Anita Dunn and the Cult of Amreican Subjectivism

The cult of subjectivism is on the march once again. This time its coming from Anita Dunn, the White House Communications Director, in a speech to High School Students where she references Mao.

According to Jake Tapper’s Tweet, Thursday, via Hot Air, she was apparently joking “referring to an old Lee Atwater shtick.” Remember that this speech was given to High School Students, don’t you think that reference is a bit esoteric? Especially for 17-18 year old kids. I can imagine some 22 year old Political Science majors maybe picking up on the “joke,” but jokes generally garner laughter, and it seems the laughter was only directed at the juxtaposition of Mao and Mother Teresa, not some Lee Atwater shtick, a bad excuse in my opinion.

It would be different if she left it at that, but she then goes on to venerate a Mao quote that says “you fight your war and I’ll fight mine.” Not only that, she seems to cheapen what Mao did and make it into just a thing that happened, seemingly shrugging her shoulders at the fact that the thing that happened resulted in the death of over 70 million people. I have to admit that I am not a Mao expert but it doesn’t take much to find this information.

She continues, “you don’t have to accept the definition of how to do things, and you don’t have to follow other peoples choices and paths.” On the outset it seems that she might be promoting the rugged individual, but sadly the only thing we are seeing is an ideology that we’ve seen plague our culture for some time now. Sure, I agree that we shouldn’t let others direct how we live our lives, we need to recognize that we are individuals. But that is not what she is saying. She is spreading this idea that everyone must be “unique,” but not the unique that we generally think about when we here the word, it’s the new “unique” that promotes the idea that everyone must rely solely on ones own perceptions about how life should be.

If you think I’m wrong, continue reading. “You lay out your own paths. You figure out what’s right for you. You don’t let external definition define how good you are internally.” And that is the crux of the issue, right there before your eyes. According to Dunn there is nothing that is objective, it is all merely subjective. Basically, there is nothing outside of yourself that should determine or define if what you feel is “good” is actually good or not. “Good” is what your definition of good is. This is why she can use a quote from Mao and seemingly shrug it off as a mere joke, sans a reference to Atwater during the speech, while at the same time saying that Mao is one of her “favorite political philosophers.”

Perhaps the most angering thing the video is the fact that it appears she is giving the speech in a church. She is giving this speech in a place that is host to a religion that is flooded with moral absolutism and objective truth! That juxtaposition is far more humorous than that of Mao and Mother Teresa.

Not to mention a point that talk radio host Hugh Hewitt made yesterday:

“Mother Teresa was the most ardent and visible pro-life activist of the 20th century.  It is simply laughable for Anita Dunn to hold up this great saint as her inspiration and advance the agenda of this White House at the same time.”

Here is the difference between Dunn and myself. I do think that we need to learn from other people’s experiences past or present, I do think we need to retain and promote our culture, I do actually believe in the individual, and I think that we need to sacrifice ourselves for others.

We need to learn from our ancestors and living peoples past mistakes and triumphs. But there is something on the left that doesn’t think we should believe anything that older generations living or dead have to say. After all these people lived in a socially repressed world, how can anything they say have any impact on this new and enlightened generation. And apparently we are all going to have to do a whole lot of things that have never been done before, an idea that I find absolutely repulsive. If only she was talking about medical or technological issues I’d agree, but no, she is talking about cultural upheaval.

Our culture is something that needs to be preserved. When Dunn speaks of all of the “new” challenges that these kids will soon have to face, she is not talking about medical or technological hurdles, but rather the social and cultural issues of the day, and how best to overturn the societal norms within each issue. She is informing the students that as the country socially progresses they will have to find new ways to fight against the conservative movement and societal norms.

I actually believe in the individual and the idea that the individual has the ability to be good or bad, rich or poor, right or wrong and unique or common. This uniqueness that they so easily speak of is not uniqueness at all, it is the mere exposure of easily known facts such as ones race or gender, and both of these factors are becoming vastly subjective. True uniqueness is humility. In a world that is vastly overtaken by greed and narcissism, humility and self-denial is what truly makes a person unique. If that is the case uniqueness is never about what you are, but rather what you do that separates you. And its not that which separates a person from their fellow humans at any given time that makes a person unique, but it is that which separates a person from the narcissistic and self-centered past of humanity that makes a person unique and an individual.

Lastly, we need to sacrifice ourselves for our fellow humans. Notice how many times Dunn says “you” in the speech. She is not promoting self-sacrifice or humility in this speech. Some might say, but look at what she is saying, she is promoting sacrifice, after all Mother Teresa as a good example of sacrifice. It might seem that way, but that is not the case. Notice how she goes on to give the example of the President and his wife’s community organizing past. I’m not talking about self-sacrifice in the way of community organizing. It almost seems that she is drawing equivalencies between Barack Obama’s community organizing and Mother Teresa’s life of sacrifice. The type of sacrifice I am talking about is miniscule to that of Dunn’s examples. I don’t think we need to be community organizers to sacrifice ourselves.

I think we need to let the guy in the grocery line go in front of us. That is how minuscule our sacrifice needs to be. We need to start sacrificing everyday situations, instead of sacrificing for the good of everyone. No one can sacrifice themselves for the good of mankind. That is a task reserved for God. A person can only sacrifice themselves for those that they directly effect. That is why when she uses the Mao quote and affirms that what you set out to do is a “war” she is giving sacrifice a grandeur that it does not inherently have. Our sacrifices should be mere battles in the larger war of life, and they should amount to a life of service in the end. But sacrifice does not have to be a gigantic action or a cultural revolution. And when people start getting the idea that true sacrifice is that of an individual sacrificing for the community or even the world, then the individual soon ceases to exist.


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