Many welcomed Barack Obama last year as a charismatic, high-minded, rhetorically persuasive leader as they overwhelmingly elected him as president. Yet, as the luster has faded through one failed initiative after another, some have begun to question the virtue of a “brainy” president and his cadre of advisors.

Thomas Sowell has this thoughtful piece discussing whether a brainiac–or a group of them–is the kind of leader we need to run the country. Leaving aside any opinion on whether Obama is actually a brainiac, I will say that he is far from the philosopher king idolized in Plato’s Republic. Sowell’s idea that leaders who are generally smart, but lacking practical experience, lead the masses with sweet-sounding words and little substance is being proved true in our current administration. The scary part is that other such leaders have led their countries into periods of rapid decline and ultimate ruin (think Nazi Germany, Peron’s Argentina, etc.). I think Sowell is right and as we have seen with healthcare and other policies, even sweet sounds are now falling on deaf ears. The high IQ-ed advisors in the White House need to rethink administration policies and put some cake beneath all the icing.

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One thought on “Obama: An American Philosopher King?

  1. Thank goodness Obama is not the philosopher king of Plato’s Republic. You will recall that such a king was advised to lie to his subjects constantly in order to make them easier to rule.

    I would suggest you stop criticizing Obama on the health care initiative as well (which at the time of writing is succeeding, not failing). The American system of health care delivery is a standing joke in other industrialized nations. Even parts of the Third World have better outcomes in some areas than the United States. It’s true that the rich can get unparalleled levels of service in America, but since when has Christianity concentrated on the comfort of the rich in exclusion to that of others?

    Finally, did you criticize the head of the previous administration for being “generally smart, but lacking practical experience”? George W. Bush was a pampered rich boy who had never succeeded in a job in his entire life. He quit his military service early (exactly why, we will probably never know, since his documents have mysteriously vanished) and was a disaster as a businessman. The only “experience” he had at anything remotely related to government was as Governor of Texas, where again he treated many of the duties of his office (such as reviewing death sentences) as a joke. If you didn’t criticize Bush for this, don’t criticize Obama. Hypocrisy is not one of the Christian virtues either.

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