Retrospective: Obama is riding the whirlwind
Fred Hutchison, RenewAmerica analyst
January 23, 2014

Originally published April 7, 2008

I have been writing a series of essays on the five kinds of conservatives, but only recently realized that there are also five kinds of postmodern liberals. In this essay, I style the varieties of liberals as five horses with a well-known liberal rider on each horse.

Barack Obama is trying to ride two horses simultaneously, as we shall analyze. As such, he is similar to Lawrence of Arabia, who tried to simultaneously ride the horse of the British Army and the horse of the Arab tribes. Both Obama and Lawrence were celebrities in the Western press, and both were quasi-messiahs with a cult following. As we shall see, the similarities between the two men are amazing. The title of this essay is derived from a comment attributed to British General Allenby that Lawrence "is riding the whirlwind."

Later in this essay, I shall provide a hilarious and frightening account of Obama as the New Age messiah and his creepy cult of followers. Now let us delineate the five kinds of postmodern liberal.

Five kinds of Liberals

The Postmodern Liberal Movement is mainly based upon identity politics and the cult of the victim. The first four of the five categories are based on the "entitlement" of the "victim." The five categories are:

1) Blacks, based upon the imagined entitlement of the victim of racism who is bitter about past racial injustices; 2) Women, based upon the imagined entitlement of the "victim" of "patriarchy"; 3) The poor, based upon the imagined entitlement of the "victim" of "social injustice"; 4) Homosexuals, based upon the imagined entitlement of the "victim" of "homophobia"; and 5) New Age Progressives.

New Age Progressives

New Age Progressivism has its roots in nineteenth-century utopianism as defined by Hegel, Marx, and the American Transcendentalists. Transcendentalist spirituality of that era – with its roots in Hindu mysticism, Rousseauian naturalism, and individualistic pantheism – has interesting resemblances to New Age spirituality today. Prior to the "dawning of the Age of Aquarius" around 1968, 20th century progressives were economic determinists and Fabian socialists. After 1968, cultural determinism, multiculturalism, and New Age spirituality became the basis for "progressive" ideas.

The New Age Movement is politically liberal-progressive because it is about a magical general awakening to a new "consciousness" that will usher in a New Age – that is to say, a utopia. The utopia will be a left-wing multicultural land of Oz for the adults. For the teens and twenty-somethings, the psychedelic new world offers John Lennon's fantasy of unlimited sex and drugs for "all the people" of every nation and culture who have no religion and are "living for today." The kids' version of the New Age is a combination of Dr. Seuss, the big rock candy mountain, and Harry Potter – where kids discover the occult.

Unfortunately, the New Age liberals are as dismissive of the Western cultural heritage, and are as addicted to big government solutions to every problem, as the earlier progressives were. New Age cultists might be unpredictable in their moral, sexual, and aesthetic lives, but are astonishingly predictable about political issues. They rigorously follow the prescribed positions of the left wing of the Democratic Party – while claiming to be free thinkers. Try telling a New Age cultist that he has a regimented mind, and you will be in for a tremendous fight. Conservatives argue with each other over ideas, but liberals live in the prison of group-think.

The important point to understand in this essay is that New Age Progressivism is both a political and a religious force. As a religious cult, it is messianic, and its groupies are forever looking for "the one" – just as Morpheus was searching for "the one" in the Hollywood movie The Matrix. Like the black woman in The Matrix who was "the oracle" and had to look at Neo to see if he was "the one," Oprah Winfrey, the celebrity oracle of New Age claptrap, has identified Barack Obama as "the one." The creepy quality of some of Obama's cult followers comes from the dark powers of the occult that contaminate New Age spirituality. Later in this essay, I shall provide a fuller account of Obama as the New Age messiah.

Four horses, three horsemen

At the moment, Hillary Clinton is riding the horse of political feminism. Before quitting the presidential race, John Edwards was riding the horse of "social justice." Barack Obama is riding with one foot upon the horse of black entitlement and the other foot upon the horse of New Age Progressivism. His Black Nationalist church ties him to black entitlement. Obama's white New Age groupies scream, jump, dance, and faint in an ecstasy of New Age "spirituality." The Obama cult of celebrity augments the hysteria. The gays are split between Hillary and Obama. Gays often get through the doors opened by feminists, which is why some of them favor Hillary. However, the organized gay agenda is focused upon the use of "civil rights" to elevate homosexuality to a preferred status of entitlement. Their use of civil rights aligns them with black entitlement liberals like Obama. Hispanics are also torn between following Hillary and Obama. Those who are sympathetic to illegal aliens follow Obama as the natural leader of utopian multiculturalism. Hispanics who oppose illegal immigration favor Hillary, because the black identity politics of the entitlement of the victim, which they associate with Obama, is alien to Hispanic culture.

Lawrence and Obama: riding the whirlwind

Now to the parallels between Obama and the dashing Lawrence.

In the 1962 Academy Award-winning best picture, Lawrence of Arabia, British General Allenby is heard to say, "Thank God I have orders...not like that poor devil [Lawrence]. He's riding the whirlwind." Let us compare the similarities between Lawrence and Obama to understand what Allenby is portrayed to have meant.

Both men represent leaders of a cult of celebrity in the West. The real-life Lawrence was like a knight in shining armor out of the pages of Western Romanticism. The Western press could not get enough news about him. In like manner, the contemporary celebrity-obsessed media regards Obama as a cross between John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, both of whom were darlings of the media. Until two weeks ago, Obama could do no wrong in the eyes of the mainstream media. It was only when the liberal media's favoritism towards Obama was ridiculed by popular comedians that they became more critical of Obama.

Both Lawrence and Obama tried to ride two horses at once. Lawrence, as an officer in the British Army, worked with General Allenby in a campaign to defeat the Turks – and at the same time served as the desert guerilla leader of the united Arab tribes who wanted to be free from their Turkish masters.

Historical note: The Islamic empire of the Ottoman Turks included Palestine and Arabia. The Turks were allied with the Axis powers who fought the British, French, and Russians in World War I. Fighting the Turks mainly fell to Great Britain, British colonies, and British commonwealth nations. The British ruled Egypt, which gave General Allenby a base from which to fight the Turks in the Levant. As Allenby moved toward Jerusalem and Damascus, Lawrence protected his flank from the desert and disrupted Turkish transportation, communication, and supply.

Lawrence had to keep switching between his British Army uniform and the attire of a desert tribal sheik – much as Obama must perpetually switch between his black-entitlement background (much of it tainted with anti-American influences) and his white New Age sympathies. Obama's black-entitlement tendencies clearly come, in large measure, from his liberation-theology church. I assume that his New Age tendencies come partially from the influence his white, left-wing, global-wandering mother, and partially from an elite New Age subculture at Columbia and Harvard.

Unfortunately, British ambitions in the Middle East after the war were contrary to Arab ambitions. Lawrence was aware of the contradiction and suffered from intense guilt – not wanting to be either a traitor to the British or a traitor to the Arabs. The British betrayed the cause of Arab independence after the war. Lawrence, suffering from a guilty conscience, tried to make it up to the Arabs by lobbying for Prince Faisal at the Paris Peace Conference (1919).

Obama likewise wants, on the one hand, to be loyal to pastor Wright of his radical Afrocentric church. The powerful pastor of that gigantic mega-church in the South Side of Chicago sponsored the early phases of Obama's political career. In like manner, General Allenby gave Lawrence essential support and authorization for his desert campaigns. Obama wants to be loyal to his political followers who regard him as ushering in a higher kind of politics that transcends race and narrow parochial interests – just as Lawrence wanted to be loyal to the cause of Arab independence.

Unfortunately, Obama's hopes of being loyal to the cause of a higher politics are incompatible with the race-based liberation theology and bitter anti-Americanism of Rev. Wright, his long-time pastor and mentor. In like manner, Lawrence's dependence upon General Allenby was incompatible with the hopes and dreams of the Arabs. General Allenby used Lawrence as a chess player uses his knight. Rev. Wright used Obama as a Chicago South Side community organizer to bring thousands into his church. In return, Wright helped Obama to use the community organization and the mega-church in his run for state senator. The fortunes of Obama and Rev. Wright were tightly tied together, just as the fortunes of Lawrence and General Allenby were tightly tied together.

Lawrence pumped up and manipulated Arab hopes while the Arabs were naively trusting him and half worshiping him. Obama manipulates his white, cult-crazed New Age followers as Lawrence manipulated the starry-eyed Arab desert tribes. Obama, like Lawrence before him, is "riding the whirlwind."

Presaging the inevitable

The messianic dreams of the Arabs, encouraged by Lawrence, came crashing down after the betrayal of the British. The Arab disillusionment with the West would endure for the remainder of the twentieth century. Our present difficulties in the Middle East are one of the consequences of that disillusionment. When the messianic dreams of Obama's groupies ultimately come crashing down, as they inevitably will, the shock waves of disillusionment might reverberate for decades.

Like Lawrence, Obama is doomed to suffer the agonies of incompatible loyalties. If Obama cuts himself off from his radical black church, and its influential reach, he will lose a big chunk of local and national black support. If he remains overtly loyal to his church, he will predictably lose a big chunk of his progressive white supporters who are seeking a politics that is beyond race. Such are the hazards of riding two horses.

Lawrence was a quasi-religious cult figure to the Arabs, even though he was neither an Arab nor a Muslim. They showered on him all the honors of a desert sheik who is successful in battle. As a great man worthy to be enshrined in legend and myth, he had a quasi-religious significance to the Arabs. His cult status was essential to his military leadership in the desert guerilla campaign against the Turks. Tribes who hated each other united to follow Lawrence.

In the movie, Sherif Ali was torn between a cult-groupie sort of love for Lawrence and the countervailing pull of his Arab-Muslim-tribal pride and resentment. Lawrence was torn between his British contempt for the ignorance, superstition, and cruelty of Sherif Ali and a sincere concern for him as a comrade in arms and a brother of the desert. Lawrence had a romantic love of the desert that he did not have for the green fields and grey skies of England.

Just as the alliance of the British military and Arab tribes was effective in war, it was doomed to suffer alienation following military victory. In like manner, the twin horses of New Age progressivism and black identity politics that brought Obama dramatic early successes in his political career are, at some point, destined for alienation between these two potent forces. The first wave of disillusionment may have already begun.

Obama, the New Age Messiah

The cover of the April 7, 2008, issue of National Review is titled "Behold, a Savior is Born!" An excellent caricature of Obama's face is drawn upon a baby's body that is wearing swaddling clothes and lying in a manger of straw. Obama holds a baby's rattle that is labeled "change," while shy donkeys peek at him. The featured article by Jonah Goldberg is titled "The Limits of Hope: Obama is selling heaven, but his product is not new."

Allow me to share some juicy tidbits from this hilarious and frightening essay and intersperse some questions and comments of my own.

Come to Obama, the Savior

"Obama recruiters...are testifying about how they 'came to' the candidate, in much the way that born-again Christians testify about how they 'came to Jesus.'"

Obama's dazzled wife says that she is married to "the only man who has a chance at healing this nation.... We need a leader who is going to touch our souls because, you see, our souls are broken...." Why can Obama, and only Obama, "touch our souls" and heal America? Well, if you believe that the New Age is about to dawn, and cosmic powers have anointed Obama as "the one," then he, and only he can be our messiah and touch our broken souls.

Gary Hart, blinded by the light of Obama, said, "He is not operating on the same plane as ordinary politicians." He is "the agent of transformation in an age of revolution, as a figure uniquely qualified to open the door to the 21st century." New Age cultists think that when a critical mass of people ascend to a higher plane of consciousness, the New Age will magically dawn. Supposedly, an "agent of transformation" can lead millions to be part of that critical mass,

Celebrity guru Deepak Chopra, drunk on his own juices, says that an Obama victory will bring about "a quantum leap in American consciousness." Obama will magically draw the consciousness of millions of Americans to a dizzying height, and then the world will magically change.

Obama vaguely implies this in his cloudy speeches. "We are the change we are waiting for." Hope! Unite! Abracadabra – change! "Yes, we can!" If you believe that if the kids clap, Tinkerbell will be saved, this stuff is for you.

None dare call it madness

Management fad coach Eve Konstantine lapses into ecstasy and rhapsodizes that Obama is the highest expression of the American soul. He is what? Eve, do you mean that we Americans collectively express ourselves as Obama? Is Obama now the flag, the eagle, and the national anthem? Eve says this cosmic expression of our soul has finally "materialized." Materialized as what? God manifested in the flesh? Obamamania has produced an obamanation.

According to Eve, "Barack Obama is our collective representative of our purest hopes, our highest visions, and our deepest knowings." He is what? Eve, do you mean that we are all mixed together in a cosmic still and the distillery process produces Obama as the choice brandy? Or do you mean that Obama is The Representative Man in the sense that Adam was the first representative man and Christ was the second representative man of the human race? None dare call it madness.

"He's our product out of the all-knowing quantum field of intelligence." Eve, I thought Pantheistic New Age cultists believed in an impersonal non-rational deity of everything. However, I assume you now are talking about God, who is all-knowing. Right? But what does God have to do with a "quantum field?" And what does a quantum field have to do with knowing? How can "our product," whatever that is, emerge from a quantum field?

Yes kids, this is how New Age cultists really talk! Even those of you kids who think that clapping will help Tinkerbell might giggle when you hear this freaky stuff.

None dare call it blasphemy

Oprah Winfrey, our national New Age oracle, tells us that Obama is the "the one." She claims that we do not need politicians to tell us the truth, "we need politicians who know how to be the truth." Oprah, do you mean that Obama is the truth like Christ when he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6)? Yes? If so, consider the whole verse: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me." Oprah, does this imply that no one comes to the Father but through Obama? If not, what on earth do you mean by saying Obama is the Truth?

None dare call it blasphemy.

A message from Stephen Stone, President, RenewAmerica

I first became acquainted with Fred Hutchison in December 2003, when he contacted me about an article he was interested in writing for RenewAmerica about Alan Keyes. From that auspicious moment until God took him a little more than six years later, we published over 200 of Fred's incomparable essays — usually on some vital aspect of the modern "culture war," written with wit and disarming logic from Fred's brilliant perspective of history, philosophy, science, and scripture.

It was obvious to me from the beginning that Fred was in a class by himself among American conservative writers, and I was honored to feature his insights at RA.

I greatly miss Fred, who died of a brain tumor on August 10, 2010. What a gentle — yet profoundly powerful — voice of reason and godly truth! I'm delighted to see his remarkable essays on the history of conservatism brought together in a masterfully-edited volume by Julie Klusty. Restoring History is a wonderful tribute to a truly great man.

The book is available at

© Fred Hutchison


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