IMPORTANT CORRECTION: ACCORDING TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES OF JAN 31ST, THE JUDGE WHO RULED THE OABAMACARE LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL DID GIVE PERMISSION TO THE ADMINISTRATION TO CONTINUE IMPLEMENTING IT UNTIL APPEALS ARE HEARD. I WAS UNDER THE IOMPRESSION THAT THE CONVERSE WAS TRUE.
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ERROR ON MY PART (ERROR). IT HAS SIGNIFICANT IMPLICATIONS FOR THE POSTING BELOW. I WAS WRONG TO SAY THAT PRES. OBAMA GOVERNS UNCONSTITUTIONALLY IN THIS CASE. INSTEAD, HE IS ONLY GOVERNING WHILE IGNORING THE DISGUST OF A LARGE FRACTION OF THE POPULATION AND IN SPITE OF THE HANDWRITING ON THE JUDICIAL WALL. PLEASE, DO THE CORRECTIONS YOURSELF IN THE TEXT BELOW.
I THINK PROF. TERRY AMBURGEY FOR DRAWING MY ATTENTION TO THIS ERROR.
We cannot expect President Obama to respond skillfully to the revolution in Egypt, or elsewhere. It would require that he weigh the advisability of supporting the democratic forces now in the street there. This, in turn, would require that he understand the idea of constitutional government. Evidently, he does not. As of a few hours ago, the White House website did not say that all implementation of the 2,000 page “health” bill would be halted. That’s what the recent ruling by a federal judge demands. The law does not say that the administration can keep going until the Supreme Court decides, as it undoubtedly will. If President Obama wants to continue any form of implementation of the relevant law, it’s for his administration to ask the judge for permission. Absent this, he is acting outside the law, his actions are illegal.
I have used the word “fascism” about the Obama administration several times on this blog. Unfortunately, the word has been polluted by a lot of baggage, including by being used mindlessly as an insult by ignorant leftists. I mean the word in its rigorous political-historical term. I have a series of small essays on this topic on this blog. (Look under socio-economic essays.) Moreover, because of the movies, the word tends to evoke jackbooted troopers slapping civilians around. I don’t mean that in reference to the Obama administration. I always try to be intellectually responsible. President Obama’s administration has fascist tendencies in its electoral origins, in its cynically ignoring the clearly expressed popular will on many occasions and now, because it’s governing outside the law. It’s a legitimately elected form of soft fascism.
I know that President Obama is supposed to have taught “constitutional law,”precisely. It makes no difference, Everything is possible in the Wonderland that is academia. The president is an affirmative action wonder from Wonderland. That’s why so many things about him are kept secret. Digression: I have no great interest in his birth certificate but I do wonder why he won’t produce it. He might do it just to embarrass the birthers, for example.
Egypt isn’t much of a mystery. Some Egyptians (I don’t know how many) are clamoring exactly for what you and I have. That shouldn’t be hard to understand except if you don’t know, don’t understand, don’t appreciate what we have: a constitutional democratic government where the rule of law mostly prevailed (until a couple of days ago).
Myself, I have never been to Egypt but I am quite sure you could put me in any large Egyptian city and within minutes, I would be having coffee with five people who think like me on just about everything. (I don’t mean right now, obviously.) This is unavoidable. Millions of Egyptians are better informed than most Americans. That’s because they are more likely to know foreign languages than Americans. They watch what’s happening in the world and they listen all the time. They know they live in a kind of prison and they take it to heart to find out what’s going on on the outside. When they do this, there is no way they won’t crave democracy and the personal freedom it guarantees, and the prosperity that almost always accompanies it. And with prosperity comes an open future, something young Egyptians lack badly in their blocked society.
Most of the demonstrators I have seen on the television appear to be urban, middle-class types, probably also reasonably well educated. Personally, I think it’s a mistake to dismiss the protests of such people. They are usually the ones who start real revolutions. All the same, I wonder where some Egyptians get their baseball bats, Baseball isn’t played in Egypt!
I know, I know, our political class is frightened to death of a repeat of Iran 1979 when a secular strongman was evicted to be replaced by a revolting, reactionary, oppressive, aggressive, and criminal clerical regime. I don’t make light of the threat. The Muslim Brotherhood, mother of all violent jihadists, is a real force in Egypt. It does not mean it’s bound to win. There is no historical destiny.
Yet, the fear of Islamist forces in those countries is not a sufficient reason to ignore the Egyptian longing for democracy. To think otherwise is morally repugnant and it demonstrates a striking lack of political vision. The road ahead is straightforward: Promoting democracy in Arab countries is the right thing to do and it’s good for us in the long run. Democracies don’t kill Americans and they respect American interests.
The only American politicians who understood this in recent decades what President George W. Bush. I think he spoke of the “soft racism of low expectation,” in connection with the Arab World, precisely. He said he would create a second democracy in the Middle East and what he set in motion achieved exactly this although no one seems to be willing to give him the credit. Iraq has a representative government elected by voters who participated in elections in greater number than Americans normally do. The elections were watched by thousands of foreign observers, many of them professional Bush-haters. International observers declared all the recent elections clean. That’s more than you can say for Chicago, or New Orleans, for example. In spite of numerous terrorist challenges the government is respecting the rule of law most of the time. It makes me wonder how well we would do if we were faced by proportionately equivalent terrorism: 40 people assassinated by a car bomb, as happened recently, would translate into more than 400 dead for the US. Look at the beam in your own eye!
A special place on the wall of shame must be reserved for the American media’s approach to the events in Egypt. Without exception, they have demonstrated a lack of moral imagination and an astounding level of sheer ignorance. Incapable of fathoming the real, important things going on in Egypt, news personalities ended up by focusing largely on the trivial issue of Americans trying to get home in a hurry. Several commentators absolutely lost their mind. Greta VanSusteren, of Fox News is a woman I have always known to be level-headed, astute and fair. Yet, I heard her with my own ears say that “…many people are literally running for their lives.” (02/02/11) At the time, there were zero reports of Americans being harmed, or insulted, much less being killed. I cannot help suspect that under this unreason there lies something primitive, quite akin to racism.
I have also been amazed at the inability of the main television and radio networks to produce well-informed commentators with more depth than the inevitable and silly Christina Amenpour of ABC News. I make an exception for National Public Radio, surprisingly, that aired an interesting, long conversation with a Thanassis Combonis. He is a long-time Middle-East correspondent who now writes for the Boston blog.
Myself, I catch everything I can from Fouad Ajami, a Shiite Arab by birth who is a professor at Johns Hopkins University. He is also a man of great moral rectitude. And, of course, one can always watch Al Jazeera in English. Unlike the American media, it gives close shots of the events and it identifies which side is throwing Molotov cocktails on Tahrir Square.