Let me just start out here by quoting a few lines from Obama’s speech to the United Nations today. If you heard it, the remarks were heavy on promoting freedom and democracy around the world, describing this as the precondition for the advance of human rights.
The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
Across the generations, we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master and no one deserves to be a slave. So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen and defended by citizens and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal, instead, is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom and make their own way.
America’s belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators. They are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty.
So, as you can see, Obama . . . wait a second. WAIT JUST A SECOND HERE. This isn’t Obama’s speech to the UN. It’s George W. Bush’s second inaugural address!!
Sorry. This is from Obama’s speech.
Human rights have never gone unchallenged — not in any of our nations, and not in our world. Tyranny is still with us.
Today, as in past times of economic downturn, some put human rights aside for the promise of short term stability or the false notion that economic growth can come at the expense of freedom. We see leaders abolishing term limits. We see crackdowns on civil society. We see corruption smothering entrepreneurship and good governance. We see democratic reforms deferred indefinitely.
As I said last year, each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its own people. Yet experience shows us that history is on the side of liberty; that the strongest foundation for human progress lies in open economies, open societies, and open governments. To put it simply, democracy, more than any other form of government, delivers for our citizens.
We will call out those who suppress ideas and serve as a voice for those who are voiceless.
There is no right more fundamental than the ability to choose your leaders and determine your destiny. Now, make no mistake: The ultimate success of democracy in the world won’t come because the United States dictates it; it will come because individual citizens demand a say in how they are governed.
There is no soil where this notion cannot take root, just as every democracy reflects the uniqueness of a nation. Part of the price of our own freedom is standing up for the freedom of others. That belief will guide America’s leadership in this 21st century.
Uhh, do you see much of a difference? I don’t.
The interesting thing here is that Obama is not just flailing about, demanding human rights. He is asserting that freedom and democracy are the necessary precursors of human rights; that you don’t get one without the other. This is an essentially conservative message – that the diminution of government control, whatever it’s short term costs, are the basis of a free, expanding, and wealth generating society that lifts all boats.
But Obama only believes this as it applies to the most extreme cases. He doesn’t agree with conservatives that there is a threat to liberty and economic activity in extending the large hand of government here at home.
But his emphasis today on liberty shows that at some level he believes there are limits on the power of GENIUSES WITH AN IDEA IN THEIR HEAD to construct a perfect world.
It shows that if his policies continue to fail to stir the economy, there is some chance he will come to the conclusion that he overdid it. But that would probably take a couple of more years.
And by then he would be a private citizen.