I’m amazed to read Peggy Noonan being critical of Bush’s Inaugural Address. I thought it was the about the closest thing I’d heard to Ronald Reagan at his best since, well, Ronald Reagan. Oddly, it sounded to me like a Peggy Noonan speech. It’s interesting, I’m not a fan of organized religion, but I found nothing horribly disturbing in the reference’s to God and I certainly wouldn’t have characterized the speech as “God drenched.” I thought it was freedom drenched and I found that pleasing. That dictators be told that the rights of man come from their Creator and are not privileges granted by government is no threat to anyone’s freedom, religious or otherwise.
It was suggested to me earlier in the year, that I shouldn’t be disappointed in things like the prescription drug entitlement, that Bush’s administration was still radically transformative, just not libertarian. So I was also amazed after hearing a speech that I can only describe as radically libertarian to see criticism from libertarians like this from Will Wilkinson,
Nevertheless, despite the overwhelming volume of rhetoric about freedom, Bush’s speech paints a picture of a muscular and powerful American state willing to project itself out into the world as a missionary for liberty, which, I fear, does not bode well for liberty at home.
Bush was quite specific, “This is not primarily the task of arms…Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities.” This speech reflected a definite departure from the balance of power realpolitik games that saw the United States proving the adage about politics making strange bedfellows on a worldwide scale. This speech was not primarily a call to arms, but a call to respect our own most important values in our international dealings. It is high time and no threat to liberty at home.