A must read.
Two small, but relevant, ideas struck me about this column as soon as Steyn mentioned Alfred the Great and King Canute in relation to The Great Hopenchanger, but only because I'm a history buff:
1. Alfred the Great was forced -- some say naked, and in the dead of night -- to flee into a swamp to save his very life, because he had lost his kingdom to the Danes. It then took Alfred 25 years (in the real, not metaphorical wilderness) to reclaim his kingdom from the Vikings, the 9th Century version of Illegal Immigrants, and he had not completed that task before he had finally shuffled off the old mortal coil.
Alfred is generally regarded worthy of the appellation "The Great" (the only English king to ever bear that title), because it was he -- in defeat -- who manages to instill a sense of "Englishness" in a world that was increasingly going to the Vikings. His "Greatness" is to allude to a past that will very soon cease to exist because the country is being invaded and changed by outside forces. Yeah, I get lost on that one, too.
2. King Canute (a Viking, go figure!) becomes (in-)famous for regulating everything within an inch of it's sorry life (the better to tax it, you see) through a system of sycophantic political allies (can anyone say "czar"?). His legacy was that the anger and political disunity this fostered led directly -- upon his death -- to a three-cornered fight for the throne, and civil war. These wars would eventually culminate in the Greatest Disaster in English History -- the Norman Invasion of 1066.
A disaster because it meant putting the French in charge of everything --a sort of prototype European Union -- and it didn't work then, either. Oh, and by the way, William the Conqueror's Norman forebears were also illegal immigrants -- Vikings who had settled in France (seeing a pattern here?).
Barack Obama, in a way, is leading -- more like blindly stumbling -- this country towards a modern-day version of Alfred and Canute. only he has (marginally-) better speechwriters. Like Alfred, he is inspiring a nostalgia for what it was to be American, while we -- having lost those feelings of pride and specialness -- fight a rear-guard action that often requires us to tailor our economy and policies to suit the realities of being surrounded and invaded by hostile foreigners. Look around you: Tea Parties indicate political discontent and an unfair tax regime. The President of the United States bows to foreign potentates, mollycoddles illegal aliens, signs on to the most pie-in-the-sky environMENTAL policies, and even changes the very terminology of warfare, in order to satisfy an International Community whose overriding aim is to pull down the edifice of American Power, Prestige and Exceptionalism, brick-by-brick.
Obama must speak in vague generalities and the honey-dripping turn of phrase, because plain speech would give the game away. The truth is that we have, in a fit of desperation, elected a man who is incapable of finding his own ass with both hands and a flashlight (let alone know who's ass to kick in a National Emergency), who is a slave to his outmoded and unworkable ideology (did you just use "slave " in describing a black man? Racist!), and who is nothing but a slick marketing campaign in a suit. This truth cannot, ever, be told.
Because if it was, no one who wasn't a welfare recipient or an illegal alien would ever pull a lever for a democratic candidate again.
In a world that requires deeds, all Barack Obama has to offer is words -- and those are all written by someone else, and never make much sense. In making the comparison to Alfred and Canute, I wonder if Steyn wasn't coincidentally hitting upon the real danger and soon-to-be-legacy of Barack Obama.