”

    Obama’s remarks about “Greek exceptionalism” last spring make a little more sense now, don’t they?

    He’s like the Joker in the Dark Knight. No matter how insane or random Obama’s policies look to us, they are, as the Joker would say, “all part of the plan.”

    Hamstringing our nuclear capabilities? Can’t get more hegemonic than hoarding nuclear warheads. Peace through strength is so modernity.

    Bowing to foreign heads of state? America has had more than its fair share of time in the limelight.

    Redistribution of wealth? Your capitalistic wealth is homophobic, sexist and probably Islamophobic.

    So we cry “Socialist!” And like the Joker when accused of being insane, Obama simply quips, “No, I’m not.”

    Being a “socialist” isn’t deep enough, isn’t narrative-changing enough. Attacking health care, foreign policy, cap-and-trade or anything else is fine, but it doesn’t get at the embedded philosophy and life system. We have to realize we’re not even battling against Obama. We’re up against an entire zeitgeist, a paradoxical and chaotic worldview that needs to be dug up by the roots.

    As Batman and Joker struggled physically and philosophically over Gotham, the Joker turned to his nemesis and said, “The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.”

    So it is with Obama. There are no rules – just language, that fluid gift of reality construction that eliminates all “traditional” obstacles and norms. It’s no surprise, then, that he loves to speechify, because in postmodernity, if you don’t have language, you don’t have anything.

    Trevor Sides, former editor of the Akron News-Reporter, is a Liberty Features Syndicate writer for Americans for Limited Government.

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