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Obama's collective ignorance

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By Dimitri Vassilaros
Friday, June 13, 2008

On May 25, those attending the Wesleyan University commencement heard the collective wisdom of Sen. Barack Obama. He didn't have much to say about the individual but his rhetoric had mass appeal.

If you were not in Connecticut to hear it, a transcript of Mr. Obama's prepared remarks can be found on his Web site. It's a must read for anyone who doubts that the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee wants to be a unifier.

Obama wants us to be unified like a tin of sardines, only with less wiggle room.

Pinch-hitting for Sen. Ted Kennedy, Obama harked back to the glory days of Camelot, the Peace Corps and serving everyone other than yourself. From his speech text:

"You can take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should buy."

Enlightened self-interest motivates the individual to earn a big home, nice clothes and pursue more happiness. Typically, it's achieved by being so productive that others will pay him for his contributions.

"You can choose to narrow your concerns and live your life in a way that tries to keep your story separate from America's. But I hope you don't."

America is not one story. It's 300 million individual ones. Ask the subjects of the former Soviet Union if they liked sharing the same history with everyone else in that gulag.

"Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation."

Group-think and group-speak are mankind's salvation• Let's hope the masses share our definition of salvation and that at least 50 percent (plus one) want to be saved.

"Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition."

Is there richness in apathy• Ambition lessens the likelihood of poverty. It also improves self-esteem and, by default, society. Being all one can be means not squandering any gift from God.

Building a better mousetrap will do more to improve public health than digging another well for an impoverished Third World hellhole.

"Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role you'll play in writing the next great chapter in America's story."

Was Thomas Edison an underachiever because his wagon was only hitched to creating miracles that made life better for every human on Earth• Edison wrote the book on enlightened self-interest. A best-seller.

It might seem ironic that Obama actually praised three individuals -- Mr. Kennedy and brothers JFK and RFK. But politicians are the groups' leaders who act like they know what's best for everyone even though they know almost nothing of the needs of each individual.

Apparently Obama appreciates enlightened self-interest, after all.

Philosopher and writer Ayn Rand said that the individual is the smallest minority. It doesn't seem as if President Obama would do much to ensure that the rights of that minority will be acknowledged, let alone respected.

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