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Saluting Obama, Our Demagogue In Chief
Kelly O'Connell asks, is the central purpose of
communication to persuade an audience, or to tell them the truth?
Of course, a combination of both is the goal of effective and ethical
speaking. But has this question ever sprung to Barack Obama’s mind
when rising to pontificate? Contra, it appears Obama’s entire
approach to communication is simply using words to service political
He continually sacrifices honesty to expedience in his
"Pragmatic" manner. In short, Barack is a "sophist," misusing
words to create false impressions of reality to fool people into
supporting his policies.
Unfortunately, given the mainstream
media’s liberal default, we can’t often discover inconsistencies in
their favored figures. So we often don’t know when leftist leaders
are lying. Contra, media bogeymen receive coverage either warped,
or wholly falsified. Consider when Dan Rather offered "proof"
President Bush had dodged Vietnam, itself a transparent forgery.
It’s dangerous when the 4th Estate utterly abandons any pretense of
unbiased reporting, simply operating like brain addled celebrity hacks;
functionally no different than a star-struck high school girl "reporter"
doing a feature on the quarterback/homecoming king.
A. What is a Demagogue?
dishonesty to shape opinions. Webster defines one as "a leader who
makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order
to gain power." But, does it matter if our leaders deceive us?
After all, everyone knows politicians lie -- so why not just adjust
expectations? Actually, political lies are very costly to a
democracy, quite easily destroying not just public good will, but the
very country itself. Besides, America’s greatest leaders, such as
George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, were famed for honesty. So,
why should we accept any public lies to begin with?!!
Humanity’s oldest argument probably ponders which
ideas, goals and actions represent the "Good Life." In America,
we’re currently debating whether models of socialist-big-government
create a better life than capitalist-small-government-democracy.
In ancient Athens, philosophers frequently debated the Good Life,
including those covered in Plato’s Dialogues. These starred his
teacher, Socrates, using questions meant to discover answers to
important topics. According to Alasdair MacIntyre, in "Whose
Justice? Which Rationality?" -- Plato believed the Good Life
wasn’t about seeking money or power, but justice, via truthful
C. The Sophists Versus Truth
a Greek intellectual school from whom comes the word "sophism."
Webster’s defines this as "subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation."
In several dialogues, Plato writes of Socrates debating truth in speech,
in works like Gorgias, the Sophist, and Statesman. Sophists were
traveling debate teachers famed for coaching pupils on unethical and
dishonest tricks for winning arguments.
In "Gorgias," Socrates
expresses scorn for tricky speeches, saying these are…"a phantom of a
branch of statesmanship…a kind of flattery…that is contemptible."
This is because the words are meant only for the speaker’s benefit
rather than the good of listeners. Worse, Plato writes these
speeches are… "designed to produce conviction, but not educate people,
about matters of right or wrong." Here, Socrates makes Gorgias (an
actual Greek Sophist) admit his "art" (technê) deals with opinion (doxa)
instead of knowledge (epistemê); and his goal is persuasion rather than
instruction. Gorgias reveals ambivalence towards "truth,"
boasting, "Rhetoric is the only area of expertise you need to learn.
You can ignore all the rest and still get the better of the
Closing paragraph: The greatest leaders in history, from
Christ to Plato and Washington to Reagan, opposed demagoguery. Is
there a reason to accept a third-rate, incompetent, tin-pot despot as a
leader if these bad habits block effectiveness? No. How can
one claim to "lead" a democracy if it presumes a well-informed populace
making choices between real options while the leader only offers lies?
Can one imagine a doctor lying to patients so they feel better while
dying? In these days of desperate problems and failed policies, we
desperately need politicians who at least tell the truth if we hope to
overcome our problems and regain national health. The first thing,
then, is to demand honest leaders, and the rest of good government
Ten Mental Mistakes Of Obots
Kelly O'Connell says we live in times of rank,
unchallenged errors of thought forcefully expressed in print and spoken
word. Political movements, in particular, traffic in purposeful verbal
trickery. In fact, some especially depend upon fallacies to drive
their message since their essential convictions are defective or even
diseased. Such groups as the Nazis, Fascists and Communists
immediately spring to mind here.
Barack Obama peppers his
rhetoric with a veritable buffet of verbal trickery. But why?
If Obots are correct, and Barack is one of history’s great speakers, why
must he use cheap rhetorical tricks to win support? The answer is
Obama offers ideas which, on their face, are either counter-intuitive,
or false to the average listener. Speakers do not mislead unless
they sense an inability to otherwise persuade their audience.
Therefore Barack needs extra help to persuade. What other
explanation can there be for such incongruent methods?
supporters, aka Obots, have created a human ocean of fallacies to buoy
their leader, threatening to engulf the globe in a terrifying flood of
logical errors. The following is a short list of some of the most
persistent members of this false-argument tsunami.
A. What is a
A fallacy is generally an error in reasoning.
Fallacies are common, yet fraudulent arguments. The most popular
are mistakes that occur when people don’t think clearly. The most
typically used have given names to aid in their detection.
Certainly, we all tend to use fallacious thinking daily. But for
important topics, such as politics, religion, and law it is imperative
we do not employ these flawed logical structures as we will end up with
B. Top Ten Liberal Fallacies
following fallacies are employed by Obama, his administration and his
rabble of fervent and often intellectually challenged fans.
This fallacy claims if someone is "morally
pure," or has the "right" motivations, then their actions cannot be
Example: Obama claims his foreign
policy is better received and more effective because it is not
"arrogant." Further, he implies both his economic policies and
health care plans will succeed because they are not based upon
"greed," but instead on altruism, as the wealthier are forced to
share with the less affluent.
repeatedly employs the fallacy of Self-Righteousness (perhaps a
logical result of his apparent embrace of a semi-messianic
self-identity). Describing Obama as the furthest thing from
pure, former House member Dick Armey summed him up, saying, "You’re
intellectually shallow. You’re a romantic. You’re
self-indulgent. You have no ability." He added Obama was
"...the most incompetent president perhaps in our lifetime."
says Liberal Democrats were often befuddled by President Reagan's
By their lights, Reagan could commit the
most heinous acts, but their criticisms were usually shrugged off by the
American people, who judged him a "nice guy" who deserved the benefit of
the doubt. Obama has enjoyed something similar during his first 2
1/2 years in office. Even as public opposition mounted to his
policies -- ObamaCare, the failed economic stimulus program, cap and
trade, skyrocketing government deficits -- Obama retained a reserve of
public good will reflected in consistently strong personal favorability
ratings. People who didn't like his policies generally still saw
Obama as a likeable guy, somebody they would enjoy having over for
dinner with the family.
But that may be changing. Recall
that Obama invited House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of
Wisconsin to George Washington University to hear his Wednesday address
on the federal government's dire fiscal situation. The speech was
advertised by the White House as a major address in which Obama would
join the serious conversation initiated two weeks ago by Ryan in his
detailed proposal for cutting spending. What Obama instead
delivered, with Ryan sitting in the front row, was, in the Wall Street
Journal's unsparing description, a "poison pen" speech dripping with
mean-spirited partisanship, gross misrepresentations of fact, and
sophistry of the lowest sort concerning Republicans' alleged desire to
hurt old people, the poor and mentally challenged children. It was
the sort of harangue one would expect from a rabidly devoted partisan
hack, with no relation whatever to the thoughtful appeals to reason and
common values that historically have characterized presidential
leadership in this country.
Obama then spent Thursday evening
regaling an audience of Democratic donors with what he thought were
off-the-record insider jabs about his recent budget negotiations with
House Republicans, including this cheap shot at Ryan: "When Paul Ryan
says his priority is to make sure he's just being America's accountant,
that he's being responsible, I mean this is the same guy that voted for
two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were
unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my
health care bill -- but wasn't paid for. So it's not on the
level." The reality is that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars under
President Bush were regularly funded by Congress, claiming tax cuts must
be "paid for" is a hoary piece of Democratic class-warfare demagoguery,
and the prescription drug plan Ryan supported cost half as much as the
Democratic alternative then on the table. Such fact-free
commentary is to be expected from blind partisans, but not the president
of the United States.
Odds are we will see more of this meaner
side of the Obama persona in the months ahead because, as columnist and
former GOP presidential aide Pete Wehner notes, "now that he finds
himself intellectually outmatched by Paul Ryan, chairman of the House
Budget Committee, and in a precarious situation when it comes to his
re-election, Obama is dropping his past civility sermons down the memory
hole. Decency and respect for others has suddenly become passé.
Talking about our disagreements without being disagreeable has been
overtaken by events. Not impugning the character of the opposition
is fine as long as it's convenient, but it's to be ignored whenever
necessary." In other words, we're now seeing the real Obama in
what promises to be an ugly campaign.
Obama Talks The Talk, But Skips The Walk
says that in his speech last week on the American debt crisis,
Barack Obama volunteered that a number of millionaires would be
delighted to volunteer to pay more to support the government.
Well, with an income last year of $1.7 million Obama is one of those
very "millionaires" of which he speaks. How many dollars is he
willing to contribute to his cause? Not a one. Not a dime,
not a penny. In fact, quite the opposite.
Mr. and Mrs.
Obama paid a small fortune to accountants to generate 53 pages of tax
forms designed to avoid paying his "fair share." In those 53
pages, Mr. and Mrs. Obama apparently took advantage of every single
tax-minimization tool, every exclusion, every loophole available to
them. Deductions? Yep. Capital gains treatment?
You bet. Tax credits? Lots.
Obama wants the wealthy
to pay more. Fine and dandy. When's he going to start?
The Obamas paid a lot of taxes on their income last year, $454 thousand
to be precise, or about 25% of their income. But that left them
with $1.3 million free and clear. To parrot Obama, I have trouble
believing they "need" all that. I mean, their rent, medical care
and transportation are free, or more accurately, I'm paying the freight.
They get a food allowance of, what, $50 thousand a year? That'll
buy a burger or two, even a nice arugula salad. Why does he feel
he needs to keep so much while he is constantly pointing out the many
who need more and getting a free ride to boot?
Obamas made a number of generous (and tax deductible) donations last
year, but isn't that still pretty selfish of them, making their own
decisions on where that money goes? Why not cut out the private
charities and put the money where his mouth is by giving it to Treasury
Secretary Geithner and the other 2.75 million federal bureaucrats to
spend as they see right and proper? Isn't that more the American
way that Obama thinks made our nation great? Further granted that
spreading an extra couple hundred thousand dollars between nearly 3
million public servants doesn't amount to much, but isn't that the
point? It's going to take ton of money to finance all the
"investments" that Obama outlined in his speech and his budget.
Best get started!
To the point, why doesn't Obama make a really
tangible offer to lead, something we ordinary people can see and count?
Perhaps he'd pony up at least as much as the maligned Bush tax rates
call for while skipping all those horrible "loopholes for the rich?"
Volunteering to step up to the top Bush rate of 35% would cost the
Obama's an extra $174 thousand, really not much for a family of their
Even more impressive would be a true feat of leadership.
I'd like to see Obama name his new, fair rate for the wealthy, and then