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Asia Times Online, the home of my “Spengler” essays since 1989, is a virtual expat bar, a venue where riffraff mingle with respectable folk and a good time is had by all (usually). Its small and hard-pressed editorial team are old friends, and I’m happy to give them the odd article — and I use the word advisedly.  Watching American politics, I am increasingly prone to giggle uncontrollably, and to prevent passers-by from summoning medical help, I explain that I am writing about the Obama administration.

This morning I write about Dolphinplasty as a principle of governance. I refer, of course, to an episode of “South Park.” (The link is to a clip that contains no obscenities).

You can define a mythical creature with precision, observed St Thomas Aquinas, but that doesn’t make a phoenix exist. To be there, things actually have to have the property of existence. St Thomas would be a party-pooper in today’s politics, where “yes, we can” means that we can do whatever we want, even if it violates custom, the constitution or the laws of nature.

The television cartoon South Park offers a useful allegory for the administration’s flight from realism. In one episode the children’s teacher, Mr Garrison, gets a sex change, little Kyle gets negroplasty (to turn him into a tall black basketball star), while Kyle’s father undergoes dolphinplasty, that is, surgery to make him look like a dolphin.

If Jimmy Carter invoked in the fight against inflation”the moral equivalent of war” (MEOW, as wags cruelly acronymed), Obama is employing the moral equivalent of plastic surgery. The flight from realism into radical-utopian solutions for all of the world’s problems is the hallmark of this administration.
Like dolphinplasty and negroplasty, [the Obama administration] has given us cosmetic solutions that we might call civitaplasty, turning a terrorist gang into a state; fiducioplasty, making a bunch of bankrupt institutions look like functioning banks; creditoplasty, making government seizure of private property look like a corporate reorganization; matrimonioplasty, making same-sex cohabitation look like a marriage; and interfecioplasty, making murder look like a surgical procedure.

There is a consistent theme to the administration’s major policy initiatives: Obama and his advisors start from the way they think things ought to be and work backwards to the uncooperative real world. If reality bars the way, it had better watch out. In the South Park episode, the plastic surgery underwent catastrophic failures too disgusting to recount here. Obama’s attempt to carve reality into the way things ought to be will also undergo catastrophic failure, perhaps in even more disgusting ways.

The administration is turning out worse than I thought it would, and that’s saying a lot.

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