After that brutal New York Daily News cover Thursday afternoon, hitting him for going golfing right after his remarks about the beheading of an American, President Obama responded Thursday afternoon . . . by going golfing.
President Obama doesn't care if the optics are bad. He doesn't care if there's an awful contrast because U.K. prime minister David Cameron canceled his vacation plans. He doesn't care if he's getting grief from once-stalwart fans like Chris Matthews and Maureen Dowd. He doesn't are if congressional Democrats are openly griping about his lack of interest and disconnect in the New York Times, and he doesn't care if senior Democrats are declaring that he's completely checked out of his presidency other than attending fundraisers.
He doesn't care what any of us think.
"One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century." —President Obama
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 20, 2014
She expresses that her first question would be: What does this even mean? Is it a stemenet of our foriegn policy? An intention to eliminate ISIS, or just its leadership? She is right, in any case. At its core it doesn't tell us anything. It is by no means a statement of either strategy or tactic, but a vague freshman philosophy conclusion.
Hemingway then suggests a second, more serious, problem with the President's statement: Does the Adminsitration even understand man's nature and a tendency to committing acts of evil?
But on a deeper level, the statement suggests 2) some serious problems with this administration’s understanding of man’s nature and propensity for evil. She posits that the staement reveals an almost naive view of our nature, that humanity has somehow progressed beyond the point at which evil exists. As she tweeted it:
@MZHemingway @WhiteHouse This perfectly underscores the philosophical anemia that rots this administration's attempts at foreign policy.
And, now, she gets to the heart of the matter and the problem it presents for us as a nation. The Obama Adminsitration simply doesn't understand human nature.
"People like this fail…because the future is always won by those who build, not destroy." —President Obama on ISIL #Iraq
— White House Live (@WHLive) August 20, 2014
There are two, very distinct views of mankind. First, there is the view that evil exists and that men have a tendency toward it. That is the view offered by our Founding Fathers, who saw the evils of monarchism, divine right, slavery, and so on. That is why, she points out, that our government was built on a system of checks-and-balances. And, I might add, why we applaud a President who can summarize this concept in "trust but verify".
On of the other side of this are the "progressives", who believe that men's nature can change and that we should appeal to that nature even in the face of enormous evils, from beheadings to child abuse and white slavery.
And, so, Hemingway jumps into her last point: 3) it says unbelievably inane things such as, “you’re on the wrong side of history.” Or, as the White House phrased it, “The future is always won by those who build, not destroy.” That is, simply, juvenile. It is here that Hemingway truly hits her stride and presents a rather chilling indictment of the Obama statements:
President Obama’s utopian fantasy of “the future” “always” being “won by those who build, not destroy” is just obviously and resoundingly false, for better or worse. I mean, define “future.” And define “winning” and “building vs. destroying.” Tamerlane had tremendous success destroying and slaughtering his enemies — for most of a century. And World War II didn’t end by building up Nagasaki. There are good winners and bad winners littered throughout history.
What’s more, this “wrong side of history” nonsense is nothing more than a religious belief in supernatural causality. It implies that history isn’t shaped by men but, instead, by outside inevitable forces that can always be counted on. If this were so, we wouldn’t need to work so hard to raise up good children and fight the evils all around us.
Man has a nature, obviously, but man’s nature doesn’t have a history. That’s the whole point. We must always be on guard against tyranny, be it the kind we see in ISIS or the kind we see in our own hearts. That line from Alexander Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago, a book about the horrors of the Soviet forced labor camp system, comes in handy. Describing the basic error in another well-known form of progressivism’s thinking — that some men are good and some men are bad. He wrote:
If only that were true! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.
By no means does this suggest that therefore we should be cool with the Hitlers, ISISes and Kim Jong Ils and Uns of the world. It does mean, however, that believing in right and wrong sides of history and the perfectability of men is absolute madness if we want to fight against tyranny at home, wrought by the sinful passions in our own hearts, and abroad, springing from the sins of our fellow man.
I found this a real "ah ha!" piece of writing, one which had my head nodding involuntarily in agreement. It requires a bit of consideration and reflection, as does all good philosophical thought, but it will have me coming back.