The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama for President
Tom Smith

After some thought which I concede has not been all that deep, I have decided to announce that I support Senator Obama for President.  I have been inspired to take this step, which I know some of my readers will find shocking and disappointing, by the several other famous conservatives and/or libertarians who have thrown their backing to the Senator from the Land of Lincoln.  Allow me to explain.

Obama has made many insprirational arguments about why he should be the next President.  There is Hope, Change, the Audacity of both, the financial crisis's verdict on the failed policies of the last eight years, and transcending the politics of yesterday, which are narrow, in order to get to the politics of the future which are, I infer, very broad. But in truth, I am not sure what all of this means, concretely.  Thus I have tried to pay attention carefully as Obama and his many proxies have explained what his actual plans would be.  These are much more comprehensible.  With some gratitude I realize that all the talk of Hope and Change can be distilled into a two-fold message that is both direct and pure:  If Obama is elected President, the government will give me money.  And second, that would be fair.

To take the second point first, some might well wonder what is so fair about my getting more money from the government, or even their getting more money, though that usually provokes fewer objections. But consider the following thought experiment.  Imagine someone coming to you and saying "How about if I give you some money, and you have to do absolutely nothing in return?  Does that sound fair?"  Most of us, I hazard, would reply "Sure!"  I know I would.  Thus, by a kind of deontological intuitionist argument, we can see that my getting more money in this way is in fact fair.  Next, it is true that I would like more money.  Indeed, the prospect of getting more money does inspire in me a feeling I recognize as hope, and it would certainly be a welcome change.  Like many Americans, I get paid every month, and every month I pay bills.  I am struck by the frequency and intensity of the feeling that I could use more money.  This would be a change I could believe in.

Some readers may object that as a member of "the rich" who makes more than $42,000 per year, or whatever it is these days, I would be taxed more by an Obama regime, and not be one of those in the lucky 95 or 40 percent who are going to get checks from the government for having been so redistributed against over the last 8 years (of failed Bush-McCain policies), or perhaps even since this Republic adopted a Constitution that makes redistribution so legally awkward.  But this is taking too narrow of a view.  There are many ways to get checks from the government, and my sense is that an Obama administration would be amenable to all of them.  For someone like me, an academic, working in some way for the government seems promising.  So while I may be taxed more, I think the chances are good that I could find some job where I would be well paid and not actually have to do any work.  It could thus be a part time job that would not interfere with my current position.  It could be anything, really, so long as I could listen to my iPod during any meetings, which I assume, in a modern Obama administration, would be held in virtual government-space anyway.  Many people like me will be looking for jobs like this.  It may indeed usher in a kind of new age of entrepreneurialism, as people look for ways to get money from the government in new and creative ways.

Some long time readers may object that this endorsement represents a rejection of every principle I have ever stood for on this blog.  This may be true.  However, I would ask them to consider that standing up for principles against an enthusiastic mob is a good way to make yourself very unpopular.  I'm also not sure I have ever been to a conservative or libertarian party that was not a rather sad affair, with people standing around talking about the money supply or the importance of traditional values.  I mean, that gets old.  I'm 51 years old and I'm tired of it.  It just has to be the case that those redeemed by Obama are going to be having much better parties over the next several years, at least while the dollar holds out.  This may be a case for making hay while the sun shines.  Apres moi and all that.  

I do admit I am a little worried about Ahmedwhatshisname getting nukes and Putin rolling into Europe, with only Obama's charisma to stop them.  I had never really thought of let's all play nicely together as a foreign policy since it doesn't even work with kids.  But hey, is that really my problem?  He has like a zillion brilliant foreign policy advisers and I'm sure they'll figure something clever out.  I can no longer afford a trip to Israel anyway and I assume pictures of it will be archived on the internet.

Some may say, and you call yourself a libertarian.  But I have decided I can be a kind of statist, big government, expansive regulation, high taxing, low investing, industrial policy, aggressive PC enforcing sort of libertarian.  If you look at libertarians for Obama, I would hardly be the first.  Besides, I never listen to Rush anymore and Fox I could even do without.  I have hundreds of books in my library I have yet to read, and this would give me the chance.  All that conflict in the media is a huge time suck anyway.

So think of it as kind of the rather bearable lightness of being for Obama.  It's not so bad really.  It feels kind of like when you wake up in the morning and your mind is kind of blank, but in a peaceful sort of way.  Rather nice, really. You know, healing.

In conclusion, I would like, instead of saying God Bless America, which is divisive, to wish everyone a really nice next four to whatever years. (If anyone connected with the forthcoming government is reading this post, and would would like an address to send my money to, please just email me and I will let you know.)

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Tom Smith


I'd call this "Buckleyesque", but it's the night before Halloween, and I'm afraid the original eponym would rise up and do something to me even creepier than his son's endorsement.

Posted by: bgates | Oct 30, 2008 5:24:17 PM

Check out this map of the ideological distribution of Obama, McCain, Hillary, and Bush.

See who is really at the center.

Posted by: Tom | Oct 30, 2008 5:27:16 PM

Congrats on the best Obama endorsement by far!

Posted by: LegalTender | Oct 30, 2008 5:30:07 PM

I sense that you're not really an enthusiastic supporter.

Posted by: Benson | Oct 30, 2008 5:31:15 PM

LOL! I love satire, intentional or not.

Hey, if you could get me and academic position, I'd really appreciate it. I have a master's degree, and I understand there's no real work involved... which makes me ask, why would you want a second no-work "job"?

Posted by: Hucbald | Oct 30, 2008 5:32:01 PM

Why wouldn't you?

Posted by: enemyofthepeople | Oct 30, 2008 5:35:14 PM

Honestly, Tom, you'll never miss that frontal lobe. And doesn't the world seem so much warmer and cozier now? At least until a Republican walks by.

Posted by: Mister Snitch | Oct 30, 2008 5:46:21 PM

Not sure how serious this is but reading the stuff over at "Reason" (those are irony quotes) solidifies my total disenchantment with libertarianism. With a straight face they all trumpet the blessings of the One. If it weren't for the likes of them, I'd take this as satire. Because of them, I wonder . . . and I wonder why libertarianism prostitutes itself to the likes of the Democrats.

Posted by: rrr | Oct 30, 2008 5:49:29 PM

The clocks aren't striking 13 just yet. We need an ad with Joe the Plummer throwing a wrench into a screen with Obama and Biden talking about wealth spreading and the proper way to pay your taxes (FYI, it's patriotically and without any backtalk).

Posted by: frege | Oct 30, 2008 5:51:42 PM

Boy, What some people do to avoid the re-education camps.

Posted by: Winston Smith II | Oct 30, 2008 6:03:04 PM