Published by The Freeman Center
The Maccabean Online
Political Analysis and Commentary
Barack Obama: America’s Most Insidious Enemy (revised)
By Prof. Paul Eidelberg
To understand, in a profound way, why Barack Hussein Obama is America’s most insidious enemy, we must understand what America stands for. Let us consult the wisdom of America’s Founding Fathers, beginning with George Washington.
In his "Farewell Address" perhaps America’s greatest state paper, Washington suggests that liberty is the supreme value of Americans. "Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment."
But liberty is one of the fundamental causes of faction. In Federalist 10, Madison attributes faction to the diversity in the faculties of men, such as reason, desire, and volition. “The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man, and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society.” As long as there is liberty there will be diverse factions or parties.
In the Farewell Address, Washington warns against "the [generally] baneful effects of the spirit of party."
There is an opinion [he says] that parties in free countries are useful checks upon … Government and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits, is probably true … [But] in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for salutary purposes.
Washington would obviously oppose Israel’s system of Proportional Representation which produced 34 parties in the February 2009 elections. This degree of faction is symptomatic of paltry egotism and political insanity.
In any event, the mitigation of faction—even if only a few parties are involved—necessitates a unitary Executive. The American people, said Washington, constitute a nation and not a welter of self-seeking interest groups. Only a unitary Executive can endow the government itself with unity. And only a powerful Executive can strengthen the people’s sense of national unity, purpose, and character.
Hamilton emphasizes in Federalist 70 that "Energy in the Executive is a leading character in the definition of good government. It is essential ... to the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy."
After all, the President, more than any Senator or Representative, is the nation’s guardian.It is no accident that, of the three branches of American government, only the executive power is unqualified. The Constitution prescribes that "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States." In contrast, there are exceptions to thelegislative power, and the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is controlled by Congress.
A unitary Executive is most clearly necessary during periods of national crisis. To put the matter another way: without presidential leadership, the tendency of government would be to degenerate into a welter of petty, self-centered groups. Only an energetic executive can possibly rescue those groups from their self-defeating particularity and, in the process, coordinate their interests so as to advance the common good.
Unlike statesmen of today who merely call for national unity, Washington emphasizes the specific blessings that unity confers on the American people. National unity, he points out, "is a main Pillar in the Edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad, your safety, your prosperity, and the liberty you so highly prize."
But the mere statement of these blessings of unity is not enough. With exemplary rhetoric, Washington proceeds to reinforce belief in the value of national unity by appealing to the three motivating factors of human nature: sentiment, interests, and ideas. Thus, after warning the people against "every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts," Washington tells his fellow-Americans:
Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of AMERICAN, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exult the just pride of Patriotism, more than [the name derived from your particular locality]. With slight shades of difference, you have the same Religion, Manners, Habits and political Principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together. The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils, and joint efforts; of common dangers, sufferings and successes.
But Washington knows that appeal to common sentiments—to the "mystic chords of memory"—is not sufficient to unite men. Hence he appeals to the material advantages of union. He outlines how each section of the country benefits from another’s agricultural or industrial productions or commercial facilities.
The statesman who would persuade diverse men to a common course of action must also show how his proposals are conducive to their material well-being and safety. But to strengthen and sustain men's beliefs and enlarge their interests, he must also appeal to commonly accepted though not necessarily well-understood ideas or principles. These ideas must be made vivid by relating them to men's sentiments and interests, hence by showing how they justify the statesman's objective: national unity.
The statesman must articulate those ideas or principles in such a way as to render coherent the mutually obstructive opinions, passions, and interests of his audience. Finally, and of decisive importance, only by elucidating those ideas or principles can the statesman pursue comprehensive and long-range policies without having constantly to defend himself against inevitable critics. Accordingly, Washington proceeds to educate his audience—and notice how he anticipates the possibility of civil war in a country whose Constitution is merely eight years old and still far from being solidly established:
To the efficacy and permanency of Your Union, a Government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances however strict between the parts can be an adequate substitute. They must inevitably experience the [inconstancy and instability coalitions of parties] have at all times experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay [the Articles of Confederation] by the adoption of a Constitution of Government, better calculated than your former for an intimate Union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of your own choice … adopted upon … mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support.
Again Washington identifies the Constitution as the work of the American people. This is not to be construed simply as democratic rhetoric. Rather, it is the use of democratic language to promote just and noble ends.
However, if the Constitution is the work of the American people, might they not feel perfectly free to change it? Anticipating this question, Washington declares:
Respect for [the authority of the government established under the Constitution],compliance with its Laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true Liberty. The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all.
Or as Hamilton says in Federalist 78: "Until the people have, by some solemn and authoritative act, annulled or changed the established form, it is binding upon themselves collectively as well as individually; and no presumption, or even knowledge, of their sentiments, can warrant their representatives in a departure from it, prior to such an act."
The election of a new President or of a new Congress does not warrant change in the ends of government, of which liberty and justice are fundamental. The Constitution is not merely a framework of laws and institutions. This Constitution was intended to preserve the Judeo-Christian culture of the American people as clearly articulated in the Declaration of Independence and in Public Law 102-14 (102 P.L. 14; 1991 H.J. Res. 104; 105 Stat. 44), which incorporates the Seven Noahide Laws of universal morality.
We have come a long way from Washington. In stark contrast to that great statesman, Barack Hussein Obama is a moral relativist—psychologically "a man without a country." He thus constitutes America’s most insidious enemy.