The Shape of Things to Come?
posted at 8:34 pm on October 1, 2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh
In the absence of a discernable trajectory of purpose, a person’s actions may seem random, unpredictable, and inexplicable. Why did he do that? Why not this? What’s he going to do next? We haven’t a clue.
But sometimes, in a great flash, you finally see the pattern; and all previous actions make sense. You can not only explain what he’s done in the past, you can predict what he’ll do in the future. This is, of course, why finding the appropriate pattern is so important: knowing what’s to come.
Of course, more than one pattern can be constructed to “explain” a person’s actions; it’s tempting just to grab at the first pattern you invent… then start shoehorning every previous action into the pattern you’ve picked, willy nilly, no matter how badly it fits. After a while, the pattern begins to determine which facts you can see — and which become invisible to you. We see this pattern of “pattern-worship” among true believers in any ideology.
So to avoid that trap, it’s best to make numerous specific predictions and use them to test, and when necessary, correct our pattern-hypothesis. The predictions must be:
- Specific: This rather than that.
- Testable: This and that lie within our power to check, both in theory and in practice.
- Dispositive: If that happens instead of this, then our pattern-hypothesis is wrong.
So let’s test our newfound prediction regimen by observing our president, Barack H. Obama, at work — and trying to find a pattern-hypothesis that explains his actions to date and predicts what he’ll do next. First, let’s grab a set of facts that beg for an explanation:
- Obama is elected on a promise to fix the economy with a stimulus package, but then he backloads all the spending.
- He tries every possible way to raise taxes during a serious recession.
- He sells his bank take-over by saying they’ll pay back all the bailout money with interest, then rejects their money when they try.
- He pushes a health-care “reform” plan that will add immeasurably to the deficit, will force millions out of private insurance and onto a public plan, and even after all that, will only insure a small fraction of those previous uninsured (the ostensible reason for ObamaCare in the first place).
- He insists that the plan must be bipartisan, then he leaves it up to the utterly partisan Congress to write it.
- He insists all through the campaign that we’re “fighting the wrong war,” so we should pull troops out of Iraq and send them to Afghanistan, “the war we should be fighting;” but once in power, he sabotages the Afghanistan war effort.
- He supports “balance of power” defense strategies such as Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), but he opposes purely defensive strategies for protecting us from ballistic missile attack.
- He announces he wants to be the president who finally resolves the Israeli-Palestinian “crisis,” then turns America into a mindless advocate for the latter against the former.
- He criticizes President George W. Bush for not engaging in tough negotiations with Iran, then he cedes all negotiating points to the Iranians without asking anything in return.
- He accuses Bush of unilateralism; then Obama himself insults, belittles, ignores, betrays, and arrogantly commands our allies — while cajoling, jollying, bribing, and appeasing our enemies.
- He lectures us on energy conservation, implying we haven’t enough to live the American lifestyle; but he also terminates any method of generating energy that actually works (nuclear, hydroelectric, or just drilling in ANWR, the Gulf of Mexico, and so forth), while promoting numerous goofy methods (solar, geothermal, biomass) that could not possibly generate enough energy to make a difference.
All right, we can probably think of more such weird, seemingly mad policies of the Obama administration; but I think this is enough of a fact base to study.
Taken independently, none of these policies seems to make any sense; taken together but without finding an overarching pattern, they seem inconsistent and contradictory: Why rush to pass a stimulus package but slow-walk the spending? Why raise taxes to lower the deficit but push health-care reform that will spend all the new taxes and more? Why push for negotiations with Iran and abandon Afghanistan, which borders Iran and can put pressure on them during the negotiations?
So let’s take our first cut at pattern matching:
Hypothetical Pattern 1 — Obama is secretly a radical Moslem, and he wants to destroy America from within to pave the way for a sharia-state.
Now it’s true that this pattern-hypothesis could explain some of the facts:
- His actions on the economy are designed to destroy it, so an Islamic revolution can arise from the ashes.
- He kow-tows to Iran because he’s secretly working for them. Same with al-Qaeda and the other Sunni terrorist groups.
- He sabotages the Afghanistan war because he’s on the Taliban’s side.
- He hates Israel because Islam considers Jews the original heretics.
But for the other facts, we discover ourselves banging square pegs into round holes:
- He pushes ObamaCare because he wants lots of Christians to die, so that the 1% of the country that are Moslem will eventually outnumber them… in about three hundred years.
- He doesn’t want to drill for oil in the United States because he wants to send more money to support Moslem countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran… all but the last of which oppose and fight against jihadism.
- He opposes missile defense against possible Russian missiles because if we have it, we might sell it to Israel, and then they can defend against a Iranian attack. Oh, please.
When we find ourselves tap dancing like this, it’s a sure sign that we’ve picked the wrong pattern-hypothesis. So let’s drop Pattern 1 and try a new one:
Hypothetical Pattern 2 — Obama has always hated individualism, believing in the greatest good for the greatest number; he has always hated federalism, because states used that to justify segregation; he wants all power vested in the highest level of national government and all governance from the top down (with him at the top).
Well, this pattern might explain the economic and health-care policies, but how does it explain diminishing American power vis-a-vis the international political and military environment?
Another failed hypothesis-pattern; so try this:
Hypothetical Pattern 2.5 — Obama has always hated individualism, believing in the greatest good for the greatest number; he has always hated federalism, because states used that to justify segregation; and he has always hated nationalism, because he believes that’s what causes all the wars in the world. He wants all power vested in the highest level of international government and all governance from the top down (with him at the top).
This pattern-hypothesis seems to fit all the facts pretty well:
- Obama’s stimulus backloads spending because he’s using the money as both carrot and stick to control state and local governments and private companies and individuals.
- He’s raising taxes because he wants to wrench the United States onto the EurAsian economic model, thus to diminish the control individuals and private corporations have over the fruits of their own labor (they might spend it selfishly, while the national government and international law will take from those who have too much and spread it around to those who need it.
- He wants banks and other corporations to remain in debt to the government because that gives him an additional lever of control over them.
- He’s trying to bring American health care “up to” the standard of the rest of the world (centralization, nationalization, single-payer). And he’s staying “hands off” at the moment not because he doesn’t care what’s in the bill, but because he expects to be the final arbiter of the final version of the bill, the last link in the great chain of power.
- He sabotages Afghanistan, kills missile defense, and favors diplomacy over defense at every turn because he wants to handcuff America’s “unilateral” military power. That way, all use of force could instead be approved and directed by an international agency — either the United Nations or an actual world government that succeeds it.
- He appeases our enemies because that’s how you bring them into the International Coalition of Everyone; he’s dismissive of our allies because they have rejected Obamunism and won’t support him as the natural leader of the entire Earth.
- And of course he opposes any policy leading to energy independence for the United States because his radical internationalism demands that we become even more energy dependent on foreign nations.
All right, Pattern 2.5 seems pretty close; so let’s make a few predictions — specific, testable, dispositive — about what the Obamacle would do in the future, if Pattern 2.5 is the correct structure explaining his otherwise incomprehensible maze of policies:
He would show a curious insistance on socialist policies in, e.g., heath-care “reform” that he isn’t even championing yet: Rather than accept anything so long as he “gets a bill,” as most are predicting, he will push hard to reinsert the most important elements of extreme ObamaCare back into the bill using reconcilliation.
In particular, he would insist upon the mandate, coverage of illegals — either directly or via a general alien amnesty — and federal standards of what coverage “approved” insurance plans must include; for without those, reform doesn’t serve his fundamental purpose of Europeanizing American health care.
- He would consolodate more power in the federal government at the expense of the state and local governments; he could do this by conditioning revenue sharing and stimulus spending to states and locals ceding traditional powers to the feds.
- He would certainly want to sign more treaties, and reinterpret existing treaties, to cede ever more sovereign American power to international bodies, particularly the United Nations.
- He would push for an international (non-state) currency to become the standard unit of international trade — something like the Euro, but with a less specifically European flavor — rather than the United States dollar. Call it the Espero, just for purposes of discussion.
- He would pressure the Democratic Congress to make the Espero legal tender throughout the United States; the idea would be to eventually phase out dollars entirely, just as the Euro was expected to push out local European currencies.
- He would press Congress to remove all restrictions on and exceptions to our participation in the International Court of Justice and other international courts; he would also reinterpret codicils of exemption out of existence, or just issue an Executive Order for all federal agencies to cooperate with international courts as if we had ratified those treaties unconditionally (even though we didn’t).
- He would take steps to be seen more and more as the natural successor to United Nations Secretary General Nanki-Poo. In particular, Obama would pay all “back dues” (without demanding any structural or ethical changes at all from the U.N.); he would chair as many international conferences as possible; and he would butter-up and stroke all the different factions within that body — the geographical blocs and the U.N. agencies, such as UNESCO, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Bank, and so forth.
These are all specific enough to be tested; and if the opportunities arise, and Obama goes the opposite way from these predictions, then I think it’s reasonable to reject Pattern 2.5 as a workable framework for the various policies we lump together as “Obamunism”.
But as chances come along, every time Barack Obama does take the path of our pattern-hypothesis, the more confidence we should have that our theoretical pattern is a valid tool of prediction.
Cross-posted to Big Lizards…