Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Paucity of Substance in Obama’s "False Choice" Rhetoric

As all the Obama happy talk of hope and change has finally settled back into its former status of "joke" in the minds of most thinking American adults--winked and nodded at as the necessary stuff to build fever-pitch in campaigns but unworthy of a victor now setting about to govern--the President has had to unveil a new rhetorical device for his high purposes of obfuscation in and mastery of the national conversation. Ben Shapiro cleverly (and accurately, I think) divines that this new rhetorical sword is the oft repeated and calmly delivered phrase: "false choice." When you consider the number of disputes in American political life that Obama has proclaimed boil down to "false choices," it is a wonder that such a visionary man as he would have any interest at all in governing such a stupid people.

As Shapiro notes, Obama has dubbed the choice between capitalism and a government-run economy a false choice. The gulf between those who favor government funding of embryonic stem-cell research and those who see moral complications with either the funding or with the research in general is also proclaimed to be a "false choice." We face similar false choices with regard to the protection of the environment and with respect to national security. If we can’t all just get along, Obama would have us believe, it is because we are caught up in these silly disputes over false choices. We don’t have to be like that anymore and politics needn’t be so hard and full of that nasty shouting anymore. If we want to escape it, we can look to him; Obama, our new philosopher king. He will tell us why we need not trouble our hearts . . . he has the answer. He will end the argument by winning it and, on top of that, he is happy to let you think that you didn’t really lose. After all . . . it was only a false choice that troubled you. Good thing he was there to show us the truth.

Discussions - 6 Comments

Keep it up Obama - you are making George W. Bush looking like a genius.

Was challenging people on the floor of the Congress to be 'either for us or against us' in the war on terror a false choice?

Ren: At least Bush "challenged" Congress - and given the fact that most members of Congress are more challenged than any particpant in the Special Olympics, it is a miracle that all of them (with the exception of the fruitnut Barbara Lee from Berzkeley) actually made a good choice to invade Iraq.

Care to explain who is better off due to this choice, outside of the military industrial complex and dutch royal shell. It is funny that the war was credited with the rise in oil pricing(proved later not so) but no one has said that this grand excusion and the democratic stability we brought caused the prices to go down. Mabye thats in the playbook saved away for a rainy day. Sub out a dictator for a puppet regime that no one has faith in. I have yet to see Iraqi's lining up to thank us for their utopia.

The false choice rhetoric is just a precusor to more hard core reeducation efforts. Both sides do best by marginalizing the views of the other(tree hugging hippie socialists vs. war mongering oil worshiping rednecks) and so the great illusion of democracy in the two party system moves on.

Another favorite of mine (though not uttered by Obama himself) is that you either voted for Obama or you are a racist.

You would prefer a parliamentary system, Brutus?

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