Obama on freedom vs. totalitarianism — whatever works

President Obama didn’t just tango during his visit to Argentina. He also addressed a Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative meeting.

During his remarks, Obama stumbled through an embarrassing discourse on “capitalism vs. communism.” The would-be leader of what used to be called the Free World treated the issue as just another false choice, sort of the way he used to speak of Red States and Blue States before he figured out that the dichotomy was central to his election and reelection.

Obama seems to have been nervous during this presentation. At times, his hand gestures resembled those of the person who was translating for the deaf.

I guess the question of capitalism vs. communism is a puzzler for this president. Or maybe he was just embarrassed by what was coming out of his mouth. If not, he should have been.

Obama instructed his young listeners that the question isn’t this system vs. that system, but rather “what works.” In Cuba, he claimed (falsely), communism is working great when it comes to health care. On the other hand, he acknowledged, the country looks like it’s stuck in the 1950s.

The lesson, said Obama, is that markets tend to generate wealth. Thus, they meet his “does it work” test, though they must be heavily regulated. Such is the wisdom imparted by this (once-thought-by many-to-be) towering intellect.

Scandalously, the only argument Obama was willing to make in favor of freedom is its tendency to generate wealth. If communism produced just as much, apparently it would be just as good or better, given the more even distribution of the wealth it purports to produce.

To argue in favor of freedom as a good in itself would, in Obama’s thinking, mean succumbing to ideology. He is much too cool for that.

I infer that during the heyday of the Soviet Union, Obama might well have been a communist. Then it was thought, based on successful propaganda of the kind some now accept when it comes to health care in Cuba, that communism was working fine.

I also infer that Obama may well be a fan of the current Chinese regime. Until recently, many thought it was working quite well.

As for the U.S., Obama’s crude pragmatism militates in favor of some reliance of free markets. However, this doesn’t mean that socialist or communist solutions should be ruled out. It depends on the particular problem your addressing, Obama told his young audience.

Because freedom isn’t a big deal in an of itself, Obama’s “pragmatism” militates in favor of — for example — telling people what kinds of communities they must live in. On such matters, government diktat will “work” better than freedom in producing the kinds of neighborhoods Obama favors.

Obama doesn’t want to kill the Golden Goose of free markets. He just wants to put it in a cage with as little sunlight as is consistent with the continued laying of eggs. And he hopes we will overlook the fact that the eggs are losing their luster.

Obama’s entire speech is below. His remarks regarding capitalism vs. communism begin at around the 41:00 minute mark.

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