Phi Beta Cons

Obama’s Authoritarian Rhetoric

Throughout the campaign, I kept seeing glimpses of Obama’s authoritarian personality. Not surprising — people who want to expand the role of the state can’t really have much of a “live and let live” side.

Still, consider these sentences from his February 25 speech:

I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whateer the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma. And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country — and this country needs and values the talents of every American.

It’s not just the erroneous notion that more seat time in classrooms is necessarily good for everyone that bothers me. Think about that big, ugly assertion about the relationship between individuals and the state — that unless you remain in school as long as the president thinks you should to become as productive as he thinks you should be, you are “quitting on your country.” It “needs” your talents.

The Founders envisioned a very limited government that existed only to protect the rights of the people. Our 44th president sees things differently. The people are expected to do the right things to fulfill the plans envisioned by those of superior wisdom who run the government.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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