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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 25, 2010 10 Shvat 5770

Our Philosopher-King Obama

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In Plato's ideal society, philosopher kings and elite Guardians shepherded the rabble to force them to do the "right" thing.


To prevent the unwashed from doing anything stupid, the all-powerful, all-wise Guardians often had to tell a few "noble" lies. And, of course, these caretakers themselves were exempt from most rules they made for others.


We are now seeing such thinking in the Obama administration and among its supporters.


A technocracy — many Ivy-League-educated and without much experience outside academia and government — pushes legislation most people do not want but is nevertheless judged to be good for them.


Take the Obama proposal for health care. A large percentage of Americans do not trust those who run the Postal Service to oversee the conditions of one-sixth of the U.S. economy.


No matter. Our philosopher-king president says of our fierce resistance: "I . . . know what happens once we get this done. The American people will suddenly learn that this bill does things they like."


How about energy policy? Unlike Obama, most Americans believe we should fully utilize our own gas, oil and nuclear resources so that we don't go broke waiting for a promised solar and wind revolution.


In fact, on a number of other major issues, polls show more than half of all Americans are at odds with the Obama agenda: more federal takeover of private enterprise, gargantuan deficit spending, and "comprehensive" immigration reform, for starters.


Why, then, does the Obama administration persist with such an apparently unpopular agenda?


Like Plato's all-knowing elite, Obama seems to feel that those he deems less informed will "suddenly" learn to appreciate his benevolent guidance once these laws are pushed through.


Liberal columnist Thomas Frank once promoted similar assumptions in his book "What's the Matter with Kansas?" Frank argued that clueless American voters can't quite figure out what their own self-interests are.

Letter from JWR publisher


New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, another Obama supporter, also reflected the philosopher-king thinking in a recent column praising China's "reasonably enlightened" dictatorship. Unlike the messiness of American democracy, he argued, a few smart strongmen in China can ram through the necessary policies "to move a society forward in the 21st century."


President Obama has now apparently convinced himself that his old promises about a new transparency get in the way of giving the American people what they need.


Obama campaigned against lobbyists in government. But lobbyists in government are now necessary to accelerate the Obama hope-and-change agenda.


The president on several occasions promised to air the health-care debate on C-SPAN. But now negotiations take place behind closed congressional doors. That must be a necessary price if the people are going to get the health care they must have.


Obama, in addition, once ridiculed John McCain's idea of taxing so-called "Cadillac" health plans. He promised not to raise "any" taxes on those who make less than $250,000 a year. And he lectured President Bush on his foolishness of pushing Social Security reform when only 35 percent of the people were in favor it.


But now our philosopher-king has determined that he really needs to tax some premium health-care plans — even if that means additional costs will be passed onto those who make less than $250,000. And he certainly doesn't mind pushing noble legislation that most people oppose.


Other past declarations — like the pledge to close Guantanamo within a year of taking office or the deadlines for the Iranians to stop work on their nuclear program — are noble sorts of lies. They at least show us the president's good intentions and his care for our welfare — even if he can't follow through on them.


There is one other trait of this administration similar to those of utopian philosopher kings. Our elite must have the leeway to be exempt from their own rules.


Higher taxes must be levied on many of us. But the guardian of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, now and then can cheat a little. So can the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Charles Rangel, who oversees the writing of tax law.


An evil Wall Street makes obscene profits and flies on private jets. But from time to time, Wall Street campaign donations and private jet travel are permissible for our wiser Guardians if they are properly to plan for the people.


There is, however, one difference between Plato's thinking and the Obama administration's agenda. Plato at least assumed that philosopher kings were fantasy ideas and his utopia unachievable.


Our president and his modern-day Guardians in contrast haven't quite figured that out yet. Perhaps after this week's election in Massachusetts they will.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


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