Bush and Obama: The Personal Factor

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A president is the same as you and me in trying to get what he personally wants. Bush blamed Saddam Hussein for trying to kill his father. That was one influence on his decision to attack Iraq. Between the ages of 6 and 9, Obama lived in Indonesia where he absorbed Sukarno’s political philosophy. This is one reason why Obama fuses nationalism, collectivism, democratic and leadership authoritarianism with appeals to humanitarianism and social justice. It is one reason why he also easily allies with corporate and finance oligarchies.

The problem with having governors is that they govern, and they govern personally. The attempted solutions are to restrain their powers by means of such institutions as constitutions, opposing government departments (checks and balances), an independent judiciary, a military under civilian control, powers of sub-units (like states), restrictions on national police forces, an armed population, a free press, ideas of rights, and voting. As against these, the governors have the tool of demagoguery and fashioning appeals to the “mob”. They have powers of all sorts.

All of these methods meant to constrain the governors in their exercise of power either weaken, break down, outright fail, or are subverted and turned upside down (to the governors’ benefit) in the long run. Then what happens is that the power of the governors grows. Then their exercise of power for personal reasons grows. Their policies depend more and more on their obscure beliefs, emotions, philosophies, ideas and motivations, and on their powers to put these across and into action. Within a system in which the constraints against arbitrary power and privilege have been weakened, these policies produce nonsensical results, as measured against any sensible public goal like an increasing standard of living.

For those caught and trapped in this thicket, which is more and more and more common people over time, there is no easy way out short of cutting it down branch by branch to make a trail out of it.

6:51 am on December 12, 2013