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Publius

Obama's Anti-Americanism

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He brings up the ideals of the Founding Fathers but inverts/obfuscates their meaning to sell his anti-American agenda.

Can you say what part of his agenda is anti-American?

They have also had it hammered into their head that politics consists of deciding which interest group gets what from the government, and that our government is here to provide for the general welfare

Isn't there a provision in the US Constitution that grants the Legislative branch responsibility to provide for the general welfare? I think its also in the Preamble.

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Can you say what part of his agenda is anti-American?
"American", used in this context, means: in the spirit of upholding individual rights in their proper sense. Not this:

Quotes:

The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, as least as it's been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted in the same way that, generally, the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted.
Edited by softwareNerd

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"American", used in this context, means: in the spirit of upholding individual rights in their proper sense. Not this:

So the quote has Obama saying that it was good the Warren Court did not get into that business of redistributing wealth. Sounds good to me.

So America has never been about striving for the betterment of the country as a whole, only the protection of individual rights?

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So the quote has Obama saying that it was good the Warren Court did not get into that business of redistributing wealth.

No... in this quote Obama expresses his criticism. He finds it regretful that it did not. He wishes it did.

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No... in this quote Obama expresses his criticism. He finds it regretful that it did not. He wishes it did.

I think if you read closer, you'll find that is not what he was saying at all. Of course, you'll need to know the context of the quote. Your misinterpretation stems from how this quote was twisted and lifted from context. Here is a larger portion of the interview where this comes from, where you can see more about what he is talking about. You'll see he is discussing the civil rights movement and how many over-relied on the courts to effect change. He is not talking about how he wished the courts were more involved, and is not even discussing tax policy.

So again, how is Obama anti-American?

Edited by Publius

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Of course, you'll need to know the context of the quote.

I know this quote very well.. in it's full context. The misinterpretation is on your part.

"one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil rights movement, was because the civil rights movement became so court focused..."

Yes such a tragedy that it stayed in-sinc with the rights protecting law.

"the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf"

He is a lawer! This is not an error of knowledge.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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I know this quote very well.. in it's full context. The misinterpretation is on your part.

Obama said that the civil rights movement relied too much on the courts in its efforts to bring about political and economic justice. He thought they should have been more focused on community organizing to mobilize people. Any other way of looking at that quote is just a futile attempt at spinning. Him speaking about negative liberties is just in reference to the false expectation that the court should be expected to do things it is not designed to do.

Anyway, I am still wondering why Obama is considered anti-American?

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Obama said that the civil rights movement relied too much on the courts in its efforts to bring about political and economic justice. He thought they should have been more focused on community organizing to mobilize people. Any other way of looking at that quote is just a futile attempt at spinning. Him speaking about negative liberties is just in reference to the false expectation that the court should be expected to do things it is not designed to do.

Anyway, I am still wondering why Obama is considered anti-American?

Softwarenerd explain it to you.

And you can listen to that interview here. It is you who is evading his meaning.

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Isn't there a provision in the US Constitution that grants the Legislative branch responsibility to provide for the general welfare? I think its also in the Preamble.

NO! You're wrong on this. Here is the actual quote:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

There is a crucial difference between promoting the general welfare (i.e. creating an environment where men are free, individual rights are respected, and there is the rule of law) and "providing for the general welfare", i.e. becoming a welfare state.

Edited by gags

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It is you who is evading his meaning.

Seems we'll have to differ on that, but I can't see how a person thinking rationally could take it to mean what you think it means. And seeing how most people never brought it up again it once it was out of the headlines (headlines in conservative media that is), I think the whole thing was much ado about nothing cooked up by people with ulterior motives.

NO! You're wrong on this. Here is the actual quote:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

There is a crucial difference between promoting the general welfare (i.e. creating an environment where men are free, individual rights are respected, and there is the rule of law) and "providing for the general welfare", i.e. becoming a welfare state.

I'm not sure how you arrived at the definition of "promote", but since the founding fathers did not more clearly define what they meant, it is open to interpretation. I suppose they could have been more explicit, but it looks like they wanted to allow future generations to think for themselves a little bit. Luckily they bring it up again, using the language that you say authorizes the welfare state. Section 8 of Article one reads in part: "The Congress shall have Power To...provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States..."

How is Obama anti-American?

Edited by Publius

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Seems we'll have to differ on that, but I can't see how a person thinking rationally could take it to mean what you think it means. And seeing how most people never brought it up again it once it was out of the headlines (headlines in conservative media that is), I think the whole thing was much ado about nothing cooked up by people with ulterior motives.

It is clear to me that you are an intellectually dishonest person. Our exchange here is done.

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I'm not sure how you arrived at the definition of "promote", but since the founding fathers did not more clearly define what they meant, it is open to interpretation. I suppose they could have been more explicit, but it looks like they wanted to allow future generations to think for themselves a little bit. Luckily they bring it up again, using the language that you say authorizes the welfare state. Section 8 of Article one reads in part: "The Congress shall have Power To...provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States..."

Jefferson did have an opinion as to the interpretation of "general welfare." I found this quote here:

"Our tenet ever was... that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated, and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money." --Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 1817. ME 15:133

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I'm not sure how you arrived at the definition of "promote", but since the founding fathers did not more clearly define what they meant, it is open to interpretation.
The defined what they meant in their other writings prior to and subsequent to the drafting of the Constitution. Nate T. pointed you to a statement from Jefferson that makes it quite clear as to what was meant. Are you now going to declare that Jefferson's words are "open to interpretation"?

Luckily they bring it up again, using the language that you say authorizes the welfare state. Section 8 of Article one reads in part: "The Congress shall have Power To...provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States..."
Section 8 is pretty explicit in enumerating the specific areas for which the Congress can lay and collect taxes, etc... to promote the general welfare. This was not an open invitation to tax and spend in the manner of today's politicians and the modern welfare state.

How is Obama anti-American?
The man is a statist and he holds little or no regard for individual property rights. That makes him anti-American because he promotes government policies and ideas that run counter to the principles upon which this nation was founded.

Here's another useful quote from Jefferson that you should take to heart:

"Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure." --Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823. ME 15:450

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The defined what they meant in their other writings prior to and subsequent to the drafting of the Constitution. Nate T. pointed you to a statement from Jefferson that makes it quite clear as to what was meant. Are you now going to declare that Jefferson's words are "open to interpretation"?

Who is this "they" you are referring to? Were all the founding fathers in uniform agreement about what this country should be about? Absolutely not. Why only pay attention to the writings of Jefferson, the Anti-Federalist? What about Hamilton, Jay, Madison, etc? Understand that not everyone got their say in what the Constitution ultimately became. It is a document of compromise, recognizing the inevitable differences of opinion, and it resolved those differences in a satisfactory way for almost everyone. It is not a document that reflects the views of the Federalists or the Anti-Federalists, but a mixture of the two.

Section 8 is pretty explicit in enumerating the specific areas for which the Congress can lay and collect taxes, etc... to promote the general welfare. This was not an open invitation to tax and spend in the manner of today's politicians and the modern welfare state.

No, lets' get it right: to provide for the general welfare. And it means whatever the Congress, that we elect by the way, deems it should mean, subject to the limits of the Constitution. It was written purposely vague so that the national legislature could decide for itself at any point in the future what it considered in the general welfare of the nation. As the world grew more complex, it was obvious the purview of the federal government was going to have to change.

The man is a statist and he holds little or no regard for individual property rights. That makes him anti-American because he promotes government policies and ideas that run counter to the principles upon which this nation was founded.

Name me a president in the last 100 years, hell since Jefferson, that wasn't a statist. All have interceded in the personal, social or economic matters of individual citizens when it was in the state's interest to do so.

It is clear to me that you are an intellectually dishonest person. Our exchange here is done.

And I would say the same. Although I find it peculiar that you quote TR in your signature. TR was a huge statist.

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I explained in the opening post. In fact, the theme of the whole essay is that Americans have just elected an anti-American President.

I didn't see anything specifically saying why he was anti-American, just things you disagreed with him about. You basically said that the only way to be an American is to be an Objectivist.

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And I would say the same. Although I find it peculiar that you quote TR in your signature. TR was a huge statist.

That's borderline ad hominem and a ridiculous attempt at discrediting Michelle by way of hypocrisy anyways. If I say that I like a quote by Aristotle or Thomas Jefferson it does not imply that I am also in favor of slavery or an in agreement with any other view then the one I claim to like. A poor attempt at a poor fallacy. Show some class.

And incidentally your nominalist approach to reinterpretation of reality is translucent. The man said:

"If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples, so that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order, and as long as I could pay for it, I’d be OK."

"But," Obama said, "The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, as least as it's been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted in the same way that, generally, the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted."

Obama added, "one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil rights movement, was because the civil rights movement became so court focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change, and in some ways, we still stuffer from that."

Read the verbiage. There is no way you could possibly read that and keep in mind even the smallest amount of context regarding his desires and efforts to create this "economic justice," and still believe that he is not opposed to restrictions on the government.

He is saying, in very simple language, redistribution of wealth is unfortunately disallowed by the consitution and to redistribute wealth it will be necessary to do so through collecting enough power to make these changes in a political fashion. Now if it is not too much, keep in mind that this was said by a man who collected power with ACORN to force banks to redistribute wealth which then got him elected to the highest political office in the land.

Now it's your turn. Rewrite his statement with soe realistic context of his past actions as a defense of property rights.

Edited by aequalsa

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How is Obama anti-American?

He is rejecting the principles this country was founded on and became great by in every area:

Economically, he is against the principles of limited government and economic freedom, which are the principles that made America prosperous and powerful.

In politics, he is rejecting open conversation, by attacking everyone criticizing him as racist (he is the first politician in ages to object to a political cartoon) and meaningful discourse by resorting to a slogan as empty as one can be, and promises as vague as they can be.

In law, his career as a community activist was spent circumventing and abusing the laws of this country, especially property-rights, pressuring businesses and people into accepting so-called "rights" minorities and the poor have, without asserting and defending those claims in a court of law.

In foreign relations, he is abandoning the moral right and obligation the American government has to defend its citizens.

In government, area in which by the way he only has a three day history as of yet, he already refused to disclose information the American people are entitled to about the functioning of the Executive Branch, he already violated procedures he was committed to, mandating that no lobbyists should be allowed into gov. jobs related to their former employers' area of business. He has already used the "it is in the public interest, so no further explanation is needed" argument.

In philosophy, he is rejecting individualism, personal responsibility, and the sense of life by which Americans have, through the ages, thought for themselves, and lived and fought for their own freedom and happiness. Instead, he is promoting sacrifice and collectivism, and a sense of life by which one has a duty primarily to his fellow man and community, and by which one lives by society's judgment, and expects society to support him in whatever he feels he is entitled to pursue.

And yes, that's about as un-American as it gets. (and, though not necessarily on a conscious level, anti-American.)

[edit]

Those are only a few of the acts he committed, and traits he has, which I am asserting are anti-American. By American I mean that collection of traits which fundamentally define this great nation and its government, throughout their 250 year history.

I will wait for the dust to settle before I make the case that he is also anti-American based on the anti-American activists and demagogues he is in the process of naming into key offices of the government.

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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Who is this "they" you are referring to? Were all the founding fathers in uniform agreement about what this country should be about? Absolutely not. Why only pay attention to the writings of Jefferson, the Anti-Federalist? What about Hamilton, Jay, Madison, etc?
OK, lets do that. Here is Madison from Federalist No. 45:

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and the properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the States."

No, lets' get it right: to provide for the general welfare. And it means whatever the Congress, that we elect by the way, deems it should mean, subject to the limits of the Constitution. It was written purposely vague so that the national legislature could decide for itself at any point in the future what it considered in the general welfare of the nation. As the world grew more complex, it was obvious the purview of the federal government was going to have to change.

What you are doing is taking that single phrase, ignoring the context, and using it to discredit and reinterpret the entire document. The Constitution was not a grand compromise, at least not in the way you mean it. All of those assembled were united behind the idea that that the governing principle behind the Constitution was the limitation on the power of government. The powers are enumerated. They were not left open ended and vague so that future generations of elected officials could use a document created to ensure the survival of liberty to enslave the population. Or, as Madison put it in Federalist No. 48:

"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of government would be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistry as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectively checked and restrained by the others."

Obviously, that power was not as well checked as he had hoped, but if you focus on the notion that the US was 'founded on free principles,' you cannot come away with the idea that the founders meant for the state to be the 'provider' of the general welfare.

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Who is this "they" you are referring to? Were all the founding fathers in uniform agreement about what this country should be about? Absolutely not. Why only pay attention to the writings of Jefferson, the Anti-Federalist? What about Hamilton, Jay, Madison, etc? Understand that not everyone got their say in what the Constitution ultimately became. It is a document of compromise, recognizing the inevitable differences of opinion, and it resolved those differences in a satisfactory way for almost everyone. It is not a document that reflects the views of the Federalists or the Anti-Federalists, but a mixture of the two.
Let's do it this way. Since you're making the claim, why don't you provide some quotes from the Founders that show they believed the government should be involved in violating individual rights and engaging in the activities of the modern welfare state?

And it means whatever the Congress, that we elect by the way, deems it should mean, subject to the limits of the Constitution. It was written purposely vague so that the national legislature could decide for itself at any point in the future what it considered in the general welfare of the nation.
That's ridiculous. Congress can decide that the Constitution means whatever it wants it to mean subject to the limits of the Constitution. What if Congress decides that the limits are meaningless? Why bother having a Constitution?

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Now it's your turn. Rewrite his statement with soe realistic context of his past actions as a defense of property rights.

He is saying is that "wealth redistribution" is not guaranteed by the constitution, so it would constitute a radical shift in the way we view the constitution for a court to require wealth to be redistributed. That says nothing about what a legislator or executive can do in regards to positive public programs, and the resulting behavior of lower courts. The essential point: The constitution is such that it restrains the government, the Warren court wasn't radical because it's ruling are compatible with this view.

Positive public programs are neither constitutionally required nor flatly unconstitutional, they are a matter of legislation.

Now as to Obama on property rights, here he is in his book Audacity of Hope: "Our Constitution places the ownership of private property at the very heart of our system of liberty.... The result of this business culture has been a prosperity that's unmatched in human history.... Our greatest asset has been our system of social organization, a system that for generations has encouraged constant innovation, individual initiative and the efficient allocation of resources."

That's borderline ad hominem and a ridiculous attempt at discrediting Michelle by way of hypocrisy anyways. If I say that I like a quote by Aristotle or Thomas Jefferson it does not imply that I am also in favor of slavery or an in agreement with any other view then the one I claim to like. A poor attempt at a poor fallacy. Show some class.

Sorry, but if Objectivists believe a statist is about the worst thing you can be in politics, I find it profoundly hypocritical that someone would post a quote from one of the most notable statists in American history. At best it is poor form, at worst it is akin to celebrating a quote from FDR or Keynes.

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OK, lets do that. Here is Madison from Federalist No. 45:

The quote you provided says nothing of limiting the power of the state to XYZ, only that it is best for state government to wield that power. Madison waffled back and forth between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.

And here is Madison in the same paper: "It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued; and that no form of government whatever has any other value than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object."

The Constitution was not a grand compromise, at least not in the way you mean it. All of those assembled were united behind the idea that that the governing principle behind the Constitution was the limitation on the power of government. The powers are enumerated.

It is clear to me that it is you who are ignoring the context of the entire constitutional convention and the squabbles that took place. Yes the Constitution limits the powers of the government, nobody would dispute that. But can you possibly believe that the founding fathers saw themselves as omniscient enough to decide what actions would be needed by the government on into the future to ensure the general welfare? They left this purposely vague for a reason, while still limiting the government's power to limit people's freedoms with the Bill or Rights and the checks and balances system.

What I find so vexing is the insistence among Objectivists that America is somehow congruous with Objectivist ideals, when the powers granted to the government to tax and ensure the general welfare are explicitly written into the founding document.

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Positive public programs are neither constitutionally required nor flatly unconstitutional, they are a matter of legislation.

Right. So in your view the Constitution was not meant to dictate what the American Government is or isn't allowed to do. According to your interpretation of the Constitution (and Obama's), the Founding Fathers meant for the American Government to be above the law. (if the supreme law, the Constitution, has nothing to say about the function of the gov., then what does?)

Sorry, but if Objectivists believe a statist is about the worst thing you can be in politics, I find it profoundly hypocritical that someone would post a quote from one of the most notable statists in American history. At best it is poor form, at worst it is akin to celebrating a quote from FDR or Keynes.

Hypocrisy means contradiction between what is said and done, or between two things said. Where is the contradiction in saying that I agree with one thing person X said in one area or on one day, but I disagree with something else he said or did, in another area, or on another day? Couldn't in fact someone say that Teddy was right in that quote, and wrong in an action, and be right in both cases?

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What I find so vexing is the insistence among Objectivists that America is somehow congruous with Objectivist ideals

How can you find vexing something that no one said, but instead you made up, and are now pretending that everyone said it?

Objectivists insist that America is congruous with Objectivism? Which Objectivists insist on that? To my knowledge, all notable Objectivists are on the record saying that the Constitution is imperfect, and that America has been sliding away from even those imperfect individualist principles almost since it was founded.

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