By ROGER PILON, OPINION May 7, 2013
Obama’s commencement speech at Ohio State on Sunday would have perplexed the Founders.
Civic education in America took a hit on Sunday when President Obama, giving the commencement address at The Ohio State University, chose citizenship as his theme. The country’s Founders trusted citizens with “awesome authority,” he told the assembled graduates. Really?
Actually, the Founders distrusted us, at least in our collective capacity. That’s why they wrote a Constitution that set clear limits on what we, as citizens, could do through government.
Mr. Obama seems never to appreciate that essential point about the American political order. As with his countless speeches that lead ultimately to an expression of the president’s belief in the unbounded power of government to do good, he began in Columbus with an insight that we can all pretty much embrace, at least in the abstract. Citizenship, Mr. Obama said, is “the idea at the heart of our founding—that as Americans, we are blessed with God-given and inalienable rights, but with those rights come responsibilities—to ourselves, to one another, and to future generations.”