Team Obama & The Uses Of White Guilt

Shelby Steele is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto California, he remains the most significant intellectual on American race relations since Lincoln.  Period.

His book titled ‘White Guilt’ exposes how the intellectual vacuity that has become of American liberalism has rendered the American left unable to wrestle with the  social and political impact of left wing policies.

I personally think Steele’s latest opinion piece is a profound personal and political reflection on Podhoritz’s recent critical essay on Obama’s left leaning policies.

For Steele, team Obama’s failure can be measured by political inexperience, ideological wrongheadedness, or an undefined character.  Podhoritz thinks its far more simple:  its Obama’s liberalism. Steele has penetrated the cool veneer and exposes the man nearly naked.

For the American left, our cultural singularity, our ‘exceptionalism’ follows from a bargain with the devil, an indulgence in militarism, racism, sexism, corporate greed and complete environmental disregard as a means to rule and impose our Imperium.  As such, American devotion to freedom, both economic and personal is the fruit of a great evil.  We witnessed this American brand in Libya where Obama lead from ‘behind’.  Tripoli exposed Obama’s idea of how and where to apply presidential power.  Bengazi exposed the particulars of this brand of liberalism.


Its really simple.  Obama has always found time to discover and expose the self effacement required for a liberal conscience.   All to offset the presumption of American greatness.  In Obama, America has found and relished a President with ambivalence, even antipathy toward the political and social contours of our ‘exceptionalism.’

What the political left cannot fathom is that American exceptionalism is the product of a most difficult rigor.  The primacy of acknowledging the superior craft of applied civil liberties.  The use of individual initiative as the engine of developed social capital to pursue material gains while supporting and defending the bonds of solidarity that make men free.

Steele reveals two difficult points of interest as America moves forward:  our exceptionalism saddles us with overwhelming burdens of both governance and intervention while our domestic political culture continues to hamper our grasp by saddling our present with continued historical shame.

The American left seeks to abdicate while looking both engaged and victimized.  The left seeks relief from the entanglements of our age while making a virtue of decline.  Any such endeavors can only make America look indistinguishable from other nations.

Domestically, liberal polices have already enfeebled the body politic, just look at U.S. education and the moral, spiritual decay of our inner cities.  Can we continue to obscure individual responsibility in the hope of evading permanent decline?  The limp confidence that is witnessed throughout this land has its origin in the failure of nerve to ask difficult things of ourselves in light of our heritage.

A renewed look at that heritage and the genius of our Founding animate our exceptional political and social regime.  Its a shame team Obama is not on board.


About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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