Friday, October 16, 2009

Obama’s Nobel Honors His Dignitarian Politics

This article about Obama's Nobel Prize had me in stitches with laughter. Written by the American academic, Robert W. Fuller.

Some will say that Barack Obama's Nobel Prize is premature. "What has he done?" they'll ask.

Obama got the prize not for doing, but for being. (Um, so this is actually an award for the people that elected Obama? And for having the insight to identify this being?) Not for making peace, but for exemplifying something new on the world stage--the politics of dignity.
The Nobel Committee has simply made explicit what many have sensed. President Obama is the herald of dignitarian politics. Not libertarian, not egalitarian, but dignitarian.

Dignitarian politics represents a modern synthesis of libertarian and egalitarian politics. War between these two battle-scarred, exhausted ideologies shaped both national and international politics throughout the twentieth century. Obama is the first politician of world stature to identify and model an alternative that can meet the challenges of the twenty-first. Awarding him the Nobel Prize is an expression of the hope that our best chance for world peace lies in the dignitarian politics of which Obama is an exemplar. (It's not very dignified to make promises and speeches and not follow through with them.)

What is dignitarian politics? It is the recognition that people the world over actually want dignity more than either liberty or equality. In policy terms, it means ensuring dignity for all--within and among nations. (Still has no clue that most people actually want FOOD and SHELTER. A reflection of the typical la-la-land existence of these academics.)

Obama's dignitarianism manifests in his inclusiveness, his style, and his manners (Yes, we are already aware of his celebrity status. To win the Nobel he needs more than that!). Domestically, dignitarian politics supercedes identity politics to embrace blacks and whites, men and women, gays and straights, young and old, rich and poor, immigrants and the native-born (Last time I checked he was having a pretty divisive impact on Americans). The president has also made a point of reaching out to those who disagree with him both domestically and internationally (He's doing nothing so talk is cheap).

The Nobel Prize will put pressure on Obama to make explicit his reasoning for what has been, up till now, a largely instinctive pursuit of the politics of dignity (Oh, puleeease! The last thing we need is MORE talk). Dignitarian politics means not condescending to Americans or citizens of other countries. It means not treating political opponents, whether at home or abroad, with indignity. It also means extending dignity in concrete ways, both political and economic, throughout the world. In programmatic terms, the quest for dignity is usefully conceived of in terms of overcoming rankism--the abuse of a power advantage to demean, hold at a disadvantage, or dehumanize those with less power (There it is - it means being POPULAR).

Globally, Obama's politics of dignity makes Americans safer, in contrast to policies that, by humiliating others, leave us vulnerable to retaliation (So if you keep quiet for long enough and hope like hell no one notices you, you are safe? Hahahaha) . Indignities inflicted on others make them indignant and so predispose them to side with our enemies, if not turn against us themselves. President Obama understands that part of a strong defense is not giving offense in the first place. He realizes that in an interdependent world, muscular exceptionalism is a losing strategy.

Dignitarian politics has a host of immediate, practical consequences for international affairs (Any examples would have been most welcome). If President Obama is seen as reacting defensively to indignities served up by his opponents, he will appear weak. But if he goes on the offensive, not against those opponents themselves, but rather in favor of the emergent politics of dignity, at which he is a natural, he will prevail (Doing nothing, even with dignity, is NOT an offensive strategy. Hard to believe this guy has a PhD). Awarding President Obama the Peace Prize is a bet on the Nobel Committee's part that the honor will support him in implementing the politics of dignity that he heralds.

1 Opinion(s):

Doberman said...

What the biggest load of tripe! Nice post FE. People actually THINK this stuff?! "Dignity" politics? Treating Ahmafukwad or Ghaddafi or the NoKo fool "with dignity" will stop them planting a nuke in New York? NO! Only the threat of 10 000 nukes right back at yer does that! Damn liberals.