Second Inaugural Address: Obama Declares War on Liberty

Sounding the same themes of class warfare that propelled his re-election campaign, President Barack Obama devoted his second inaugural address to laying out his second term agenda: a struggle to undo the seeming injustices of America’s past, and to overcome the army of straw men that stand in opposition to progress.

In the process, President Obama attempted nothing less than an assault on the timeless notion of liberty itself:

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.

After praising the “collective” and mocking the notion that America is a “nation of takers,” President Obama targeted his political opposition. He targeted those who “deny” climate change, attacked those who allegedly refused to reward the elderly for their contributions, and defied critics whom he said wanted “perpetual war.” He attacked the rich–as he has done so often over the past four years–and painted a caricature of an unjust nation: “…our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it….We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few.”

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