There's a simple answer to it, once it's boiled down to its essence - this question of why I don't want Barack Obama to be reelected as our president.
It's not because I dislike him personally. He's obviously a good husband and father and, when he shows his relaxed side, he seems like someone I'd have a good time hanging out with.
I don't think he's a closet radical Muslim or that he has a secret, purposeful agenda to conduct a soft coup of the U.S. Government.
I think he's as earnest as the day is long.
And it's what he's earnest about that will turn my hand at the voting booth to Mitt Romney, one of the most ineffectual presidential candidates (and, I believe someone who will be one of the most ineffective presidents) in history.
Simple: President Obama is a collectivist.
I don't believe "collectivist" or "socialist" are insulting words. They are descriptive, and clear. Most of the people I know are collectivists/socialists, and they are all honorable. I's time to stop demonizing the terms. Unless we respect the philosophies they describe and the people who hold to them, we will never succeed in convincing anyone how misguided and dangerous to humanity those philosophies are.
Barack Obama believes that all good things are created and perpetuated by the collective and that nothing - and I mean absolutely nothing - is acheived through individuals or individual achievement. In a stump speech this past Friday in Roanoke Virginia, he said, in pertinent part:
"If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own...let me tell you something, there are a whole bunch of hard-working people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that; somebody else made that happen...the point is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."
...forgetting or ignoring that all of the "help" he mentions came from taxes, which are paid by everyone. Which means that those who do succeed helped pay for the teacher and the roads and the bridges through their taxes just like everyone else. Which means we are all pretty much the same when it comes to what we do with those teachers and those roads and those bridges. Which means, finally, that those who succeed really have accomplished something unique. And individual.
President Obama is an academic, who has spent his entire life understanding the operation of the world as theory rather than practice. He is Professor Obama, whose intellectual majesty within the cloistered and protected world of philosophical debate becomes so many runaway helium filled balloons when exposed to the harsh winds of day-to-day life.
He is, in short, the worst kind of president we can have: A college professor who, once granted the helm of the ship of state, becomes hellbound to see his theories of governance proven correct even in the face of spectacular failure.
And he is so hellbound because he truly believes that human beings are meant to be perfectly, uniformly, equal in every way.
And any society based first on the theory of equality will not only never attain its goal (it is not possible in nature); it will destroy human dignity in the process.
I believe the president wants what the dreamers among us call "social justice" because he believes it is the desired state of humankind. I and those who share my view undestand "social justice" to be carte blanche for an oppressive government to decide for us what is right, what is wrong, who deserves assistance and who doesn't - and that no one should ever be "too" wealthy. The President said it last Friday: we're all equal. None of us are capable of true individualism. Someone else made each of us possible. No one should have more than anyone else. Ever.
Again: These are honorable, egalitarian dreams, and I do not hate anyone for, as John Lennon might say, imagining a perfect world where everyone lives together in harmony. But anyone reading that last sentence and believing it to be possible have not progressed beyond childhood, and - exhortations that we should all be more like children notwithstanding - a functioning world must be run and supervised by those who take responsibility and not live in dreams. Adults, in other words.
President Obama deserves a long, prosperous retirement back in academia and on the lecture circuit. I wish him no ill will. He had his chance to prove that socialist theory would succeed, and he failed. From that failure he will learn and thrive. Because that's what free people do. They fail, they learn, they move on. Completely unequal with anyone else in anything... other than a shared, limitless sky.
A version of this post appears on Mark's personal blog, Smoggy Don's Loudmouth Soup.