Editor of paranoiaisfact.com
Answers readers questions.
My Western Civ. prof, Leon Notsky says Obama is not the saviour we have been hoping for, but just a counter swing in the dialectical pendulum from right to left. He says nothing will change in Washington but the faces. Is this paranoia or fact?
This is fact. Obama can revive America, but cannot save it.
But first a little background. In the Book of Judges the Hebrews, chafing against rigid divine rule, appeal to the aging prophet Samuel: “Make us a king to judge us like all the other nations.”
God punishes the Hebrews for rejecting him by granting their request. He plucks Saul, a clumsy, unlettered peasant from the ranks and elevates him to kingship. And thus the “charismatic Ruler,” the tragic figure that has haunted history, is born.
At first, Saul is a hero, uniting the tribes and leading them to victory. But he proves unable to control his pillaging troops. And later cannot master his homicidal jealousy of the young David. The people lose faith. Even his own son turns against him. In desperation he turns to witchcraft. A sorceress summons the ghost of Samuel, who predicts Saul’s downfall. The next day he is killed in battle.
This is the paradigm of the rise and fall of the Ruler. It continues through the Bible and into recorded history in the stories of the Roman Emperors, the kings of Europe, the Czars, and Napoleons; the totalitarian cult figures of the 20th Century; the demagogues of bourgeois Democracy. The people, unwilling to assume responsibility for themselves, rush to surrender their autonomy to the charismatic one. At first he (or occasionally she) is a hero, bringing triumph, wealth and national pride. But inevitably the Ruler becomes mired in the swamp of daily rule; the rise of an oppressive bureaucracy, the petty squabbles and intrigues of the courtier class. As the Ruler’s power grows so does the resentment against it. Sensing that it has lost the faith of the ruled, the Ruler strengthens its power over them. It oppresses dissidents, rewards favorites, encourages corruption and deceit, plays off competing cliques. In the end, nothing avails and the Ruler is discredited or overthrown.
Obama has studied history. He knows how charismatic Rulers crash and burn. He was a cautious child, treading carefully through an alien society. His rule will be circumspect. He has sought to dampen messianic expectations, backtracked on some of his promises, warned that tough times lie ahead. His administration will be lullingly familiar. We will have Clinton, Gates, Summers, Holder, etc.—familiar faces from previous controversies of arrogance, lost opportunities and abused power.
But as cautious as he is, Obama will be beset by the parasites on the body politic.
The bankers and CEOs who believe that they are the victims of the crisis they caused and will oppose any attempt to curb their wealth or influence.
The oil companies who profit from waste, pollution and over consumption.
The racists who will seek to undermine with rumor and innuendo.
The hypocritical radicals who will condemn him for not leading a revolution that they secretly do not desire.
The sub- cultures—abortion crusaders, animal rights zealots, gay marriage advocates, gun owners, BCS critics, etc., who will judge him through the monochrome prism of their single issue.
The Chinese, who have declared economic and cyber war on the US.
The Russians whose suicidal bravado will increase as their power declines.
The Europeans whose anti-American schadenfreude is so intense they act against their own interests to confirm it.
The runaway media that is increasingly addicted to scandal and exaggeration.
A popular culture that encourages self-pity, greed, over-indulgence and outright stupidity.
On Election Day America gave itself a reprieve. If the world does not change the fault will not be with Obama but with ourselves.
But at least we will live to be discontented another day.