Paved with good intentions

For statists, a policy failure is typically the fault of others. To wit:

  1. the right people were not in charge,
  2. not enough money was forthcoming,
  3. the victims intended recipients just don’t understand the benefits yet

In the first instance, the idea is betrayed by its friends. They turn out to be incompetent. In the second case, the idea is betrayed by a lack of productivity, or taxation that was too low. As to the third excuse, that’s simple betrayal by the proletariat the unwashed redneck gun-clingers the unenlightened.

To examine a perfect storm of collectivist excuse, look no farther than Pulitzer prize winner, and Stalin gopher – Walter Duranty.

He advanced all three excuses to explain the starvation Stalin visited on the Ukraine, for example. For decades, and in some cases even today, the far left won’t acknowledge that the intent of Stalin’s collectivization policy was starvation. That’s why they feel obliged to defend it as something else. But even then, as Duranty said,”You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” That’s a special case of the third statist excuse: All those dead kulaks were thwarting the higher good. Millions of others were just at the wrong place in the wrong time. Collateral damage.

If the intent is World Communism, millions starved is a small price to pay. See also Pulitzer-Winning Lies.

The idea is that other people need to be forced to behave in a certain way, not that the cognoscenti should set an example. Whether it’s the failure of 5-Year plans or the looming insolvency in Social Security, statists are certain results would have matched intentions if the people actually doing the work had held up their end. Bad results are never the fault of superior thinkers, a group in which legislators are always automatically included. It’s the intention that’s important, not the results.

It is of more than passing interest then, when a presidential candidate points out a failure of his hoped for constituents in an area where he is a failure. Indeed, since some of them have achieved the goal, he is an abject failure. It really must be the intention that counts then, the intention to modify the behavior of others while ignoring your own.

For instance: If you think speaking more than one language is so important that it leads you to snickeringly (at 58 seconds) insult any American who does not,

…what does it mean if you can’t do so yourself despite incredible opportunity?

Obama lacks a second language despite living for four years at an impressionable age in a foreign country, and then spending eight years at a lavish prep school that currently offers five different languages and makes studying at least one of them mandatory in 7th grade. Sen. Obama also has an undergraduate degree from Columbia University, which has a foreign language requirement and offers 37 different foreign languages, including some that don’t exist anymore, such as Akkadian. He later spent three years at Harvard, which offers instruction in more languages than I’m willing to count. I did make it through Harvard’s “African Languages” list and counted 20 separate ones offered at Harvard.

RTWT at Steve Sailer’s iSteve Blog

What does it say about your audience that they are delighted by your snide critique of other Americans for a failure you (and assuredly some of them) share? Basically, it says, “Hey, we’re all fine with it. It’s the meta-idea of gauche Americans with IQs of 85 that counts.”

Might it be that publicly laughing up your sleeve at your countrymen isn’t so much lacking in social grace as it is evidence of an overweening superiority complex? A feeling of privilege so grand that it cannot recognize any limit to the securing of political advantage at another’s expense? Obama has thrown his friends and advisors Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Michael Pfleger, Tony Rezko, Jim Johnson, Susan Rice and his own grandmother under the bus from pride. I guess this language thing is the “Friend of Obama” treatment for the rest of us.

Obama’s condescending view is not what you’d call mainstream. When Americans were asked “Which is more important, encouraging all Americans to learn at least two languages or encouraging all immigrants to speak English as their primary language?” the answer was pretty clear. Check Sacre Bleu! for the results.

For the record, I agree that speaking more than one language is a good thing. I would encourage it. However, I don’t think Obama’s pride in his own lack of accomplishment is what would generally be described as leadership on the matter.

H/T five feet of fury

Update: 5:07PM
Oh, and by the way, why is it that many people who are not American, Australian, British, or Canadian speak English? Could it be that it is the primary language of science, commerce, tourism, aviation, diplomacy and pop culture? Could it be this?

Over two-thirds of the world’s scientists read in English. Three quarters of the world’s mail is written in English. Eighty per cent of the world’s electronically stored information is in English. Of the estimated forty million users of the Internet, some eighty per cent communicate in English,

Non-native English speakers outnumber native English speakers 3 to 1. Why is that? One answer would be capitalism’s close association with English, another would be colonialism’s. Which do you think is more likely to have produced this continuing effect?

The advice to learn a second language does not need Barack Obama to promote it to English speakers. Immigrants to the US should make it their first priority, a concept Obama takes as a given despite increasing evidence to the contrary.

Googling “Obama” and “la raza” (the race) finds this. Listen and watch. It’s a pastiche of a voodoo chant and illegal immigrant populism:

Update: 9:29PM

…Maybe the diminishing “nourishment” Sen. Obama receives from “popularity” is actually causing him to ratchet up his pursuit of more and more praise just to get the minimal fix he needs.

That would account for why a man who thinks striving for popularity is a character flaw has nonetheless decided to give his nomination acceptance speech in a 76,000-seat football stadium.

Or it might tell us why a candidate who hasn’t even been nominated yet wants to re-enact some of the most famous scenes from both Reagan and JFK’s highlight reels by holding a rally at Germany’s Brandenburg Gate, even though he’s not a head of state yet. (German authorities, aware of Obama’s rock-star status with the German public, diplomatically suggested that it was up to Obama to decide what is in “good taste.”)

Perhaps Dominic Lawson, writing in the British newspaper The Independent had it right when he recently wrote that Obama is “a man of stunning articulacy, but also stunning self-regard.”

It would certainly explain why pandering to an audience of “blame America” junkies is more important than honesty.

And: Making It. Long. RTWT.