January 21, 2009

Liberal or Conservative?

My favorite passage of President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address is this:

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less.
It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.
Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

Is that a liberal or conservative point of view? Let me not answer this question, neither did I want to ask you for an answer: whatever I or you might say in response would be both right and wrong, in my opinion. Perhaps the reason why I like that passage is just because of the impossibility of giving a uniquely satisfying answer to that question.


  1. I voted for McCain, not so much because I thought he was such a strong candidate, but because I didn't know where Obama wanted to go. "Change" alone wasn't enough for me.

    I'm beginning to think that there's a big difference between Obama the candidate, whose job was to get elected, and Obama the president, who's job is to run the country. That can only be good.

  2. Let's hope for the better, Tom ...

  3. Is that a liberal or conservative point of view? ... impossibility of giving a uniquely satisfying answer to that question

    In fact for me the answer is: none of the two, probably because these words by Obama have actually no colour, no party. They appear to me to call for unity of efforts and daring, something that can make sense to all the American people, to both the conservative and the non conservative.

  4. Hi MoR, I thought you might find it interesting the way a friend of mine (Cassie) commented to this post on FaceBook (hope she doesn't mind if I quote her here ...):

    "[...] It's probably so hard to place on either side because it could have come straight from Ayn Rand's theory of Objectivism. In Objectivism man works towards his own survival and any shortcuts are an infringement on another man's basic rights. In this philosophy it is the "risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things", the producers who come up top as the true heroes of mankind. [...] The passage also underlines in essence in which Europeans differ from Americans, and something they will never understand, since - solely on basis of belonging to some collective - they feel entitled to some shortcut, preferable arbitrated by the state."

    I think she hit the center of the mark.