dObama And Berlin - Road to the Middle Class - by Christopher Chantrill
 home  |  book  |  blogs  |   RSS  |  contact  |
A Good Denier Day What the NYT Wouldn't Print

print view

Obama and Berlin

by Christopher Chantrill
July 22, 2008 at 12:01 am

POLITICIANS are creatures of their staff. And this becomes even more so as we climb the food chain to the presidential level.

So when we say that President Bush is clueless, we are really talking about the quality of his staff. Their job is to make him look good. Of course, he hired them, so it’s his fault if they screw up.

In the current flap about Obama’s speech in Berlin, we should keep this in mind. We can’t really expect Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to know all about the gaffe factors associated with making a speech at the Brandenburg Gate or at the Siegessäule.

But we should expect that his staff to be up to speed on the symbolic meaning of the Brandenburg Gate, built at the end of the eighteenth century with Viktoria looking east (to the greater Prussia created during the wars of Frederick II). And we should expect his staff to know about the Siegessäule, a column erected to the victory of Prussia over Denmark in 1862 and very much associated with the rise of imperial Germany.

Obviously, they don’t.

Maybe, of course, all this navel scratching about German monuments and their association with the Second Reich and the Third Reich is just twentieth century stuff. We are the ones we have been waiting for and all the Prussian militarism and Nazi stuff is so yesterday.

Of maybe it indicates that the Obama staff are narrow, arrogant, and shallow. And that the Obama administration will also be narrow, arrogant, and shallow.

|

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


 TAGS


Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


mysql close

 

©2007 Christopher Chantrill