Two days ago, Matt Drudge linked to a new book by Jerome Corsi, unflinchingly titled Where’s the Birth Certificate? The book immediately leapt to number one on Amazon.com, where it has remained ever since. The media has shown its usual incredulity at the indisputable stupidity of the American people. How could so many people question President Obama’s birthplace? How could they wonder about his origins? Are they all simply racist?
The answer, of course, is that Americans are desperately seeking an answer to a simple question: why does President Obama appear to be so un-American? The term un-American here is not synonymous with anti-American (though Obama has been that on occasion); instead, it merely signifies that President Obama is unconcerned with typical American principles and traditions. He sees capitalism as selfish and evil, religion as dangerous and oppressive; he sees the Constitution as antiquated and entrepreneurialism as exploitative. He is the representative of the Fareed Zakaria ideology at work, celebrating the post-American world.
When America elects a president like this, many Americans begin wondering how it happened. There are always two answers to such difficult questions: the first is optimistically externally-oriented, while the second is realistically reflexive. It is far easier to believe that the problem of un-Americanism lies outside our borders, that within we are unified. Hence the oddly persistent belief that politics stops at the water’s edge, that our politicians unify around foreign policy. But that belief has been obsolete since the 1960s; hence the persistent outrage when certain politicians (see Pelosi, Nancy) travel abroad and then criticize their fellow American officeholders (see Bush, George W.). We like to think that if we hang together, we will not hang separately.
Thus the stubborn belief that President Obama is born outside the United States. If he was, the unspoken logic goes, we can understand where he picked up his un-American philosophy. He is not one of us – he is rather a member of the same global community that despises America and tolerates Islamism, that slams American consumerism and praises Chinese communism, that rips evangelical Christianity while ignoring Muslim-imposed clitorectomy. We need not worry about our domestic institutions, goes the line of thought – instead, we must focus on protecting ourselves from foreign infiltration.
More realistically, however, President Obama is the culmination of a century of foreign infiltration already in place. The turning of America’s institutions of higher education took place decades ago; it is too little too late to focus on such infiltration now. Beginning in the early 20th century, America’s colleges and universities were infiltrated by German thought, then thought to be the most sophisticated in the world. That school of thought, a merger of Hegelian utopianism and Marxist classism, quickly infected America’s halls of power. Theodore Roosevelt, always trendy, bought into the new “progressivism” with alacrity, jettisoning the Constitution and capitalism in the process. Bringing this perverse ideology to American shores, Teddy announced, “We of to-day who stand for the Progressive movement here in the United States are not wedded to any particular kind of machinery, save solely as means to the end desired.” This was the philosophy of incipient dictatorship. It was brought to its near-term apex under a college professor, Woodrow Wilson, who thought that the Constitution itself needed to be stripped away.
Even as Wilson and Roosevelt began implementing German philosophy in American government – with disastrous results including the decimation of growing American industries and a bizarre foreign policy focused on global institutions rather than American interests – Europeans abroad began to plan the next step of the American takeover. Members of the Frankfurt School, German philosophers who recognized that class conflict would not take place openly, traveled to the United States, where they proceeded to agitate for an even more extreme version of German Hegelian-Marxism.
Frankfurt School philosophers believed that Marxism had failed to produce widespread transnational class uprisings because societies were already too ensconced in a culture of capitalism. Culture and society themselves had to be destroyed in order to make way for a new brand of equality. And the first step toward such a revolution was destruction of traditional logic, destruction of traditional mores, and destruction of America’s homegrown culture. Men like Herbert Marcuse led the charge here, telling members of President Obama’s generation to make love, not war, and to fight the powers that be. America was cruel, and only by indoctrinating Americans in a new way of thinking could that cruelty be fought.
The philosophy of the Frankfurt School, making an alliance with trendy French post modernism, spread like wildfire through the academic world. Traditional history courses were torn down in favor of “queer” studies, black studies, Asian studies, women’s studies; language was deconstructed in order to remove its capitalistic foundations; traditional sexual mores were torn asunder in the name of “tolerance.”
President Obama was the result. He grew up abroad, to be sure, but he spent most of his educational career right here in the United States, indoctrinated in the traditions of the progressives and the Frankfurt School. Ironically enough, the biggest problem for America arises if President Obama was born here – because if he was, the problem of un-Americanism is now internal rather than external. Perhaps that is why so many Americans wonder about the birth certificate – they hope against hope that President Obama is a symptom of a foreign ill rather than a domestic one. No matter whether Jerome Corsi comes up with evidence of Obama’s foreign birth, however – it is clear that the problem of Obama-esque un-Americanism is now endemic to American culture herself. We have an ideological problem in our midst, and no amount of digging in Kenya and Indonesia is going to solve a problem that now starts right here.
Ben Shapiro is an attorney and writer and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, and author of the upcoming book “Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How The Left Took Over Your TV” from Broadside Books, an imprint of HarperCollins.