I think we've all been there, at least those of us who enjoy the written word. We read an article that hits the nail on the head in a simple, but dramatic sort of way. One such article is "Dreams From My President," posted December 1, 2011 by Randall Hoven at The American Thinker. (H/T to Maggie's Farm)
Hoven's article explores the beliefs that drive Barack Obama, beliefs that Obama himself articulated in a 2006 stump speech. The video is available at The Daily Caller. As I was reading Hoven's article, I was reminded of a quote ascribed to Robert F. Kennedy, but which was, apparently, first said or written by George Bernard Shaw:
"Some men see things as they are and ask 'Why?' I dream things that never were and ask, 'Why not?'"
The foundational belief that drives Barack Obama is "idealism" in its most general meaning. Idealism shapes the thinking of most leftists and liberals. It is the belief that the world needn't be as we find it, a brewing, incomprehensible cauldron of conflict, war, poverty, suffering and despair. Rather, if we set our minds to changing it, the world can become a pastoral of peace, goodwill and fellowship, wherein poverty and hunger become mere memories of a brutish past. The naive plea of Rodney King also comes to mind: "Why can't we all just get along?"
I say "naive" because all of us -- at least the sympathetic thinkers among us -- when we were young looked at the world and thought similar things. Why must the world be the hardscrabble place it is? Why can't we just make it right? We looked around us and saw others selfishly working for themselves, seemingly unmindful of the misery we saw so clearly. What's wrong with these other, older people, we'd ask ourselves. Are they blind? Or are they just uncaring and stupid?
The proscriptive implication of such thinking, as expressed in the term "we," is collectivism, which is exactly the conclusion Obama expressed in his 2006 speech in which he advocated having "a lot of confidence, a lot of faith in the possibility of collectively transforming the world." Hoven's article examines this implication and prescription in depth, not just the idealism of it, but the reality of it, i.e., the practical means that must be used by believers who actually attempt to attain such an idealistic goal in the real world.
Hoven says collectivism boils down to substituting the dreams of the collective, as envisioned by the leaders of the collective, for the dreams of the individual. He writes:
Obama loves the idea of putting the collective above the individual -- not just in the sense of "common defense," but in the very way we each carry out our lives. A self-reliant person, pursuing her own "private, individual" dream, is the cynic without hope. (Obama can read minds, apparently.) To be on the side of the angels, you must be part of the collective, transforming the world.