After President Obama’s second inaugural address, Van Jones, former Obama White House “green jobs” czar, praised the speech, calling it “Djobama Unchained” (after the controversial movie Django Unchained, about a freed slave taking revenge). On Wednesday night, during a lecture at Loyola University Chicago, I asked Jones what he meant. He explained that while President Obama is not a socialist, he is, in fact, a “communitarian.”
After a long recapping of the first four years of the Obama’s presidency, Jones elaborated:
It’s very interesting to see him now, actually, free.
Watching this man for four years, for everything he’s done to try to reach out to the other side, and frankly neglect his base, has just been called socialism, and just been called divisive, no matter what he does.
I was happy to see him unleashed and unchained and just be able to speak from his heart.
And what he said was, similar to what I’ve been saying, there is a “New Patriotism.”
(The rest of Jones’s answer is here.)
Jones compared the president’s address to that of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 and recommended that the theater full of college students read Reagan’s “powerful” and “strong,” inaugurals, which he said were “rooted in American tradition and values,” but “unabashedly” and “unapologetically conservative.”
Following Jones’s comparison of President Obama to Ronald Reagan, the “unabashedly conservative” president, I pressed Jones further for some insight into what and who President Obama really is.
Jones replied: “He is a communitarian.” He then elaborated briefly: “I mean you always have individualism, communitarianism, as a part of the, American story, and I think we’ve overbalanced the individualistic direction and I think he’s trying to rebalance toward communitarianism.”
Later, when asked (off tape) to define “communitarian,” Jones was unable to answer or to point toward any source for a definition. He said there wasn’t really a way to look up “communitarianism.”
He did reiterate, however, that he saw communitarianism as a counterbalance to libertarianism, which he equated to “individualism.”
Jones declined an interview with Breitbart News following the lecture.
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