Here’s the actual context of Obama’s comments: Leaders and dignitaries of the European Union; representatives of our NATO Alliance; distinguished guests: We meet here at a moment of testing for Europe and the United States, and for the international order that we have worked for generations to build. Throughout human history, societies have grappled with fundamental questions of how to organize themselves, the proper relationship between the individual and the state, the best means to resolve inevitable conflicts between states. And it was here in Europe, through centuries of struggle -- through war and Enlightenment, repression and revolution -- that a particular set of ideals began to emerge: The belief that through conscience and free will, each of us has the right to live as we choose. The belief that power is derived from the consent of the governed, and that laws and institutions should be established to protect that understanding. And those ideas eventually inspired a band of colonialists across an ocean, and they wrote them into the founding documents that still guide America today, including the simple truth that all men -- and women -- are created equal. But those ideals have also been tested -- here in Europe and around the world. Those ideals have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power. This alternative vision argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign. Often, this alternative vision roots itself in the notion that by virtue of race or faith or ethnicity, some are inherently superior to others, and that individual identity must be defined by us versus them, or that national greatness must flow not by what a people stand for, but by what they are against. In other words, the creator of the video slyly spliced together two separate passages of Obama’s speech during a cut-away shot -- in a way that totally changes the meaning. Obama wasn’t saying that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs or that individuals should surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign. Rather, he was saying that those two sentiments run counter to the ideals of free will and democracy.
Posted on: Wed, 25 Jun 2014 02:17:35 +0000
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