“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Barack Obama’s “Sputnik Moment” sums up his speech best. In fact, there is no reason to fully dwell on his speech in light of the sputnik moment. What do I mean? Consider this: Barack Obama declared that “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment.” His reference was to the mobilization of the United States after the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite. President Kennedy mobilized the United States to aggressively combat the Soviets with not just an arms race, but with a space race — a race to the moon.
President Obama declared our present economic climate our sputnik moment then proceeded to ignore NASA in his speech while defunding our space program. Nevermind that he did not identify an enemy hell bent on destroying us. He just wanted to use the metaphor without regard for its historic meaning — something this President all too often does.
Barack Obama’s bold leadership will not lead to a new race to space. Rather, in his own words, Barack Obama’s “sputnik moment” is . . . wait for it . . . no seriously, wait for it . . . “solar shingles that are being sold all across the country.”
Not exactly a John F. Kennedy oratory moment. But wait, it gets even better as Barack Obama announces his intention to return us to the 1950’s.
As much as the Democrats caricature the Republicans as hell bent on driving us back to 1950’s style culture, Barack Obama is hell bent on driving us back to 1950’s style economics where people work for large corporations that subsist on government program subsidies and the employees all belong to unions. In the history of the United States, that world view is very recent.
Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs — none of these people needed government subsistence to innovate. They did it on their own. And those, like Jobs, Gates, and others that built off of government inventiveness, the inventiveness on which they built off of came from technological advancements in national security and war — an area of the budget the President is willing to cut.
Barack Obama’s speech was a terrible speech. The only saving grace for him is that it will not be remembered by the American public. Paul Ryan had much more substance and, surprisingly enough, Michelle Bachmann had the best speech of the night with both style and substance.
All and all, Barack Obama’s “sputnik moment” should stand in American history for a great buildup without delivery. Barack Obama did not jump the shark; he sputniked.