In his subtitle, James Delingpole just about tells the reader exactly what he’s going to find as he pages through this sprightly, flip new book, Welcome to Obamaland: “I Have Seen Your Future and It Doesn’t Work.” Author Delingpole is one of those clever, witty writers so often found in the island across the Atlantic.
His message after giving our present situation a hard look is succinct: “It sucks.” And does he have any comfort to help us poor American conservatives face the future? Alas, no. None at all. Mind you, he gives us a lot of pertinent comparisons with what it was like for him living with Tony Blair at the helm in his homeland. And optimistic Delingpole certainly is not.
He gets into the meat, as it were, of the case against Obamaland when he introduces Antonio Gramsci, whom he most accurately describes as “the influential Italian Marxist, who in the early twentieth century formed the devious — and spot-on correct — theory that in order to change society the Left would first have to control institutions by which consciousness is formed, perhaps above all, art and the communications industry.”
By a most interesting and quite unexpected coincidence, a collection of essays by my late husband, Richard Grenier, published in 1991 bears the appropriate title of “Capturing the Culture”(Gramsci’s battle cry: “Capture the culture.”) As Grenier defined Gramsci’s credo in his introduction, “Culture, Gramsci felt, is not simply the superstructure of an economic base — the role assigned to it in orthodox Marxism — but is central to a society.”
He goes on to explain that Gramscians would have no chance whatever of “capturing the culture” if it weren’t for the spiritual estrangement of the artistic and intellectual classes. “The culture might almost be seen as surrendering to the enemy without need of being captured, and what we are witnessing is certainly is far less the result of a plot or conspiracy from outside than of a transformation from within.”
Delingpole nearly always refers to our new president as “your new socialist president,” while criticizing his acts, thoughts and such regularly. Needless to say, he is most annoyed by the contributions of former vice president Al Gore, particularly regarding the issue of global warming. “The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear,” he quotes President Obama. “Sea levels are rising, coastlines are shrinking, we’ve seen record drought, spreading famine and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season.”
He follows up with a cogent one sentence paragraph: “Few of these statements have any factual basis.” He then proceeds to note that “Your new president has gone to the movies. Seen one he particularly likes by a guy named Al. And without bothering to do any background reading, has transformed this guy Al’s weird fantasy into official, eye-wateringly expensive U.S. government policy.” “Yeah, exactly. That loser presidential candidate you thought you’d escaped forever has snuck in the back door and is gearing up to charge you the earth to “save” the earth. And this time it will take more than a few dimpled chads to stop him.”
Delingpole makes for thoroughly entertaining reading while ripping Al Gore’s hide to shreds. He calls global warming the latest fashionable variation on original sin, leading him to say that carbon trading and carbon offsetting is the twenty-first century equivalent of medieval indulgences. “You pay your money to some ludicrous charlatan outfit which promises that by planting six mango trees they can magically carbon-neutralize the environment costs of your flight from Washington, D.C., to Heathrow. Et voila: your conscience is salved and the world is saved!”
And we haven’t even yet gotten to Delingpole on the subject of polar bears, let alone other vital issues. In his conclusion, he informs the reader that “the land you love has been hijacked by a bunch of left liberal fruitcakes. They don’t have much of an idea how to fix the economy. But they do know exactly how to ruin your life. And they will.”
Perhaps the most felicitous way of concluding this review is to cite the quote from the late, worthy Samuel Huntington in his The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.” A book not to miss.