November 13, 2009
The audacity of extremism
By James Lewis
Audacity is supposed to be a talent in great generals — at least some of them. That’s where the phrase comes from: “L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace!” It’s attributed to the Kaiser Friedrich der Grosse, to Georges Danton, (one of the big head-choppers of the French Revolution), and to Napoleon Bonaparte.
Audacity can be effective in warfare, because surprise assaults can break through a Maginot Line. But another word for audacity is “gambling.” The price you often have to pay is overreach and defeat. Napoleon’s audacity led straight to an historic defeat for Imperial France in Russia. France never recovered — it’s had two straight centuries of military defeats since Napoleon. His invasion of Russia also caused unimaginable suffering, just like Hitler’s invasion a century later. Audacity is not necessarily a good thing.
When Obama uses the phrase “The Audacity of Hope,” we hope he’s talking about peaceful audacity. But we can't be sure — because Obama and his inner circle are extremists in any reasonable meaning of that word, certainly by the standards of normal American politics. That's why Obama seems so foreign. That is what “radical” means; it’s another word for “extremist.” These folks love to preen themselves on being radical. Rules for Radicals is their Bible, and it’s Obama's manual for “community organizing” — which looks just like community destruction. Alinsky dedicated Rules for Radicals to Lucifer, because Lucifer is the symbol of destructive extremism. Don't tell me these folks are mainstream Americans. No way.
Obama is running the most extremist administration in American history. It’s chockfull of wild-eyed bizarros like Van Jones, Rahm Gawdhelpus, and the whole Chicago Gang. How many presidential chiefs of staff have publicly yelled “Dead! Dead! Dead!” while stabbing a steak knife into a dinner table, just to show what he wanted to do to his political enemies? Rahm Emanuel’s the only one. How many have done the Godfather schtick by sending a dead fish to a journalist? Rahmbo wants to scare people, and Obama knew that when he hired him. It can't be an accident that Rahm is Obama’s Capo di tutti Capi.
That’s extremism. Maybe it’s normal in Moscow or Khazakstan. In American politics it’s extremist.