Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thus Spoke Obamathustra

Loren Steffy, writing in the Business Section of the Houston Chronicle, says:

One word, nestled amid the eloquence of Barack Obama’s victory speech, lingered long after the cheers subsided.


It’s a word too long absent from the political discourse, one that speaks to the change that Obama claims his presidency will represent.

We cannot fix our finances without it. We can’t address our foreign oil dependence without it. We can’t repair our broken health care system without it.

We can’t simply shop our way through the crisis, and we can no longer afford to delude ourselves into thinking we can.
Mr. Steffy is either uninformed, or he has fallen victim to Obamania. Sacrifice has long been a part of the political discourse, both in America and elsewhere. For all his talk of change, Obama is proposing nothing new.

I have called for personal sacrifice, and I am assured of the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that call. A part of the sacrifice means the payment of more money in taxes. Franklin D. Roosevelt

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. John F. Kennedy

There is no greater nobility than to sacrifice for a great cause. John McCain

To sacrifice means to give up a value for something that one values less or does not value at all. According to Mr. Steffy and his fellow members of the cult of sacrifice, by surrendering our values we will: fix our finances, decrease our dependence on foreign oil, and fix our health care system.

In the case of foreign oil we must give up the value of driving a larger vehicle, or reduce our driving, or curtail our energy consumption in other ways. We must surrender these values—which are chosen voluntarily—in the name of achieving energy independence. We will achieve energy independence, we are told, by restricting individual independence, that is, reducing or eliminating the choices available to individuals. And eliminating individual independence is the real goal of the apostles of sacrifice. This is the change that Obama proposes.

The siren call of sacrifice is presented as the moral ideal to which we should aspire. But this service has two parties—those who sacrifice and those who benefit. That is, there are those who surrender their values, and those who collect those values.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra, perhaps the most well-known work of Friedrich Nietzsche, was written to “turn morality on its head”. But Nietzsche failed in his task, offering the same moral options as the Christianity he was attacking. Rather than calling for one to sacrifice to others, Nietzsche called for one to sacrifice others to oneself. He viewed life as requiring sacrifice, and the only debate was over who would be the victims and who would be the beneficiaries. This is a false choice, for life is not a battle over sacrificial victims.

Obama’s call for change, like Zarathustra’s call for a new morality, is simply a rehash of the same tired and stale ideas. And the consequences will be exactly the same—destruction, misery, and death.
This self-sacrificing will to give one's personal labor and if necessary one's own life for others is most strongly developed in the Aryan. The Aryan is not greatest in his mental qualities as such, but in the extent of his willingness to put all his abilities in the service of the community. Adolf Hitler
The calls for sacrifice take many forms: "we must all work for the common good"; "no man is an island"; "everybody must to his part"; "we must serve something higher than ourself". It all means the same thing-- the individual must sacrifice his values for others. And if we won't do so "voluntarily" then we will be forced to do so.

The calls for sacrifice are applied to virtually every realm of life. In regard to land use, the individual must sacrifice his values to those of the community. He must use his property, not as he chooses, but as his neighbors dictate. In regard to education, the individual must support public schools that teach ideas he opposes. He must sacrifice his money to support an educational bureaucracy that achieves little more than routinely demonstrating its profound ability to graduate functional illiterates. In regard to health care, the individual must provide free doctors and hospitals to those who cannot pay. He must sacrifice his money to provide services to those who have not earned them.

At the end of the day, the minions of sacrifice want you to surrender your money, your ability to choose, and your values to others. They want you to educate, heal, and feed others. They want you to reduce your lifestyle for "the planet". They want you to eat less, drive less, travel less, enjoy life less, all in the name of sacrifice.

Life is not about sacrifice. Life is about the achievement of values.

For all his talk of change, Obama is proposing nothing new. Indeed, his ideas have been put into practice throughout the history of mankind. There have been many cultures that have embraced sacrifice as an ideal. Lenin called for sacrifice. Hitler called for sacrifice. Jim Jones and David Koresh called for sacrifice. The results are always the same, and they always will be the same. Calls for sacrifice mean the renunciation of values, and with it, life. And the pile of corpses that results is the "monument" to their moral ideal.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Barack Obama
Thus spoke Obamathustra.

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