As Cobb readers know, sometime around 7 years ago, I realized some awful things about the American electorate the fundamental nature of which can be described as lazy. I also recognized that when intelligent collaboration fails, human beings almost instantly and unconsciously revert to hierarchy. In this I predicted that Barack Obama because of the nature of his campaign and the character he displayed, would be subject to the great temptation of fascism. Which is to say more plainly that he is an opportunist who skillfully and with luck on his side managed to sell a shallow set of opportunities for intelligent collaboration as a candidate. The lazy American electorate purchased that dog food and soon after reverted to hierarchy. Obama has taken those opportunties as well. In this season, the press has come the constellation of his small treacheries. I saw its shape all along.
My most deeply held concern about the Obama Presidency has been and continues to be his naive, reactionary and rudderless foreign policy. I fully expect that his legacy will be that he was the American President who let Iran have nuclear weapons. Despite the bold and brave Stuxnet worm I'm sure his administration had a hand in, Obama's boldness is covert. He cannot hold his head high in front of troops and does not recognize the necessity and honor of the force of arms, the salutory effect of a national military force - the true meaning of uniformed boots on the ground. It is a projection of force with which he has fundamental quarrels - I believe it frightens him and so he responds to the irrational fears projected by like-minded individuals in foreign countries and peaceniks at home.
In the news today is the sort of event which gets my attention because, in combination with the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings it strikes me as evidence of a new sort of everyday savagery. After the professional terrorists have exhausted their most brilliant plans come the defiant ordinary butchers, all drinking from the same well of iniquity, the well of Islamist jihad the President dare not name, let alone poison. I am speaking, of course, about the machete attack on the British soldier in Woolwich. The broad daylight murder. The televised standoff in which red-handed killers were called 'suspects'.
Someone wisely said that Europe has lost its mind. It fears its own militarization because of what it did to itself during the 20th century. And so the pendulum of its willingness to be cowed in public has defied the gravity of its Islamist defiance. Barack Obama carries that kind of fear in his heart as well, as do others who fail to navigate the reality of honor in military discipline. When all violent action is undifferentiable to someone, they are happy to speak of their disgust of hatchet men in the streets, and are equally happy to send them off through civilian due processes as if all violence were the same type of crminality. In their simple-minded calculations, the random brutality of the one is only multiplied by the random brutality of the police, the national guard, the army. Better to suffer the indignity of Islamist wackjobs than the wackjobs in uniform - after all, real human beings just want to sleep and enjoy curious varieties of dress, meals and sex. So goes the thinking of the lazy many.
This makes life more difficult than it should be for the disciplined few for whom no pendulum operates our logic in support of the necessity of militant vigilance. But our efforts at intelligent collaboration have failed in the same democratic arena as the populist Obama's has succeeded, and so we fall too to hierarchy. It has taken me some time to see the measure of blind hero worship behind every teary salute, but that doesn't change the direction of my sentiment or of my thinking. It only makes me try, on occasions like today, to speak of the need for a leader capable of intelligent collaboration in support of boots on the ground.
I know such people exist who understand the limits of tolerance for that which seeks a barbaric undoing of our open society and civilized norms. That understanding comes from the simultaneous recognition of the value of liberty and the extremes to which it must often be defended. It comes not from fear, nor from dark vengeance, but for the necessity of protecting that which makes us civilized. It is not our unwillingness to employ violence which makes us civilized, but our unwillingness to be cowards. A nation so dedicated swears its citizens to oaths to this, and it is the dynamic life of that intelligent collaboration which keeps armies in uniform, in defense of liberty, in plain sight. A hierarchy of command that fears its own body will abuse itself in secret and send its dirty parts to do only dirty deeds. These are not the ways of proper leadership. These are the ways of fear and ignorance and such ways are always eventually revealed.
These are the events my friends. There is so little courage in our leadership that the tiny mobs are forming to fill the vacuum. The jihadi mobs are just the first. The now-quieted professionals whose masterminded schemes have been thwarted will again rise to direct them in due time. But by then they won't need masterful schemes..