My response is that the difference between Senator Obama's usage and President Reagan's is a matter of intent.
If Ronald Reagan said, for example, that he believed in fair play, he would have meant that every individual, without affirmative action, is entitled to an equal opportunity and equal treatment under the law.
When liberal-progressive-socialists like Senator Obama, and the ruling element of the Democrat/Socialist Party, say that they are in favor of fair play, they mean something very different: that the government should intervene in the normal processes of human activity in order to give special treatment to favored economic and social classes and to redistribute income in the name of social justice.
It is undeniable that, for more than three generations, students in our colleges and universities have been schooled in the religious beliefs of socialism, which broadly looks to the restructuring of society by collectivized government. The meaning of multi-culturalism and environmentalism, drummed into kids from kindergarten onwards, is that all cultures are equally valid and that they should think of themselves as inhabitants of the planet earth. From there, it's only a short step to the one-worldism inculcated at the college level.
That is precisely the cultural milieu that shaped Senator Obama and his wife. If you believe in the secular religion of socialism, you worship the collectivized political state, and the greater the collectivism, the better, the end point being a single world government. Liberal-progressive-socialists' paradigm is an industrialized world in which the individual is both powerless and meaningless. Meaningful units for socialism, ultimately, are capitalist monopolists vs. the workers of the world. Since the early days of Marxist socialism, its adherents have thought of socialism as a worldwide religion uniting an abstraction called "the workers of the world," (cf. The Communist Manifesto,
by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels).
In that vein, the Socialist International, at the outbreak of World War I, called upon workers of the world to unite and to refuse to fight in a war they believed to have been instigated by capitalists to make larger profits.
This is the origin of liberal-progressives' belief both that wars are unnecessary, and that they can be eliminated by socializing private enterprise and dividing its assets and income equally among all peoples of the world. This is the background of Senator Obama's pronouncements in Berlin:
...the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. ...Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity. ...Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. ...This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. ...Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom...
Liberal-progressivism, no matter its good intentions, made the 20th century the most barbaric period in human history. The collectivized political state a couple of times approached the scope of world government. Hitler's National Socialism and Soviet socialism degraded and enslaved hundreds of millions of people, and liquidated tens of millions of dissidents, in the name of liberal-progressivism's social justice. There is no world government, nor can there ever be, without the most unbearable despotism imaginable.
There is, however, a common humanity. We all are children of God, made in his image, individually capable of good and evil. If you are a religious Jew or a Christian, you envision the heart and soul of every individual as the nexus to God.
Every individual must pray for God's Holy Spirit to guide him to more righteous conduct and thereby to make human societies more humane. Societies in that paradigm are, most fundamentally, the family, the church or synagogue, and the local community or town.
The Judeo-Christian ethos, standing against collectivism and for individual responsibility, created Western civilization, which ended slavery, vastly raised the standard of living for all Western peoples, made literacy nearly universal, and created flourishing arts, architecture, music, and literature.
All of this is targeted for destruction in the name of modernism by liberal-progressivism, which in the last half of the 20th century shunted aside individual responsibility, obliterated the norm of stable, two parent families, levered crime to horrific levels, degraded education, fostered drug addiction, and lauded sexual promiscuity and marital infidelity as liberating social policies.
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776