- White House: Obamacare didn’t matter in Florida special election
- Last laugh: Marine vet fires off jokes from the grave with own obituary
- Gas blast destroys 2 N.Y. buildings; 6 people dead
- 2 dead, 23 hurt when driver plows into SXSW crowd
- Student protester shot, killed amid Venezuela unrest
- ‘Between Two Ferns’ director rushes to Obama’s defense, blasts O’Reilly
- Marine springs into action, runs down and tackles alleged Boston purse snatcher
- Education Department botching loan-amnesty program: GAO review
- Snowden: NSA uses fake Facebook to hack into users’ computers
- Tearin’ up my tweet: ‘N Sync’s Lance Bass promotes wrong Obamacare website
KNIGHT: Astride the world
Obama’s U.N. rhetoric soars high above the real world
The idea that people are basically good and would share and live in peace if only the right system would come along is an enduring human conceit, revealed as a lie in the horrors inflicted by communism. It’s not that people don’t have admirable qualities, but no one ever had to teach a child how to misbehave.
Taming our natural bent toward vices takes a lifetime and divine intervention. In the case of people who mean to do evil, the only solution is force. Nations, which are composed of people, will break treaties the minute it is in their interest to do so.
In discussing prospects for peace in the Middle East, Mr. Obama strongly asserted America’s commitment to Israel while noting Palestinians’ desires. But he did some pipe-dreaming as well: “The deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the other’s shoes; each side can see the world through the other’s eyes.” It would help if Hamas rewrote its charter to remove the part about eliminating Israel. It’s hard to stand in someone’s shoes while advocating their owner’s violent death.
What Mr. Obama hails as a universal longing for human rights is a fairly recent Western invention. As America’s founders explained, we deserve rights only because we are created in the image of God, and we have laws because we are not angels.
Around the world, the idea of individual human rights took root precisely where Christianity penetrated cultures. It took root at the U.N. when it adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
The declaration mirrors many rights in our Constitution but also incorporates fuzzy utopianism, such as each person’s “social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality” and the right “to enjoy the arts.” This kind of stuff creeps in when you let Eleanor Roosevelt call the shots.
Upon reflection, instead of Rodney King, it would be better to compare Mr. Obama to Jack Dawson, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character who, standing on the Titanic’s bow, declared himself “king of the world.” Massive government debt is, of course, the iceberg.
Much of Mr. Obama’s speech touched on positive developments, such as peace in Northern Ireland, the birth of South Sudan and optimism over the Arab Spring. Overall, it was an upper.
But while he is practiced speaking for the entire world, it would be nice if Mr. Obama spoke on behalf of the United States once in a while.
Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
TWT Video Picks
By Emily Miller
Obama is losing the debate on gun ownership, concealed-carry permits
Get Breaking Alerts
- Oil rig worker says he saw missing plane go down: report
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- NRA shirt gets N.Y. high school student suspended
- GOP bill tries to pull courts into fight with Obama on executive power, enforcing laws
- John Kerry says any resumption of aid to Egypt would depend on reforms in Cairo
- Military families would take a $5,000 hit in benefits with Obama budget
- Ben Carson: America's now 'very much like Nazi Germany'
- Special ops forces wearing thin from high demand
Recent Letters to the Editor
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Wind power less harmful to wildlife
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Constitutional rights are God-given
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Clinton still too inexperienced for presidency
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The recipe for Asia-Pacific stability
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obama delivering on 'flexibility' vow to Moscow