Quit picking on Obama. He’s an epiphenomenon!
Why do so many try to prove Obama is weak, ineffective, out-of-touch, mendacious, even anti-American? Many of his supporters won’t be convinced. To them, he’s a phenomenon who will straighten out all that is wrong with America. I hope he is, but he seems more like an epiphenomenon.
In other words, he’s a side effect of the basic worldview which controls most Americans. In 2008, American voters knew that Obama was inexperienced and sympathetic with the radical fringe. But they knew change was needed and hoped he could bring it. After 18 months of his Presidency, he’s under attack from both the right and left as weak and ineffective.
We all hope he becomes the strong and effective leader the country needs. Unfortunately his Weltanschauung interferes whenever a new crisis arises.
That worldview is what’s causing our country’s present floundering. Anyone attacking Obama is only attacking a symptom and may be paving the way for someone worse. The real enemy is an insidious mindset. This mindset attracts interest group after interest group by justifying their immediate desires as the ultimate right and good. Some psychiatrists call it a ”sense of entitlement ,” but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Most of us growing up in the mid to late 20th century were spoiled by a country where most of the roads were good, jobs were plentiful, poor children got free meals at school, pollution was under control, and bad guys like the Soviets got their comeuppance. We felt entitled to those benefits of being American. We didn’t feel the need to study much science or engineering. We completed our college degrees and expected good jobs. We were about a thousand times more likely to major in physical education than in physics education.
We were happy that science and engineering schools and jobs could be filled by Chinese and Indians and construction and factory jobs could be filled by Hispanics. We had a sense of entitlement.
Then, some of us left academia and realized science and engineering and even cash flow and balance sheets were basic to creating a society where we could have all the benefits we expected.
Some of us never realized these truths because we never left academia. Some of us became professors and promulgated a worldview which undermined the continued functioning of a productive economic system. The academics provided both an intellectual rationale for the entitled interest groups and university degrees to a steady stream of sophisticated promulgators of the mindset.
Catering to entitled interest groups decreases efficiency of manufacturing and engineering businesses. The resulting decline of such businesses in the US was not too troubling since those graduating today’s US universities have little interest in such productive pursuits. They go into investment banking (as over 40% of Princeton grads did up till 2008) or learn how to get grants from foundations and the government or learn how to sell cheap products imported from China.
This mindset has infiltrated Republicans as well as Democrats. Republicans also have an ineffective leader who happens to be black. Chairman of the RNC Mike Steele’s scandals are ignored by the party because they need a figurehead like him.
Similarly, the 2010 primary results were heralded as the year of the woman. Not the year of any particular good idea. Not the year of any inspiring new approach to our problems. Not the year of effective leadership.
We are all caught up in this mindset. We all want to cheer when women and minority groups succeed. Americans love to root for the underdog. But this mindset crucifies anyone with low melanin levels and a Y chromosome who dares to flout its rules, while giving a pass to exactly the same behavior from the favored interest groups.
When you’re under the influence of this mindset, you watch out for the specific desires of each interest group. Public policy and public speech must always attend to those needs. There is no common good, just the good of each of the interest groups.
Changing Presidents or the party in power will not help us until we change the majority mindset of America. Republicans can run up the deficit too. Republicans can undermine America’s productive technical and engineering capabilities just as completely as Democrats. Republicans have just as many interest groups lining up at the public trough.
This “entitled interest group” mindset is attractive because it delivers for its members–as long as there is someone to blame for our problems and take money from. In the short run it works. In the long run, it destroys the technological and economic power which makes entitlements possible.
If you starve the goose who lays the golden egg, you get fewer and fewer eggs. And eventually the goose dies.