Saturday, June 12, 2010

Postmodern Leadership

Whatever my occasional and rather niggling reservations about Mark Steyn (mostly that he will stretch facts to get a giggle), he is always entertaining, often somewhat enlightening, and definitely gets giggles. This piece is wonderful.
He starts off referring to a great line from Michael Ignatieff:
Having spent his entire adult life abroad, he was aware that some of the natives were uncertain about his commitment to the land of his birth. So he was careful to issue a sort of pledge of a kind of allegiance, explaining that writing a book about Canada had "deepened my attachment to the place on Earth that, if I needed one, I would call home."
Ignatieff's skills as a real politician are about what one would expect from someone who spent a life in academia (never assume that 'politics' means the same thing in every environment), so I suspect we do not have to worry about him becoming our leader, though we may see otherwise.
Steyn then turns to the USA and its actual leader and hits what I suspect is the point that triggered the Tea Parties:
Many Americans are beginning to pick up the strange vibe that for Barack Obama, governing America is "an interesting sociological experiment", too. He would doubtless agree that the United States is "the place on Earth that, if I needed one, I would call home." But he doesn't, not really: It is hard to imagine Obama wandering along to watch a Memorial Day or Fourth of July parade until the job required him to. That's not to say he's un-American or anti-American, but merely that he's beyond all that.
Steyn's last paragraph hits so much so well:
In recent months, a lot of Americans have said to me that they had no idea the new president would feel so "weird." But, in fact, he's not weird. True, he's not, even in Democratic terms, a political figure – as, say, Clinton or Biden are. Instead, he's the product of the broader culture: There are millions of people like Barack Obama, the eternal students of a vast lethargic transnational campus for whom global compassion and the multicultural pose are merely the modish gloss on a cult of radical grandiose narcissism. As someone once said, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." When you've spent that long waiting in line for yourself, it's bound to be a disappointment.
'Radical grandiose narcissism' is so spot-on about what radiates from the great windbag.
Read the whole thing - there is a lot of other good stuff in there, including about Canada.


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