December 10th, 2011

Obama in Kansas: no fair!

My article about the theme of societal and economic “fairness” in Obama’s Kansas speech is up at PJ.

Join the comments either there or here. Or both, if you’re feeling especially talkative.

16 Responses to “Obama in Kansas: no fair!”

  1. Dan Says:

    Has there ever been a President who seemed so intent on setting one group against another? Maybe Nixon, although he liked for Spiro Agnew to be the attack dog. Good leaders I have known look for and mention the positives in their followers. Obama seems to have an always present subtext that some parts of America are evil and need to be rooted out and destroyed. He tacitly did that with the Occupy movement. Fortunately, they’ve proved not to be up to the task, since they are every bit as narcissistic as Obama.

  2. Henry Scuoteguazza Says:

    I posted the comments below on the PJ Media page. I hope this isn’t considered poor form.

    Should we really be so surprised by his comments? I ask this because I recall coming across a similar sentiment when helping my daughters with the Social Studies homework when they were in middle school more than ten years ago. I recall reading in their textbook how FDR’s New Deal policies saved capitalism from its own excesses and continue to do so. Obama is just touting the same line of thinking.

    You correctly identify that “Obama repeatedly mentioned this goal of fairness while blurring or ignoring the all-important distinction between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome as a measure of that fairness.” While this is indeed a valid distinction fairness also masks an inherent fuzziness that works to the advantage of (to use one of Obama’s favorite phrases) those who want to expand the concept of fairness to suit their agenda. I would argue that the concept of individual rights gets forgotten in this line of argument. We can argue forever over which definition of fairness we use unless we have a valid concept of individual rights to ground this argument and to settle disagreements over what is “fair.”

    I’ll admit that the Left has successfully eroded or expanded the idea of individual rights to justify their desired enlarged of the role of government but it took some mighty verbal acrobatics to do it. For a good discussion of how FDR did this check out Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State by William Voegeli. However if we get sucked into debating definitions of fairness we have already lost the intellectual fight. With individual rights there is some objective standard to which we can repair.

    Fairness, like a magician’s sleight of hand, gets us to shift our focus away from the conditions necessary for each individual to live freely and to pursue happiness to the relationship between individuals. In other words Obama and his supporters substitute the concept of individual rights which has an objective basis (if formed properly) to fairness, which can mean whatever one wants it to be. I think is precisely their motive.

    While fairness is a valid concept on the social level in terms of how people treat each other in a non-legal context elevating fairness to trump rights and to be a governing political principle is a path fraught with peril.

  3. Baklava Says:

    It isn’t fair that the government hammered Toyota for supposed surging Prius’s


    suppressed information about Chevy volt’s burning up.

    It isn’t fair that people lost tons of money in the restructuring of GM and Chrysler


    the Union kept it’s shirt.

    It isn’t fair that we lost GOOD PEOPLE (border agents) to guns that went to Mexico in order for the government to try to make a case for banning guns.

    Let’s talk about the fairness of government getting bigger and becoming out of control in order to subsidize losers and harm good people. How about it ABCCBSNBCCNN?

  4. n.n Says:

    I recognize that individuals are neither created equal nor do we develop equally. I recognize that we should be treated equally under a common law and moral code. I also recognize that in our world, there exist finitely accessible resources. That not everyone will enjoy a beachfront property in Hawaii and, furthermore, that not everyone would desire that outcome.

    The principle I follow is enlightenment (i.e. recognition and respect for individual dignity). When followed universally, and with proper consideration afforded to the natural order, it precludes the various conflicts surrounding class, gender, etc. It promotes voluntary exploitation (e.g. economic exchange, charitable works and donations), with an exception afforded to “promote the general Welfare”. That is to say when there is a common purpose served through involuntary exploitation (e.g. public works, education, defense).

    If Obama had any integrity, he would focus on correcting corruption of authoritarian interests and their affiliates. Then apply the rule of law equally to hold accountable private interests. Throughout, he would propose policies which promote economic development in the private sector. He would also recognize the intrinsic value of enforcing partitions of the land into administrative districts (e.g. nations).

    Unfortunately, he, and his supporters, are dreamers of physical, material, and ego instant gratification, principally through redistributive and retributive change (i.e. involuntary exploitation), but also fraudulent exploitation. They, in progressive measure, deny both the natural and enlightened orders.

    That said, we cannot ignore corruption in the exception. Both forms of corruption are potentially, and historically, progressive. The difference can be established in how we respond to each. The exception is, by its nature, resolved through the rule of law. Its occurrence is mitigate through the conveyance and acceptance of a common moral code and principles. Our society has been harmed by teaching of exceptions rather than principles.

  5. Don Janousek Says:

    Where is a good tornado when you need one?

  6. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    I suggest Obama needs a couple of sayings placed on his mirror where he shaves so jhe can read them each morning. ” Life is not fair.” and “Greed is good.”

    It may not change his mind, but he needs to be exposed to some alternative thinking occasionally.

  7. Ray Says:

    Fair is a vague and ambiguous word with no objective meaning. The dictionary contains about two dozen different definitions for fair. When a politician says fair, he means an outcome that makes him feel good.

  8. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    A great essay, Neo. But I’m afraid you got upstaged by you very first commenter (on PJ Media) and his Obama Speech Generator.

    If I had the free time, I’d be sorely tempted to use that template to make a true Obama Speech Generator, using sound clips from actual Obama speeches.

    (My wife is against the idea… she says this will provide American children with the perfect tool to demand an uncalled-for allowance increase. Of course, if these kids are paying any attention at all to the President, then the barn door is wide open anyway.)

  9. Don Carlos Says:

    “Fairness” is basically a childhood sticking point. “It’s not Fair!” has been a pediatric complaint forever, and even three and four tear-olds know how to use, twist, distort the facts with the plaint to manipulate both peers and adults.

  10. Don Carlos Says:

    Both Scott Johnson of Powerline and Krauthammer this week likened Obama to Chavez.
    May I modestly point out that, under a different moniker, I posted here on several occasions, commencing in 2009, “Obama=Chavez”.

  11. Beverly Says:

    Did anyone else see how Obummer “occupied” the Army – Navy game yesterday? CBS had him in the commenters’ booth, between the two, for the entire first quarter of the game, then gave lavish coverage of His Worshipfulness in the stands from then to the end of the third quarter, when, mercifully, He departed at last.

    But that didn’t stop them from dropping even more fawning mentions of His Worshipfulness into their remarks. Could they be any more obvious? Could he be any tackier?

    And the military audience’s grinding and gnashing of teeth was heard throughout the land. . . .

  12. Don Carlos Says:

    I drove thru a nice neighborhood this eve, and thru windows could see Barack’s big mug on several large flatscreen TVs. It’s gross.

  13. thomass Says:

    Soon; fairness will demand you die early so yuppies can have a wellness program.

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    thomass: you mean like this?

  15. Parker Says:

    “… individuals are neither created equal nor do we develop equally.”

    True. We are each and everyone unique. Nothing can change this simple fact. You end up on either the left or the right side of the bell curve.

    “I recognize that we should be treated equally under a common law and moral code.”

    In a sane and civil society this would be well understood. Unfortunately, we do not live in a civil society ruled by laws. Instead we live in a society ruled by the capricious whims of men/women who we have allowed to wield power over our daily lives, over our pockets, and over the lives of our grandchildren. Until we live by the rule of law (the Constitution) there can be no justice nor can there be a peaceful society. Sectarian strife is inevitable.

    From A Man For All Seasons:

    William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

    Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

    William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

    Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

  16. Abacos yacht charter Says:

    Abacos yacht charter…

    […]neo-neocon » Blog Archive » Obama in Kansas: no fair![…]…

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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