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Obama's “Extreme Makeover” of America

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By [email protected] (Edward Cline) from The Rule of Reason,cross-posted by MetaBlog

It is hard to decide any more which current government-spawned disasters and those to come one should dwell on. As on the popular TV program, ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,“ President Barack Obama is overseeing the demolition of the remnants of a republic that upheld individual rights and of the construction of a socialist “republic.“ The country is “needy,“ he claims, and must be housed in a new habitat, which is looking more and more like a minimum security prison, with all medical records managed by the government, movement monitored by the TSA, diet regulated by the warden, and one’s time spent on guarded work details (otherwise known as chain gangs).

For example, there is the move to draft all Americans into “voluntary” national service -- presumably a servitude with the encouragement of bribes if one submits or promised reprisals if one does not. In Congress, Senate and House Democrats and Republicans are shepherding through legislation which, taken altogether, is pretty much a civilian cradle-to-grave Selective Service System. For example:

“The House passed a bill yesterday; which includes disturbing language indicating young people will be forced to undertake mandatory national service programs as fears about President Barack Obama’s promised ‘civilian national security force’ intensify.

“The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, known as the GIVE Act, was passed yesterday by a 321-105 margin and now goes to the Senate.”

In the Senate, Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, says that bills introduced by Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi, will “create the architecture and the structure that will serve as the invitation to everyone to serve.”

“The legislation would target everyone from schoolchildren to the elderly and aim to create new bases of volunteers beyond the usual young-adult pool of service-program participants, reports
The Day

Accompanying the article on the Senate bills is a propaganda poster straight out of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia: a drawn figure of a youth shouldering a shovel, his upward glance presumably focused on a cause higher than himself. The shovel could be used to dig ditches, or as a club against the recalcitrant, non-volunteer.

What about examining the “spontaneous” demonstrations by scruffy, soup-kitchen caliber “community activists” who take buses to the homes of AIG executives who received some of the $165 million in bonuses that Congress and the news media are frothing at the mouth over? These semi-literate individuals look suspiciously like recruits of ACORN, Obama’s public service alma mater. Wasn’t the list of AIG executives who received bonuses supposed to be confidential to protect the executives from harassment or worse? Are these demonstrators destined to be drafted into Obama’s “civilian national security force,” which he called for in July 2008, and sent to Rahm Emanuel’s Public Service Academy?

Or should one dwell on the possibility that the United States was subjected to a 9/11-style economic attack, one calculated to give Obama and the Democrats the excuse to take initial steps to nationalize the economy? Diana West, in her March 17th article, “Who Attacked Our Economy?” reports that in mid-September 2008, $550 billion was abruptly and unaccountably withdrawn within two hours from the country’s banks and money market funds, precipitating the eventual collapse of virtually every entity, governmental or private, linked to the vast gossamer web of government-sponsored subprime mortgages.

“Who or what was responsible for that electronic run on the banks to the tune of $550 billion?” West asks. Was it George Soros, who hates the freedom that allowed him to amass an incredible fortune, and who acted as Obama‘s chief campaign fund “angel“? A cabal of Russia, China and other countries hostile to the U.S., such as Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, intent on bringing the U.S. into the fascist fold by guaranteeing the election of a man equally hostile to the U.S. and to what is left of its freedoms? Saudi Arabia and Iran in a rare bi-sectarian alliance between them to bring the U.S. into the Islamic sphere of influence by ensuring the election of a more accommodating and apologetic appeaser than was then-President George W. Bush?

Briefly, was Barack Obama some power’s “Manchurian Candidate”? That the electronic run on the banks occurred is beyond doubt. But it remains inexplicable and unreported by both the government and the news media.

Should one dwell on Obama’s proposed “cap and trade” energy policy that would clutter the landscape with wind turbines and solar panel arrays and ensure that Americans become dependent on the whims of the weather and on government management of power, and pay more for it? Or on his education policies, which will be inspired by his lurking left-wing, ex-Weatherman friend, William Ayers, whose “education” philosophy is nothing more than a kindergarten-through-high school curriculum of collectivist indoctrination?

Or, should one comment on Obama’s appearance on Jay Leno’s “The Tonight Show” on March 19th, when Obama did not answer Leno’s query that now that Congress has established the precedent of further violating the Constitution by punishing AIG executives for bonuses their employer was contractually obligated to pay them, what was to prevent Congress from making a habit of it, of targeting private individuals who incur the wrath of do-good sadists in government? In reply, Obama demonstrated that he is the doyen of dissemblers and delivered his usual spiel of vague assurances. He did not answer Leno’s question. Leno may as well have never asked it. And the news media was selectively deaf to it, focusing instead on Obama’s gaffe about the “Special Olympics” of the “disabled.”

A more honest answer to Leno’s question would have been: Nothing, not any more.

It is noteworthy that Obama’s bantering, unscripted comment about the disabled revealed a core contempt for those whom he professes a wish to help. This is characteristic of all professional, career altruists, as Ayn Rand demonstrated in Ellsworth Toohey in her novel, The Fountainhead. Does anyone with a modicum of self-respect believe that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are acting from the milk of human kindness? Say, rather, they speak and act from the venom of malicious hatred for anyone not willing to submit and take orders.

Speaking of the disabled and the “Special Olympics,“ nothing is more obviously “disabled” and “special” than our government-subsidized cultural establishment, and Obama has capped his Creature Feature menagerie of political appointments by naming a half-blind crony, Kareem Dale, as his special assistant to oversee arts and culture. He was also named in February as special assistant for disability policy. He will work with Valerie Jarrett, another of Obama’s Chicago cronies, who heads the Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs.

“’It’s a big step forward in terms of connecting cultural and government with mainstream administration policy,’ said Mr. Ivey said in an interview on Friday…Mr. Ivey, a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said he expected that the job would mainly involve coordinating the activities of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services ‘in relation to White House objectives.’”

What is “mainstream administration policy”? What are the “White House objectives”? One can be certain the policy and the objectives constitute a mandatory wheelchair ramp for federally-funded arts organizations, from local bric-a-brac makers all the way up to Broadway plays and ethnic festivals.

“The challenge for culture boosters in Congress was to convince a House-Senate conference committee that the arts provide jobs as other industries do, while also encouraging tourism and spending in general.

“’We had the facts on our side,’ said Representative Louise M.
, a New York Democrat who is co-chairwoman of the Congressional Arts Caucus. ‘If we’re trying to stimulate the economy, and get money into the Treasury, nothing does that better than art.’”

Come again? What “facts”? Most reality-grounded observers would say that taxed capital investments and capital gains in the productive sector and technological innovations and freedom of trade send most of the money to the Treasury, not to mention stimulate the economy, and not the esoteric, non-objective sallies in “free expression” by dependent, pathetic, no-talent dilettantes of art.

“Taking the Obama past as prelude, there’s a fair amount of evidence to support arts partisans’ hopes for a White House attuned to music, theater, fine arts and dance….On his Facebook page, the president includes Bach’s cello suites and Shakespeare’s tragedies among his favorite works….If the president needs input on the arts, he’s plugged in with a chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who entered Sarah Lawrence College with dreams of becoming a
ballet dancer

These are supposed to assurances that Obama and Company mean well, that they are cultured and wouldn‘t harm a fly? Obama purportedly wrote two books, and attended a performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Kennedy Center and applauded that group‘s meaningless gymnastics and gyrations. Emanuel “dreamed” of becoming a ballet dancer, and, as did many members of FDR’s Brain Trust, purportedly wrote a book about the necessity of government controls on the economy. It is certain that many of his staff and appointees have cultural pretensions, as well, and now may indulge them at taxpayer expense.

I’m sure that Valerie Jarrett and Kareem Dale, together with the National Endowment for the Arts, which will disperse the $50 million to “qualified” individuals, organizations, and states, will endorse the funding of such things as a Muslim production of Mozart’s “The Abduction from the Seraglio” and a WPA-style traveling exhibit of paintings by amateurs employed in pork barrel construction projects.

Well, Hitler once “dreamed” of becoming a famous painter, but had to settle for dictating Mein Kampf in prison (the German Koran, literally) and attending the opera. Stalin, Franco, and other dictators all aspired to contribute “culturally” to their serfs and sycophants and established bureaucracies to ensure that the culture conformed to political dogma.

When the federally-funded cultural “establishment” learned that its cut of the $787 billion “stimulus” bill had been removed from the House version by the Senate, I wrote in an earlier commentary that its spokesmen and lobbyists beat an undignified and hysterical path to Washington and succeeded in having the $50 million reinstated. But, as The Wall Street Journal reported on February 18, “fifty million dollars…is just a bubble on a wave.”

It has occurred to no one, not even to the author of the WSJ article, that the government has no business subsidizing any of the arts; its only legitimate role is to “promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries” (Section VIII of the Constitution). Which means protecting individual rights and intellectual property. There is no mention in that document of funding quilts of cultural diversity or Third World music jamborees or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Taxpayer money has been and now will continue to be used to promote “noncommercial art.” (See Ayn Rand‘s 1973 article, “To Dream the Noncommercial Dream” in The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought for a discussion of the specious arguments of the champions of state-funded art.)

What this country desperately needs is an “extreme makeover” of its governing philosophy. The entire welfare state must be dismantled or be allowed to collapse before we can begin to regain our liberty. And that will take a philosophical revolution.


Cross-posted from Metablog

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The previous post is an embarrassment to Objectivism.

We agree that mandatory service is a reprehensible idea, that the proper role of government is the protection of individual rights, and that a philosophical revolution is needed in this country. I have no issue with that.

"Purportedly" wrote books?! If you claim they didn't write the books, claim it, then back it up. Don't hide behind weasel words.

Calling someone a "dilettante of art" because they wanted to become a ballet dancer, then using that to relate them to Hitler, is a distortion worthy of a Toohey.

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Upon further discussion with West, I'd like to amend my earlier position. I do not think Cline is an embarrassment to Objectivism. However, I find his method hamfisted and his message a bit repetitive and boring. Also, his language at times seems a bit uncaring and dangerous as pointed out by Michael. I don't think this makes him an embarrassment, but I am sick of his articles which seem to say the same thing over and over.

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I haven't read him before. I found the article very interesting. What the article does make me realize is how big the obstacle is facing reason, Objectivism and rational government. The soil has been well prepared and Barack Obama is to be the lucky recipient of the largesse such as it is of the fruits of a nationalized America. I do not see how it can be stopped from happening.

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