Obama says that if he loses the U.S. is in for a painful period of self-reliance

I learned that self-reliance was a characteristic of Americans that made us more successful than most others. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote an essay called “Self Reliance.” When I read it, I thought self-reliance was a good thing. Guess I was just old-fashioned. If Obama can terrify guests at a million dollar fundraiser by threatening them with self-reliance, it must be a terrible thing indeed. Or maybe the terrible thing is that we have become a country with way too many wimps and weenies.

We have a duty to society to create wealth and be self-reliant to the greatest extent possible. I know that many progressives will scream about this, but they miss the subtlety and the real benefit of being self-reliant. Being self-reliant means not relying on the kindness of strangers, but it does not mean standing apart from society or doing everything on your own. On the contrary, it means working to be a productive member of society, someone whose efforts help pull the wagon instead of someone who jumps on for a free ride. Those who are not self-reliant are not doing their part. They are failing the rest of their fellows, letting down the team.

Good - self-reliant - individuals expect to do their part and they expect others to do theirs. They are involved in their community and often their church; they give to charity, obey the laws and don't make much trouble. These people are the backbone of America's greatness. They are self-reliant & they made our country self-reliant. Why would Obama find this a threat?

Does he really think that society will collapse if Federal spending is diminished? Does he not understand that Americans will help each other, that it is not only the Federal government that helps people?

Modern progressive evidently are not amused by sentiments like "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till."

It smacks of effort. A person who says things like this is so 19th Century. He would probably make lazy weaklings feel bad about themselves. A person like that might even think he was better than some others; worse yet, he would be right.

Posted by Christine & John at November 4, 2011 5:21 PM
Comment #331495

Let me get this straight; Obama was speaking at a million dollar fundraiser to, no doubt millionairs (who made their millions without government help), and says if he is not re-elected America will have to become self-reliant. Well, to that dumb ass I say, let us be self reliant.

On another note, I bet it really pissed Obama off to go to France and not be carrying a blank check. What a difference a year makes, and what a difference another year will make. How can evil America send tax dollars to Europe as part of Obama’s socialist wealth redisribution, if we don’t give him a blank check? Obama also critcized the US Congress while on foreign soil.


I’m sure the Europeans are interested in Obama’s lame duck presidency, especially with their own problems and especially when he came NOT bearing gifts.

Posted by: Frank at November 4, 2011 6:06 PM
Comment #331505

Good link Frank. We all know that obama is fond of being critical of the US when he is abroad. This dolt can’t figure out that whining to European Socialists does not win him votes here.

obama is out of ideas. His first and only plan is to spend money. My dog could do as well if I tied money to his tail.

The G20 meeting is in Cannes, France. Why is it that when world leaders meet, or the UN holds a meeting, they always take place in the most wonderful places in the world at the greatest expense?

I would like to see these meetings held in some third world country with the delegates staying in private homes and eating the local fare. That, would send a message.

What is being spent on this meeting could probably feed millions of starving folks in the world. I hope obama takes a tramp steamer back to this country. The longer he is absent the better.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 4, 2011 6:50 PM
Comment #331506

Politics should stop at the water’s edge.

The problem is that foreigners don’t have the same access or interest in our internal news. When they hear a politician complain about other Americans, they often just assume we all are wacky.

Imagine meeting a leader from Bulgaria, who tells you that his political opponents are a bunch of crooks. What is your opinion of them (i.e. both the guy doing the talking and the ones he is talking about)?

A more homely analogy is the husband who complains about his wife to acquaintances and strangers.

Posted by: C&J at November 4, 2011 7:41 PM
Comment #331507

obama is a typical narcissist. It is always about him. We can be quite certain that the leaders at the G20 are laughing at him behind his back. I have read numerous psychological studies done on this guy by experts who have come to the same conclusion about his narcissism.

I don’t recall the last European leader who came here to the US and whined about the politics back in their home country. obama can’t help himself as he is mentally damaged goods. The topic must always be about him. I fear the lad will lose his mind when he loses in November of 2012 and is gone from the spotlight.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 4, 2011 7:53 PM
Comment #331511

“I have read numerous psychological studies done on this guy by experts who have come to the same conclusion about his narcissism.”

Royal Flush,

Ok, lets have a link or two.

Posted by: Rich at November 4, 2011 9:25 PM
Comment #331512

Oh yes. Please. Let’s see a link to those “numerous psychological studies.” I’m impressed by experts who can assess psychological conditions without meeting, interviewing, or testing a subject.

Posted by: phx8 at November 4, 2011 9:58 PM
Comment #331519

phx8 & Royal

The psychobabble is silly. And, Royal, this kind of thing tends to be what liberals and progressives fall for. We don’t need these guys.

It is clear from an ordinary analysis of his actions, that our fearless leader is just no very good at the job. His biggest failing is in character and the aspects of leadership that go with. He doesn’t have what it takes to understand that that he speaks for all the people, that he is no longer a community organizer trying to squeeze more from the “haves” but now he is the first among equals in trying to create that wealth and prosperity.

It is very bad manners to talk to strangers about the failings of your boss, your spouse or your country. It is disappointing when leaders take our dirty laundry oversea and air their/our failings.

A leader overseas has the duty to speak in terms of “WE” not us and them.

Posted by: C&J at November 5, 2011 6:46 AM
Comment #331521

Well, I don’t know about Obama’s mental condition; but I do know he is not very popular with the voters. Over the last few days I have heard the talking heads (on both sides) talking about how Obama can lose the popular election and win the electorial election. It’s a sad day when an incumbent president is trying to figure out which States he can win in order to get enough electorial votes and says to hell with the others. Is he the president of CA and NY, or is he the president of the United States.

Posted by: Frank at November 5, 2011 10:34 AM
Comment #331694

Emerson’s philosophy would have not admired the heedless conformity of the GOP, nor it’s insistence on stamping out social movements it considers undesirable. He would have considered the insistence on literalism in interpreting the bible and the constitution laughable and wrong.

He also would have found free market sensibilities a rather naive way of determining what’s right. He wouldn’t have much love for the idea that the market should dictate what’s right and wrong, much less any other idea about right and wrong that depended on what the masses thought.

The self-reliance that Emerson spoke of was in part the kind of self-reliance a person living in the country in the 1840s would have likely been able to achieve. It was also, in part, though, a psychological self-reliance, an impulse towards thinking for yourself, rather than relying on the authorities to tell you what was right to think.

In other words, the complete opposite of what Republicans and conservatives insist on.

Finally, in his essay on what Transcendentalism meant, Emerson acknowledges that there are limits to the self-reliance he preaches:

You will see by this sketch that there is no such thing as a Transcendental party; that there is no pure Transcendentalist; that we know of none but prophets and heralds of such a philosophy; that all who by strong bias of nature have leaned to the spiritual side in doctrine, have stopped short of their goal. We have had many harbingers and forerunners; but of a purely spiritual life, history has afforded no example. I mean, we have yet no man who has leaned entirely on his character, and eaten angels’ food; who, trusting to his sentiments, found life made of miracles; who, working for universal aims, found himself fed, he knew not how; clothed, sheltered, and weaponed, he knew not how, and yet it was done by his own hands. Only in the instinct of the lower animals, we find the suggestion of the methods of it, and something higher than our understanding. The squirrel hoards nuts, and the bee gathers honey, without knowing what they do, and they are thus provided for without selfishness or disgrace. Shall we say, then, that Transcendentalism is the Saturnalia or excess of Faith; the presentiment of a faith proper to man in his integrity, excessive only when his imperfect obedience hinders the satisfaction of his wish. Nature is transcendental, exists primarily, necessarily, ever works and advances, yet takes no thought for the morrow. Man owns the dignity of the life which throbs around him in chemistry, and tree, and animal, and in the involuntary functions of his own body; yet he is balked when he tries to fling himself into this enchanted circle, where all is done without degradation. Yet genius and virtue predict in man the same absence of private ends, and of condescension to circumstances, united with every trait and talent of beauty and power.

In the real world, he’s basically saying, you cannot rely entirely on yourself. What he’s suggesting for people is an increase in self-reliance, not self-reliance at its absolute limits, which even in his time was difficult.

Which leads me back to Obama. Your cariacture doesn’t answer Obama’s real words. Obama’s real words are about people being abandoned by their government to face the things that they, as average individuals, have little power to protect themselves against, things like the rising cost of healthcare (which free market forces haven’t brought down), predatory lending and credit practices, energy costs, and the overall economy.

Put simply, he’s aiming for those things that Republicans can’t or won’t take care of, that people themselves are unable to handle themselves.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 9, 2011 3:03 PM
Comment #331698

Don’t confuse a job rating with a likeability rating. Obama remains well-liked with voters, even if his job rating is kind of low, and with the Republicans missing their opportunity to put a candidate whose strong principles are saleable to voters, he’s certainly not doomed to failure at this point.

As for aiming for certain states? The system practically demands that people campaign that way, since the vote is decided by electoral college. Every Republican President you voted for did it. It’s simply the most economical use of campaign funds.

As for what he said in France? Republicans have earned people’s contempt for their policies, and their obstruction of alternatives.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 9, 2011 3:58 PM
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