I'd say the masks are all the way off, now.
Barack Hussein Obama's campaign website features an interactive presentation about a fictional American woman, "Julia," and the many wonders of the Obamunist policies and programs she experiences as she goes through her imaginary life. As has been noted by other commentators on this obscenity:
- The piece denigrates the idea of self-sufficiency throughout;
- It also implicitly demeans men;
- It presents Obamunist policies as all-embracing and permanent;
- It effaces all notions of costs, whether via moral hazard, exploding taxation and government debt, or the reduction of individual freedom;
- Last but not least, it sidesteps all questions about whether and how the left-liberal vision of a cradle-to-grave welfare state actually works -- that is, whether it can and will deliver the promised benefits to the overt beneficiaries, and at what cost to those individuals.
Possibly the most telling comment on the piece comes from the esteemed Ace Of Spades:
One of the central points of 1984 is that in true totalitarianism, the State must displace the natural allegiances of love -- romantic, familial, and brotherly (and, though Orwell might not agree -- Love of God, too)-- with a love of State.
The State must displace those so that it can occupy the central allegiance of a subject's life.
It would help the State to accomplish this goal if it could take over the functions of natural human relationships -- such as providing succor and support.
Such is Obama's vision, encapsulated in his Prototype Protagonist Julia-- who just happens to share a first name with the heroine in the Orwell novel.
Social atomization -- the displacement of interpersonal relations and fellow-feeling by State mediation and regulation -- is essential to any totalitarian program. You cannot rule a nation if its citizens exhibit social solidarity; you must divide them and make them feel divided, isolated in their concerns and suspicious of one another, so that no unified body of resistance to your rule can arise. It's also essential to any plan to introduce the State as surrogate protector-provider.
Obama's Julia is a disconnected atom of the Orwellian sort. She requires nothing from her fellow men; her needs are provided by the State. We hear nothing about her parents, her friends and lovers if any, or any other human associations in Julia's life. When she decides, at age 31, to have a child, the decision is presented to us as wholly individual; the father's prerogatives -- we must assume there's a father, as none is ever mentioned -- are irrelevant. (A husband? Don't make me laugh. Why would Julia want one of those?)
But one thing has gone unnoticed so far in the commentary on this piece: its exploitation of narrative structure.
Stories are inherently more persuasive than abstract arguments. If you can show your conceptions operating in a plausible real-world setting, you can win over many who would otherwise be untouched by your reasoning. The qualifiers matter, of course: the setting must itself seem reasonable to the listener, and unexplainable miracles, which set aside the laws of cause and effect, are disallowed. Within that envelope, a well told story, that shows plausible individuals responding plausibly to the incentives and disincentives they confront, always triumphs over Power Point. Ask anyone who was struck by Atlas Shrugged.
Among other things, a story permits you to deflect attention from the undesirable consequences of your scheme: the costs, the weakening of familial and communal attachments, the undermining of critical moral constraints, and so forth. Obama's Julia narrative certainly strives to do this. We of the Right who pay attention to such things are alive to the implications; Americans entranced by the fantasy of cradle-to-grave government-provided security, and uninterested in pondering the consequences for freedom and prosperity, will let those considerations escape them.
(Henry Hazlitt, where are you when we need you?)
It's critical that the Right not stop short at criticism of the Julia narrative. The production of counter-narratives that focus the audience's attention on those inevitable consequences has become imperative.
The Julia conception is what Kant might have called a categorical imperative. The fictional Julia is not intended to be a lone example, as a real-life woman would be, but a "replaceable variable" who stands for any and every American under the Obamunist scheme. The Left wants everyone to look to the State for everything, and to feel helpless and alone unless the State is there to swaddle and comfort us.
The mighty Arctic Patriot provides the summation:
I have posted before that one cannot expect to restore a country to its founding principles without restoring the context (call it culture, national character, morality, whatever) in which it was founded. I mean this not in a religious sense, not in a bible-thumping sense, but in a culture-spirit, deeply personal sense that starts within people, radiates out into families, from families further into communities, and then is returned from where it came -- as communities do their magic and strengthen families, which in turn strengthen individuals.
No piece of paper made America great. No government or law, or lack of law made America great. Americans made America great.
Indeed. We cannot have freedom or self-reliance without a culture that both honors and demands these things. The culture the Left has constructed has made us timorous as individuals, weak as families, and limp as communities...and the Obamunists intend to capitalize on it.
A good storyteller, a contemporary Rand who can bring those chilling facts home to his audience, would be worth his weight in gold. Where is he? His hour is upon us, and we need him desperately.