A Philosopher's Blog

Obama, Wright and Socrates

Posted in Politics by Michael LaBossiere on March 19, 2008

While I generally disagree with Newt Gingrich, he does make some excellent points about Obama and Wright.

As Gingrich and others have pointed out, Obama presumably knew about Wright’s views in question and elected (and still elects) to remain part of the church. If Obama disagrees with these views, then one might conclude that Obama either shows poor judgment in remaining in the church or that Obama lacks the courage of his convictions.  Either is obviously a bad quality for the man who would be President.

Further, if Obama disagreed with Wright’s remarks, then he should have taken him aside before and attempted to correct his friend. If Wright is a good man, then, as Socrates said, he would have changed his ways when he learned of his error.  But, Obama apparently did not take him aside to correct him and instead allowed him to go on a path he now denounces. As such, he failed his friend in this regard.

Perhaps Obama did not wish to confront him, perhaps out of respect or perhaps because he thought he could not change his mind. After all, it might be said, we all have friends and relatives we disagree with but realize there is little point in trying to change their ways.

If Obama agrees with these views, but is renouncing them now for political reasons, then he is doubly wrong. First, for holding to wrongful views and second for acting in a deceitful manner by renouncing what he believes.

Obama did, once Wright’s words became known, give a powerful speech in response to the situation. I think that the speech was effective and made many reasonable points about race and anger in America. But, he had to make this speech because of what he had not done in the past.

Perhaps it is the case that he is now showing the sort of decisive action that is required to be an effective President. Naturally, his critics claim that he is merely doing damage control because he has to do so. In either case, he still handled the problem well and, most likely, avoided being harmed extensively by his association with Wright.

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6 Responses

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  1. rmutt4m said, on March 19, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Personally I suspect Obama is toast, but you make an excellent point that he should have taken Socrates approach and attempted to reason with Wright.

  2. MULLOVERTHIS said, on March 19, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    I don’t buy the speech as an answer to the Wright issue either, although Obama is a captivating orator. The attempt was great, but does not absolve Obama’s responsibility to denounce support of a man who has been so divisive in spurring racist comments from the pulpit for a number of years. Visiti http://www.mulloverthis.wordpress.com for more from the perspective of an African-American woman.

  3. rmutt4m said, on March 20, 2008 at 9:26 am

    I concur. Thanks for the tip on the blog, it was illuminating.

    As I commented there, it troubles me that if Obama is so in tune with the racial divide he can somehow heal that divide, how could he be so blind as to not recognize just how utterly and viscerally offensive the remarks of Rev. Wright would be to a large percentage of the population, so much so that it would severely threaten his candidacy. It makes me feel as though he really doesn’t understand both sides quite as well as he seems to think he does.

  4. magus71 said, on March 20, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    In Obama’s recent speech, he states that Wright was merely voicing an anger that remains hidden in many. But, it is not the anger about which most are concerned: It is the target and character of that anger. We deserved 9-11, GD America, etc.

    If Wright had been on the pulpit expressing anger at what was happening in Darfur, explaining to the parishioners that Muslims there are throwing babies up in the air and cutting them in half before they hit the ground, gang-raping women in the middle of the street and filling graves with tens-of-thousands of murdered people–then Wright’s rage would have gained the blessings of almost every American that doesn’t camp out with the Moonbat Left. And, Obama would have gained the presidency.

    Obama is obscuring the problems with Wright’s speech, not to mention, I believe, lying about whether he knew of Wright’s attitudes. Mentor is a big word, and it’s the word that Obama uses to describe Wright. To me, it goes beyond even the word, father. It denotes a person as having a deep spiritual and intellectual effect. Obama was just white enough to not use similar rhetoric in his own speeches, but he was just black enough to be pulled into Wright’s congregation, remain there for 20 years, and donate large sums of money. And of course, Obama knew nothing of Wright’s involvement with Farrakhan and Qaddafi. I’m sure that Wright has good qualities; I’m not aware of anyone in history that doesn’t. It doesn’t mean that we have to elect someone who very likely, if secretly, holds Wright’s views, as Obama may.

    There is enough evidence, despite the media’s attempts to get Obama elected, just as they did with Bill Clinton, (by portraying him as hip and fresh, and on every dribbling magazine cover) to make any serious thinker a little worried about Obama. A smidgen here (dressing in foreign Muslim garb, but refusing to wear a flag pin or place his hand over his heart during the Anthem) and a smidgen there (Very liberal voting record, serious mistakes in early debates with Clinton, concerning foreign policy, connection with Wright etc.) are enough for us to know that he is not ready for the presidency.

    it’s not up to any voter to trust a candidate. It’s up to the candidate to gain the trust of the voter, and of course the adoration of the media. Obama got one, but not the other.

  5. Betsy said, on March 23, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Things take a slightly different

    Watch Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s 9-11 sermon in context on youtube

    Jeremiah Wright’s God Damn America in context on Youtube

  6. magus71 said, on March 23, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    The video in context is just as reprehensible as the shorter version. The black community is being pushed backwards. Listen to the music as compared to R+B and blues and funk of the 60’s , 50’s and 80’s. It’s filled with rage and hatred and hyper-sexuality now. Back then, the music was awesome and inspiring. Now it encourages young people to become degenerates and hate-mongers.

    Here we are again, bogged down in race issues. The people who think that Obama is going to change our race issues need to consider the fact that his mere candidacy shows that he is a product of the country’s evolution, not a victim of its systems.

    Tell me about all of the specific things that Wright said. Do you believe that the American governement is infecting blacks with the AIDS virus? Do you believe that the American government flew the planes into the towers on 9/11? Do you believe that the government is shipping crack into black neighborhoods? If you do believe these things, do you call to task all of the black men and women that serve in our government–SUCH AS OBAMA–US SENATOR–ILLINOIS?

    Anyone who believes these things must get up every morning hating the world. That’s where black leaders have brought their people: To a state of abject despair. And all because the reality they perceive isn’t reality at all. Their reality is a dark world where the White Man’s governmental machinations do all they can to take down the black race. Why not the Chinese race? Why not the Jewish? Why not the Hispanic?

    Wright is nothing more than Adolph Hitler, employing an inferior knowledge of history, and preaching to a minority. Thank goodness in this case it is to a minority. When Hitler did exactly what Wright did, that is, tell his people that they were victims of secret Jewish sects (Read: White Man), that their rights were being violated at every turn, even if they couldn’t see it–surely they must feel it!

    Stop blaming everyone else. Stop thinking about problems and start doing the right things. Kind of like in baseball. A successful hitter doesn’t sit in the dugout moping and complaining about his strikeouts, he goes to the plate at every at bat, and thinks about the proper mechanics of his swing, about the positive-aggressive attitude he needs. And that what the black culture needs too–to just do the right thing.

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