If you are having trouble deciding who to vote for in this election you are sane. The reason it is problematic is that logically there is no right answer to the question "who is the best candidate?". The question of McCain or Obama is much like the question "would you rather be blind or deaf?", i.e., the choice is a false alternative. This is a point well made by Craig Biddle in his op-ed 2008 Presidential Elections: McBama vs. America. My main analysis of the two candidates were contained in two previous posts The Pragmatist Fascist vs. The Principled Fascist and The Religious Left, but I have a couple of added points regarding what to do given this analysis.
I am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever.... Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.
-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Francis Hopkinson, 1789
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive....I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.
-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Abigail Adams, 1787
If the happiness of the mass of the people can be secured at the expense of a little tempest now and then or even of a little blood, it will be a precious purchase.
-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Ezra Stiles, 1786
What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Stephens Smith, 1787
First, if Obama was a "normal" democrat of the Kerry, Dukakis variety this would be much more clear cut, i.e., I would gladly vote for either of those two morons. The Republicans have been a total disaster and deserve to be roundly defeated. They have not done anything they promised to do and judging by McCain's campaign commercials in which he castigates greedy Wall Street and Big Oil we can not even count on the proverbial empty rhetoric advocating capitalism or America's foreign policy interests. Some of the largest government interventions have taken place under the Republicans, viz., the Patriot Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, the handicapped act (whatever they called it), the nationalization of the banking system, etc. The tragedy is that they are deemed to be pro-capitalist so that whatever they do is considered to be instances of "capitalism". Thus, for example, we hear that the financial crisis is the result of the "laissez-faire" policies of the Bush administration. See George Reisman's latest post for a brilliantly thorough rebuttal of this ridiculous claim.
So, why isn't Obama a "normal" democrat? My answer is that he is charismatic and religious as I explained in my previous post The Pragmatist Fascist vs. The Principled Fascist and The Religious Left. In the first post I said:
In other words, since the pragmatist rejects principle on principle, he [Obama] must accept the prevailing views of others. And what is the prevailing view? It is altruism, collectivism and America's current system: the mixed economy. This is what accounts for Obama's unoriginality politically and why he says that he is "predisposed to a certain set of policies." He literally has nothing to new to offer accept the same worn out platitudes and policies of the Left. The political system necessitated by such a philosophy is fascism. If one upholds self-sacrifice ethically, he must desire a dictator or in Obama's words a "manager" to enforce these sacrifices to be made as most will not voluntarily give up their life, liberty and property.
I believe the danger of Obama lies more in his charisma, but why is he charismatic? His articulately altruistic message resonates with the prevailing culture's acceptance of sacrifice as a virtue. In this sense, America is like Wiemar Germany during the rise of the Nazi's. It is a philosophically bankrupt culture begging for a dictator to come and tell it what to do.
Although Obama is a pragmatist philosophically his default ideology is liberation theology which I also described in the linked posts. Liberation theology fuses christian altruism with the political ideals of Marxism. Although socialism as a political ideal is dead, the underlying philosophy of altruism (particularly in a culture steeped in religious altruism) in the hands of a young, articulate opportunist is dangerous. Just as Objectivists were warning of the dangers of religious altruism dominating the right and subverting any rational defense of capitalism on the part of Republicans, religion of the leftist variety must be also be feared practically. The combination of altruism, collectivism, and mysticism in Weimar Germany were the philosophical preconditions which led to the rise of the Nazi's. Obama gives these philosphical conditions an articulate charismatic voice.
My view generally is let the Democrats have religion, altruism, Marxism and ultimately fascism in the form of Obama. Let them take their rightful place as the Party of Big Government. Secondly, a resounding defeat of the Republicans may force a revolution in the party and fall out in the top leadership (although I doubt it). Thus, on the one hand, I support defeating the Republicans but think Obama is an extremely dangerous candidate especially in light of the fact that if Republicans get demolished the Senate may be filibuster proof which would open the door to socialist mayhem.
Therefore, my recommendation is abstention. I think the ideal outcome would be literally not to have any American vote in the election as a massive demonstration of frustration with the motley collection of intellectual derelicts before us. If I were forced to vote, I think that Obama will win and Democrats will have substantial majorities in both houses, so I would most likely vote Republican congressionally to at least slow down the coming leftist onslaught.
In the meantime, fight for the right ideas in the universities so that in 4,8, or maybe even 20 years we can start going in the right direction and the choice will not be between a book burner, a "maverick", a left wing fascist, and a man literally made of ham. At that point, maybe the raging debate will be about how fast to abolish Social Security and which government agency needs to be closed first. And let us hope, that by our efforts we can refresh "the tree of liberty"without the "blood of patriots and tyrants."