(National Review) — It was a thoroughly 21st-century affair: old political bulls, rappers, and pop singers, fashions by Thom Browne and Kate Spade, high-tech security measures, and a pre-inauguration message from the president via Twitter. President Barack Obama, being sworn in for a second term, was doing the thing he does best: giving a speech largely divorced from reality.

He is very much a man of his times — perhaps the characteristic man of his times — but President Obama sought to connect his project of converting the United States into a social democracy with the 18th-century Enlightenment liberalism of the Founding Fathers and the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence. But social democracy is not compatible with the Founders’ values, a fact that cannot be rendered inert even by so fine a rhetorician as President Obama.

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