February 28, 2008


The dark side of Obamamania (Robert Sibley, February 28, 2008, The Ottawa Citizen)

When the post-election realities become evident to the electorate, as they always do, there is inevitably a harsh and bitter reaction from those who are disappointed that the man or woman they voted for didn't live up to their hopes. The consequence of this disappointment is, of course, greater cynicism toward politics and politicians.

Politics is not something from which we should be saved, any more than life is an illness in need of a cure. As [late political philosopher Michael Oakeshott] put it, politics is not "an encounter of dreams," a "jump to glory," or the means for making people better.

This attitude probably has few adherents nowadays. Many assume the function of government is to serve our wants and desires. Some even think it's the government's obligation to improve our lives, make us healthy.

Oakeshott thought people should behave like adults, take responsibility for their behaviour, and accept the consequences of their actions. Such a disposition places a restraint on attempts to use politics for grand social engineering schemes. Oakeshott certainly wouldn't have thought much of a political program based on slogans as mindless and banal as "change we can believe in."

...their irrational emotional disorder is brought on by their very Rationalism

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 28, 2008 8:15 AM
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