Obama's New New Deal

Discussion in 'Politics' started by PoliticalChic, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. PoliticalChic

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Oct 6, 2008
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    Brooklyn, NY
    1. "The term itself, New Deal, was an amalgam of Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom and Teddy Roosevelt's Square Deal,… the New Deal was extremely popular.

    2. Progressives…were more comfortable with duties than rights, and disapproved of the selfish penumbras cast by the natural rights doctrines of old. Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt preached moral uplift—doing your duty in a more socialized or socialistic era. They tended to associate rights talk with individualism of the backward-looking sort. FDR used the idea of expansive rights to accommodate bigger government and to roll back the old regime of individualism and limited government. As FDR once described it, the new social contract calls for the people to consent to greater government power in exchange for the government providing them with rights: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, etc. The more power the people give government, the more rights we receive. FDR's New Deal implied that there's nothing to fear from making government bigger and bigger, because political tyranny—at least among advanced nations—is a thing of the past.

    3. In what he called a “second Bill of Rights” in his annual message to Congress in 1944, FDR outlined ‘rights’ but not one of these rights was actually added to the Constitution.

    4. And the fact that none of them was ever formulated into a constitutional amendment is entirely consistent with FDR's and modern liberals' belief in a living constitution—that is, a constitution that is changeable, Darwinian, not frozen in time, but rather creative and continually growing, and including expanding government power over private property and enterprise.

    5. Such rights implied, in turn, duties to provide the houses, jobs, and the medical care now guaranteed to most everyone. And on whom did the duties fall? Liberalism never came clean on that question. It pointed sometimes to the rich, suggesting that enough of their wealth could be redistributed to provide the plenty that would be required to supply houses and medical care and jobs to those who lack them. But liberalism also liked to say that the duty to provide these things fell broadly upon the American middle class—that these were basically insurance programs into which people paid and from which they took out their benefits when needed.

    6. The moral costs of the new rights went further. Virtue was the way that free people used to deal with their necessities. It took industry, frugality, and responsibility, for example, to go to work every morning to provide for your family. It took courage to handle the fears that inevitably come with life, especially in old age. But the new social and economic rights tended to undercut such virtues, subtly encouraging men and women to look to the government to provide for their needs and then to celebrate that dependency as if it were true freedom. In truth, the appetite for the stream of benefits promised by the new rights was more like an addiction, destructive of both freedom and virtue.

    7. But the New New Deal of President Obama has new aspects as compared to Woodrow Wilson- FDR Progressive agenda: First, there is the postmodernism that crops up here and there, which insists that there's no truth “out there” by which men can guide their thoughts and actions, it denies the existence of a source of truth, morality, and intelligibility distinct from man. Postmodern liberals admit, then, that there is no objective support—no support in nature or in God or in anything outside of our wills—for liberalism itself. Liberalism in these terms is just a preference.

    8. The leading academic postmodernist, the late Richard Rorty, argued that liberals are moral relativists who feel an “aversion to cruelty,” and it's that aversion that makes them liberals. What sets liberals apart is the way they feel: President Obama calls this feeling empathy. [Postmodernism] affirms that whatever we accept as truth and even the way we envision truth are dependent on the community in which we participate .

    a. There is no absolute truth: rather truth is relative to the community in which we participate. Grenz, S. J., "A Primer on Postmodernism," (Grand Rapids: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 8.

    9. President Obama often speaks this postmodern language. For example, here is part of a discussion of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence in his book, The Audacity of Hope:

    “Implicit in [the Constitution's] structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology or theology or “ism,” any tyrannical consistency that might lock future generations into a single, unalterable course, or drive both majorities and minorities into the cruelties [notice cruelty: he's against it] of the Inquisition, the pogrom, the gulag, or the jihad.” Obama's point here is that absolute truth and ordered liberty are incompatible, because absolute truth turns its believers into fanatics or moral monsters.

    10. Unlike most Americans, President Obama still bristles at any suggestion that our nation is better or even luckier than other nations. To be blunt, he despises the notion that Americans consider themselves special among the peoples of the world, which is why it was so difficult for him to decide to wear an American flag lapel pin when he started running for president, even though he knew it was political suicide to refuse wearing it.As President Obama hinted in his Berlin speech during the campaign, he really thinks of himself as a multiculturalist, as a citizen of the world, first, and only incidentally as an American. To put it differently, he regards patriotism as morally and intellectually inferior to cosmopolitanism."

    Did we know all of this in '08?

    We do now.

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