Obama's collective ignorance
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Unlike years past, strength of 2014 Steelers could be offense
- Steelers Lookahead: Previewing Sunday’s game vs. Cleveland
- Campus visit sells 4-star Ohio recruit Hall on Panthers
- East Allegheny teachers gather on picket lines, hope to end contract dispute
- Pitt, city officials inspecting student housing in Oakland
- Wedding aboard Pittsburgh’s Gateway Clipper ends in arrests
- Love locks tokens fall prey to renovations on Pittsburgh bridges
- Pa. judge identified who denied Trib request to view sexually explicit emails circulated in AG’s Office
- Western Pa. districts aim to win back students from cyber charters
- Steelers notebook: Polamalu made 1st-time captain; Roethlisberger named for offense
- Dominion, Duke to build $5B natural gas pipeline from WV to NC