Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Affirmative Action President Test

Some months ago I said we cannot have an Affirmative Action President. We are now seeing whether Barack Obama is going to be held to the standards which have governed Affirmative Action or the standards of reality.

The idea of Affirmative Action came into existence following the death of Martin Luther King and the takeover of that movement by people who wanted to exert force. In order to prevent wholesale bloodshed, the guilt-ridden whites ceded what had been their authority in the institutions they controlled to hold people to the standards of their institutions, particularly educational institutions, and decided that blacks, because of their history as a downtrodden people, were not to be held to those standards. Instead of creating programs to bring students below the standards up to those standards, they simply lowered their standards. This, in so many words said, "Well what can you expect of them. We have to do something - anything - except ask them to step up." The blacks that accepted these lower standards took a bite of poisonous fruit.

Barack Obama and Michelle did take that bite and were allowed into these institutions. Barack and Michelle are the products of Affirmative Action.

In the ensuing years, many blacks were "given a chance" by this means and the result has now been produced - an Affirmative Action student is now President. The question is, can he be an Affirmative Action President? I said "no."

The reason I said so is because government is the institution that wields force. Because it has the power to transfer property and assets to other people, the issue is whether people are going to be stripped of their property and their freedom to run their own lives or not.

We are no longer talking about a standard in a voluntary institution. An Affirmative Action standard, which is actually the doing away with standards, if applied in government must be maintained by force. Because it is, the standard must fall or the people will have to give up their freedom and their right to control their own lives and the property they depend on for their lives. This is where the rubber meets the road. Will the standard of individual rights and people rising or falling based on their merit stand, or will it be overthrown for one where they do not have to produce the results, but merely need them? Will a standard be held to or will it be discarded as was done for Affirmative Action?

Thus far, Obama has been winning this battle as he has done much stripping of property and the right to control private property. He's nationalized the banks. He's nationalized GM and Chrysler and transferred assets to his supporters, the labor unions. He's now out to nationalize the medical industry.

With the rise of the Tea Party movement which amounts to the producers resisting this takeover, we see some individuals working overtime to reestablish the guilt that gave rise to Affirmative Action in the first place. We see Maureen Dowd accusing Wilson of racism. We get a clip of Reverend Wright saying that the racists don't like it that things are changing against them. Yesterday we saw Jimmy Carter imputing racism to Wilson. I saw a late night CNN segment on the rise of racism in this country - showing wackos who are racists and imputing that the Tea Party movement is like this.

We are seeing the Affirmative Action President Test in action right now.

How will this be resolved? I remember a statement of Ayn Rand's, "The most consistent wins." The principle is that the most consistent, whether metaphysically right or wrong, wins in the big contest of general public belief. Truth is not determined socially. It is determined by a statement's correspondence to reality. But, what the society as a whole acts on is a social product. If enough people believe a particular thing, right or wrong it is the direction society goes. Thus, the person who can stand for his statement most consistently will win the day.

As long as the grounds for the statements are not challenged and seen to be false, the most consistent will be able to build his constituency.

And in Obama's corner is a very big unchallenged ground indeed.

In this contest, the unchallenged ground is the idea that we should do what is best for society. We should always be mindful of the greater good, the public interest, the thing that is best for the most people, our poor neighbor who isn't doing so well. As Obama says, "We should be our brothers' keeper, our sisters' keeper." We should be "good" people by this standard. The bloody elephant's head in the corner of this belief is that someone must always be sacrificed. Those who do not agree must be created as devoid of human qualities and placed in society's basement. Society can only be merry, gay, joyful and happy if we can just get rid of the freaks, the radicals, the extremists, the party-poopers, the loners, the racists. And this, mind you, not because they did anything wrong but because they said something or went their own way. Jimmy Carter is telling us who the people are that need to be put in the basement.

We hear this ground from all corners of society. The preachers accentuate it weekly from their pulpits. Obama is bold and tells us that profit-seekers themselves are evil and the scourge of society. They are selfish and it is unfair that they have the money they earned through voluntary exchange. At first it was the big firms on Wall Street. Now it is the insurance companies who are the evil people who make money on the backs of the poor. The media pundits are railing against anyone who wants to act independently and so forth. All are telling us who to put into the basement. (And if Obama's railings are not bad enough, he's supported and arbitrarily allocated tax money and investor's money to what looks to be criminal organizations such as ACORN, the SEIU, and the always questionable big Labor Unions.)

Until people can stand for themselves as ends in themselves (individualism and individual rights) and yes, pursue their own self-interest as they see fit, the win will go to the likes of Barack Obama and the advocates on the Left and the Right who want to shove another person into the basement.

This is a tricky fight. We see that Obama is appealing to universal health care as a way to take care of all people. Of course there is a price as there is for everything we need to live. The price? The government will run it and make all the final decisions. We will exist by permit from the government as to whether we will live. (Already the papers are prepared as to how this can be done. You can go here for Ezekiel Emanuel's views.)

Health care, the proponents say, is a right. But it is an arbitrary "economic right", not a natural right. If you live on a desert island, you do not find health care naturally growing on a tree like we find oxygen in our air. It must be produced. Production is an economic activity. You have to take the actions for your health and provide the remedies for your care if sick, or you do not avail yourself of health care. If you need someone else's help in the matter, you have to go to them, honor them, and trade something for that help. The fallacy of the public health care advocates is that to produce the result they seek, they must force people to not live this way. They must force people to be uncivil and violate the natural rights of the person himself and the health care providers.

Health and health care is one of many values that people seek. It is not at any point in time, or for some ever, a value that they seek. To be forced to use one's productive energy to provide health care for other people is as great an injustice as one can find. But, until the people who advocate that all people can live on the surface with none in the basement can firmly stand for their right to work for and produce the values THEY seek and not those other people say they should seek, this battle will not be won.

And if it is not won, then we will have failed the test of the Affirmative Action President. If we fail, everything will be affirmative action in principle, which means, everything will be political. It will have nothing to do with living one's life and reaping the consequences of one's actions. The end of this line of argument is that all goods will be allocated by the government. The truth is, we as human beings will all be living in the basement.

PS: What I see happening now is that the charge of racism is losing its power. The charge is failing because there is no evidence on which to base the charge. It may be just a feeling or it may be something to use to slap the other party/side around. My answer to it is "Great. What else you got? Anything else you want to call me?"

Hopefully President Obama will be able to step up and stand for all people. He's not done it yet. He didn't do it in his famous Race Speech where he jettisoned Reverend Wright. Further he didn't do it in the Gates episode. These instances have led me to conclude so far that Obama is unable to be a leader in this matter.

However, whether he does step up or not may ultimately not make the difference. The circumstances are such that we as a country may get the lesson anyway. I suspect that is what will happen.

Perhaps all the protest against Obama's economic choices and his willingness to sacrifice the producers will show Obama that there is a political reality out here outside of his agenda. If he is the politician that people seem to think he is, he may get that his agenda is not working and will abandon it to redeem his Presidency. This will depend on whether Obama is an independent thinker. It would be great if he has such an epiphany, but again, it may not make the difference. If the country gets the lesson, then Obama will have fulfilled a purpose by showing America what works and what doesn't work. If so, we will have passed the Affirmative Action President Test.

So the great issues of this time are 1) Is America going to get beyond race? and 2) Is America going to reestablish the sanctity of the individual rather than sacrifice him to the almighty group? The first will be accomplished if the latter is accomplished. If the latter is not accomplished, then we will descend into a pressure group battleground with one category of groups being about race.


principlex said...

This morning, Saturday, September 19, Chris Wallace, a highly respected reporter covering politics at Fox News, is saying that this is an unprofessional White House. Everything is personal rather than factual and objective. They like this, they don't like that. Last night Wallace said he had never seen such a bunch of whiners.

While at this point in their presidencies, Bush had 41 media appearances and Clinton 46, Obama has had 120 something. The White House does not guard access to the President. It has created a schmoozy and controlling relationship with the press rather than a professional one and in the process is devaluing itself and Obama. It has no distinction of the boundaries of the role that it is fulling and instead is exploiting the position for personal reasons.

Passing the Affirmative Action President Test on the President's part will have happened when the President realizes he has a role to fulfill and steps up to the requirements of that role and likewise expects the press to fulfill their role.

Clinton over-stepped this line when we discovered he had sex with Lewinsky. Most people could have cared less about his sex life. But, it was an egregiously unpresidential transgression that while at work, he was in the cloak closet getting a blow job.

There were many clues that this boundary violation was going on during Obama's campaign. Obama, the candidate, boldly overstepped what we understand to be the role of a candidate, a person who is not yet president but one seeking to be president. He created a whole graphic symbolism for his candidacy, took his campaign to Europe to name two. Then after he took office, he voided private contracts that were legal agreements of free men.

principlex said...

Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Institute commented about this issue of presidential professionalism on this PJTV video:


Why Affirmative Action Should Stop

Principlex said...

August 18, 2011
Obama: The Affirmative Action President
By Matt Patterson