Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Obama's Philosophical Self

In October,  when The Nation ran the article,  "Obama,  the Philosopher",  I was interested in understanding if Obama were in fact philosophical enough,  and if this philosophy could be transmitted in a true revivial of liberal principles. 

His interest in the Democratic Socialist philosopher,  Rheinhold Niebuhr,  during his college years seemed to take real root in Obama,  and shape his ideology.   His redistributionist ethic is no secret,  and he has clearly said in public that "spread the wealth around"  is his ideal.  His former mentor had Marxist ideology and adhered to socialist principles ( my own mentor did,  as well).

But what will this amount to regarding public policy?  Not much,  if things smooth over.  A whole lot,  if the crisis worsens,  and the problems deepen.  I think Howe and Strauss theorized correctly,  that the seasons of the historical saeculum  -  goverened by the shift in the generational constellations,  a natural occurence  -  shape the leaders,  and not the reverse.  So I watch Obama to see if his philosophical self will be given scope and field for action.  And only that. 

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