I’d been meaning for a while to talk about the president’s recent commencement address at Ohio State, but enough other people have taken care of that for me. In particular, they’ve taken a look at one particular section of his speech:
Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.
This brings us to an article by Charles Cooke at NRO today. Cooke notes that the President’s notion of self-rule may differ somewhat from yours or mine, and goes on from there. The article may mark the first time that an NR writer has quoted William S. Burroughs approvingly, but I’d like to direct your attention to the words that follow, which make up our QotD:
Who can look at the 20th century with a cold eye and conclude that the problem was that people were “too fearful” of their governments? Who will claim that our blood-drenched last hundred years was the product of people insisting too emphatically that they must retain their liberties? Who will claim that the great flaw of the last century was that the people were armed — or able to speak freely? Most important, who will claim that the progressive conception of government has proved superior to that of the Founders?
Interesting questions all.