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Obama’s Gleichschaltung

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A Democrat business associate recently asked me: ” what’s wrong with Obama?” I responded that what’s chiefly wrong is the fact that his vision of a top-down planned society will destroy the individual liberty that’s the foundation of all of our freedoms. Although Obama’s public comments are carefully managed to disguise the full extent of his radical agenda, his recent speeches show that he still believes that the government should decide what’s best for everyone, and then manage our lives to keep us in line with his national goals.

In a December 6,2011, speech in Osawatomie, Kansas Obama  redefined his vision for the nation by saying:

….they [the Republicans] want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for way too many years. And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.I am here to say they are wrong. I’m here in Kansas to reaffirm my deep conviction that we’re greater together than we are on our own…….as a nation, we’ve always come together, through our government, to help create the conditions where both workers and businesses can succeed.

What Obama seems to mean  when he says that we are better off “together” is that we need a unified  national vision directed by the government rather than a system in which each individual decides what is best for himself. The Nazi’s had an identical concept they called “Gleichschaltung”, meaning “coordination”, “making the same”,or “bringing into line.” All top-down governments despise the uncontrolled “pursuit of self-interest” and attempt to vilify those “self-seekers” who believe in individual liberty. They constantly inveigh against those who promote their own greedy personal aims, and contrast them with those who are working for the “good of the people” (as defined by the government). In those societies if you don’t share the vision of communal harmony you are a selfish “enemy of the people” who must be “brought into line.”

We have heard this call for togetherness through the government before. Consider, for example, the following quotes from Hitler regarding why the German people would be better off working together:

The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and co-operation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. Unity is our tool.

The main plank in the Nationalist Socialist program is to abolish the liberalistic concept of the individual. “The [National Socialist] Party…is convinced that our nation can achieve permanent health only from within on the basis of the principle: The common interest before self-interest.

Prior to the War, Hitler and the Nazi Party demanded that large industries share profits to more equally distribute income . Hitler was also critical of foreign countries, namely the United States, where he believed “the selfishness of a relatively small stratum rules under the mask of democracy”

In his same December 6 speech Obama also went on to  say:

There is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes – especially for the wealthy – our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty. Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the 50s and 60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.

Although the call for togetherness and a unified national purpose sounds fine on the surface, what happens if some don’t share the vision? If the government is mandating the goals the answer is clear; all dissenters will either comply with the national plan or face the full penalty of the law. This idea of a national  vision directed by the government was tried by Nazi Germany, Russia, China , and every other totalitarian regime, and it has always led to the oppression of dissenters and the loss of freedom. What Obama and every other statist leader fails to acknowledge is the fact that all of our greatest achievements arose from individuals pursuing their own individual interests and goals. Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Steve Jobs all advanced our knowledge and wealth, not by following government plans , but by pursuing their own interests.

In his 2012 State of the Union speech Obama talked about the Navy Seal’s mission against Bin Laden by saying:

At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.

They understood they were part of something larger;

So it is with America. Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes. No one built this country on their own. This Nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team.

This argument that the nation should be run like a military unit, where everyone knows his place, works together, and obeys the commander, is a rehash of an idea championed by William James, John Dewey, Woodrow Wilson and many other early 20th century American progressives. However after Hitler, Stalin and Mao showed the practical results of implementing that idea most liberals have wisely avoided the military analogy. As attractive as it might seem to immerse oneself in a larger cause, and let the government decide what’s best for everyone, history has shown that that sort of “working together” at  the government’s direction always leads to tyranny.

Obama’s vision of a larger communal purpose is clearly at odds with the preservation of our individual liberty and Constitutional freedoms. That’s my answer to the question “what’s wrong with Obama?”

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