July 7, 2010
by Victor Davis HansonThe Hope and Change Edicts
What are we to make of our current NASA chief, the distinguished retired Marine Corps major general and astronaut, Charles Bolden, who, in an interview with al Jazeera, listed a “foremost” NASA objective as finding “a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”?
All of this, Bolden adds, expands the Obama “Cairo initiative,” those lofty revisionisms that the president offered to the Muslim world last summer in Cairo.
Surely, there is some mistake? Did a right-wing satirist hijack the transcript and insert “to help them feel good”? the rest
“We are the moment we’ve been waiting for” means that federal officials no longer worry about their tasks within their job description, but, in varying degrees and according to their station, must chant along in a holistic revolutionary process, one that sees traditional American strength as weakness, and sympathizes with those abroad who feel wronged by America. At home, the government is now on occasion one with those who break federal law for revolutionary purposes, against those who have capital and have found success. The law becomes malleable while the rhetoric reflects the higher calling of social justice.Excellent comment #9-below
As always, well done and thorough. Perhaps I can add just a bit around the margins.
Suppose a hostile power was determined (and many are)–short of outright, open warfare–to destroy the United States, to completely discredit capitalism and democracy and to turn Americans into simpering, helpless, state-dependent drones who care only about immediate pleasures and the all knowing state that provides them. How would they proceed differently than Barack Obama and his merrily marxist acolytes?
What we’re seeing is neophytes at work, not amateurs, but neophytes. Many don’t understand the distinction, but an important distinction it is. Neophytes are beginners, those without the experience, knowledge and specific skills necessary to accomplish the job. Amateurs do what they do because they love doing it. They may have few skills and little experience, or they may also be highly skilled, professional even, but because they do not derive their living from their efforts, they are not professionals. Neophytes are always beginners, beginners because they know little or nothing and can do little or nothing.
Those who have lived awhile, and who were willing to do a bit of research and/or pay attention during the campaign quickly learned that Barack Obama was neophyte at everything he ever did. He reached adulthood without achieving even amateur status in any endeavor. Oh yes, he was a community organizer, but even he admitted in one of his two (?!) autobiographies that he could not explain to his close friends what a community organizer was or did. He awoke each morning and went to work–where, exactly? He was paid by–whom, exactly? He produced–what, exactly? His turn as manager of the Chicago Annenberg challenge was an abject failure and wasted tens of millions of dollars, even according to the very, very liberal Annenberg foundation. Despite being trained as an attorney (and no one seems to know or be able to discover just how that came about or was funded–as I understand it, graduate credit at Harvard is a bit pricey), he apparently never practiced law, opting instead to be a community organizer, organizing who–or what–exactly? No one seems to know and Obama isn’t talking. Consider what your average white person (to use Obama’s own commentary about his grandmother) thinks, quite reasonably, of an adult who has obtained no useful knowledge or skills.
He was an Illinois state legislator with no legislative record apart from repeatedly voting the equivalent of “I’m not really voting.” On the strength of his non-performance as an Illinois Senator, he became a US Senator and compiled essentially the same legislative record, and on the the strength of his non-accomplishments in the US Senate, became POTUS. His arrival in the Oval Office was truly historic, for on the day he arrived, he became, to my knowledge (please correct me if I’m wrong, Dr. Hanson), the only man to hold that office who was a complete neophyte, in the denotative and connotative senses of the word. He was a man who had accomplished nothing in his life apart from being elected three times. He has at least some credentials, but has apparently never applied them. In winning the presidency, he’s like the wildly barking dog who finally caught the car, but has no idea what to do beyond continue barking.
So what’s the point? Barack Obama has “worked” only two jobs, both nebulous, both producing nothing, both requiring only one extremely narrow skill set. His entire life, only two things have been required of him, the charisma of the con man/hustler, and closely related, a certain way with rhetoric. Combine this with the fervor of the statist/socialist/communist true believer, and a debilitating, destructive narcissism of a kind seldom seen outside the lesser mental institutions, and people like Mr. Bolden are not at all surprising.
Obama knows only the hustle and rhetoric about hope and change, reaching out, building bridges and every other liberal cliche’ extant. With that skill set, he is fit to be a community organizer and to campaign for public office. He is fit because everything relating to those endeavors is temporary, here today, gone after the election. Promises made are forgotten, commitments misplaced, alliances dropped, and it doesn’t matter…unless you win. And he did and he knows only what he knew as a community organizer, so he surrounds himself with the kinds of people a hustler knows and needs, the kinds of fellow hustlers and con men with whom he feels comfortable. And most of them know only what he knows, despite having some superficially impressive qualifications. He is a man who is undisciplined (he’s never held a solid job, never discharged substantial responsibilities), focused entirely on himself (hustlers survive only on charisma and rhetoric), has never developed the habits and skills of patience and perseverance and has a very short temper and very short attention span. Combine this with no apparent knowledge of history, economics, management, government, human nature, theology, you name it, and we end up with the kinds of true believers and fools surrounding the neophyte in chief.
And so Obama, in those moments when he can focus his ever wandering and transitory attention, governs as a community organizer, a neophyte with no skills, no abilities and no experience (no, charisma and rhetoric don’t count–they don’t stop or clean up oil spills or face down despots determined to kill us). And because of his narcissism and towering arrogance, he hires only those who, if not smaller than himself, will at least never challenge him. Remember his aids, shortly after his inauguration, complaining that Obama didn’t understand how stressful the job would be? Indeed. This is not a man who is capable of recognizing what he doesn’t know, to say nothing about taking the steps necessary to educate himself, to grow, as they say, in office. And so, he continues to hustle and to organize, to do what he knows, and to use the stirring, uplifting, but ephemeral rhetoric of the hustler/organizer. And thus does NASA strive to make Muslims feel warm and fuzzy about the basic scientific accomplishments of ancestors of millennia past. Thus would NASA partner with peoples and nations whose are so bereft of scientific/technical knowledge and ability that they cannot so much as design and manufacture a toaster. But hey, it’s outreach. It’s building bridges. It’s embracing diversity and multiculturalism.
And in the meantime, the real world, the world of professionals, of responsible, capable adults, flows inexorably past America, taking with it our wealth, our security, our sovereignty, our national identity, our freedoms, and perhaps, our lives. But one day, we may succeed in putting a jihadist on Mars. Now that would be community organizing outreach, historic, even.