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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: La raison dans l’histoire


Reason in History

Translated Saturday 8 November 2008, by Edward Lamb

He was not yet elected and the world was already expecting he would be. The American election appears to overwhelm the Americans themselves as well as their candidates by its symbolical reach. It is unprecedented. At no time did Barak Obama, throughout the long campaign, wish to appear as the Black or minorities candidate; which was partly his strength. He did not attempt to unloosen the "Gordian knot" [1] of racial issues, in a country whose history is deeply blemished by segregation and slavery. He cut it. He would be the All-American candidate. But, who could have imagined, for even an instant, the shock wave produced by his coming to the head of that which remains the world’s most powerful country? Everywhere that the colour of one’s skin is synonymous with discrimination, and even more deeply, where men’s souls bear the stigmata of centuries of humiliation and oppression. A quake that would be felt in Africa, in the Caribbean, in Latin America and in so many of the poorest countries, where, as a fact, domination is, or was, White.". What a quiver for all of those, wherever they may be, who believe in the brotherhood of Man [2]!

He was not yet defeated and the world was awaiting his defeat. What sign would be given to the world by electing John McCain, if not that of an America protecting its demons, shut off from the world and pursuing to absurdity George W. Bush’s disastrous policies? War and warmongering lies to justify the war, collusion with oil potentates and the influential lobbies of weapons manufacturers, submission to Wall Street and the interests of high finance until it leads to catastrophe, and all of which without even speaking of social issues and of an ideology at the limits of obscurantism. John McCain, at first, wished to distinguish himself from that, but, then Sarah Palin came along with her submachine gun to attract a more conservative electorate at the price of using invective, distilling rumor and calumny. Obama’s middle name is Hussein. Obama is a Muslim and he supports terrorists. The insinuations used by the Republican Presidential campaign were infamous.

Barak Obama has built an awesome success machine, supported by millions of volunteers and relying on the Internet, as never before, raising campaign funds unprecedented in United States history with the slogan: « Together we are going to change this country and we are going to change the world. » An impressive programme, although somewhat vague. Yet, his propositions, for what we know of them, cannot be assimilated with those of the Republican candidate. They clearly differ in terms of taxes, education, medical coverage and sustainable development. Regarding foreign policy, they both seem to be more multilaterally oriented – partial retreat from Iraq… But, Barak Obama is not a revolutionary. His aim is not that of changing the economical model. In the last few weeks of the current crisis, he approved the Paulson plan for saving banks and high financiers, which, in the final analysis, will be at the expense of the citizen. If he wants to change the world, he will be expected to restore American power and to serve American interests. Which explains that he has the support of those who count in high-financial circles.

Obama’s strength resides in the fact that he has fathomed the country’s need to hope, once again, after eight years of a calamitous presidency. Even so, will he keep his promises, or will the crisis exonerate him? Indeed, no one knows, perhaps not he, himself. But, that which Obama has brought to light, is the fundamental aspiration of human beings to change the world in which they live, and so would progress through Reason to make History. Today, to paraphrase Hegel, [3], it is he who represents, « that which manifests the true will of others ». [4]

Translator’s notes:

[1"Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian Knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter" (Shakespeare, Henry V, 1.i)
"We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear.", Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence (delivered 4 April 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City).

[2I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission — a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for ’the brotherhood of man’." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., idem

[3Reason in History by G.W.F. Hegel (1770 - 1831).
"The state, which is logically the supreme social institution, is both rational and necessary, and there is no option about belonging to it. Even though the purely subjective will of the individual fails to acknowledge the state’s supremacy, the rational, or true will must recognize the cogency of the law which is its own law. The laws of the state are binding because they are self-imposed by the rational will. Thus the union of Freedom and necessity is brought about.", The Logical Influence of Hegel on Marx, by Rebecca Cooper, First Published: by University of Washington Publications in the Social Sciences, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 79-182. October, 1925, University of Washington Press, Seattle; (Transcribed: by Sam Berner.)

[4"The State expresses the universal will and therefore the true will of every individual within it." CAPITALISM & COMMERCE, by Edward W. Younkins: " HEGEL’S AUTHORITARIAN STATE AS THE DIVINE IDEA ON EARTH"

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