But Kesler outdoes the Nobel Prize committee by raising the Obama presidency to world-historical significance, constructing a fanciful genealogy of modern liberalism that begins just after the French Revolution in the works of the German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel; passes through Karl Marx and Charles Darwin and Oswald Spengler; and culminates in … “The Audacity of Hope” and 2,000-plus pages of technical jargon in the Affordable Care Act.
It’s some performance, and actually quite helpful. A sense of proportion, once the conservative virtue, is considered treasonous on the right today, and Kesler cannot be accused of harboring one. But his systematic exaggerations demonstrate that the right’s rage against Obama, which has seeped out into the general public, has very little to do with anything the president has or hasn’t done. It’s really directed against the historical process they believe has made America what it is today. The conservative mind, a repository of fresh ideas just two decades ago, is now little more than a click-click slide projector holding a tray of apocalyptic images of modern life that keeps spinning around, raising the viewer’s fever with every rotation. If you want to experience what it’s like to be within that mind on a better day, then you need to visit “I Am the Change.”
If somebody would explain to me the conservative habit of making (bad) intellectual history that basically equates liberalism with everything bad that has happened in the last three hundred years, I would greatly appreciate it.