One of the reasons why Barack Obama is regarded as the greatest orator of our age is that he’s always banging on about some other age yet to come — e.g., the Future! A future of whose contours he is remarkably certain and boundlessly confident: The future will belong to nations that invest in education because the children are our future, but the future will not belong to nations that do not invest in green-energy projects because solar-powered prompters are our future, and most of all the future will belong to people who look back at the Obama era and marvel that there was a courageous far-sighted man willing to take on the tough task of slowing the rise of the oceans because the future will belong to people on viable land masses. This futuristic shtick is a cheap’n’cheesy rhetorical device (I speak as the author of a book called “After America,” whose title is less futuristic than you might think) but it seems to play well with the impressionable Obammysoxers of the press corps.
And so it was with President Obama’s usual visionary, inspiring, historic, etc., address to the U.N. General Assembly the other day: “The future must not belong to those who bully women,” he told the world, in a reference either to Egyptian clitoridectomists or the Republican party, according to taste. “The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians,” he added. You mean those Muslim guys? Whoa, don’t jump to conclusions. “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam,” he declared, introducing to U.S. jurisprudence the novel concept of being able to slander a bloke who’s been dead for getting on a millennium and a half now. If I understand correctly the cumulative vision of the speech, the future will belong to gay feminist ecumenical Muslims. You can take that to the bank. But make no mistake, as he would say, and in fact did: “We face a choice between the promise of the future or the prisons of the past, and we cannot afford to get it wrong.” Because if we do, we could spend our future living in the prisons of the past, which we forgot to demolish in the present for breach of wheelchair-accessibility codes.
But wait! There’s more:
Todd S. Purdam at Vanity Fair:
The least salubrious aspect of the American character is the susceptibility to self-deception. We mythologize ourselves as clear-eyed dwellers of a shining city on a hill, but the fact is: we can’t handle the truth. Because we cannot make peace with our eroding status as the world’s sole remaining superpower—one whose economic dominance is now far from unrivaled in an age of globalization—we retreat to cherished notions of American exceptionalism and ignore all the ways, from educational achievement to social well-being to wise stewardship of resources, in which we are not so super at all. We fight two far-flung wars while, for the first time in history, cutting taxes in the same breath, and then wonder why we’re having a rough go of it. We know at some level that our deficit is unsustainable but can’t agree on what is abundantly clear: that reducing it requires some combination of budget cuts and greater revenues. Meanwhile, the planet is lashed by extreme weather events of singular ferocity (including one that left parts of Washington, D.C., itself blacked out for nearly a week this summer), and yet we debate climate change as if it were a contested theory.
It goes on. Because white births are no longer the majority in a citizenry with deep Anglo-Saxon roots, and because many Americans recoil from this reality, we resist any sensible solution to the problem of the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants living among us and instead build high-tech barriers in a futile effort to stem the flow. Indeed, we are further away from any such solution than we were just six or eight years ago, when George W. Bush and some of his more enlightened Republican allies tried to think seriously about the question but were shot down by conservatives in their own party. The advent of Barack Obama has meant that alarming numbers among us cling not just to God and guns (as Obama once infelicitously put it) but to the conviction that the president must be a foreigner or a Marxist or a Muslim or even the Antichrist, and not merely cool, cerebral, and—oh, yes—black. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life found that the percentage of conservative Republicans who think Obama is a Muslim has more than doubled over the past four years, from 16 percent in 2008 to 34 percent now.
And yet, like it or not, right under our noses and no matter what we do, some things are changing, and changing forever. There is every evidence that the long era of unquestioned American abundance is ending. We are already not the world’s only important military power, or its sole dominant economic player. In just a few years, we will be a majority-“minority” nation, and we will never be a majority-white nation again. Eventually, we’ll absorb the latest changes—as we have adapted to transformations in the past—but the transition, psychologically and in real terms, will be excruciating in many quarters. Every so often the country does manage to act wisely and with a long-term perspective: in the post–World War II era, America actually forged a remarkable consensus on how to fight the twilight struggle against Communism. Almost 50 years ago, a century after the Civil War, huge bipartisan majorities in Congress managed to grant black Americans full equality in law, if not in the eyes of all their countrymen. But no such consensus has emerged in the post–Cold War world of the past two decades, either on foreign policy or on how to order our affairs at home.
Instead, millions of Americans—including vast numbers of the lower middle class whose futures are grim and who have little ability to adapt—are angered and frightened by the unsettling changes swirling around them. The current conservative establishment of the Republican Party—for whom things are more or less fine (and, indeed, finer than ever) and for whom opposition to any tax increase has become not just ideological but theological—is uniquely situated to play on and exploit such fears, for at least one more electoral cycle or two, in part because the rank and file are uniquely susceptible to the comforting but phony argument “We don’t have to change—why should we?” Demographic factors and an economic vise will put an end to that argument eventually, but not tomorrow.
And here is where political leadership matters most. Can anyone imagine Mitt Romney telling an unpleasant truth, on any topic, to any audience, if he thought it would hurt his electoral prospects? Let’s just say it has yet to happen, and time is short. As for Barack Obama: although he famously has his eye on the long game, or says he does, masterly reassurance is not his stock-in-trade. His clinical explication of our urgent choices has never really sunk in, and his communitarian lecture to business—“You didn’t build that . . . ”—rankled even many who know full well that rugged individualism is only half of any success story in a culture that has always counted on neighborhood barn raising or whatever the modern analogues may be. Telling the truth has all too often been a loser’s game in American politics, as it was for Adlai Stevenson 60 years ago, when he famously said, “Let’s talk sense to the American people. Let’s tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains.”
Lefties used to love the future. One of the bestselling books of the 19th Century was a utopian novel set in the year 2000 that was written by a socialist. Early science fiction writers imagined a bright future as well. The root of “progressivism” is “progress”.
The opposite of “utopia: is “dystopia“:
A dystopia is the idea of a society, generally of a speculative future, characterized by negative, anti-utopian elements, varying from environmental to political and social issues. Dystopian societies, usually hypothesized by writers of fiction, have culminated in a broad series of sub-genres and is often used to raise issues regarding society, environment, politics, religion, psychology, spirituality, or technology that may become present in the future. For this reason, Dystopias have taken the form of a multitude of speculations, such as Pollution; Poverty; Societal collapse or Political repression and Totalitarianism. Famous depictions of Dystopian societies include Nineteen Eighty-Four, a totalitarian invasive super state; Brave New World, where the human population is placed under a caste of psychological allocation and Fahrenheit 451 where the state burns books out of fear of what they may incite. The Iron Heel was described by Erich Fromm as “the earliest of the modern Dystopian”
By the Sixties and Seventies dystopian fantasies about the future were commonplace. But so were “scientific” studies that described a bleak world with too many people and dwindling resources. Many popular movies were post-apocalyptic, with people living like savages in the ruins of cities. Vile Progs make frequent reference to dystopian books and movies.
Vile Progism is based upon the fundamental premise that they and they alone are the guardians of truth, justice and world peace. They believe that they are true elites – the “best and brightest” that this country has to offer. Mix that with their dystopian view of the future and their authoritarian nature and you have the Nanny State.
It’s for our own good. Seriously.
It’s like when we were kids. “You have to eat your vegetables if you want to grow up big and strong.” That’s what Nanny Statism is. A long list of do’s and don’t’s that we are supposed to live by otherwise bad things will happen.
The ironic part is that the Vile Progs want to shove a huge mountain of debt onto our children and grandchildren. I guess it’s no wonder they think the future will be fucked-up.