Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Widening the Circle

Here is the President’s speech to the United Nations. It is a good speech, entirely within the highest traditions of American presidental rhetoric. A few passages I like:

"The United Nations and my country share the deepest commitments. Both the American Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaim the equal value and dignity of every human life. That dignity is honored by the rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women, protection of private property, free speech, equal justice, and religious tolerance. That dignity is dishonored by oppression, corruption, tyranny, bigotry, terrorism and all violence against the innocent. And both of our founding documents affirm that this bright line between justice and injustice -- between right and wrong -- is the same in every age, and every culture, and every nation."

"In this young century, our world needs a new definition of security. Our security is not merely found in spheres of influence, or some balance of power. The security of our world is found in the advancing rights of mankind."

"Because we believe in human dignity, peaceful nations must stand for the advance of democracy. No other system of government has done more to protect minorities, to secure the rights of labor, to raise the status of women, or to channel human energy to the pursuits of peace. We’ve witnessed the rise of democratic governments in predominantly Hindu and Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish and Christian cultures. Democratic institutions have taken root in modern societies, and in traditional societies. When it comes to the desire for liberty and justice, there is no clash of civilizations. People everywhere are capable of freedom, and worthy of freedom."

"Finding the full promise of representative government takes time, as America has found in two centuries of debate and struggle. Nor is there any -- only one form of representative government -- because democracies, by definition, take on the unique character of the peoples that create them. Yet this much we know with certainty: The desire for freedom resides in every human heart. And that desire cannot be contained forever by prison walls, or martial laws, or secret police. Over time, and across the Earth, freedom will find a way."

Discussions - 4 Comments

Heh, see the lead NYT op-ed piece for today.

Apparently Bush should have spoken of the importance of a strengthened UN. Yes, that’s the UN is proving itself to be very useful (to the Sudanese and Iranian gov’ts) that we would want to strengthen it.

MV, Thanks. I read it. You are right; it is amazing. I’m struck by both the inanity and idiocy of it. As Mark Twain said, "Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed."

I read the NYT editorial also. Amazing. They say the President of the United States should grovel before that feckless collection of generals, dictators, shieks, mullahs and majesties.

A new international organization of democracies only looks pretty good about now.

Mega dittoes, gentlemen. In the crush of classes, I did not have time to chime in with an op-ed, but it was certainly worthy of one. What brings this to mind today is earlier this week I caught 10 seconds of some royal nonesuch on Charlie Rose responding to the speech by saying, "Nothing new, here." Now, perhaps he went on to say, "And by golly, we needed to hear it again! God bless that ole cowboy." But I rather doubt it. The most sobering line of the speech came early in the speech. It should have given pause to those assembled in the coalition of the UNwilling camp. Speaking of today’s terrorists, Bush observed: "They believe that suicide and torture and murder are fully justified to serve any goal they declare. And they act on their beliefs."

Bush could have just closed his speech right there with the challenge: "Now let’s act on ours." It was of course implicit throughout the speech. The moral coherence of Bush’s oration was singular; does any other world leader offer anything close to it?

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