March 4, 2011

Obama’s Philosophy: Not Islam, but Neo-Marxism

Barack Obama’s friendliness – some would say obsequiousness – toward the Islamic world has lead more than a few observers to suspect him of being a closet Muslim. When his conduct is considered in conjunction with his schooling as a Muslim in Indonesia, to say nothing of his name, this suspicion assumes a measure of reasonableness. This is not, as some on the establishment right are wont to describe it, “crazy talk.”

Still, it is, I believe, ultimately misplaced. Obama’s sympathies toward Muslims are fundamentally informed by the same sentiment that has allegedly motivated him most of his life and that gave rise to his first memoir, Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. In short, it is Obama’s yearning for racial authenticity that accounts for his eagerness to accommodate Muslims worldwide.

Obama is a leftist, granted, but he isn’t just any leftist, and he certainly isn’t just your run-of-the-mill “liberal Democrat” as those like Michael Medved would have his more “unreasonable” brethren on the right believe. By now (and, truth be told, long before now), anyone and everyone with eyes to see and ears to hear shouldn’t need to be told that Obama is and has always been squarely located in what could only be characterized as “the hard left.” That is to say, Obama is, if not a Marxist, a neo-Marxist.

Those outside of the contemporary university – and even those academics who specialize in fields beyond the corridors of the liberal arts and humanities – are not likely to have much familiarity with the mutations that Marxian philosophy has undergone since the radical’s dream of a proletariat revolution came to naught. Although the idiom of the “materialist dialectic,” “laws of social change,” “the bourgeoisie,” “the proletariat,” and the like in terms of which Marx articulated his vision is no longer in vogue among leftist intellectuals, the template that his philosophy supplied remains quite serviceable to his present day disciples. “Class” still figures prominently, it is true, but it has now been submerged in race and gender.

The “conflict” now is between, not “the proletariat” and “the bourgeoisie,” but the world’s “people of color” and their “White Oppressor.” It is from within the framework of this neo-Marxian ontology that Obama views himself and the world.

In Dreams he admits to having immersed himself in “deconstructionist” and “post-colonial” literature while in college, and he singles out as significant influences on his thinking two people who figure to no slight extent in these schools of thought: Frantz Fanon and Malcolm X (who he references well over a dozen times). Not only does Obama at no time suggest that this period of his life was but a function of intellectual immaturity, his selection of Jeremiah Wright – a self-sworn adherent of “Black Liberation Theology” and close friend and ally of Louis Farrakhan – as a “spiritual mentor” decisively establishes that the neo-Marxism that he imbibed during his earlier years continued to animate his every move.

Wright may have proven to be a political albatross for our president, but that the latter remains no less committed to the neo-Marxism that he began to consume as a youngster is a brute fact for which, from his choice of advisors, friends, and appointments – ivy-league racial ideologues Cornel West and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the self-identified communist Van Jones, and the “Black Panther” friendly Eric Holder, to name but a few – to such freedom-eroding policies as the massive redistributive scheme called Obamacare and the government assault on “Big Business,” to his racially polarizing rhetoric – whites who favor border enforcement and oppose “amnesty” are Hispanics’ “enemies” – there is a mountain of evidence.

It is these philosophy’s of our president, and not some covert commitment to Islam, that accounts for his overtures to the Islamic world.

First of all, even though, in principle, Islam transcends race, the overwhelming majority of the world’s Muslims are non-white. That is, they are “people of color.”

Second, by every conceivable criterion, Islamic societies are considerably worse off than their Western counterparts. To put it in the neo-Marxist’s idiom, there are great inequalities that characterize the relationship between the Western and Islamic worlds.

Third, on the logic of this reasoning, since glaring “inequalities” of this kind are equivalent to “injustice,” the Muslim owes his poverty to “the oppression” of the Westerner. And since the West has always been and remains predominantly white, what this means is that the Muslim’s plight is the function of white “oppression.”

Fourth, even more so than the African subjects of European colonial rule in the 1950’s and ‘60’s who demanded their “independence,” the militant Muslim – with his uncompromising renunciation of “the Great Satan” and his eagerness to spill as much blood – including his own – for however long it takes to combat it – emblematizes the “post-colonial freedom fighter” over whom Obama and his ideological brethren have waxed orgasmic for at least a half of a century.

Bearing in mind the foregoing considerations, the verdict is decisive. It isn’t from any sympathy with Islam as such that Obama’s sympathy for Muslims derives; he couldn’t care less what religion – if any – they are. Rather, it is from Obama’s self-identification as a “Black man” that explains his attitude toward Muslims, for his racial authenticity requires not just sympathy for, but “solidarity” with “the oppression” that the world’s “people of color” suffer at hands of whites.

Jack Kerwick, Ph.D., blogs at Contact him at [email protected]

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