History

A Narrative of the Life of Barack Obama

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So far, Democratic frontrunner Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has been compared to Abraham Lincoln, Robert F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. Is he the second coming of abolitionist Frederick Douglass as well? In the spring issue of The American Scholar, Nick Bromell makes the interesting, if ultimately unconvincing case that Obama is the only Democrat still adhering to the faith- and feelings-based liberalism espoused by Douglass:

If Douglass were alive today, he would be dismayed by the reluctance of most liberals and progressives to connect programs with values, values with beliefs, beliefs with feelings. He would insist on their knowing what kind of temperament underlies and what spirit animates their politics. He would ask why they find particular values enduring and sacred—a question that would set them on a path leading back to how they feel about the world and themselves and other people, back to a recovery of words that breathe life and passion into an otherwise static list of clichés.

Aren't Americans today impatient for liberals to rediscover what they stand for? Aren't they eager for a liberalism that speaks out of its deepest wellsprings, a liberalism that speaks reason from the heart?

Of course, Frederick Douglass was a classical liberal, a lifelong champion of natural rights, including the rights to life, liberty, and property. Too bad Obama seems so uninterested in following Douglass' lead on that third one.

(Via Arts & Letters Daily)

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  1. Say what? Obama is threatening to take our property away??!! Not my Swiss Army knife! He’ll take it outa my cold dead hand!

  2. He can have my Saf-T-Taint when he pries it from my cold, dead groin.

    Darm property-takin’ Barack Obama!

  3. Edward, he’s a quarter. Why don’t you go downtown and have rat gnaw that chip off your shoulder?

  4. Ahem.

    Edward, here’s a quarter. Why don’t you go downtown and have rat gnaw that chip off your shoulder?

  5. Edward, he’s a quarter.

    No, I’m pretty sure he’s a halfsie.

    …what?

  6. i know it’s been a weird day when Epi and joe are cracking me up. 🙂

  7. Oh, fuck, another Obama thread where joe strokes it for 300 posts and defends every little thing this quasi-socialist puke has ever done or will do.
    I’d rather eat my own asshole. Good night.

  8. I’d rather eat my own asshole.

    Ewww. If *I* had a choice between talking about Barack Obama, and eating my own asshole, Obama wins hands down.

    That’s even true if you replace Obama with any other politician’s name.

    Different strokes, I guess.

  9. I’d rather eat my own asshole.

    Sounds like a Hannibal Lecter/Andrew Zimmern halfsie.

  10. …the faith- and feelings-based liberalism espoused by Douglass

    I don’t know what Douglass they are talking about, but it ain’t Fredrick Douglass!

    I hate “feelings-based” politics. I don’t want to be ruled by some overly emotional moody twit. I don’t care if it’s feeling-based liberalism like Bill had, or the new compassionate feeling-based conservatism of George, I want them out of my government!

    You want feelings? Then take this feeling-based liberalism and stick them up sideways. Hurts, dont it? That’s a feeling.

  11. I doubt many people at the time that Douglass was writing would say that he defended property rights. If I remember correctly that is the one thing he is known for standing against.

  12. David, if by “property rights” you mean “slavery”, then you are 100% correct. Otherwise, he was quite into property rights.

  13. Of course, Douglass was also a pretty radical redistributionist, wasn’t he? Not only in that he wanted to redistribute ownership of human beings from masters to the human beings themselves, but also in that he wanted to break up the plantations and give portions to each former slave. I mean, I agree with him on both those counts, but it’s not like he thought that someone having something automatically proved that they ought to keep having it.

  14. A system founded largely on kidnapping and theft is begging for some redistribution. You know, like when the cops find that chop shop and start redistributing the car parts to their original owners. . .

  15. I hate “feelings-based” politics.

    *sigh* no one understands me…

  16. I imagine the logic behind the farm redistribution is, roughly, that the farm’s value was a product of stolen labor, and you can’t have a property right over something you stole.

  17. That was when black people were allowed to think for themselves and were’nt perpetually pigeon holed by identity politics and quasi-socialism (white liberals beating it into their brains that only the government could uplift them).

  18. He can have my Saf-T-Taint when he pries it from my cold, dead groin.

    SupaJock? mit TaintGard?!

  19. Of course, Frederick Douglass was a classical liberal, a lifelong champion of natural rights, including the rights to life, liberty, and property. Too bad Obama seems so uninterested in following Douglass’ lead on that third one.

    Yeah and the second one is made much less sans the third one so it makes the election of Obama with the Dems holding their majorities all the more freighting.

  20. Too bad Obama seems so uninterested in following Douglass’ lead on that third one.

    True, but you can’t really make the argument that he’s more of a socialist than Hillary, what with that ugly “shared prosperity” baloney she rolled out last year.

  21. Do peopl really think property rights have something other than utilitarian value? That seems daft to me. If I could imagine one society in which human welfare (well being) was a 8 out of 10, but property rights were violated somewhat frequently (though probably not too egregiously, as I said I do think they have utilitarian value) and a second society in which human welfare was a 3 out of 10 but property rights were sacred, I think society one is better with no question. I mean no question.

    Or let me put it another way: if I had two societies with equal levels of welfare but one had better observation of property rights I would think they were…of exactly equal moral rate.

    Property rights divorced from human welfare…That sounds completely nuts to me. But then again I’ve always thought Bentham was on to something when he said “natural law is nonsense, and natural rights is nonsense on stilts.”

  22. Frederick Douglass is one of my political heroes, and Obama is no Frederick Douglass.

    Let me know when Obama does something equivalent to wrestling his slave master to the ground, then we can talk.

  23. If I could imagine one society in which human welfare (well being) was a 8 out of 10, but property rights were violated somewhat frequently (though probably not too egregiously, as I said I do think they have utilitarian value) and a second society in which human welfare was a 3 out of 10 but property rights were sacred, I think society one is better with no question. I mean no question.

    If 99 people out of 100 get together and vote to steal the property of the last 1, you see no problem with this as long as the 99 are made much better off by their theft than they were before?

  24. Vote for Emo Politician:

    A Cut Above the Rest.

  25. joe wins.

  26. “If 99 people out of 100 get together and vote to steal the property of the last 1, you see no problem with this as long as the 99 are made much better off by their theft than they were before?”
    Urr, yes. It’s not the voting that makes it right, but the latter part of your hypo. If it increased the overall human welfare of the group it’s hard to see how you would think stopping that could be the correct answer.

    “Sure, 99 out of 100 people here are worse off, but at least that one guy’s inviolable right to property has been guarded!”

    Huh?

  27. I’d rather eat my own asshole.

    Ewww. If *I* had a choice between talking about Barack Obama, and eating my own asshole, Obama wins hands down.

    He wasn’t talking about Obama, he was talking about watching fuckwit “I hate wyte peeple” joe develop friction rash while he defends every stupid thing he thinks the guy ever might have said, whether or not the guy said it (which is kind of nebulous since Obmama never actually says anything of substance, and joe denies he said what he actually is on record of saying, but that’s a side point). Hence “joe strokes it for 300 posts” part of the comments.

  28. Hey, I won this thread. Beat it, psycho.

  29. Hey, I won this thread. Beat it, psycho.

    No worries, joe, I wasn’t talking to you, I was explaining your fuckwitted commentary and why it would cause someone to eat their own asshole to someone else. Go back to single handed typing on some other Obama thread.

  30. Geez.

    I still don’t understand libertarians. They refuse to live in the real world, and perfer to “eat their own asshole”.

    The choices in this election are:

    1. World War III
    2. Health care for everybody

    (Hillary will lose the nomination, and the LP will lose the election by fifty points, so neither is an actual, real world, choice.)

    That is, the choice is between a guy who’s never seen a war he hasn’t liked, and who will probably expand the Iraq war into Iran and beyond (for basically no reason), or a guy who wants to make sure everybody can afford to see a doctor (and who will end the Iraq war).

    Oh, and World Wars cost lots of taxpayer dollars. Probably a lot more than giving health care to everybody.

    Yet many libertarians will vote for Mr. Bomb Iran (or the non-choice of the LP candidate), because Obama is a “quasi-socialist puke”.

  31. No worries, joe, I wasn’t talking to you, I was explaining your fuckwitted commentary and why it would cause someone to eat their own asshole to someone else.

    Again?

  32. Do peopl really think property rights have something other than utilitarian value?

    in the sense that the pursuit of one’s own aims is pretty central to the entire idea of sovereignty, yes. if you don’t own your shoes, how much of your life do you own? so yeah, there is a moral aspect here. i don’t maybe enshrine it in gold and worship it or what have you, but it is important.

  33. No worries, joe, I wasn’t talking to you, I was explaining your fuckwitted commentary and why it would cause someone to eat their own asshole to someone else.

    Again?

    Yes. did you get it the second time? or do we need to go around a few hundred more times?

  34. No no, please.

    Make sure you keep doing this on every thread.

    People really love it, and it totally doesn’t make you look like an asshole.

    That time you explained why complimenting Condoleeza Rice’s diplomatic skill demonstrates my racism – brilliant. I laughed, I cried…better than Cats.

  35. It’s also good for the ego to know how large I loom in your consciousness.

  36. Beat it, psycho.

    Done and done.

  37. Wow, between this and the famous Douglass-Lincoln debate featured on Fox News, Frederick Douglass is having quite a renaissance.

    I only wish his noble example would be used for something better than beating up on Democrats.

  38. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

  39. Sometimes I sound like I’m arguing, when I’m actually not. I just have a way of putting my posts stronger than intended.It’s easier to keep out of the conversation and not take the chance of being misunderstood.

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