Obama: Student Radical?

Andrew McCarthy--the moron over at the National Review, not the star of Weekend at Bernies II (trust me, the former is more embarrassing)--has a breathless post up at The Corner concerning President Obama's time as a student at Columbia. He links to this pdf of an article that Obama wrote for his college newspaper in 1983 and then expostulates about how it shows Obama was a loony lefty during his time at Columbia. What did Obama write that was so crazy? I'll give you what McCarthy did, just to prove that I'm not cherry-picking.

Student Obama summed up with near incoherent Lefty gobbledygook:
Indeed, the most pervasive malady of the collegiate system specifically, and the American experience generally, is that elaborate patterns of knowledge and theory have been disembodied from individual choices and government policy. What the members of ARA and SAM try to do is infuse what they have learned about the current situation, bring the words of that formidable roster on the face of Butler Library, names like Thoreau, Jefferson, and Whitman, to bear on the twisted logic of which we are today a part. By adding their energy and effort in order to enhance the possibility of a decent world, they may help deprive us of a spectacular experience — that of war. But then, there are some things we shouldn't have to live through in order to want to avoid the experience.
McCarthy finds that incoherent--says more about his reading comprehension than it does about the writing of a college student. I'll sum it up for him. Leaning too heavily on theory can make it tough to see the consequences of policy decisions, and the people in these organizations are trying to make a better world by looking at previous real-world consequences instead of finding out firsthand that war does a great deal of unnecessary damage.

I guess this is a radical concept, especially for someone like McCarthy who has seen the heat of battle personally, waded though mountains of discarded Cheetos bags to get to his desk and type out arguments for why we should blast Muslims off the planet based on his theories of world politics. I think the real reason McCarthy doesn't like this piece--indeed, doesn't like most writing of the sort that Obama the student did--is because it points out just how dissociated from the real world consequences of his theories he really is. Like his fellow Cornerites, McCarthy likes to talk as though he's seeing the world clearly, but really he's wandering through the fog and haze of theory. He sees war in a mythic sense--lots of glory, not much gore, with good guys and bad--and hates it when someone upsets his way of seeing things.

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