Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Thomas Sowell and the New York Times agree on why Obama fails

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell

An editorial by famous economist Thomas Sowell at Right Wing News. (H/T Doug Ross’ links)

Excerpt:

After reading Barack Obama’s book “Dreams from My Father,” it became painfully clear that he has not been searching for the truth, because he assumed from an early age that he had already found the truth — and now it was just a question of filling in the details and deciding how to change things.

Obama did not simply happen to encounter a lot of people on the far left fringe during his life. As he spells out in his book, he actively sought out such people. There is no hint of the slightest curiosity on his part about other visions of the world that might be weighed against the vision he had seized upon.

As Professor Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago Law School has pointed out, Obama made no effort to take part in the marketplace of ideas with other faculty members when he was teaching a law course there. What would be the point, if he already knew the truth and knew that they were wrong?

This would be a remarkable position to take, even for a learned scholar who had already spent decades canvassing a vast amount of information and views on many subjects. But Obama was already doctrinaire at a very early age — and ill-informed or misinformed on both history and economics.

[...]Barack Obama is one of those people who are often wrong but never in doubt. When he burst upon the national political scene as a presidential candidate in 2008, even some conservatives were impressed by his confidence.

But confident ignorance is one of the most dangerous qualities in a leader of a nation. If he has the rhetorical skills to inspire the same confidence in himself by others, then you have the ingredients for national disaster.

He gives a few examples, but he’s not the only person to have noticed this. Consider the following article from the radically left-wing New York Times, of all places. (H/T Forbes)

Excerpt:

But even those loyal to Mr. Obama say that his quest for excellence can bleed into cockiness and that he tends to overestimate his capabilities. The cloistered nature of the White House amplifies those tendencies, said Matthew Dowd, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, adding that the same thing happened to his former boss. “There’s a reinforcing quality,” he said, a tendency for presidents to think, I’m the best at this.

[...]He may not always be as good at everything as he thinks, including politics. While Mr. Obama has given himself high grades for his tenure in the White House — including a “solid B-plus” for his first year — many voters don’t agree, citing everything from his handling of the economy to his unfulfilled pledge that he would be able to unite Washington to his claim that he would achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Those were not the only times Mr. Obama may have overestimated himself: he has also had a habit of warning new hires that he would be able to do their jobs better than they could.

“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

Though he never ran a large organization before becoming president, he initially dismissed internal concerns about management and ended up with a factionalized White House and a fuzzier decision-making process than many top aides wanted.

What you have in Barack Obama is a man who governs based on his own intuitions and sense of superiority. He’s not grounded in facts, and he’s not willing to listen to anyone else’s view if it disagrees with those intuitions. He wants to be praised without having achieved anything praiseworthy. Where did this attitude of ignorance coupled with arrogance come from? Would you hire a person like that to work with you?

UPDATE: Stuart Schneiderman answers the question I asked about where this attitude comes from:

Obsessed with perfection and fixated on his own prowess Obama is suffering from vainglorious self-puffery, self-esteem to the nth power.

He is the reductio ad absurdum of a culture of self-esteem that does not reward achievement but that teaches people to keep telling themselves that they are the best, regardless.

When the most powerful leader of the free world needs to compete and win at making chili or playing pool he is trying to find a sliver of evidence that would protect him against the encroaching suspicion that his greatness is just a bunch of media-drive hype.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , ,

10 Responses

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    Wow thats scary to be read that 1.) he think he knows more than his specialists advisers (so why have advisers in the first place) and 2.) he has never run a large organization

  2. Reminds me of what I posted in 2009:
    ” there is nothing at all in Obama’s resume that shows he ever made highly difficult decisions that depended, at the end, on his own personal reservoir of wisdom and experience. So he does not tackle the inbox because its contents are above his competence. (One is reminded of Obama telling Rick Warren that when an unborn child gets human rights is “above my pay grade.”) He tends instead to lesser matters that match his lower level of competence and gratifyingly feed the ego.”

  3. Stuart Schneiderman answers the question I asked about where this attitude comes from:
    http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/2012/09/lost-in-white-house.html

    Quote:
    —-
    Obsessed with perfection and fixated on his own prowess Obama is suffering from vainglorious self-puffery, self-esteem to the nth power.

    He is the reductio ad absurdum of a culture of self-esteem that does not reward achievement but that teaches people to keep telling themselves that they are the best, regardless.

    When the most powerful leader of the free world needs to compete and win at making chili or playing pool he is trying to find a sliver of evidence that would protect him against the encroaching suspicion that his greatness is just a bunch of media-drive hype.

  4. Gabe says:

    Kind of off topic: Is Thomas Sowell a Christian? A lot of what he says is consistent with the Christian worldview.

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