Looking back at a post I did in February regarding the White House’s blitzkrieg ‘grab’ of the Census, I realize it’s been of some use in framing my thinking on the birth certificate ‘thing’ and thus may bear repeating:
…if you’re inclined to limit your thinking on this census thing to the political realm, you’re way too close to the bark. At the end of the day, there will be plenty from each party wailing and gnashing teeth with the goats. Bumper stickers and voting records will not get you into the nicer place.
…there is much more going on here than Democrats fighting Republicans and vice versa. In just a few years, that frame of reference will likely seem quaint. I expect Republicans to lose this battle for all of the inexplicable (’powerful delusion’) reasons they lost the presidential election. All of this is supposed to take place.
Why mention this again? Because the question of the president’s birth certificate has finally gone viral. The title of James Taranto’s Wall Street column (plus two full pages of explanation) centered on it yesterday. (H/T: AA) That’s a lot in a major paper.
At my wife’s book group last night, one of the first topics of overheard conversation was about whether Lou Dobbs ought to be committed for raising it. The question (or perhaps just the opportunity to pour derision on the question) has finally broken out beyond WND, which has basically mortgaged their entire franchise to it, for whatever that’s worth and for good or for ill. (They’re now ‘tacking’ over towards deathcare and with good reason.)
If you’re expecting a long defense of a certain position on the birth certificate or a celebratory tone, you won’t find it here. To quote from one of my favorite Police songs, I’ve come to believe that, “there is no political solution to our troubled evolution” and that BHO is, in all likelihood, our nation’s last president in any meaningful sense of that word. Ya want change? Ya got it.
Taranto has done substantial research. He may be correct. Or not. Or partially. Yet after reading his piece twice it seems that his entire line of argument (and it is a sober one, well worth reading) is constructed narrowly around law, political calculation and the certificate itself. He relies on the kinds of assertions that define the boundaries of those domains. In other words, he makes good points within the confines of the question, ‘Is it possible for the president to be removed?’
I’m much more concerned, and for entirely different reasons, with where he was actually born. That’s a fact that may never be publicly known.
The fact of his birthplace is at least unclear and at this point so thoroughly and professionally obfuscated as to be almost impenetrable one way or the other, any legal case or cases notwithstanding. In other words, why all the smoke if no fire?
That said, I cannot conjure up a scenario under which any of that could or would lead to a legal remedy to a presidency we probably deserve but which a majority are now just beginning to regret. And even if there were one, I could not responsibly advocate for pursuing it given the likely consequences. (Cue tape of 1860-1865).
The circumstantial evidence (Pakistan entry in 1981, grandmother eyewitness testimony, airline flight rules around late-stage pregnancy, Freudian truth-telling moments by compatriots, prevention of access to corroborating evidence, etc.) still leads me to conclude that he was born in Kenya and that, had we known in October how opaque and Nixonian he seems to like to be, about this and many other things, some number of people might have judged his character differently.
He still might have been elected though and some folks just need to get over that. If 2nd Thessalonians is true of him (as I believe it is), then God sent the powerful delusion and we shouldn’t waste any more time replaying that tape. He has His reasons. Repenting of our sins is a good deal more urgent (and will be more profitable in the long run) as compared to attempting to remove what appears to be a railroad trestle in the eyes of the die-hard left with regards to this man.
We’re stuck with the guy. I’m sure God has a purpose for him. Usurper brought to us by a powerful delusion for which we (the voting public) can only blame our atheistic, dark-stumbling myopia and collective sins? Very probably. President. Sadly, yes.
Which leads me to… a guy I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of (Leszek Kolakowski) — an apparent giant of anti-Marxist (and other, related) thought — who passed the week before last, may God rest his soul. Some of his words and ideas speak powerfully to this whole situation:
He was also possessed of an uncanny appreciation for irony and paradox. This gave bite to his writing which flowed from the recognition that human life is instinct with contradiction and absurdity: for example, “the awesome paradox whereby good results may flow from evil, and evil results from good. That these two can thus support each other is a shattering fact about human experience.”
Part of what made Kolakowski’s reflections on freedom and its vicissitudes so fruitful was his understanding that human freedom is inextricably tied to a recognition of limits, which in the end involves a recognition of the sacred. In an interview from 1991, he argued that “mankind can never get rid of the need for religious self-identification: who am I, where did I come from, where do I fit in, why am I responsible, what does my life mean, how will I face death? Religion is a paramount aspect of human culture. Religious need cannot be ex-communicated from culture by rationalist incantation. Man does not live by reason alone.”
Kolakowski showed how the tendency to believe that all human problems have a technical solution is an unfortunate inheritance from the Enlightenment–”even,” he notes, “from the best aspects of the Enlightenment: from its struggle against intolerance, self-complacency, superstitions, and uncritical worship of tradition.” There is much about human life that is not susceptible to human remedy or intervention. Our allegiance to the ideal of unlimited progress is, paradoxically, a dangerous moral limitation that is closely bound up with what Kolakowski calls the loss of the sacred. “With the disappearance of the sacred,” he wrote,
which imposed limits to the perfection that could be attained by the profane, arises one of the most dangerous illusions of our civilization–the illusion that there are no limits to the changes that human life can undergo, that society is “in principle” an endlessly flexible thing, and that to deny this flexibility and this perfectibility is to deny man’s total autonomy and thus to deny man himself.
Go read the rest… and pray Obama does also.
Another good obit can be found here.
A visit to Moscow in 1950 had opened his eyes to what he would later describe as “the enormity of material and spiritual desolation caused by the Stalinist system”