Nero is believed to have “fiddled,” during the Great Fire of Rome…
And today, as international authorities fret about mounting U.S. government debt and the risk of an ensuing global economic crisis, the most powerful man in the world seems to be in a precarious situation as well. President Barack Obama appears to be clinging not to his lyre, as Nero allegedly did, but to his rigid, narrow, very limited worldview, despite the fact this behavior seems to work against his own self-interests.
Much has been said about the President’s address to the nation last week regarding the U.S. fiscal crisis. The Wall Street Journal called the speech “toxic” and “partisan” (go back and read their succinct analysis if you haven’t already). Charles Krauthammer called it a “disgrace.” Most critics regarded it as political speech, devoid of substantive policy.
No doubt the President had a “political need” to fulfill. Congressional Republicans have in the past few weeks seized the mantle of fiscal responsibility, as the news of our out-of-control government debt has remained top of mind. So he artfully attempted to ride the fence between being President, which requires one to set productive policy, and running a re-election campaign, which requires an incumbent President to appeal to his political “base.”
But President Obama’s speech on the fiscal crisis was not merely political. It was also highly ideological. Despite how counterintuitive it may seem to pursue an expansion of government spending while a good bit of the world is seeking a government “downsizing” (including much of Europe), President Obama’s proposals fit with what we know about him.
The governing philosophy that leads our President to these sorts of proposals has been identified by many different names. Statism, Marxism, Socialism – the Obama agenda arguably contains elements of all of these philosophies, and more.
But rather than trying to connect President Barack Obama to somebody else’s pre-established political philosophy, it’s useful to examine what appear to be the philosophical assumptions with which the President operates. Here are just a couple of the assumptions that currently seem to have engulfed the President: