Obama, Philosopher in Chief

Ladies and Gentlemen, Happy 4th of July!

I personally (and fairly literally) couldn't be happier about the fact that Barack Hussein Obama is (I just pinched myself again, it's not a dream) our president. Let the American experiment continue!

(Pepito, sometimes I feel like I occasionally do this just to egg you on to new heights of righteous outrage… 🙂

Carlin Romano in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 04 19.57 During the final two days of his international lecture tour, in Germany and France, policy again vanished behind Obama's philosophical nonnegotiables, boldly submitted as starting points for negotiation. At Buchenwald, addressing Holocaust denial, Obama denounced “a denial of fact and truth that is baseless and ignorant and hateful.” At Omaha Beach, the president followed stories of heroic soldiers with a hybrid principle of existential pragmatism, pitch perfect for the occasion and redolent of Camus, whom Elie Wiesel had quoted the day before.

“Our history has always been the sum total of the choices made and the actions taken by each individual man and woman,” said Albert Obama. “It has always been up to us.” Schama himself, reviewing the oratory, dubbed Obama “our new American Pericles.”

Over all, though, Obama's most singular philosophical breakthrough was to artfully project the cosmopolitan idea that the U.S. president must care about non-Americans. True, Obama observed months ago that he's the president of the United States, not the president of China, and understandably must put the needs and safety of Americans first. But to an extraordinary extent, Obama effectively announced that the U.S. president, because of the United States' effect on and involvement with the rest of the world, must think of other global citizens as constituents.

A truly cosmopolitan culture permits its members to choose different styles of life and thought, including antiquated ones, as long as they don't harm the neighbors. Obama, like no president before him, has notified the rest of the world that the United States will continue to export its philosophy, ethos, and political theory — but through conversation, not declamation, seeking free adoption, not grudging acquiescence.

Philosopher prez and cosmopolitan in chief. After all this time, you figure, we were entitled to one. It looks as if we've got him.

More here. [Thanks to Ahmad Saidullah.]