Friday, March 26, 2010

Obama's War on Success

There is method to Obama's madness. He may not know it; he may not even know the meaning or repercussions of his actions, but he is defining his presidency as an effort to shame and stigmatize success.

If he does not know what he is doing, then he is an instrument for propagating an ideology. Whether he knows it or not, he is not merely trying to redistribute wealth, he is also trying to redistribute pride.

Since this is supposed to make those lacking in pride and self-esteem feel better about themselves, without doing anything to earn it, this counts in some quarters as therapy.

Obama's treatment of the Israeli Prime Minister is the latest, and one of the more flagrant, examples. The President of the United States humiliated, shamed and stigmatized the Prime Minister of Israel, and, by extension, the nation of Israel. Treating Netanyahu like pariah has method and purpose to it. Whether Obama understands it or not, it has a meaning that goes beyond any intention.

Obama may have felt piqued because Netanyahu refused to accept his demands. He may have taken personal offense at a failure to show proper obeisance and subservience. Perhaps he is so small minded that he feels he must throw a tantrum to show who's the boss.

Whatever he meant, the gesture means something. It resonates on the world stage and produces consequences, intended or not.

In the Arab world, among the European intelligentsia, with groups that have long since joined the Palestinian cause and declared Israel the problem, not the solution, people understood that Obama was delegitimating the nation of Israel, and, more importantly, stripping it of its pride.

Israelis are rightfully proud of what they have achieved. They have earned their place among the world's most prosperous and free industrial democracies. To Obama their pride does not really belong to them; it is not illegitimate. To right the wrong Obama is trying to take it from them.

We can understand this by asking a few questions. What is the greatest problem in the Middle East: Israeli success or Arab failure?

If you humiliate and stigmatize Israel, if you place the onus for the continued conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors on the Jewish state, you are saying that Israeli success is the problem, and that the solution is to spread the wealth and pride around.

Thereby Obama has enacted the disgraceful canard that says that Israel's success took place at the expense of the Palestinians. Israelis did not build a great nation; they stole it from the Palestinians.

If that is true, then Israel must be punished. Only then will social justice be established in the Holy Land. As we know, in Obama's mind everything that is wrong with the world is summed up by the concept of social injustice.

Moreover,Obama's actions declare that Israeli success caused the Palestinians and other Middle Eastern Arab states to lose their pride and self-esteem. If these states and peoples feel embarrassed or ashamed at the comparison between their failure and Israel's success, the fault, according to Obama's gestures, lies with Israel. And if Arab shame is causing Arab intransigence, then the cure for that shame is to diminish Israel's pride.

Ask yourself this: Is the real problem Israeli settlements or Palestinian refugee camps? Is the problem what the Israelis build or what the Palestinians have not built? Is the failure of Palestinians to build homes for their people the fault of Israel?

Which would be more constructive; punishing Israel for housing its citizens or helping the Palestinians to build housing for its community?

Obama's war on success extends beyond his efforts to humiliate Israel. He has also set out to humiliate Wall Street bankers and employees of investment banks like Goldman Sachs. Again, he acts as though people can only become rich at someone's expense.

High taxes produce more social justice. If Wall Street bankers are rich while others are poor, Obama believes that they are thieves. To a point, that can be solved by taxing them, and perhaps eventually by confiscating their wealth.

But Obama also believes that the rich need to be shamed, to be humiliated, to be stigmatized, to lose their status, their reputations, and the pride they have gained from achievement.

Now, wealthy liberals do not really care if their taxes go up. When you are Warren Buffett or George Soros no tax bill will have any real effect on your lifestyle. Being rich and liberal means that you are so rich that your tax bill is chump change. More than that, it feels like another gift to charity. And that extra gift should establish your extra moral virtue.

Will any of this change when wealthy liberals begin to understand that Obama is not just interesting in increasing their marginal tax rates? He resents their success and considers it, like the success of Israel, to be thinly disguised thievery. So he does not just want to take their money. He wants to take their pride. He wants to humiliate them, to shame them, and to diminish their reputations.

Now we are waiting to see if they understand what is going on and if they are willing to let him get away with it.

No comments: