Friday, January 21, 2005

President Bush: We Will Change the World

President Bush's very eloquent second inaugural address was quite remarkable.

It was all about freedom. America, he says, will continue its idealistic work to spread freedom around the world and to eliminate tyranny. And as Fred Barnes writes, the president's moralistic foreign policy approach conveniently intersects with the realist view emphasizing stability and security. In this time of international terror, there will be no world peace and no security for America when evil dictators hold great power and oppress millions. The spread of liberty is the means by which true national security can be achieved. As Bush said, "America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one."

The president's language of liberty, as usual, was also applied to domestic issues. Such ideas as social security and tax reform are designed to build an "ownership society" that fosters individual economic liberty here in America. He also commented on the dignity of human life, which - while going hand in hand with everything he advocated - is particularly associated with abortion. As Bush put it, we "must always remember that even the unwanted have worth."

Some excerpts from the speech:

For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny - prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder - violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat.

From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time.

Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world:
All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.

I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence of your eyes. You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself - and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character.

Also, Jeff Jacoby reflects on President Bush, as does Mona Charen, and Chuck Colson has this excellent Breakpoint commentary.

"Life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs." With those words, President Bush defies everything the United Nations stands for. Though he has wanted to be a "uniter, not a divider," Bush clearly rejects the liberal tactic of trying to unite good and evil.

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