Global Communitarians can take out the champagne tonight! Congratulations to our enemy Dr. Amitai Etzioni. Your followers successfully pulled off the 2nd biggest political illusion in the history of American politics. (The first, in my opinion, was when the freemasons created the Anti-Masonic Party to help elect their candidate, freemason Andrew Jackson.)
Americans, according to Obamas' "real" guru, are now going to be told they have elected an openly committed communitarian president, and learn more about his communitarian ideas.
"What more can we ask for?"
From: Coffee House
A Communitarian in the White House?
If the current lineup holds, the Democrats will be represented in the forthcoming national elections by a communitarian. Hillary’s communitarian leanings have been long known. They are especially well spelled out in her book It Takes A Village. She also delivered the keynote address at the 1996 meeting of the Communitarian Network, met frequently with communitarian thinkers, especially William Galston, and read Michael Sandel (and even yours truly).
Barack Obama showed great familiarity with communitarian ideas and thinkers during a meeting at the home of Susan Ness and Larry Schneider in Bethesda, MD. However, given that this was a private meeting, I consider it inapposite to quote what he said. But one is of course free to quote his book The Audacity of Hope, which lays out his communitarian leanings in clear and strong terms:
If we Americans are individualistic at heart, if we instinctively chafe against a past of tribal allegiances, traditions, customs, and cases, it would be a mistake to assume that this is all we are. Our individualism has always been bound by a set of communal values, the glue upon which every healthy society depends. We value the imperatives of family and the cross-generational obligations that family implies. We value community, the neighborliness that expresses itself through raising the bar or coaching the soccer team. We value patriotism and the obligations of citizenship, a sense of duty and sacrifice on behalf of our nation. We value a faith in something bigger than ourselves, whether that something expresses itself in formal religion or ethical precepts. And we value the constellation of behaviors that express our mutual regard for another: honesty, fairness, humility, kindness, courtesy, and compassion.
In every society (and in every individual), these twin strands- the individualistic and the communal, autonomy and solidarity- are in tension, and it has been one of the blessings of America that the circumstances of our nation’s birth allowed us to negotiate these tensions better than most. A communitarian perspective recognizes that the preservation of individual liberty depends on the active maintenance of the institutions of civil society where citizens learn respect for others as well as self-respect; where we acquire a lively sense of our personal and civic responsibilities, along with an appreciation of our own rights and the rights of others; where we develop the skills of self-government as well as the habit of governing ourselves, and learn to serve others-- not just self.
David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, who is more conversant with communitarian ideas than any other columnist, recently declared Obama the communitarian candidate, in sharp contrast to Republican John McCain. Brooks’ notes are of special import, as his niche in the New York Times is as the defender of conservative causes and ideas. Brooks writes:
Obama emphasizes the connections between people, the networks and the webs of influence. These sorts of links are invisible to some of his rivals, but Obama is a communitarian. He believes you can only make profound political changes if you first change the spirit of the community. In his speeches, he says that if one person stands up, then another will stand up and another and another and you’ll get a nation standing up. The key word in any Obama speech is “you.” Other politicians talk about what they will do if elected. Obama talks about what you can do if you join together. Like a community organizer on a national scale, he is trying to move people beyond their cynicism, make them believe in themselves, mobilize their common energies.
Brooks contrasts Obama with McCain, noting that “while Obama seeks solidarity with groups, McCain resists conformity. He fights fiercely, though not always successfully, against political pressures in order to remain honest, brave and forthright.” In short, McCain is an individualist.
The elections are a year away. There are going to be many twists and turns, but in the end the American people will choose a communitarian—unless a third party candidate siphons off many Democratic votes, the Supreme Court denies voting rights to many who are poor, less educated, and from a minority background (and hence have no government issued photo ID), Americans are swayed by the thousands of troops coming hope from Iraq (as Bush draws down the surge), the economy picks up and global climate cools down. That is, communitarians should not uncork the champagne quite yet, but they can safely put a bottle or two into the fridge. At least many more people will learn a lot more about communitarian ideas—what more can we ask for…?
Amitai Etzioni is a University Professor at George Washington University and the author of From Empire to Community and The New Golden Rule.
And from the Communitarian Reader #27 http://www.gwu.edu/~ccps/ACommunitarianLetter8.html:
A Communitarian Candidate
We have highlighted in the past the communitarian beliefs of the American Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Last Thursday, at the Democratic National Convention, he showcased those beliefs again, talking at length about both the rights of the American people and the responsibilities that they must follow through on.
"That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper… we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our 'intellectual and moral strength.'"
John McCain, too, has spoken with a communitarian message. He has used the catch-phrase "a cause greater than self" and has said that instead of encouraging Americans to spend money after the terrorist attacks on September 11, leaders should have asked Americans to serve their country. He also believes in asking Americans to do more for their communities, and has pushed to expand voluntary national service organizations like AmeriCorps.
Americans could also be informed of the communitarian plans embedded inside local comprehensive land use plans. Plans across the US spell out what communitarians mean by doing " more."
So.... now what? My task in exposing the communitarians in the US appears to be at an end. We have elected our first communitarian president who doesn't lie about it. Well, yes, it's not as if everyone who voted for him was told anything about his meetings with Amitai Etzioni. And, it's not as if every president since TR hasn't implemented portions of the communitarian justice system. But Obama signals the open embrace of communitarian values by the American electorate. My sympathies go out to all the Americans who will have to learn about communitarians the hard way now.
I'm now convinced if Americans are allowed to vote on supra-national integration they will vote yes. No wonder our people don't need to be told anything about that either.
Here's a lady who knows a lot more than most:
Maybe ALL the voters who cast their vote for Obama knew he's a communitarian. Was it ever openly pointed out by Obama himself? Maybe I missed it. Who knew our nation's mind is being "re-wired" into communitarian thinking? Here's "The change We Need:"
"I think Human civilization evolves by paradigmatic shifts in Mindset – by which I mean that a nation’s mind – meaning the communitarian-brain – is re-wired through the processes of social relations and modern communications-media into certain ways and patterns of communal thinking. "
Here's some "thinkers" discussing communitarian politics (and they don't think it's so bad):
Did Machiavelli actually use the term communitarianism?
In rejecting the Anglo-American politics of limits, Obama revives a political tradition that derives ultimately from Niccolo Machiavelli. In the Discourses on Livy and The Art of War, Machiavelli argued that it is possible to create a communitarian republic like the one whose outlines he glimpsed in Livy's (highly romanticized) version of Roman history--a polity in which citizens, forsaking their own swinish pursuits, would become happy in the pursuit of a common good. Wise laws, he maintained, would "make citizens love one another." The virtuous res publica of the Romans could be conjured anew..... The "Machiavellian vocabulary," the historian J. G. A. Pocock argued in The Machiavellian Moment, became the "vehicle of a basically hostile perception of early modern capitalism." Machiavelli rejected the commercial ethos (predicated on the pursuit of private interest) that the leading Anglo-American statesmen sought to encourage.
And here's the international results. Shows me just how few places there are where people are fully aware of what Obama means by change. Right now I wish I didn't.