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  • Obama as Dean

    Posted by David Foster on May 17th, 2010 (All posts by )

    Obama thinks of himself as a college administrator, and America as a kind of giant campus. So says Victor Davis Hanson:

    …we, the American people, are seen by Obama as a sort of Ivy League campus, with him as an untouchable dean. So we get the multicultural bromides, the constant groupthink, and the reinvention of the self that we see so often among a professional class of administrator in universities (we used to get their memos daily and they read like an Obama teleprompted speech)…On an elite university campus what you have constructed yourself into always matters more than what you have done. An accent mark here, a hyphenated name there is always worth a book or two. There is no bipartisanship or indeed any political opposition on campuses; if the Academic Senate weighs in on national issues to “voice concern,” the ensuing margin of vote is usually along the lines of Saddam’s old lopsided referenda.

    In other words, Obama assumed as dean he would talk one way, do another, and was confident he could “contextualize” and “construct” a differing narrative—to anyone foolish enough who questioned the inconsistency.

    Actually, I think Obama views the vast majority of Americans not as either students or as professors, but as “staff”…people whose function is to serve the institution but are not really a part of it and who are destined to remain permanantly low on the status ladder.

     

    8 Responses to “Obama as Dean”

    1. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Serfs.

    2. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Actually, I prefer MIchael Barone’s image of the Howling Mob that the intellectual left has of the rest of the country.

      Why the reluctance to state the obvious truth, that we’re under attack from terrorists motivated by a radical Islam?
      My theory is that these well-intentioned folk see the American people as a Howling Mob. They think that if Americans find out that Islamists are attacking us, they’ll go out and slaughter innocent Muslims. They think that Americans are incapable of understanding the simple truth that while most terrorists are Islamists, the large majority of Muslims aren’t terrorists.

      This seems to apply to the Arizona law, as well.

      It fits well with the theory that we are all incompetent dopes who can’t even decide what to eat.

    3. veryretired Says:

      It is nearly impossible for the average citizen to comprehend the utter contempt with which the “enlightened” tranzi elites view their lives and their beliefs.

      The true depth of the disdain approaches that of the former aristocratic class for any peasants who appeared to forget their place.

      The political elites’ reactions to the Tea Party movement are very revealing, not of fear, as some have optimistically proposed, but the irritated bafflement and anger of a lord wondering who these dirty, noisy rabble are milling around making trouble instead of being out in the fields working for his benefit like they should be.

      Make no mistake—decades of indifference on the part of the common people have resulted in the development of a ruling class every bit as corrupt and clueless as the worst of the former aristocratic nobility that ruled across much of the world for many centuries.

      What we are seeing in the current set of crises is the confused flailings of a bankrupt aristocracy who cannot understand why none of their previously powerful incantations are having the accustomed effects, and, what’s worse, quite a few members of the subservient class are starting to question their betters’ ideas and motives.

      Once in a great while they let their true feelings slip out, in moments of exasperation, or when they think the audience is congenial. The disconnect between those moments, often spread via internet videos and blog reports, and the smarmy, mealy-mouthed scripted pronouncements that always reflect their phony genuflections toward motherhood and apple pie, is startling enough that they are starting to become significant in the popular culture.

      The main question that looms over all of us is whether or not any significant reform can be accomplished peacefully or requires stronger action on the part of the citizenry.

      These are hazardous times for the republic.

    4. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I am very worried about the future of the country. I remember the survivalism of the Jimmy Carter years and being embarrassed to have him as president when I went out of the country. Comedians made fun of him.

      I still remember liberal entertainer Mark Russell and his song:
      “My name is Jimmy Carter and I always tell the truth,
      “Cause very time I tell a lie, I grow another tooth.”

      I doubt anyone would do such routines today.

      We stored wheat unmilled and freeze dried food but nobody really worried about the country like we do now. We were worried about our survival, not the country’s. I had an office manager who was Mormon. We talked about how to store food (That is part of their religion, as I assume everyone knows) and survival skills but we assumed the country would eventually survive and get inflation under control. I made a lot of money on gold (A lot for me) but it was almost like a game. An auto loan was 18% and my partner built a house during this time. His next door neighbors both built houses at the same time but, when it came time to convert to permanent financing from building loans that had been made six months before, his two neighbors- both professionals, could not qualify for the loans on their custom homes. Both homes were foreclosed and they lost them. Each was about $900,000 in 1980 and the interest rate on first trust deeds was 21%.

      Today, the real estate collapse and the unemployment seem worse. The future does not seem to hold another Reagan, who we could see coming in 1979. The oil companies were villains then but, once Reagan decontrolled oil prices, that crisis dissipated like a puff of smoke.

      Today, a lot of people are really angry and, while November may hold relief, the basic problems are far worse. Jimmy Carter thought he was going to balance the budget and said so. Obama is not interested in that and says so. This is an open ended crisis.

      The lying and profiteering by insiders is feeding a growing anger. I don’t see this going to anti-Semitism because, even though Goldman Sachs is a villain, most people admire Israel and know that Obama is Palestinian in sympathy. Posner’s apologizing for Arizona to China ! for Christ’s sake ! That is so egregious that the consequences will be directed at the Obama minions.

      I don’t know that Harvard is going to gain much from all this. Right now, I am ready to vote down any Harvard product, just on general principles. It applies to both parties as Chris Cox (at times my Congressman) sat asleep at the switch at SEC during the housing bubble. Perhaps he was planning his next elective office. There won’t be any.

      Anyway, when the car bomb goes off in New York, there will be hell to pay.

    5. Ginny Says:

      Everyone speaks of the millenial generation as apathetic; that seems true to me. I wonder if cutting them off from their history has left them untethered – a lot of them know that the history they’ve been taught, the interpretations they’ve heard come from skewed perspectives, but they don’t know what or who to trust – including themselves. It doesn’t take great perception to notice hypocrisy – about women’s rights, about homosexual rights, about energy consumption, about racism – from the left. But noticing hypocrisy doesn’t make us enlist in the other side with fervor. It can make us cynical. The tea parties are fervent, perhaps; I like it that grown ups are running them and picking up after themselves and trying to turn it into productive energy. That’s what grown ups do. But I wonder how many of the 18-24 crowd really understands what they stand in danger of losing.

      The Bill Ayers of the world have affected the thinking of our educators deeply. Today, I listened to the videos that go along with our textbook. They argued that consciousness raising by the border cultures led to an enhanced sense of self, an enhanced tribalism. It has taken us thousands of years to develop a way of looking at the world that allows us some tribal identity but also to work with others, to live under a rule of law that transcends tribalim – and these people want to privilege tribalism, identity. The UN, which one would think would encourage a sense of the universal, an emphasis upon rule of law, does just the opposite.

      And so, in the picture that accompanies the video, are pictures of marchers carrying pictures of Che. And this, I might add, is the least political and the most reverential of American Lit texts we could find. Sure, I don’t teach much of that. And the absurdity of their criticism of the Puritans, who wanted, they claimed, to found a utopian society of perfect people is the kind of thing I satirize in class. Yeah, sure, those believers in TULIP were sure that they could found a perfect society. A good one, sure. They thought, for some strange reason, that a community that was held together by the ligaments of love might be a better example of their beliefs than one held together by tribalism. I love what I teach because it is a chance to make my students look at the words and draw their own conclusions. And to be grateful for those who went before us. But, this is not the aim of much in education and the ability to do that is not something that this government prizes. Notice that Obama was upset with modern technology for giving too much “information” – information rather than “empowerment.” Well, yes, a lot of the bull shit empowerment is done by shortchanging the amount of information imparted.

    6. Ed Darrell Says:

      What contempt for Americans, and for American government, Hanson shows!

      Obama started out as an organizer of people with very little power, as an extreme outsider. How much more rational it would be to think Obama views Americans as citizens who have choices facing them to overcome very real problems facing them.

      Try thinking of Americans as real people, the world starts making a lot more sense — and Obama’s policies don’t seem quite so sinister.

      The fault, dear ChicagoBoyz, is not in our stars.

    7. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Obama started out as an organizer of people with very little power, as an extreme outsider.

      How did he do ? He left pretty fast when offered a job by the slum lords that ran the law firm he joined. THen he got into Harvard Law, how we don’t yet know, and moved on.

      Ed, you are still in thrall to a failed vision of history. Marx was wrong.

    8. tehag Says:

      “Obama started out as an organizer of people with very little power, as an extreme outsider”

      Please, go away. We’ve had enough comparisons of Obama to Hitler, Mao, and Lenin. He’s not either of them, though he admires their work. Hitler, Mao, Lenin and other outsider organizers didn’t attend Columbia or Harvard, didn’t AA their way through life. The worked hard and paid real dues to achieve their power. By comparison, Obama is a faded photo.