Judging from the close of his State of the Union, President Obama has developed a new-found admiration for the ability of the U.S. military to get things done. So much so that he's now exhorting all Americans to be more like the military by lining up and marching in lock-step--toward his own political goals.
Soldiers, Obama exhorts us, "are not consumed with personal ambition. They don't obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example."
By "followed their example," Obama means line up and march in lock-step with him in the implementation of his progressive agenda. Personal ambition, Obama says, is bad because it keeps the "we" from accomplishing the mission.
Aside from the fact that the majority of Americans aren’t interested in getting behind Obama as he lurches to the left, the president’s call for everyone to respect his authority is fundamentally at odds with the core of what it means to be free - the core of the American experiment.
Armies of citizens lining up to unquestioningly implement the leader's agenda, personal wants and needs and desires be damned, well, that's North Korea, or the world of the Edward Bellamy's utopian science fiction novel Looking Backward: 2000-1887.
Published in 1887, Bellamy's novel envisioned a world with technology much like we have today, but with society organized as a single unit, the nation being "the sole employer and capitalist." Bellamy called his economic vision "nationalism," rather than socialism.
Obama's modern-day rhetoric lays bare a truth about liberals: They yearn for a world like Bellamy envisioned, in which progressives run the whole system, and the people all fall meekly into the roles assigned to them by their betters. Venture socialism, in other words.
They don't love the military for what it is able to do to keep us free -- they love what they perceive as the reason the military is so effective, the chain of command which prohibits dissent in the pursuit of the strategy from the top. That’s necessary in the heat of battle when you’ve got people in close proximity trying to kill you. Politics isn’t like that, nor should it ever be.
That’s what’s behind the calls you continually hear from liberals to “put politics aside” or to “sacrifice for the greater good.” Naturally, if you’re a moderate, conservative or libertarian, your views on what the greater good should be kept from the public.
Liberals want all of society to function that way -- at least to the extent that it must in order to follow the progressive agenda. They never outright state it but there’s a strong sense of admiration among many prominent figures of the left for authoritarian dictators who are able to impose their will on their citizens.
You can see it in Obama's complaints about having to "negotiate" with Congress on the details of his healthcare plan. You can see it in New York Times columnist Tom Friedman's frequent paens to the communist Chinese government. The authoritarian impulse is also on display in the media’s frequent broadsides against the evils of televised political advertisements, the one place where conservative candidates get to tell their story to mass audiences.
Above all, you see the left at its ugliest in its vicious attempts to silence and intimidate Fox News or libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch for daring to help the right find its political voice.
The unsurprising irony in all of this is how these same liberals who are longing to shove their values down the unwilling throats of Americans are also the same people who were peering around every corner during the presidency of George W. Bush looking for government agents trying to implement a Republican dictatorship. Dissent was patriotic back then, now dissenters need to fall in line and shut up.
Had Bush employed such martial rhetoric in favor of his own policies, the Krugmans and Friedmans of the world would have called it fascism. And they’d have been correct. Unfortunately the sound of Obama doing it merely inspires leg tingles.
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