The Peaceful Transfer of Violent Power
My take on the inauguration is here. Here's a taste:
The peaceful transition from the Bush to the Obama regime is indeed the occasion, but let’s focus on exactly what is being transferred. Despite the oratory about hope, change, and renewal, government — as someone, perhaps George Washington, said — “is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force.” If that is right — and I contend it is — then in the inauguration we have the irony of a peaceful transfer of something that is anything but peaceful: the legal power to use physical force.
This is something to celebrate?
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Sheldon Richman - 1/20/2009
But it's a seamless transition of power. That's my point. And we're not the only ones to have peaceful regime change. Obama will preside over an empire, foreign and domestic. The "economy" is firmly in the state's hands, and people look to him to lead. Sorry if I can't feel joy about this situation.
As for race, I am glad it was no barrier to him. Let's keep in mind, however, that blacks and other minority members head companies and do other things that really deserve prestige. I'm tempted to say that there is an inverse relationship between the prestige of the presidency and the degree of freedom in the country.
Aeon J. Skoble - 1/20/2009
Sheldon, I both understand and appreciate your point here, but my economist friends have trained me to always ask "compared to what?" - and that's relevant here also. The idea that we have a peaceful and seamless transition of power, and on a regular basis no less, is both rare and amazing, considering how politicians tend to be, so I do think it's worth celebrating, esp. by comparison to how these things work in so many more cases. Also, policies aside, I do think it's an impressive step for the nation to take to be crossing the race line. So, I'm off to go find a TV.