Skip to comments.Is President Obama Liberalism's Gorbachev?
Posted on 01/22/2013 8:12:05 AM PST by Kaslin
Angelo Codevilla has spent more than his share of time as a sojourner among Americas ruling class. He was a key part of the Reagan transition and point-man in the Gippers efforts to transform both the foreign and the intelligence services. Then later he served as a professor of International Relations at prestigious Boston University. From this vantage point, Codevilla was able to get a close look not only at the international relations elite, but at the entire American ruling class, from which the former are overwhelmingly drawn. I had the honor of sitting across a Skype line with Angelo Codevilla recently to talk about his views on foreign policy and on the ruling class in general.
As the ruling class wannabes, has beens, mightve beens and I ams gather for todays inauguration ceremony to offer laud and narcissistic supply to the most perfect exemplar of the ruling class that they have ever seen, Codevillas observations about the rapidly imploding ratio of competence to confidence among Americas elite are a breath of contrarian sanity.
The discussion is available here. Although the first section is devoted to foreign affairs and the second to the ruling class, this column will focus on the second of the two topics. What follows are my notes from the wide ranging and fascinating discussion. I hope you wont limit yourself to my jottings about the conversation, but go on to the conversation itself. The following is a collection of paraphrased quotes from Codevilla.
· The Ruling Class of America is not up to the challenge of leading America in the world, partly because it has engaged for several generations now in a process of reverse merit selection.
· Our ruling class has practiced negative selection for several generations now. I point you to a very, very interesting piece of research by a man called Ron Unz.
· Ron Unz, a wealthy entrepreneur, has just conducted interesting research on the admissions policies of Americas elite universities and has found that there is an iron quota against Asians in these universities: a limit of roughly 16 percent in these universities, even though the proportion of Asians relative to other ethnic groups among high achievers in the country has risen they account for something like 40 percent of high achievers in the national merit scholar competition, national math and science competitions, etc.
· What youve got here is a ruling class in these universities which has perpetuated itself and has become more like itself, and has excluded alien elements. The element most excluded happens to be also the most numerous, which is to say white non-Jewish Americans, and hence the overwhelming majority of high achievers. Yet the percentage of white non-Jewish admittees has continued to drop; there is especially a virtual absence of Christians among these admittees. The point being that this ruling class, which is increasingly styling itself as meritocratic, is anything but meritocratic and has renewed itself by cooption.
· This has nothing to do with fairness; this is not a moral argument Im making at all Im saying that the people running this country are ever less competent to do their job. They are ever less able to do whatever the hell they do.
· They are ever more confident because they live in a bubble. They congratulate themselves. They give prizes to one another; they tell each other how smart they are.
· Having been a college professor for many years I saw students become ever more confident of their own intelligence and their own preparation while they were becoming less able to do the most elementary things.
· They are becoming more insular, less bright and less demanding of themselves.
· Thats what happens so often to ruling classes: they protect themselves against their competitors. Their greatest interest is in perpetuating their own cushy positions.
· Let me give you one example, look at Mikhail Gorbachev. Here was a man who was invested with total power; a system had grown up built by Stalin which gave all power to the general secretary; this general secretary had risen in a system which had prized people like himself who believed their own press clippings and who was literally out of touch with what was happening. So here was a man who took into his hands all the levers of power nd pulled them all in the wrong direction and brought the whole system crashing down without knowing what he was doing.
· The Soviet system was completely closed. Our system becomes more closed as the years go on .todays American ruling class differs from even a generation ago now they come to the ruling class almost exclusively from the most prestigious universities and through institutions which are connected to government. Very few people now rise independent of the ruling class itself: you have to rise through the ruling class to get to the ruling class
· Given this kind of increasingly closed ruling class, given its tendency to go easy on itself given the things that it does to guard itself against infiltration from the rest of the country you have a class which is becoming ever less able to meet its basic responsibilities at home and abroad.
Me: Is Obama American Liberalisms Gorbachev?
· The point here is that one part of the American body politic, that part which is connected to government, is well represented politically. The Democratic Party is a good and faithful representative of that sector of American life those who are not part of the ruling class do not have a political vehicle. There are roughly 3/4s of Democrats who say they are happy with their party, while only 1/4 of Republicans are happy with their party.
· Obama, the main thing that he has done is to denigrate the country class, to denigrate everybody else.
· In what way is Obama like Gorbachev: if they are alike at all, they are alike in that Obama has now made it perfectly clear to the country class how alien is the ruling class. Never has the ruling class been so obviously alien to the rest of the country.
· In the election of 2012 the country class was demoralized. In this the Republican Party helped. You had a candidate who did not in any way defend the country class in the accusations brought against it.
· When you see a horse that is misbehaving you shouldnt say, Oh, what bad horse, you should say, What a bad rider. This country, this wonderful horse of ours, has had a bunch of bad riders and the horse is gonna buck. May the next rider be worthy of the horse.
The paraphrased notes from above capture only a portion of our discussion about the ruling class, and none of our discussion about international relations. The latter topic deserves a separate column all together. But regarding the former topic, the ruling class: I came away from the interview with an odd feeling of exhilaration. Americas ruling class seems to this economists eye to contain the classic signs of a bubble: arrogance, narcissism, opulence backed by nothing other than the ongoing willingness of the patsies to go along with the con. And it is a con, as in confidence game. Our ruling class rules on the basis of sheer, unearned self-confidence. They are not up to running the nation, its economy, its markets, its school system, its philanthropies or its foreign affairs. It is a ruling class of pygmies who walk on stilts and call themselves giants. They are not giants and the moment the rest of us realize this, the long con is over.
In the election of 2012 the non voters got what they didn’t vote for,no whining it’s your fault.
Obama, on the other hand, hates the US free market system and America. He took a system that was strong, albeit damaged by prior liberal policies, and has been doing his best to bring about a total collapse, so that he can then force people to accept a new system, one that isn't burdened by Constitutions, laws, and traditions.
The idea that he and Gorbachev both presided over a system collapsing because of several generations of elite governance is interesting, though. I agree with the proposition that each generation has been less capable than the prior one since the 1960s. Every generation of voters has been less educated about the issues, easier to sway, and more propagandized, too. So, I think there is something to that aspect of it.
One significant element of that comment is that you didn't know then and most people don't know now what Romney would have given you.
Knowing more now than I knew then, my strong view is that Romney would have been worse. Value Added Tax; continuing wealth transfer; amnesty by some other name; Obamacare by another name; and a continuing policy of appointing judges and justices that "represent the broad spectrum of people who live in America"--islamics; Aztlan promoters; anti White racists of every makeup; Sharia Law advocates; you name it.
Is Obama really worse than Romney would have been? You may see some Republican dissent from Obama; probably would not have seen any dissent from Romney.
Romney/Ryan would have been touting Sharia law proponents?
Boy I’ve seen lots and lots of hateful stuff said by the Romney haters here and on the left....but even in the crazy swamps of DU I never heard that one.
The elections over you can let it go.
For years I have seen Washington as really just another high school, where the beautiful people, the athletes, student government, cheerleaders, actors, all clump together to create their own strata.
They intermarry(I noticed this at my HS reunion-Great Scott, they’ve inbred! I thought to myself) and stay away from the little people, standing in their own little self-congratulating group. And the irony is, they’re all dumb as clay.
It is a merciful thing that God has built into man, that stupid is unsustainable, and eventually only the wise remain standing.
Some years ago I heard Gorbachev speak at a forum. What amazed me was that he still thought that communism would work with a little restructuring despite its miserable failings. Obama is also a Marxist who believes that a restructuring of the US along the lines of socialist countries will still work despite decades of economic failure in those countries.
Gorbachev ushered the USSR into swift and speedy collapse.
So yes, I see the parallel.
He was a communist. Liberalism loves communism, that's the end goal of its ideology.
Bass ackwards! Wishful thinking. Soviet Communism degenerated into Gorbachev. You could perhaps say that American liberty, (not liberalism! That’s wishful thinking), degenerated into Obama, or, as I would say, that America grew/evolved into Obama, in other words, a process in its effects opposite of what happened in Mother Russia. Obama is our Gorbachev, a man who sincerely believes that he can finally do Communism right in this century after all the failures elsewhere, from which, he believes, he has learned.
Thanks for the post & link!
That's the sidewalk definition of insanity, isn't it? -- doing the same thing repeatedly, but expecting a different result going forward.
Is Obama really worse than Romney.
Hell yes Romney understands how to handle money Obama only knows to spend it.
Romney isn’t a socialist Obama is,Obama is clueless on every level and that makes him very dangerous to the country.
I’ve also heard Gorbachev and as he spoke all I could think of is, “this man is stupid”.