Dobson’s 2012

James Dobson recently wrote a piece of science fiction-a letter written from a future America under the domination of Obama. In this Obama Apocalypse, America is a gunless land of gay marriage and other moral horrors calculated to terrify the religious right. Pornographic magazines proliferate and painted whores leer from their pages at children at every news stand. Old ladies get run over because there are no Boy Scouts to walk them across the street. The entire Bush administration is in jail, no doubt being shanked in the exercise yard. America is militarily weak and Christians are an oppressed minority. Sadly, zombies are not mentioned; but perhaps they can be assumed.

Given Dobson’s influence and fame, this letter does require a response. While it is tempting to respond by dismissing it as a mere paranoid rant, the letter does raise points worth considering.

From a critical standpoint, the letter has two major flaws. First, his extreme claims require equally strong supporting evidence and such evidence is lacking. Dobson’s methodology seems to be primarily the use of the slippery slope. He simply asserts that these bad things shall come to pass if Obama is elected and does not provide a logically convincing case for such an outcome.

Second, his vision of the future seems wildly implausible. America is a conservative country and the extreme changes he envisions simply seem all but impossible in so short a time. While the President does have power, he does not have the power to work such radical changes. Nor does the Supreme Court, despite what Dobson claims in his letter. Dobson also indulges in a classic persecution fantasy, namely the delusion that Christians are persecuted in America and that such persecution will be even more extreme under Obama. America, as almost everyone else realizes, is religiously tolerant and (more importantly) is predominantly Christian. As such, the idea of Christians being a persecuted minority by 2012 is absurd.

That said, Dobson’s letter does raise some reasonable concerns. While his fictional future seems to be an impossibility, he is right to warn people to carefully consider their voting choices and to be concerned about what the future might bring. It is always wise to be wary when handing power to people. As history shows, things do not always go as people hope.

Dobson is also correct in considering the possibility that dominance by one party can lead to serious moral and practical problems for America. While the government cannot reshape America into the Dobson’s vision in a mere four years, it (or rather the people that make it up) can do a significant amount of damage. After all, just imagine a letter from 2008 sent back to 2000. Such a letter would tell of an America that had engaged in torture, created secret prisons, and violated basic liberties. It would also tell of the botched handling of natural disasters, an economic meltdown and two wars. Such a letter would certainly be terrifying.

In light of the past eight years, we should heed Dobson’s warning and be on guard against moral decay and disaster. If only such a warning had arrived eight years ago.

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10 Comments.

  1. A rhetorically interesting post. Take the extreme wing of the opposition to Obama’s vision for America , some frothing at the keyboard type and make him representative of the whole by insinuation. This is a bad contemptuous argument and so often used that it has become boring. Is it an advance to counter the ‘slippery slope’ with the obtuse dope? One crowd is baying ‘drill baby drill’, the other is gushing.

  2. If only such a warning had arrived 233 years ago!

  3. That said, Dobson’s letter does raise some reasonable concerns.

    Well, yes, but…. Can you put what might otherwise be considered to be reasonable concerns in the context of a wild farrago of fears, biases and outright lies, and still call them reasonable?

  4. There are some odd omissions in Dobson’s letter to the bewildered. There is no talk of Rev. Wright. This must be a case of what the Irish proverb identifies as “one earwig recognises another”. Recognise has the flavour here of ‘acknowledge with respect’. The imputation is that only earwigs respect other earwigs, it’s a peer review thing and moreover there is a wingnut freemasonry.

    Another omission is the name of the incendiary Brother Ayers who lived to teach another day. It’s so hard to get reliable baby sitters. ‘No Bill, don’t bring your chemistry set, just watch T.V.’

    Dobson wouldn’t have known of Rashid Khalidi. Neither would I or anyone perhaps were it not for the long birth pangs of the story via the LA Times with a crowbar as an obstetric aid. Nothing in this really, you go to peoples’ parties, they come to yours, we’re all respected scholars.

    If I were to say that all this begs the question of Obama’s judgement Mike would be on to me like a ton of LaBossiere for misuse of fallacy. There is no imputation of that sort, we are not playing baseball here. Someone once asked – ‘What are we to make of a people whose national game is rounders?

  5. Yes, it is odd that he left out Ayers. Perhaps he is supposed to be one of the terrorists who bombs the American cities in 2012?

    The company a person elects to keep does provide a basis for assessing their judgment. Of course, the circumstances of the association need to be considered when making such judgments.

    “Begging the question” gets used in a variety of ways and only a finicky philosophy gets picky about such things. So, yeah, I’d be all over you on that. I’d have to recruit other LaBossieres to get to a ton, but I’m sure they would be game. Especially the hockey players. :)

  6. Amos:
    The right in America, Libertarians and Friedman devotees take an interest in Chile. With my latte, what else, I read in Fergusons new book ‘The Ascent of Money’ (?) that they consider the hybrid pension fund of Chile to be a model that preserves a country from the corrosive effects of socialism. I wonder how that’s doing with the present fall of values on the stock market. The real revolutionary class is the middle class that suddenly loses what it thought it was sure of.

  7. The current government, that of Michelle Bachelet, a socialist, reformed the pension system in Chile,
    using profits from high copper prices (Codelco is still state-run) to assure better pensions for those who don’t have sufficient money in their individual accounts or who don’t have accounts. In addition, about 5 or 6 years ago they divided the individual accounts in five types, ranging from A, mostly shares, to E, entirely fixed interest rate financial instruments. There is a certain amount of individual choice of fund, but after a certain age, your choice narrows down. For instance, at my age, 62, I could not opt for A or B or C, those with more stocks. That assures that people who are approaching retirement age are in a fund, D or E, which will not vary much in its income, being based on instruments with a fixed interest rate. In any case, all the funds are losing money at present, although the one based on shares, A, is losing much much more than E. I’m in D. A lot of people are calling for a state-administered system of individual accounts, with the idea that a state-administered fund would lower the cost of commissions, which seem high to me and to others.

  8. Amos:
    It pains me grieviously that a socialist government is using the natural resources of a country to cushion people from the feckless improvidence of not saving for their old age. What next, after culottes: shoes and orthodontristry.

    The D plan sounds o.k. Long may you flourish on it.

  9. Can someone please write a letter from a McCain presidency? (Using, like Dobson, the slippery slope.) I wonder how that would read?

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