Sunday, August 26, 2012

Thoughts About 2016

Last night I went to see the new movie by Dinesh D'Souza entitled 2016: Obama's America. The movie is based on two books D'Souza has written: Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream and The Roots of Obama’s Rage. In the movie, D'Souza attempts to explain why President Obama thinks and makes decisions the way he does. In other words, he tries to define the motivating force behind this world leader. D'Souza presents some very compelling evidence based on Obama's own words, as well as those of his relatives and friends, that the driving principle behind Obama's decisions is anticolonialism. Obama's father was born and raised in colonial Kenya and became a strong anticolonialist. Several of Obama's mentors were anticolonialists also. To better understand the anticolonialist mentality, one must understand what it is like to be a part of a colony.

Throughout history, mighty empires have arisen that felt it was their destiny to conquer other peoples and extract the resources of their land. Some of the better known ancient empires were the Assyrian, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman empires. In more recent times, the best known and most powerful empire of all time was the British Empire. It was once said that the sun never set on the British Empire because it reached around the world. Part of the makeup of this empire was other countries that had been conquered and made colonies. The British would set up some form of government in these colonies and then go about extracting resources to take back home. As you might expect, many of the indigenous people of these colonized nations were not happy with this arrangement. They wanted independence and self-autonomy. They wanted the resources of their land to be used to enrich their own people rather than the country of their overlords.

Kenya was a colony of the British Empire from about 1890 until 1963. So, President Obama's father, Barack Obama Sr, who was born in 1934, grew up in a colonized Kenya. Had I been in his shoes, I would most likely have been anticolonialist also. In fact, I am very much an anticolonialist now, even though I was fortunate enough to have been raised in an independent country. So, if President Obama and I both share an ideology of anticolonialism, why do I disagree with many of his decisions about the direction of our country? That has to do with what one believes should replace the oppression of colonialism once the oppressors leave and the autonomy of a nation is re-established.

Some anticolonialists viewed the people of the British Empire as being capitalists. So, it was natural for them, once they became independent, to want to move as far away from capitalism as possible. Typically, people who reject capitalism, embrace some form of socialism. This is what many Kenyans did. This seems to be the mentality of President Obama as well. But the problem is this: colonialism is anything but capitalism. Perhaps once the resources were extracted from the colonies and made into products, the Brits dealt with other nations on a capitalist basis. But the way they dealt with the colonies was not capitalist by any stretch of the imagination.

The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defined socialism as “A) a system of society or group living in which there is no private property” and “B) a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state.”

The definition of capitalism is “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.”

So, based on these definitions, you can see that colonialism is more akin to socialism than capitalism in that you have a government expropriating the wealth of some people for the benefit of other people. Had the British dealt with Kenya in a capitalist manner, they would have come in and negotiated a contract whereby they paid an agreed upon price for the resources they wanted. That’s how free markets work. Yet, for the colonies that viewed their overlords as capitalists, socialism became the alternative of choice upon becoming independent. They basically jumped from the frying pan into the fire. As George Obama, President Obama's half-brother, said in the movie, Kenya would be better off today if the “whites” had stayed longer.

Fortunately, socialism is not the true alternative to colonialism; freedom and capitalism are. This is the path the forefathers of the United States of America took. Remember that the USA was originally colonies of Great Britain. The Revolutionary War was the result of an anticolonialist movement. Yet, upon gaining independence, the movement led to liberty and capitalism. This smart move led to the creation of what would become the most prosperous nation on the face of the Earth. All because this country embraced the idea that a man's labor was his own and thus the fruits of that labor were his own also. This produced a great incentive for individuals to work hard because they were working for themselves rather than others.

Yet, somehow President Obama has come down on the side of viewing capitalism as the system that oppressed nations and socialism being the cure. D'Souza believes it is due to the influence of his father, mentors, and friends. Perhaps. But whatever the reason, Obama is unfortunately wrong in his assessment. Freedom, liberty, and capitalism are the cure for colonialism. Socialism is but a form of internal colonialism in which government takes the wealth of people by force and passes it on to others, just as the Brits took the wealth of other nations for the benefit of themselves.

I believe our country needs Change and Hope just like President Obama does. However, Obama's cure for our ills is akin to a doctor attempting to cure cancer by injecting the patient with poison. It only makes things worse. What we need is a leader that has a real cure for our nation's problems. Perhaps it is Mitt Romney. Perhaps it is Gary Johnson. I have personally grown skeptical of most politicians. Yet, I do know one thing. I agree with President Obama when he says we shouldn’t return to the failed policies of the past. History shows clearly that liberty works far better than oppression. So, let’s go back to that.

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