â€œThis is just the beginning.â€ Who could doubt it? Reading through this transcript, I was struck by two things. One was the aroma of self-intoxication. These bureaucrats and artists and activists are utterly besotted by the contemplation of their own virtue. They know whatâ€™s good for the country, and whatâ€™s good for you, and theyâ€™re willing to devote themselves ceaselessly to making it happen.
The second thing that strikes one about this transcript is the aura of menace that floats just behind the talk of passion, pushing the presidentâ€™s agenda, connecting with â€œlabor unions, progressive groups,â€ etc., etc. As Yosi Sergantâ€™s pep talk suggests, these people regard legal obstacles not as boundaries to be observed but as impediments to be overcome by â€œtactics,â€ a word that frequently appears in the transcript.
There is a German word for what we are witnessing at the NEA and elsewhere in the Obama administrationâ€™s effort to push its agenda. It is Gleichschaltung. It means two things: first, bringing all aspects of life into conformity with a given political line. And second, as a prerequisite for realizing that goal, the obliteration or at least marginalization of all opposition.
22 Sep 2009