Obama’s Beliefs

Speaking of Wrong, But Stupid?, as I did earlier today, let us turn (or perhaps pivot?) to the question of Obama’s beliefs. In an excellent post asking whether Obama is “intellectually incurious,” Mickey Kaus writes:

The president is in a situation in which virtually none of his considered beliefs–in Keynesian economics, in the power of redistributive populism, in coalition politics, in  his own oratorical skill–is being affirmed by the real world. It’s like the period Thomas Kuhn talks about in his famous Structure of Scientific Revolutions, when scientists are working along within the old “paradigm” but the data start coming back funny. Most scientists just ignore the discordant data and keep plodding along. A few start to question the “paradigm. You’d want a President in tough times to be one of the latter, no? You’d expect someone like Obama to undertake some reevaluation. As Bret Stephens noted recently, genuinely smart people know what they don’t know–or in this case they know what they used to know but now aren’t so sure about anymore.

Good point, except for the reference to the president’s “considered beliefs.” I don’t believe he has considered beliefs. My point is not the easy partisan retort — his beliefs are ill-considered! — but essentially the same point Kaus poses as a question. There is simply no evidence that Obama has ever thought deeply (or even shallowly) or read widely (or even narrowly) to provide grounding for his conventional leftist opinions. More often than not he sounds like a glib but doctrinaire sophomore repeating the glib but doctrinaire nostrums he learned as a freshman, a notion reinforced by his perhaps not surprising refusal to release any of his academic transcripts. What does he have to hide that even John Kerry and George Bush didn’t?

In addition, despite his editorship of the Harvard Law Review and impressive academic perch at the University of Chicago, he’s never written anything that provides an insight to how he came to hold those allegedly “considered beliefs” — with the exception, of course, of his two books about his favorite subject, himself.

Say What? (2)

  1. DWinOC August 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm | | Reply

    You might check out Richard Epstein’s characterization of Obama’s approach to intellectual exchange in the interview he did on Reason.TV a few months ago.

  2. staghounds August 17, 2011 at 10:17 am | | Reply

    “Look at the big house. Look at the little shack. It’s not fair.”

    That’s as far as the consideration goes.

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