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Never Again

Eric Raymond sees the same disturbing things I do in Senator Obama:

I am absolutely not accusing Barack Obama of being a fascist or of having the goals of a fascist demagogue. I am saying that the psychological dynamic between him and his fans resembles the way fascist leaders and their people relate. The famous tingle that ran up Chris Matthew's leg. the swooning chanting crowds, the speeches full of grand we-can-do-it rhetoric, the vagueness about policy in favor of reinforcing that intoxicating sense of emotional can anyone fail to notice where this points?

There are hints of grandiosity and arrogance in Obama's behavior now. As the bond between him and his followers become more intense, though, it is quite possible they will not remain mere traces. I'm not panicked yet, because Obama is still a long way off from behaving like a megalomaniacal nut-job. But if the lives of people like Napoleon, Mussolini, or Hitler show us anything it's that the road from Obama's flavor of charismatic leader to tyrant is open, and dangerously seductive to the leader himself.

There is one more historical detail that worries me, in this connection. There is a pattern in the lives of the really dangerous charismatic tyrants that they tend to have originated on the geographical and cultural fringes of the societies they came to dominate, outsiders seeking ultimate insiderhood by remaking the "inside" in their own image. Hitler, the border Austrian who ruled Germany; Napoleon, the Corsican who seized France; and Stalin, the Georgian who tyrannized Sovet Russia. And, could it be...Obama, the half-black kid from Hawaii?

Again, I am not accusing Barack Obama of being a monster. But when I watch videos of his campaign, I see a potential monster in embryo. Most especially do I see that potential monster in the shining faces of his supporters, who may yet seduce Obama into believing that he is as special and godlike as they think he is.

I don't know if the McCain campaign has the savvy or moxie to properly go after Obama, but I think that there will be a lot of 527s who will, once the campaign really starts in the fall.


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Kevin wrote:

Possibly an over-reaction, but for the life of me, I can't understand what anyone sees in Obama. He doesn't do a thing for me.

FC wrote:

Not to mention Tony Blair, a Scot who went to Oxford, learned Received Pronounciation, married a twit of a lawyer, and brought Change to "Cool Britannia".

Man Mke wrote:

Obama COULD become a monster? Our own proto-Napolean or Hitler, you say? Well, hell's bells! I suppose it's statistically possible. After all, the Current Occupant is pretty much revealed as a monster himself, even if only a shambling, self-absorbed one. Arguably, a discerning observer also could make the same argument about McCain, who has a notably hot temper -- he beat on a foreign dignitary in public, once, and was a hotdog of a fighter pilot (not a compliment). Should HE get the nuclear football?

Bottom line is that to get within reach of the presidency, candidates these days almost have to possess enormous egos. Egos that are stroked, cooed over and whispered to. Not a good system in general. [It is as a consequence rather amazing that, in our nation's history, we've had almost as many good presidents as assassinated ones.]

Anyway, while stipulating that any serious, modern presidential candidate is probably too full of him or her self, I would argue that Obama's relatively humble, worldly background and his community work will leaven that effect.

Beyond that, the monster idea is what underlies a vigorous Republican meme, which follows along these lines: Obama is unstable and inscrutable. And a Muslim with a menacing middle name. But also somehow a black power Christian. Clearly, my friends, he is not one of us; he's of a certain, ah, OTHER persuasion, nudge-nudge, wink-wink. You should run like crazy from any candidate like Obama who promises to bring us together. So vote instead for OUR guy, who ... promises to bring us together!

Not my first choice for the Democratic nomination, but when it comes to fresh air and a thoughtful, pragmatic approach to real world problems, Obama is nevertheless light days or weeks ahead of the competition.

Sycophantic Illiterate Imbecile wrote:

Shitmberg, did you read the last comment? Makes you want to swim out of the sewer durn it?

Habitat Hermit wrote:

Reading some "moderate" DP sales pitch - a wasted minute and a shrug.

Reading a typical Kos-style DP screech - a few seconds of pity.

Reading a typical Kos-style DP screech that utterly demolishes any minute impression of sanity and reasoning that might conceivably have been left by the earlier "moderate" DP sales pitch - priceless ^_^

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on July 3, 2008 5:25 AM.

Cultural Suicide? was the previous entry in this blog.

LHC Safety And Promise is the next entry in this blog.

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