Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Inauguration

No, I'm not ignoring it due to sour grapes. I've been flat on my back and sick the past couple of days (really sick, not just sick-of-Obama sick or something like that). I've been reading a lot of conservative commentators (Peggy Noonan, Kathryn Lopez, and Fred Sanders for example) who have all said something along the lines of, "Aren't inaugurations great, even if your guy doesn't win?" They go on to extol the virtues of a system that has a 200+ year unbroken tradition of non-violent transitions in power. In the abstract, I agree with all of that. But somehow I find it hard to really believe them. Maybe they're just trying too hard to show that they can be non-partisan. Then again, maybe I just have a diametrically different personality. Whatever the reason, I can't imagine enjoying an inauguration, irrespective of the candidate being inaugurated. I've never been one to elevate pomp and circumstance over content, and an inauguration, like a party convention, is really a meaningless display of content-free pageantry. I will give Obama credit for one thing though. For a guy so obviously enamored with himself, and with a reputation for soaring rhetoric, he kept the speech short and simple. So much so, in fact, that people on both ends of the spectrum are reporting it as something of a disappointment. I can respect short and simple far more easily than lengthy and grandiose. As anyone who has ever written an academic paper, or even argued a complex issue at any length knows, keeping it simple is far more complicated than bloviating ad nauseam. I'll have actual commentary on the content of the speech up later, if my illness allows.

P.S. If the Obamessiah is going to heal the planet and lower the oceans, is it too much to ask that he takes a few minutes out of his day to cure the freakin' flu?