[Editor's note: The article below was written on the subject of Frontpage's central motto: Inside Every Liberal Is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out. To read the winning article by N.A. Halkides of our recent essay contest on this theme, click here. Submissions to Frontpage are always welcome on this topic.]
Of all the closet-totalitarians on the left, there is none greater than President Barack Hussein Obama.
A couple of centuries ago, Goethe said: “Tell me with whom thou art found, and I will tell thee who thou art.” Over 100 years later, John Ruskin made a virtually identical point: “Tell me what you like, and I’ll tell you what you are.”
When we want to know more about what motivates terrorists and criminals, we cling to this pearl of wisdom by looking at their relationships and the ideas that they’ve imbibed. Yet when we want to know what motivates our President, many of us, those in the media particularly, ignore this time-honored wisdom.
That Obama is perhaps the greatest of contemporary closet-totalitarians is borne out by the following considerations:
First, Obama spent a considerable portion of his childhood in the Islamic society of Indonesia. There, he was educated as a Muslim at a madrasa, an Islamic school. That his paternal family in Kenya, a land to which Obama is no stranger, is Muslim, only strengthens his connection with Islam.
All of this is important. Obama is no Muslim. But his ideology, centering as it does on the “fundamental transformation” of America, reflects the same sort of comprehensiveness and rigor found in Islam. It is not at all unreasonable to suspect that his exposure to Islam played at least some role in informing it.
Second, as its subtitle makes clear, Obama’s first memoir, Dreams From My Father, is “a story of race and inheritance.” Dreams relays Obama’s odyssey, his quest for racial authenticity—i.e. authentic blackness. We must realize that Obama is no different from any other leftist, black or white, in viewing blackness not so much biologically or even culturally, but ideologically.
Academic and one-time Obama confidante and backer, Cornell West, summarizes this approach as succinctly and clearly as anyone. “‘Black enough,’” he writes, “always means ‘bold enough.’” For instance, Clarence Thomas is “phenotypically [biologically], beautifully black.” But as “a right-wing conservative who sides with the strong against the weak,” Thomas is “not bold enough.” Conversely, Adam Clayton Powell and Thurgood Marshall, though light-complexioned, were “bold enough” and, thus, “black enough.” Both “sided with the weak.”
Read: black leftists are authentically black while blacks who aren’t leftists are not.
Third, Obama’s desire to be “black enough” led him to seek out Reverend Jeremiah Wright, pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. The relevance of this decision on Obama’s part couldn’t be more germane to unlocking his true identity, for Obama spent over 20 years at Wright’s church, and didn’t distance himself from it until it became politically necessary to do so. Throughout most of his adult life, that is, Obama was under the tutelage of Wright, a man of whom he thought enough to describe as his “spiritual mentor,” the one “who brought me to Christ.”
But Wright’s church was saturated in “Black Liberation Theology,” a racialized version of Marxism founded by James Hal Cone. The latter equates God with “blackness.” Cone thinks that black theologians “must reject any conception of God which stifles black self-determination by picturing God as a God of all peoples.” God must be “identified with the oppressed to the point that their experience becomes God’s experience….” If not, we are left with a deity who “is a God of racism [.]”
Reinforcing the ideologically-centered conception of blackness discussed above, Cone writes: “Being black in America has little to do with skin color. Being black means that your heart, your soul, your mind, and your body are where the dispossessed are.”
Only a suspension of disbelief of Herculean proportions could lead one to think that Obama’s exposure to these ideas for decades didn’t shape his worldview.
Fourth, Obama became a “community organizer” while in Chicago. That he looked for inspiration in the Godfather of all self-styled progressive activists, Saul Alinsky, is itself telling. More disturbing, however, is that Obama’s craft of choice supplies the paradigm—the community in need of organizing—by which he governs as President of the country.
The members of a community are linked together by a shared vision of the good life, a purpose to which they are devoted. But in America, a country with over 300 million people with varying interests and ends, there is no such shared purpose. America is a civil association; it is not a community. To treat it as a community is to impose upon citizens those ends that the government arbitrarily privileges.
In other words, to treat America as a community is to undermine the liberty and individuality that its Constitution has always guaranteed.
Finally, consider how Obama has in fact governed over the last five years. In light of the forgoing points, isn’t this precisely what we would expect?
Whether taking over General Motors or one-sixth of the nation’s economy via the ominous “Obamacare;” whether refusing to enforce immigration laws or exploiting national tragedies to further erode the Second Amendment—Obama has spared no occasion to fulfill his pledge to “fundamentally transform” the country.
Inside every leftist there is a totalitarian screaming to get out.
Obama is and has always been a man of the hard left. Given that he is the only leftist in the world to have the power of the American presidency at his disposal, and considering that he will never again have to face reelection, there is no closet totalitarian from whom we have more to fear.
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