Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Barack Obama A Moral Cretin

Abe Greenwald of Commentary (h/t Larwyn) comments on the strange statement of Barack Hussein Obama concerning the mass murder at Fort Hood:

>Barack Obama asked that we not “jump to conclusions” about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is alleged to have killed 13 Americans at Fort Hood last Thursday. Forget “jump to.” If only President Obama would crawl toward, or flirt with, or even stumble upon a conclusion, I’d be overjoyed. On this you can rely: Obama will never express a conclusive opinion on last Thursday’s massacre.

I happen to have been reading a wonderful book by the University of Chicago philosopher and classicist, Martha C. Nussbaum, entitled The Fragility of Goodness. The book was written in 1986. My philosophy professor at Sarah Lawrence College, Elfie Stock Raymond, was likely an admirer of Nussbaum because I see many parallels between Nussbaum's ideas and Elfie's that we discussed in conferences back in the early to mid 1970s, especially her rejection of Kantian ethics. Reading Nussbaum, 35 years later, I am able to better grasp that position.

The book is about moral complexity as seen through the eyes of Greek tragedians and philosophers, notably Aristotle. The third chapter, that I have been working through, is about Sophocles's Antigone. One of the themes of Greek tragedy is conflict among moral duties, and Antigone is about this, the conflict between Creon's unitary commitment to the good of the polis and Antigone's unitary commitment to her duties toward her dead brother, killed in a war against the same polis. Nussbaum argues that moral richness and complexity are at the heart of Sophocles's and other tragedians' vision, and that they contrast with a much more narrow vision of ethics of Plato, who sees an optimal moral path. The idea of moral optimality is carried forward by Kant. If you read Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem you see that Eichmann used Kant as a moral defense. This is consistent with Nussbaum's argument. Simplistic moral solutions are impoverished (p. 75):

>...the statement of human triumphs through reason turns out to be also a compressed document of reason's limitations, transgressions and conflicts. It suggests that the richer our scheme of values, the harder it will prove to effect a harmony within it. The more open we are to the presence of value, of divinity, in the world, the more surely conflict closes us in. The price of harmonization seems to be impoverishment, the price of richness disharmony. It looks, indeed, like an 'unwritten law' that 'nothing great comes into the life of mortals without disaster'. It is at this point that the men of the Chorus say, appropriately, 'looking on this strange portent, I think on both sides'.

I am waiting to get to Aristotle, but clearly his philosophy emphasizes the importance reconciliation of competing moral virtues.

Perhaps you can see the message for corporate maangement here. So many of our business leaders have had unitary moral codes. In the case of Jeffrey Skilling, the emphasis on creativity or the image of creativity at the expense of all other moral values. In the case of Robert Moses an emphasis on transportation flow at the expense of uprooting hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. In the case of the management theorist Chester Barnard, an emphasis on the moral code of the corporation at the expense of all other moral codes, including filial loyalty. These views are Kantian in that they assume a singular optimal moral solution. Barnard speaks of leadership as the creative reconciliation of moral codes, but his creativity is unitary in nature and so Creonic and Kantian--the simple value of corporate profit maximization is the ultimate good in his view; creativity comes in just to convince employees to forsake their other codes.

Here we have Barack Obama. His problem is not the conflict among virtues or the reconciliation of belief, but rather the bankruptcy of belief. He has no values at all. There is no moral ambiguity in an army officer's turning traitor to his country, murdering 13 people and wounding 30 more. Only an ethical cretin would claim that there is a need to "reserve judgment". What are the alternative moral considerations when one faces mass murder?

Obama's moral sickness reflects a deeper malaise in America. The nation has allowed ignorant ideologues to take control of its education system and its culture. School teachers who can barely read are indoctrinated in education schools as to cretinous, politically correct ideologies of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. As a result, Americans have increasingly become moral degenerates addicted to failed government solutions and incapable of thinking logically. Barack Obama's cretinous morality is a symptom, not a root cause, of American decline.


Anonymous said...

Barack Obama asked that WE not “jump to conclusions” about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan but HE can jump to conclusions and call Cambridge police stupid without knowing ANY of the facts at all. (AND brought race into it!)

Obama-"Now, I don't know, not having been there and seeing all the facts. The Cambridge police acted stupidly".

Here's the full quote:

"I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry. Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And number three - what I think we know separate and apart from this incident - is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that's just a fact."



C.W. Johnson said...

It is truly impressive that you can use Aristotle in a sentence.
Kudos for showing off in while spewing partisan venom.

What is less impressive is your bizarre linkage of Nidal Malik Hasan, Barack Obama, and teacher education. Your use of something called NCTE to represent teacher education suggests the gap in your knowledge about education generally.

Among educators, the acronym NCTE is the abbreviation for the National Council of Teachers of English. That association is a diverse compendium of all things having to do with reading, writing, and literature. It is hardly a political cesspool.

The NCTE that you refer to is a website primarily devoted to advertisements. To my knowledge, that organization has little to no role in teacher education...none in my state of Minnesota, in my 23 years of experience.

Wishing you the best with more coherent and factually based arguments in the future.

Mitchell Langbert said...

Your best argument is that I referred to NCATE, the National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education, as the National Council on Teacher Education. Gee whiz, you must be really knowledgeable. I'm awe struck. You Democrat ideologues are such geniuses. You can parrot the New York Times and copy words. Awe inspiring.