2 thoughts on “Obama the Philosopher-King?

  1. I, too, was intrigued by this claim.

    On the one hand, Obama’s been criticized by many for having an above-it-all attitude that tracks almost exactly with what you’d expect from someone who resides “outside the cave” inhabited by the rest of us.

    On the other hand, the kind of philosophy he’s supposed to espouse is pragmatism, which is hardly what Plato had in mind, since it not only doesn’t presuppose but in fact explicitly denies that there is any “outside the cave.” There are just relative degrees of efficiency toward reaching the goal of (if we’re talking about Dewey’s version of pragmatism) “democracy.”

    So, who knows.

    Me, I just think he’s a committed liberal who’s willing to compromise pragmatically on means. He’s not a philosopher, in other words, so much as a well-educated, intelligent politician.

  2. Obama has credentials but little wisdom, and certainly little apparaent ability to learn from mistakes or history.

    He has a coda and that is it. It is his “hammer” and every problem is a “nail”.

    He sees himself, I believe, to be a “philosopher-king”, or certainly a cut well above the vast majority of his subjects. This vision is a measure of his incurious mind and overfed self-esteem, not of a strong intellect. He is eager to teach, but has little interest in learning.

    The most telling example IMO was the interview during the campaign where he defended raising capital gains tax rates in spite of the clear history of how the Bush cuts increased revenue and shifted the tax burden to the wealthy. The reporter was a little stunned, I think, and tried two or three times to make sure Obama understood.

    Not a blink, twitch, smile…dead eyes in a dead face. Obama had the same answer every time. He knew then and appears to know still all he wants to know about the impact of marginal tax rates in the real world, which is nothing.

    Or, he knows exactly what he is doing and that it will not make life better at all, or more fair, etc.

    I am not sure which is scarier, but the hit ratio of backing bad ideas seems so high I cannot imagine his intentions are “good” or as he says, and the cause of such egregious failure is “ineptitude”. That worked for a while, but even blind hogs get an acorn (no pun, there) now and then.

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