During the opening paragraphs of his speech of March 18, 2008, Senator Barack Obama cashes in on the many distortions and misrepresentations increasingly accepted in American culture about the facts and meaning of the founding of the United States of America.
“His opening words,” I wrote in my previous post, “set the stage for a complete perversion of the enlightenment principles upon which our nation was founded.”
"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”
Almost immediately, that opening statement is followed by a profound falsehood…that “a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy.” (emphasis added). Mr. Obama is an articulate, intelligent, learned man, who knows exactly what he is saying. He goes on;
“Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.” In that year, these men established “a Constitution that had at its very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice…”
There is no misstatement here, no oversight, and no innocent misinterpretation. These words of the man who at present appears likely to be the next President of the United States are specifically calculated to obliterate the “very core” of America’s founding. It is not for some vague concept of “equal citizenship under the law” that “Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution” fought a bloody revolution for. It was “unalienable individual rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness” for which they fought. Without those rights, the terms “liberty” and “justice” are meaningless. It was not for the right to vote, which can be available even in a dictatorship, but to be free from the tyranny of their fellow men, whether of a king or the voting power of his fellow citizens that they fought. Oppression, the founders recognized, can come in many forms.
In the Revolutionary War movie, The Patriot, Benjamin Martin (played by Mel Gibson) captures the spirit of what our founders were, and were not, fighting for when he tells a town gathering;
“Why should I trade one tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants one mile away? An elected legislature can trample a man’s rights as easily as a king can.”
John Adams said; “It is … as necessary to defend an individual against the majority in a democracy as against the king in a monarchy.”
“Liberty and democracy,” writes Isabel Paterson in The God of the Machine, “are incompatible.” Just as “the claim of the few to command the many” is despotism, so too is “the converse claim of the many to command the individual.” Far from being compatible with unalienable individual rights, democracy is in fact its antitheses. Brilliantly describing the “logical contradiction” that democracy’s advocates evade, she writes: “[I]f one man has no right to command all other men- the expedient of despotism- neither has he any right to command even one other man; nor yet have ten men, or a million, the right to command even one other man, for ten times nothing is nothing, and a million times nothing is nothing.” (emphasis added) The Founders sought to create a republic, and prevent a democracy.
For decades, the blurring of the distinction between a republic and a democracy has been advanced by both left and right, Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative. The terms “freedom” and “democracy” are used interchangeably, with virtually no thought given to the exact meanings of those words.
A republic, as understood at the founding of this country, starts with the premise of the supreme sovereignty of man the individual. The public domain…the domain of government…exists and acts only within a certain sphere of influence sharply delimited by this basic premise, by means of a constitution (hence the term constitutional republic). The public and private sectors are separate and distinct, with the public sector being subordinate to the private. It is within such limits that the elected representatives are chosen by vote of the sovereign individuals comprising “We the People.”
A democracy inverts the distinction between the public and private sectors. In a democracy, the individual loses his sovereignty and becomes subordinate to the power of whatever voting bloc happens to gain the upper hand at any given time. The agent of the voting bloc (which is usually a majority but can in fact be a minority, or coalition of minorities)…the agent that enforces the will of the governing bloc, is the state.
In a republic, the individual acts by right, while the state acts by permission. In a democracy, the state acts by right, while the individual acts by permission. Today, America is neither a republic nor a democracy, but a republic in transition to a democracy.
One thing is certain. The concept of unalienable individual rights as embodied in America’s founding documents stands as an impregnable bulwark against statism in all of its forms, including democracy. The concept of unalienable individual rights is what had to be destroyed to pave the way for the destruction of American capitalism and the rise of welfare state fascism in this country. Without the concept of unalienable individual rights as a foundation, “justice” can mean whatever whoever says it means. To the left, both secular and religious, it means “social justice”, which is a euphemism for the legalized theft of government-imposed income and wealth redistribution. Without the concept of unalienable individual rights as a foundation, “liberty” can mean the “freedom” of any majority (or even politically influential minority) to simply vote away the property rights and lives of anyone it pleases.
That Mr. Obama can mention the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in a major speech while completely ignoring (or, more accurately, deliberately distorting) what they actually stand for indicates that he believes that the “very core” principles of America are dead, and that he can get away with declaring it. This should tell you all you need to know about Senator Barack Obama. But it is not all.
The sidestepping of the principle of unalienable rights, as I have said, is no accident. But it is not just that Obama seeks to render that principle obsolete or meaningless by omission. That principle, as I have stated, is an insurmountable obstacle to any aspiring statist and, thus, must be destroyed. True to form, Senator Obama does exactly that, with this seemingly innocent, yet astounding statement, previously quoted above:
“And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States.” (emphasis added)
Provide? The concept of unalienable individual rights means that those rights can neither be provided (i.e., granted) nor withdrawn by government. If rights are a privilege “provided” by the state, then they are neither unalienable nor are they rights. Here, Senator Obama is merely firming up what has already been widely accepted in America…that “rights” are a creation of the state. Witness the explosion of “rights” in recent decades, such as the “rights” to healthcare, food, housing, education, etc., as well as “gay” rights, “women’s” rights, “minority” rights, “patients” rights, etc., etc., etc.
And how are those specialized “full rights” to be guaranteed? Through the “obligations” provided (imposed) by…the US Constitution! Upon whom do those obligations fall, in order to guarantee whose rights? Since Obama clearly believes the collectivist premise that “we” must “come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American”, it can only mean that these entitlements (among others) are among the “full rights” “provided” by the Constitution. Since these man-made entitlements are “rights” regardless of whether one has earned them by one's own effort, it means that others must fulfill their constitutional “obligations” to provide them. Does the term “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” ring a bell? “Let us be our brother’s keeper,” implores the Senator, “let us be our sister’s keeper.” Does Marxism come to mind? “Let us find that common stake we all have in one another,” continues Obama, “and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.” Is it any wonder that the Senator must necessarily replace the constitutional guarantee of “the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” with one to “provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States”?
This is so contrary to America’s founding principles that to call it a distortion would be a profound understatement. The true meaning of unalienable individual rights is clearly described by Ayn Rand:
Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. Therefore, the rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another.
For instance: a man has the right to live, but he has no right to take the life of another. He has the right to be free, but no right to enslave another. He has the right to choose his own happiness, but no right to decide that his happiness lies in the misery (or murder or robbery or enslavement) of another. The very right upon which he acts defines the same right of another man, and serves as a guide to tell him what he may or may not do.
There is no such thing as "a right to a job"—there is only the right of free trade, that is: a man's right to take a job if another man chooses to hire him. There is no "right to a home," only the right of free trade: the right to build a home or to buy it. There are no “rights to a 'fair' wage or a 'fair' price” if no one chooses to pay it, to hire a man or to buy his product. There are no "rights of consumers" to milk, shoes, movies or champagne if no producers choose to manufacture such items (there is only the right to manufacture them oneself). There are no "rights" of special groups, there are no “rights of farmers, of workers, of businessmen, of employees, of employers, of the old, of the young, of the unborn.” There are only the Rights of Man—rights possessed by every individual man and by all men as individuals.
If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.
Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right.
No man can have a right to impose an unchosen obligation, an unrewarded duty or an involuntary servitude on another man. There can be no such thing as "the right to enslave." (emphasis added)
This description sums up the intent and the meaning of the “self-evident Truths”…the “words on a parchment” laid down by the Founders… “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these rights are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among men.” When Mr. Obama says that these “words on a parchment” merely “provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations”, he is subverting and inverting the “Constitution… at its very core”.
America’s founding principles have been under attack for at least the past 100 years. The attack has been subtle, covert, imperceptibly (except to the philosophically astute) gradual. Those principles have been eroded by legislation, by the courts, by the educational establishment, by the distortion and blurring of key political terms (including by many that should know better). They have been eroded by the Left, by the Right, by businessmen, by labor. Senator Obama is breaking no new ground ideologically. He is merely cashing in on a long-term trend. He is bringing the Left’s attack submarine to the surface, with a direct, overt assault on the Declaration and the Constitution. He is cashing in on the belief (or the hope) that we have now reached the point where the number of Americans who still believe in, or even understand, what America stands for is now a distinct minority. He is attempting to deliver the coup de grace to American ideals.
To what purpose does Senator Obama so thoroughly distort, mangle, and obliterate what has been called “The Greatest Political Document Ever Written,” the United States Constitution? To what purpose does the potential next president of the United States of America talk about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in a major speech without reference to the most crucial principle underlying it? It is because the principles laid out in the Greatest Document, the principles he evades, are incompatible with a democratic socialist agenda.