Monday, October 20, 2008
Our metaphoric John Galts are speaking up!
On politico, of all places, there is a rough 60/40 “pro-McCain” opinion split (as judged by me, dammit after reading the first 100 comments) calling a big “bullshit” on Powell’s statement that his decision has nothing to do with race.
My first instinct, too, was to call this bullshit.
Thinking a bit harder about it though opens some interesting lines of thought. If we examine our list of assumptions about Colin Powell, what explains a political calculus that ends up with an Obama endorsement?
Now, I’m no expert on Colin Powell’s career, but I do know that it has been distinguished. Again, I’m no expert but I know that the American armed services is said to be the most “post-racial” organization in the history of the planet. And I do know, from listening to him speak off-the-cuff, that he reads books about a lot of things and thinks about the issues therein. So we know that Colin Powell is a learned, patriot who had a distinguished career in the most post-racial institution in America.
Then there’s this: there exists a school of thought wherein “racism” can be attributed to exist only in the predominant race (ie: whites). This, they assert, is because ideas of race are a social construct (ie: in “the state of nature” humans of all races would treat each other equally but for the unfair systems imposed by the dominant race). Then, based on this faulty premise and after much pretzelogic, they come to the conclusion that only whites can be racist.
Thus in the case of the 90% correlation of black voters with Obama, the result is not considered to be racist because the paradigm rules that blacks cannot be racist. Which, of course, is where everyone’s John Galt speaks up—he calls, “Bullshit.” As anyone who lives in a large cosmopolitan area can attest, racism goes EVERYWAY! black/white white/black asian/black black/asian asian/white asian/”asian” “asian”/asian. And everybody hates the jews! (I can also say that I’ve witnessed instances of non-white/non-white racism that was so horrid as to be breathtaking. Hatred, naked hatred. And in the “most multicultural city in the world”, yet.) So our BS detectors go off on that one. That’s what the first hundred-or-so comments in the link show. So, strictly speaking: if you follow the paradigm, Powell’s claim that his wasn’t a racially-motivated move is true. If you stay within the paradigm, it’s a true statement, even when it’s seen from outside the paradigm as patently false.
A question to which I don’t know the answer is whether the US Armed Services ever instituted any kind of affirmative action program. An area for investigation. I don’t know if it would be relevant, either, to this particular discussion.
I’ve clumsily stumbled to my point: let’s assume that General Powell had the distinguished career, earned on merit, and that his patriotism is unassailable. In short, that he is the man who has earned the respect of millions over the years. (All of which I’m ready to concede.)
What if Powell, man of honour and service to country, sees Obama for the dangerous threat to the Constitution that he is?
How does he proceed? As an Officer sworn to protect the Constitution, would he run a black-op (if you’ll pardon the expression) featuring himself as a manchurian candidate for the right, sure, as he is, to extract a top slot in exchange for this endorsement. Chillingly, perhaps, it could be a precursor positioning move towards a coup d’état should worse come to worst and the Constitution is truly in mortal danger. (One could get awfully espionage-thriller here, for by everything one thought one knew about Colin Powell, his endorsement was plainly opposite to what it should have been.) In a less dramatic view, it would position him to have offer a rational voice in counterweight to the more unhinged amongst Obama’s advisors.
Whatever. What is pertinent, though, is THAT he thinks he can get away with saying the crap he did extolling Obama while deploring Sarah Palin. Again, John Galt speaks because Colin Powell’s words do not match the reality. If that wasn’t bad enough, he offered some “refried memes” as his case for Obama! [“Refried memes” refloating ideas that have long since been debunked or revealed as deceptions.] Does he think that he can get away with it or is that begging the question?
Here’s another interesting thing. Colin Powell and John McCain have been friends (I’m not sure as to how close, but I think they refer to each other as “good friends” for whatever THAT’S worth coming from politicians) for twenty years. Military comrades-in-arms. They speak the same language; their worldviews shaped by the same institutions. Hmmm. **rubs bristle on his chin between thumb and forefinger**
Back to the question. How can General Powell possibly believe that his endorsement will not come under withering attack from the Right Wing? Is he expecting “cover” (as opposed to “coverage”) from the deadwoods? Or does he fully understand the milieu within which he is endeavouring and is expecting “coverage”? His timing seems fortuitous, strangely, spine-tinglingly fortuitous. Zen moment or campaign gambit?
I’m asserting that the electorate has started to understand the depth of the deadwoods’ distortions and that they are now open to a big helping of those refried memes, but this time within the context of an electorate, wise to the ways of the deadwoods, who are looking to alternative media, that McCain ace-in-the-hole, for a more fully-rounded perspective. Especially now, after the Ayers-connection was perceived to be “underreported” vis a vis Joe the Plumber by the more stalwart journalists in the deadwood empire, the ones (primarily Lou Dobbs) who have courageously taken up a sort of meta-journalism, a contemporaneous journalism about the state of journalism qua journalism. By their own actions, now, after Joe the Plumber, the deadwoods have been exposed; to save face, which they must do as an industry, and save their own careers (forget dignity, that’s long-since gone), the deadwoods will look anew at everyone McCain cast his light on. Hence, ACORN, haltingly; Joe the Plumber, viciously. They must be seen to be relevant because that is their nature. Thus, the refried memes could stick like refried beans.
Take, for example, questions about Obama’s citizenship. Seriously underreported by the deadwoods. The originalcase is before the Court now and a second case has just been filed in Hawai’i. A fresh look at this will open the eyes of many in the electorate who have not, do not forget, yet heard this about Obama due to the willful dereliction of duty on the part of the deadwoods.
Or as another example take the whole bloodlines issue. Obama is said to be 1/2 black, 1/2 white. Now, frankly, I don’t give a poop about his race, but I have read well-documented pieces tracing his lineage. 1/2 white (mother’s side; don’t know exact whiteness breakdown, but interesting, perhaps tangentially, is that white=white=white in this consideration), Father’s side: 3 Grand parents African ARAB (ie: Muslims), 1 Grand parent African NEGRO [clearly, I don’t know the correct language, forgive me,] which means he isn’t 1/2 black, he’s 1/8 black at most (I’m no good at this lineage business, and I could be mistaken insofar as the African Negro may have been a great grandparent on his father’s side. I can’t remember this stuff, because I’m post-it.) [try this in google as a starting point: +obama +(”racial heritage” “racial lineage”) ] None of that matters to me. What does, though, is that Obama LIES about it! The coverup is always worse than the crime.
Then there is the issue of his faith. They say, “once a Muslim, always a Muslim”. They being Muslims, of course. Be that as it may, Obama claims to be a “Christian” and that his “Christianity” has been inspired by the teachings of his mentors, predominantly Reverend Wright. But, really, now, can “Black Liberation Theology” even be considered to be Christian thought? The media sure-as-shootin’ hasn’t looked into that. I’m just [an Atheist who’s] sayin’… (**turns palms up slowly**)
Okay, that’s three. I could go on. Point is: General Powell knows that everything he has said will be shredded and that real investigative journalism, though forced upon the reporters, will ensue. It just requires that he fall on his sword: he must sacrifice his integrity (not really, but it will appear this way at first) to save his country. Will he?
- (1)Colin Powell buys into that whole “race is a social construct” claptrap. Possible, I am not qualified to judge as I have no relevant evidence at this time. Likely? My gut says I honestly don’t know, but I’m an optimist and therefore remain hopeful that he doesn’t. If he does, though, it sure makes me question what he’s been reading and thinking about, “learned patriot” and all.
- (2)Colin Powell is authentically backing Obama and honestly believes what he, himself, is saying, in which case everything I thought I knew about him was wrong. Possible, yes; likely, no.
- (3)Colin Powell is operating in a purely cynical, self-serving manner to further his personal political aspirations, but is operating under the delusion that the zeitgeist is what it was pre-Joe the Plumber. Possible, yes, assuming Colin Powell would put self before country and assuming he isn’t hep to the zeitgeist, man. Neither of these assumptions is unassailable, therefore I’d say: likely, no.
- (4)Colin Powell is operating in a purely cynical, self-serving manner to further his personal political aspirations, but is NOT operating under the delusion that the zeitgeist is what it was pre-Joe the Plumber. In this scenario Powell’s star raises on the Republican side as a major hero in the War of ’08 as he plays his part in the McCain’s 21st century semiotic war. Fully realizing the zeitgeist, Powell serves up the refried memes and everyone eats them up, the dyspepsia therefrom costing Obama the election. This works, too, with Powell operating from within the Hero’s ethos: Powell’s motivation is saving Liberty. I much prefer it that way. Possible, yes; likely, more likely than not.
- (5)Colin Powell is a manchurian candidate for the Right. Possible, yes. Likely, I’ve read too many espionage novels to say without having a lot more info about Colin Powell, so, for me this is an unknown. The future will reveal all.
(&7) And here Claudia Rosettargues that the General has a bit of history with overlooking or willfully not seeing pertinent facts and that that lay as the basis for his endorsement. To me, that sounds like she’s arguing it’s either “stupid” or “shares worldview”.
It all gets back to our assumptions, doesn’t it? My beloved Ayn Rand teaches us to “check our premises”. Okay, I’ve done so, more or less, above. The evidence that much of the public was uttered some variance of “WTF!?!” over Powell’s endorsement of Obama. That’s John Galt speaking. “How do we get to ‘Powell endorses Obama’?” The key to this political calculus revolves around of the character of General Powell. Are our assumptions about Powell’s character true?
My inner optimist hopes General Powell is the man of character I want him to be and that scenario (4) above—the good reading—is what plays out. If the good reading holds pat, then perhaps the General will stop the Gramscian long march through the institutions and return some rationality to Academia.
But, in all honesty, scenario (4) seems most likely to play out with General Powell becoming a side issue, notable as the catalyst. Well, except to ALL future generations of leftist intellectuals who will turn him into a Benedict Arnold or some such nonsense.