Once a high-level Reagan-era diplomat, Alan Keyes is a long-time leader in the conservative movement. He is well-known as a staunch pro-life champion and an eloquent advocate of the constitutional republic, including respect for the moral basis of liberty and self-government. He has worked to promote an approach to politics based on the initiative of citizens of goodwill consonant with the with the principles of God-endowed natural right.More ↓Less ↑
“There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents.”
– Barack Obama, 2012 U.N. address
So, in the opening installment of the miniseries of “debates,” Obama stumbled badly coming out of the gate. Advantaged by his stumble, Romney developed a noticeable lead. “Will Obama recover in the next debate? Will he come from behind enough to challenge for the victory? Stay tuned for scenes from the next pulse pounding installment … etc.”
Of course, Obama’s stumble is dramatic (rather than comical) mainly because, as part of Obama’s background, the elitist faction scriptwriters have developed his reputation as a thoroughbred speaker, renowned for his moving eloquence.
Despite the propaganda, I have never been convinced of Obama’s supposed eloquence. That’s because I think Socrates was right when (as reported in Plato’s “Apology”) he denied deserving any reputation as a speaker unless that means someone “who speaks the truth; for if this is what they mean, I would agree that I am an orator …” Obama has so little respect for truth that he hardly ever states it accurately, even when quoting from others. More to the point, he has so little use for truth that, even when his words are true, they mainly serve to highlight the fact that his conduct contradicts the truth they express.
So it is with the words quoted above from his recent address to the U.N. General Assembly. If “there are no words that excuse the killing of innocents,” what are we to make of all the words Obama has spoken to promote the oxymoron of “abortion rights”? The truth rings hollow coming from a man so committed to the righteousness of murdering human offspring in the womb that he thought it better to let infants fully born (after a failed abortion attempt) die of neglect than humanely spare and care for their innocent lives. He argued that such care somehow casts doubt on their mothers’ “right” to take their lives.
Of course, in the speech to the U.N. Obama wasn’t thinking of his own words. He was thinking of words offensive to the religious sensibilities of Muslims roused to violence by what they took to be insults to their religion and the one they take to be its singular prophet of divinity. But if words offensive to religious sensibility offer no excuse for destructive and potentially murderous violence against the innocent, how can words excuse the intentional infliction of violent death on innocent human offspring? If it is wrong to react with violence against those whose words are offensive to piety, how can it be right to murder those who are not, by word or deed, capable of being responsible for any offense?
Obama denies the right to react with violence against impious words or other such expressions of thought because it is universally wrong to inflict violence upon the innocent. Yet he has been the adamant champion of those who claim to have the right, whenever they decide, violently to murder the most innocent humans of all. With his words in the U.N. speech, he denies the right of violence on account of the universal wrongness of the action its exercise entails. But in defending “abortion rights,” he pretends that infliction of violent death upon the innocent offspring of humanity is, in and of itself, a proper exercise of universal right. But if the natural rightness of piety does not alter the fact that it is universally wrong for the pious deliberately to assault innocents, how can the perpetration of that universal wrong in the form of abortion be asserted as a universal right for all women? What Muslims are anywhere forbidden to do, albeit for the sake of their religion, women everywhere are to be permitted to do (according to Obama) for the sake of their lust or convenience? What is it that puts their lust above the Muslims’ respect for Allah? What is it that puts respect for their convenient will above respect for the precepts of religious faith and conscience?
Though lately he has been reliably reported to wear a ring that signifies a bond of respect for the Muslim deity, Obama’s actions seem to give human lust and convenience a status that supersedes that bond. Otherwise, why would he rebuke the violence that springs from the Muslims’ respect for Allah, but defend the rightness of violence that serves individual convenience, or frees human lust from the constraints of respect for innocent life? At the U.N., he pretends to see respect for innocent life as a function of universal righteousness. Yet in America and throughout the world he champions access to abortion (i.e., violence against innocent human offspring) as some species of universal right.
Can it be righteous to kill the innocent for the sake of lust, but not for the sake of Allah? How can the use of words to promote the universal practice of abortion be reconciled with the claim that the killing of innocents is universally wrong, no matter what impiety provokes it? Why is it wrong to incite a religiously impassioned mob to storm an embassy, but right to incite governments around the world to unleash a storm of violence against helpless, innocent human offspring?
I find no eloquence in Obama’s assertion of universal rights because his actions contradict the truth of it. Truth requires that we acknowledge, as America’s founders did, that no claim of fundamental right subsists for actions that depart from the universal standard of rightness. The same logic that affirms that religious piety does not license rioters to attack innocents on the streets of Cairo or Benghazi, affirms that courts and governments cannot by law license individuals to attack those who are innocently walking the path of all humanity.
In the 1950s, Americans realized that laws violating the rights of black Americans sapped the credibility of our stand for universal human rights against the communist regimes. Pray to God we shall soon realize that, in the same fashion, the violence people like Obama encourage us to unleash against innocents in the name of so-called “abortion rights” fatally undermines our moral standing in the battle to end violence against innocents everywhere, whatever the excuse for it.