Uh, about that video clip of a public speech in which Barack Obama insists that "ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs." You know, the clip that is going the rounds of your e-mail and Facebook friends?
I’m afraid the video clip manipulates Obama’s speech pretty badly. Yes, he did say these things in a speech in Belgium last March, but the context of his remarks shows that he was criticizing this attitude rather than promoting it. The strength of the clip, of course, is that the doctored version may well be what the President believes. But it’s not exactly what he said. The particularly offensive line (“ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign”) is said in reference to Europe’s history of divine monarchs, not to his own opinions.
Here’s the full text of the President’s speech. But I print below the most relevant portion.
“…And it was here in Europe, through centuries of struggle, through war and enlightenment, repression and revolution, that a particular set of ideals began to emerge, the belief that through conscience and free will, each of us has the right to live as we choose, the belief that power is derived from the consent of the governed and that laws and institutions should be established to protect that understanding.
And those ideas eventually inspired a band of colonialists across an ocean, and they wrote them into the founding documents that still guide America today, including the simple truth that all men, and women, are created equal.
But those ideals have also been tested, here in Europe and around the world. Those ideals have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power. This alternative vision argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign. Often this alternative vision roots itself in the notion that by virtue of race or faith or ethnicity, some are inherently superior to others and that individual identity must be defined by us versus them, or that national greatness must flow not by what people stand for, but what they are against…”
Again, what President Obama and his cronies are trying to do ("fundamentally transform" the United States) is certainly sinister. And this speech, even in its actual form, isn't a good one and his version of history, as usual, is wrong. For instance, the ideals of conscience and free will (which Obama himself feels compelled to trample over) did not evolve over centuries but were applications of Christianity. And confusing the initial colonists with the framers of the Declaration of Independence was inexcusably muddled. But I was particularly miffed at his use of the world "colonialists" over the one historically used, "colonists." The former is certainly much more pejorative. Again though, I fear it does reflect Obama's misunderstanding and even disdain for America's philosophic foundations.
Nevertheless, this doctored clip doesn't help us oppose Obama's socialist ideology. Barack Obama's actual words and actions, not distortions of the same, are what we must vigorously and prayerfully oppose.