Friday, July 31, 2009

South Florida Bloggers on Obama's Beer Diplomacy

A local blogger recently shared his thoughts on Obama's attempt to diffuse racial tensions through arranging for Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department to share a beer at the White House. His thoughts were subsequently adopted and expanded by another local blogger.

Their writings are evidence of a shift in posture among progressive bloggers. Whereas months ago Obama-friendly blogs were aggressively promoting him in all ways, the tone has shifted to defending Obama's serious mistakes. The intellectual dishonesty is obvious, and I have yet to read any local blogger admitting to Obama's imperfection.

Obama's calling for the so-called Beer Summit demonstrates exactly what his detractors and opponents warned of during the 2008 campaign. Specifically, that Obama is inexperienced. The denial of this truth is evident in "Mustang Bobby's" writing, wherein he acknowledges that:
some saw [the Beer Summit] as just another photo op on the White House lawn -- like when Arafat and Rabin shook hands -- that papered over the real differences between the parties and nothing's really changed;

That snippet is the full extent of the analysis and thought Bobby devotes to the comparison. In fact, the "paper[ing] over the real differences" between the Jews and Arabs in form of the handshake between Arafat and Rabin had dire consequences. For one, Rabin was assassinated by a Jew two years after the Clinton-brokered handshake. The well publicized political motives of his assasin leave little doubt that his participation in the handshake was a motivating factor. Secondly, the handshake legitimized Arafat's terrorism, and terrorism generally. Terror organizations are now quick to form deceptive "political wings" and immediately expect equal standing in world politics. The current state of middle east "peace" speaks for itself.

The intellectually honest recognize Clinton's mistake. For a moment, consider that Obama says this about science:
“It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient,” Obama said. “Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as president of the United States ...”

Albert Einstein, a scientist, defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Yet for all his talk, Obama chose to ignore the historical failures of "papered over" photo opportunities. History is, after all, a very powerful social science.

A younger social science, considered by some a subset of economics, is "game theory". Consider that Obama has now introduced a new possible outcome to anti-social and possibly illegal racist behavior. When considering the possible consequences of abusing a position of power, or falsely accusing another of racism, a summit-like resolution immunizing the act is possible. The disincentive to commit the act is lessened. Further, a punishment harsher than a summit reconciliation will be perceived as a deviation from precedent. The next officer deprived of the opportunity to toast with a minority citizen he abuses, and instead punished by suspension or termination, will cry afoul. The over-racting citizen legitimately sanctioned for disorderly conduct will feel similarly deprived of the rule of law when no summit is offered. The unintended consequences on human behavior caused by this Beer Summit can be variably postulated, but unlike Bobby and Rick, the intellectualy honest recognize that not every consequence will be good.

Mustang Bobby rushes to Obama's defense with vague hopes:
Staged events like this rarely accomplish anything in themselves, but it does set an example...-- it may get the cop and the prof in other places like Toledo or Albuquerque or Miami to sit down and talk.

Rick writes:
Getting people to talk to each other instead of shouting at each other is a noble goal no matter what beer is sipped or how many photos are taken.

Neither Bobby nor Rick cite to any historic precedent of harmonizing a festering social tension through similar staged events. Numerous historical examples exist besides the Clinton-brokered handshake. Surely Chamberlain and Hitler sipped wine or cognac as they prevented the outbreak of WWII. Rushing to defend their false idol, Bobby and Rick offer only "hope" and "nobility".

The intellectual dishonesty is glaring when one considers the simple, time tested method of resolving the conflict: Truth. To borrow a phrase from Bobby, the Gates incident is indeed "like [a] Rorschach test; you take away from it what you want to see." Some see the violation of an innocent citizen's civil rights. Others see a noble man in uniform falsely accused.

One need only examine the Dreyfus affair to see how poor Obama's decision was. If Sgt. Crowley is a racist, then let it be exposed. If Gates was the true "reverse-racist", then let it be exposed. If Obama really wanted what was best for America, "even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient," then he would have instead sought Justice and Truth. As it stands, it now appears unlikely that any of us will ever be comfortably informed as to exactly what transpired between Gates and Crowley.

The consequences of Obama's "papering-over" of the Truth are predictable. If history is any guide, tensions between races are likely to worsen as a result of this incident. The question is, do progressive bloggers understand this? I think some do, and for them my charge of intellectual dishonesty is proven. Others who continue to apologize for Obama and defend the Beer Summit are simply as naive and hubristic as Obama. Or, as Einstein would call them, insane.

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