Monday, March 9, 2009

Mass Movement

Under the headline "Obama musters campaign army for economic fight" comes this little gem:

US President Barack Obama mustered his powerful campaign army on Monday, calling on his millions of supporters to lobby on behalf of his budget and economic plan.

The appeal to back the president was made in an email and video sent out by "Organizing for
America," the organization which morphed out of Obama's campaign machinery to push his agenda when he entered the White House.

In the video, Mitch Stewart, the director of Organizing for America, urged the president's supporters to take part in the "Organizing for America Pledge Project."

This is breaking new ground in the realm of demagoguery. How naive I was back in the nineties in thinking that Bill Clinton would mark the low point for the political culture--that the only direction possible was up. Now we see that Bill and Hillary, with their non-stop scandal, and lowering of every dimension of the presidency and electoral politics were like cut-ups in grade school, passing notes and chewing gum in class, compared to this new hard left radical taking over the administration building and planting bombs under Che Guevara flags.

Actually, this is maybe less demagoguery than taking a page from the Caesars who presided over the death of the Roman Republic. First offer the rabble bread and circuses, then mobilize them against the state enemies opposed to giving it up for their protectors. This is bringing forward the worst aspect of the ancient popular governments--lessons learned long ago, and emphatically warned against by Madison across the Federalist Papers and many of his other writings. But the New New Left has nothing to learn from antiquity, the Founders, or even the 1930's. Their historical and philosophical ignorance is dooming the nation to the sentence of George Santayana--repeating history by being ignorant of it.

Aristotle taught that democracies will survive only as long as the "worthy multitude" exceeds in number and influence the "rabble". We're going to see what we're made of in this era of Obama.

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