Monday, January 05, 2009

On President Obama (5)

After an overlong delay due to the holiday period, my last piece on Obama.

My greatest concern about Obama is tied up with the devotion displayed towards him by the media class, in that the assumptions implicit in Obama's worldview are the ones shared by the principal opinion-formers in the elite establishment. (This, by the way, is why I found the links to Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright more interesting than alarming, as they are, at least, 'outside the box').

Obama's understanding of the world seems to me to be almost entirely secular, moulded by the assumptions of the great and the good, the academically respectable and mainstream - and I'm with William Buckley on that. I say this despite Obama's apparent Christian faith which seems a syncretistic belief in the benevolent virtues - all well and good, but rather lacking in bite for my taste.

What concerns me is that the mainstream assumptions that have guided policy for at least two generations are not the assumptions that will be needed to get us out of our present predicaments - and I am not persuaded that Obama has the wherewithal to generate new assumptions on his own. He is, quite clearly, a creature of a distinct political system, and he has already started to pay his dues to that system. Which is all perfectly normal - but that is my concern, because normality is not enough (not even an extremely capable normality, which is what I expect from Obama).

I see the crisis we have entered into as epochal, and even the parallels to the 1930s that get trotted out aren't sufficiently radical. Over the next ten to fifteen years humanity as a whole will be forced to shift into a fundamentally different mode of existence, one which is ecologically sustainable and more devolved. For all his virtues - and he has many - I don't see Obama as the one who will be able to articulate and lead into that transition. I hope I'm wrong.

(Previous posts here.)

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