My purpose in writing this post is to reveal and challenge the Leftist thought bubble in which Barack Obama lives. Before I get to that point, however, I want to give you a little look at the on-the-ground effects that bubble has on those who are exposed only to Leftist thought.
At American Thinker, John Kenneth Press shares with readers a letter he received from someone who was with him throughout the PhD program at NYU. He thought she was a friend. He was wrong. As she explains, he was not worthy of friendship because he had committed thought-crimes, which meant that she was sullying her “global citizen” soul by consorting with him. Please note that this gal wasn’t accusing Press of serious things such as advocating genocide, or pedophilia, or racial superiority, or any of the other big no-nos. Instead, he had the temerity to say, both in person and in his book, that multiculturalism isn’t a good idea. She responded this way:
In the process of becoming a doctoral candidate my bubble was burst and I began to realize that the relational framework in which I lived in was not enough and I have begun to take responsibility for the political consequences and social implications of my own thoughts and actions. This shedding of my more provincial self, therefore, lead to a more nuanced look at my associations and actions. I could no longer approve-by-association your public work to rally against building a mosque downtown, your concept of Americanization, your tea-party work, blog postings, etc. I had to begin to consider our relationship not fraternally but as colleagues.
So frankly I cannot approve of your politics and maintain my own personal integrity as a global citizen. I apologize if this sounds hurtful as I do have a tender spot for you. I feel as if we grew up together in a certain sense – bumping into the sharp edges within this rabbit hole called NYU. I fondly remember the steps we traveled together; I am grateful for the company at the time; and I wish you well in the future.
What will leap out at most-people is the narrow, angry, provincialism that this woman expresses, neatly wrapped up in high moral sentiment. When struck me, though, was what an execrable writer she is. It’s hard to imagine more awkward, pompous, bombastic, disorganized writing. She is, in other words, the perfect PhD product of modern academia. What should strike fear into your heart is the thought that, if computers take over grading standardized tests, all our young people will be taught to aspire to this type of writing. Computers like long words and long sentences, and have little regard for logic, intelligibility, or simple human decency.
That gal’s condescending, pious, hate-filled screen reinforces what I’ve said before regarding the muddled, turgid opinions that liberal judges write: the only way to fight common sense, law, and logic is to write badly. Bad writing can have a superficial lucidity, but it will invariably collapse under the weight of logical scrutiny.
All of which gets me to Barack Obama’s reading material, revealed when he gave an “in-depth” interview to Rolling Stone magazine. Daniel Halper has already called Obama out for his Alinsky-esque attack on Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist in that same interview. Before 2008, no president would ever have done that. Even Richard Nixon was careful to keep his enemies list private. This viciousness, though, is vintage Obama, so it irritates, but doesn’t surprise.
What also shouldn’t surprise is Obama’s description of his reading and viewing material, a list that puts him in sync with 100% of America’s college educated Progressives. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting, since it’s a laundry list of writers and performers who are distinguished by their fealty to the liberal canon, even if that puts them at odds with facts and logic.
What do you read regularly to keep you informed or provide you with perspectives beyond the inner circle of your advisers?
[Laughs] Other than Rolling Stone?
That goes without saying.
I don’t watch a lot of TV news. I don’t watch cable at all. I like The Daily Show, so sometimes if I’m home late at night, I’ll catch snippets of that. I think Jon Stewart’s brilliant. It’s amazing to me the degree to which he’s able to cut through a bunch of the nonsense – for young people in particular, where I think he ends up having more credibility than a lot of more conventional news programs do.
I spend a lot of time just reading reports, studies, briefing books, intelligence assessments.
I’ll thumb through all the major papers in the morning. I’ll read the Times and Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, just to catch up.
Do you read Paul Krugman?
I read all of the New York Times columnists. Krugman’s obviously one of the smartest economic reporters out there, but I also read some of the conservative columnists, just to get a sense of where those arguments are going. There are a handful of blogs, Andrew Sullivan’s on the Daily Beast being an example, that combine thoughtful analysis with a sampling of lots of essays that are out there. The New Yorker and The Atlantic still do terrific work. Every once in a while, I sneak in a novel or a nonfiction book.
Talk about a bubble. As a reformed liberal, and one who lives with a committed liberal, I’m familiar with every one of Obama’s intellectual and ideal influences. Jon Stewart is an obscene clown, who titillates his liberal audience with f-bomb laden riffs lauding Progressives and attacking conservatives.
The New York Times and the Washington Post are Democrat Party mouthpieces.
I suspect that Obama threw in the WSJ reference to burnish his intellectual chops. Nothing he’s ever said or done is consistent with an understand of even the most basic market principles. Of course, he could read the WSJ to figure out what will improve the market, so that he can do the opposite. That might explain a lot….
Paul Krugman? I actually owe Paul Krugman big time. It was the increasing incoherence of his columns that helped me discover the conservative blogosphere. I used to be a Krugman faithful. As the Bush presidency progressed, though, I found it harder and harder to make sense of his columns. The words made sense, and sometimes so did the sentences. Nevertheless, the logical progression I expect from any argument (“if A and B, then C”) was lacking in Krugman’s posts. Either the facts were wrong, or the A+B=C part was missing. I went searching for more coherent, realistic material, and found it at temperate, thoughtful sites such as Power Line, National Review, the Weekly Standard, and IBD.
Andrew Sullivan? I became familiar with his work when he wrote for The New Republic. I stopped reading that magazine about a year after he took over. His shrillness permeated what had once been a thoughtful liberal magazine. Sullivan is now distinguished for his obsession with Sarah Palin, something that borders on an insane monomania; and for his relentless hostility to Israel. It’s telling that he is one of Obama’s favorite writers.
The New Yorker? Tina Brown destroyed it. It used to be a magazine that veered between sophisticated frivolity and eclectic seriousness, all with a light liberal gloss. It’s now a hardcore Leftist magazine that savaged George Bush, and that now provides a happy home for the execrable Seymour Hersh and the AGW obsessed Elizabeth Kolbert. No wonder, then, that the magazine, which once wrote charmingly about eccentric art collectors, and mad scientists, uses ignorance to try to take down gun rights in America.
The Atlantic still has its moments. Few and far between, but they’re there, so Obama gets a pass for that one.
To the extent that Obama reads “conservative columnists,” I’m sure they rejoice in the names of David Brooks, David Frum, and Kathleen Parker.
All of the people Obama mentions have the gloss of good writing. Unlike the PhD gal whose letter opened this post, they keep pomposity to a minimum, understand basic grammatical principles, and have good editors. However, all of them fall down when it comes to logic. In a collision between theory and reality, theory always wins. The result is that their writing is consistently distinguished by factual misstatements or by logical contortions and fallacies, since those are the only way in which they can force their conclusions.
Everyone likes to live in a bubble. Everyone likes to read materials that confirm their own world views. Conservatives, however, work to understand the opposition by ready opposition materials. Obama demonstrates that, like the young woman who opened this essay, he is incapable of any sort of interaction with people whose views challenge his own. And here’s the scary thing: She’ll go on to teach the next generation and he, unless we rally like crazy behind Romney, will be president for another four years.
If you’re having problems with Romney (and I’m not, since I believe in yielding with good grace to a decent inevitable), John Hinderaker lavishes praise on Romney’s speech last night, and then has this to say about Romney himself:
As I watch Mitt Romney, this thought also occurs to me: Romney is sometimes criticized as “inauthentic,” but this is radically incorrect. As a politician, he has had to tack with the winds from time to time, like anyone else. But as a person, Romney is hugely authentic. His persona is no mystery: he is a Dad. We have all known men like Mitt Romney. We may think they are square and out of date; we may roll our eyes if they are occasionally goofy. But when times are tough, in moments of crisis, everyone knows where to turn: we look to leaders of character, competence and decency, like Mitt Romney. I am increasingly confident that in November, Americans will see Mitt Romney as just what we need after four years of Barack Obama’s incompetence.
UPDATE: And here’s more on Obama’s life in the bubble, as well as its deleterious effects on his already sour and arrogant personality.