I have great admiration for Tim Sandefur, author of “The Conscience of the Constitution” and “The Right to Earn a Living”. Tim is an attorney for Pacific Legal Foundation and has a personal blog called “Freespace”.
He posted a column last week that was an imagined speech, the speech Obama should have given in Paris after the terrorist slaughter. It was very refreshing to imagine a President who spoke with courage and authority and who eloquently defended liberty against evil. Tim’s grasp of history shines through as he compares the struggle against slavery with our current struggle against Islamic fundamentalism.
President Obama would be in a perfect position to make this moral argument. He didn’t and he never will, but you will enjoy reading what President Sandefur would have said:
What Obama should’ve said in Paris. If he had gone.
We in the United States have had our experiences with censorship.
At the close of the American Revolution, many hoped that slavery, that embarrassing hypocrisy in a land devoted to freedom, would eventually wither away. As the founders reached retirement age, it seemed to them that slavery was economically unfeasible in the long run, and that all eyes were opening to the Enlightenment principles of equality and freedom.
That optimism proved unfounded, even disingenuous. At the opening of the nineteenth century, several factors, including the invention of the cotton gin, made slavery more economically attractive, and the south’s willingness to defend it became more virulent. By the 1830s, southern intellectuals were promoting a new “positive good school” of slavery: arguing that it was not a scourge, but a benefit to society and even to the slaves themselves. This was not a fringe movement. The Vice President of the United States, John C. Calhoun, was among its most prominent spokesmen.
Meanwhile, opponents of slavery were speaking out. Benjamin Lundy and his protégé,William Lloyd Garrison, began publishing louder and louder denunciations of the peculiar institution. The abolitionist movement proper is typically dated to January, 1831, when in the first issue of The Liberator, Garrison pounded the table:
I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen;—but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch—AND I WILL BE HEARD. …. Read the rest here.