September 25, 2009
America's Relativist in ChiefBy George Joyce
The task of unpacking just one portion of President Obama’s recent convoluted speech at the UN is eerily reminiscent of Winston Churchill’s famous description of Soviet foreign policy: “a puzzle inside a riddle wrapped in an enigma.” For certifiable proof take a look at the following bizarre series of thoughts that collectively reveal a president without much in the way of an anchor – historical, intellectual, or moral:
“Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside. Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect. Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people and in its past traditions. And I admit that America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy. But that does not weaken our commitment; it only reinforces it. There are basic principles that are universal; there are certain truths which are self-evident -- and the United States of America will never waver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny.”
Now, let’s unpack this nonsense:
Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside.
Well, democracy has been imposed from the outside. America imposed a democratic form of government on Germany and Japan after World War II and both countries remain shining examples of representative government.
Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people and in its past traditions.
Both Germany and Japan were “rooted” in an authoritarian tradition that represented the antithesis of democracy. Their example holds out promise for other authoritarian regimes rooted in Islam. On the other hand, an Islamic country like Sudan has a tradition “rooted” in its culture of enslaving black Christians. An appeal to tradition has very little relevance to questions of justice.
Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect.
By failing to define “society” Obama falls into a trap set by cultural relativists on the left.
The trouble is that in many cultures the term “society” simply represents the wishes and policies of those in power. The notion that a society is a coherent whole is often simply a justification for oppressive policies that pit the powerful few against the helpless many.
No society can “search” for “its” own path if the scales are rigged in favor of those willing to use fear to control their citizens.
America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy. But that does not weaken our commitment; it only reinforces it.
Our commitment to what? Promoting democracy? With limited resources, isn’t it in America’s interest to be selective about where and when democracy is promoted? With the countries in Latin America falling like dominoes to leftist thugs, shouldn’t America’s interest at this point in time center on supporting the constitutional government in Honduras?
There are basic principles that are universal; there are certain truths which are self-evident.
Too bad Obama here did not spell out these self-evident and universal “basic principles.” This is why Obama will never be remembered as a mature leader. When Thomas Jefferson included “liberty” in his list of self-evident truths he guaranteed that America would be subject to the worst kind of invective from the tyrants of the world. For most Americans being hated by the majority of UN member states is probably a good sign.
The United States of America will never waver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny.
Obama received applause at the UN because his notion of a “self-evident” truth is simply the truth that there is no truth. In other words, what is self-evident to Obama is that everything is relative. The tyrants of the world can breathe a sigh of relief when a relativist occupies the White House – the oppressed of the world will have to suffer.
When Obama disparages the promotion of democracy he effectively eliminates the only legitimate means for the “people” to determine their own destiny.
Imagine if Abraham Lincoln had excused himself from making “self-evident” judgments about the rooted tradition of slavery in the South. Lincoln would have been a president worth forgetting – like Barack Obama.