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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 29, 2010 / 19 Shevat 5770

Obama Appears Blinded by His Own Ideological Biases

By Jonah Goldberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "I am not an ideologue," President Obama insisted at his truly refreshing confab with the Republican caucus in Baltimore last Friday. When he heard some incredulous murmurs and chuckles from the audience in response to the idea that the most sincerely ideological president in a generation is no ideologue, he added a somewhat plaintive, "I'm not."


The president's defensiveness isn't surprising. He holds his self-definition as a pragmatist dear, and not just because it polls well.


It's clear from interviews that he is fond of the notion that he is above ideological squabbles and is a clear-eyed appraiser of facts and adjudicator of political disagreements. He's described himself as a "pragmatist," even a "ruthless pragmatist," countless times.


The evidence offered that Obama is no ideologue rests almost entirely on two contentions: He has annoyed some members of his ideological base, and because he says so.


Here, for instance, is New York Times columnist David Brooks, an Obama confidant and champion of Obama's nonideological street cred, asserting that Obama is loyal only to facts, evidence and logic (a theme Obama echoed in his Q&A with the GOP). Obama, Brooks writes, "is beholden to no ideological camp, and there is no group in his political base that he has not angered at some point in his first year."


If this gruel were any thinner, it would be water. Every president annoys his base. Are we therefore to believe that no president has ever been an ideologue? And how has Obama angered his base? Not by tacking to the center but by not going fast enough in pursuit of their shared goals.


As for Obama's personal testimony, so what? Is this the one instance in American history when a politician's self-serving statements are to be taken at face value? Besides, how many times have we heard from the left that right-wing ideologues are in denial about what "really" drives them (the answer, we're frequently told: greed, racism, homophobia, etc.). Is denial only a conservative malady? Certainly not.


Of course Obama is an ideologue. The important question is whether he is sufficiently self-aware to recognize the truth.


I, for one, would be horrified to learn that the president is working from the assumption that ideological biases are something only other people have. That is the surest route to hubris and groupthink (which might explain Obama's political predicament).

Letter from JWR publisher


Obama routinely insinuates that all of the facts are on his side. He invokes a confabulated consensus of experts to suggest that there is no legitimate reason for anyone to disagree with his agenda. After all, with the eggheads and "facts" in his corner, only the other side's ideological blinders — or stupidity — could account for any dissent.


On health care, for instance. Obama promised to be the last president to ever grapple with health care, because his reforms would be so sweeping, so authoritative, that no such reforms would ever be necessary again. So far, Obama's only concession of error in this fiasco is his failure to "explain it better."


What I really don't understand is what's so great about allegedly value-free pragmatism and so bad about supposedly unthinking ideology? The truth is that the vast majority of the time, pragmatism isn't value-free and ideology isn't unthinking.


Ideologies don't require blinding yourself to the facts; rather, they help you prioritize what you are going to do with the facts. Indeed, the very question of deciding what to be pragmatic about — this but not that — requires applying an ideological test.


The president invokes his or America's "values" to justify a ban on waterboarding, passage of universal health care, sustaining legalized abortion, higher taxes for the wealthy, gay equality and — coming soon — a more expedient system for selecting a college football champion. Those all involve pursuing ideological ends, even if that fact is obscured with rhetorical blather about pragmatic means.


A truly "ruthless pragmatist" might opt for summarily executing enemy combatants after torturing them with hot pokers. He might abandon anyone who can't afford health insurance. He might ban abortion on the grounds that Social Security needs more young people or eliminate college football entirely as a needless distraction and a drain on resources.


The philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote in 1909 that if everyone becomes a pragmatist, then "ironclads and Maxim guns must be the ultimate arbiters of metaphysical truth." Russell's point was that there's nothing within pragmatism to delineate the proper and just limits of pragmatism. We must look outside pragmatism for that.


Our values, customs, traditions and principles provide the insulation against the corrosive acid of undiluted pragmatism. When you bundle these things together, it's often called an ideology, and there's no reason to apologize for having one.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column click here.

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