Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Obama Abuses Lincoln

Of course, you say, but Harry Jaffa corrects Obama's SOTU misquotation precisely, in Charles Johnson's interview with him:

Professor Jaffa noted that this quotation leaves out a great deal. The 93-year-old Jaffa recited the full statement from Lincoln's speech, "The Nature and Objects of Government, with Special Reference to Slavery" (July 1, 1854) by memory:

"The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities."

Notice the difference? The emphasis is on the need to have done, not on government doing the action. "That distinction was missing from his quotation," Jaffa explains. Yet Obama has repeatedly invoked this misleading Lincoln quotation on both the campaign trail and during his presidency.

Johnson is the go-to guy for reporting on all things Claremont, including the recent admissions scandal. He is working on more stories on the scandal, one that could result in further resignations, including that of the President, who has effectively undermined the conservative scholars at the College.

Categories > Presidency

Discussions - 13 Comments

Charles Johnson ??!!??! For a second, I thought you might have actually linked to the original blogging Charles Johnson - this guy:

but then, of course, since LGF was removed from NLT's blogroll, that sort of thing is likely verboten for NLT bloggers!

...and speaking of Jaffa, I STILL want to see the video of Harry Jaffa's appearance on Pat Robertson's "The 700 Club" (interviewed by Pat himself, apparently - and a 3-day/3-part interview, too!).

Like so much of old televangelism tv footage, the archives of The 700 Club appear to be very much lost or locked away and inaccessible to the heathen masses.

It is always amusing and a sympton of mental illness, when people try to deflect facts with personal attacks on say someone's religion or actions.

No matter what one thinks of Jaffa his facts cannot be refuted. The most intelligent President ever is really nothing more than Michael Moore after weight watchers.

Verboten? Craig, sometimes you are so darned silly.

I used that quote, which even more fully is this:

"The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do for themselves, in their separate and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere. The desirable things which the individuals of a people cannot do, or cannot well do, for themselves, fall into two classes: those which have relation to wrongs, and those which have not. Each of these branch off into an infinite variety of subdivisions. The first—that in relation to wrongs—embraces all crimes, misdemeanors and non-performance of contracts. The other embraces all which, in its nature, and without wrong, requires combined action, as public roads and highways, public schools, charities, pauperism, orphanage, estates of the deceased, and the machinery of government itself. From this, it appears that if all men were just, there still would be some, though not so much, need of government."

Lincoln is not just talking about federal government, which ought to be limited in a federal system. He is looking at all levels of government beyond the individual and considering why we need that government at all.

I'm apparently even sillier than you thought, Kate, since I'm wondering what your problem is with my use of "verboten" or my description of the situation (NLT's excommunication of LGF when its chief blogger noticed how extreme and unhinged the American right had become) when I used the word.

If LGF was once conservative, but has now slipped its intellectual moorings and moved to the left. That's O'Sullivan's First Law at work. The left does what it can to co-opt institutions of the right. Can we call LGF an institution? Maybe not. But Steve Hayward has recently described the law here:

I remember when John O'Sullivan wrote about that in National Review. At least my first reading of it was there and concerning the McArthur Foundation.

Verboten: who forbids anything here? The blog is liberal in that regard. It does not turn Left, but if you bloweth where you listeth, turning in that direction, the worst punishment is that you might be ignored. Or I might call you silly. Of course, I have no real standing here.

Jaffa uses every audience possible to discuss the Declaration of Independence. He would even spend hours with you.

"Jaffa uses every audience possible to discuss the Declaration of Independence. He would even spend hours with you."

Oh, golly - LOL!! You offer hilarity and humility in one charming package!

I think you misinterpreted my comment, though. I don't think Jaffa was necessarily out of place on The 700 Club - not at all. I just want to track down the video footage of his appearance.

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if there was a great deal of overlap in the fan bases of Robertson and Jaffa. In fact, I can fathom plenty of NLT-style conservatives nodding their heads when Robertson fantasized about blowing up the State Department.

Maybe Jaffa could go on Democracy Now, the Daily Show, or Colbert. I'm sure he wouldn't have the time or inclination to have a one-on-one with lowly old me.


If you find it, will you promise to alleviate us of your incessant annoyance?

But I'm guessing that he won't go anywhere as long as he is able to find people here foolish enough to try to engage him. He knows he's not going to change any minds here. He's only looking for attention.

I engage with Scanlon because he continuously proves my point about liberals and besides it is fun to watch him post links to likes of youtube and huffopost to validate his liberal views.

If you're of the religious sort, pray for him, as I have done. He may be the most dramatic example of an unstable person trying to justify himself in public--by distorting the remarks of others, changing the subject, willfully causing confusion and annoyance, and then demanding attention. Just use him as a example of a type and move on.

Ken, I appreciate your diagnosis and your prayers. I do hope that your prayers are for God to help me or heal me in some way, and not of the imprecatory sort, which seems to be a favorite kind of prayer made by the Right for the Left:

wikipedia dot org/wiki/Wiley_Drake#Imprecatory_prayer_controversy.2C_2009

"He had previously used such prayers against employees of the Internal Revenue Service [and] Americans United for Separation of Church and State..." (!!)

If I were trying to "justify" myself "in public" then I think I might find much more public venues than the comment zone at a rather obscure blog such as this - can you believe I don't even have facebook or twitter accounts?

I don't agree that I have distorted anyone's remarks or willfully caused confusion and annoyance. I don't think commenters here (who can easily be ignored wholesale by simply not clicking the "discuss" button) can really even change the subject, so I plead not guilty to that charge as well.

But if you could take a moment to explain how I have "demand[ed] attention" in any way, I would appreciate that.

Edit of my 2nd sentence:

"....which seems to be a favorite kind of prayer made by the Right for the Left (or, at least, those considered to be on the Left, however inaccurate that may be)."

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