The Problem with Pragmatism
President-Elect Obama's national security team is being called, "pragmatic".
As expected Hillary Clinton was named the next Secretary of State.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates will be kept on in his current post.
Susan Rice, an apparently quite competent Obama staffer, was named as nominated to be United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
Marine General James Jones will be nominated as Barack Obama's National Security Adviser.
Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano will be nominated as the new Homeland Security Director.
And former Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton White House, Eric Holder, will be nominated as the United States Attorney General.
That's the round-up of this pragmatic team, like so many Knights in White Satin. It's a pretty glum looking group.
But I'm not writing to address mere appearances here.
I'm writing to question the value of the pragmatism that might evolve out of such a group, really, question the pragmatic possibilities of any such group.
They all have on the same blinders.
The great leaders of the world, the great chess players of the world, and the world's greatest philosophers are not pragmatic.
Reading the best Barack Obama can come up with to define the logistics behind his picks, that he strongly believes in the necessity of a wide difference of opinion, and that this should promote and provoke some valuable information for his pragmatic decisions, worries me deeply.
Those who pick at scabs are pragmatic. Those big piles of used and worn out tires we see everywhere littering the countryside are pragmatic. Woopie Pies are pragmatic. And the Ford Explorer is pragmatic.
It is the pragmatic thinker, unaware that every human conception is best understood as a repetitive habituation, who ends up unable to overcome their own obsessive compulsiveness.
President Lyndon Johnson was a pragmatist.
Pragmatism is how we ended up with 60,000 nuclear weapons under LBJ. Pragmatically, this build-up was quite logical, if utterly insane.
And LBJ's failure to see his pragmatism as the repetitive habituation of his recurring problem concerning VietNam forced him to decide not to run again, simply because he could not see a way out of his habituation.
The way out for LBJ was to break the pattern of his pragmatic repeditive habituation about VietNam. He could have ended the VietNam War with historic honor by using his greatest ability, face to face communication.
In this case, LBJ needed to go to Hanoi and meet face to face with Ho Chi Minh.
If anyone could have struck a deal with Ho, it was LBJ.
He only needed to be face to face with Ho for the obvious solution to appear. And Ho, who otherwise did not see the fulfillment of his dream would have been truly humbled and amazed at the sight of the massive and unrepentant LBJ and what he should have been offering, peace with honor.
No. Pragmatism is the Devil's domain. We are well on our way to pragmatically destroying the world.
Barack Obama needs more than pragmatism.
Barack Obama is an easy target for anyone, who, like a good chess player, does not play a pragmatic game.
It's an old and romantic idea, but, Barack Obama's vision of leadership needs a soul and a philosophy that cannot be defeated, if he is to succeed.