When people speak against Obama, I agree with Mark Lilla in his review of I Am The Change. They must mean someone else.
The president’s haters and I live in different realities. I see a moderate and cautious man; they see The Great Satan.
According to Lilla, the right’s rage has little to do with anything the president (“the most left-wing liberal to be elected to office”) has or hasn’t done. It’s a rage against historical process. Progressives want to use the state to encourage human equality and freedom. Conservatives want individual freedom, limited government, and strict constitutional principles.
Obama is merely the latest standard-bearer in an epic struggle. In this latest version, Puritans will be replaced by the black church, and the Affordable Care Act is an axe in the heart of constitutional America. Progressives are elite and paternalistic, self-appointed reformers who would run roughshod over the Constitution and modernize the state. We will become Europe, only fatter.
But for our common good, we need to be able to draw on an educated, healthy work force, a modern public infrastructure, and transparent, stable financial markets.
How can we speak across the divide? I like Lilla’s quote from Maimonides: “A man should never cast his reason behind him, for the eyes are set in the front, not behind.’