Thursday, May 14, 2009

Obama Commencement Speech

Tonight President Obama delivered what was probably the most poignant ideological speech of his Presidency at the Arizona State University commencement ceremony. In the speech, Obama preaches for redefining one of the central tenants of Capitalism (greed) suggesting that rather than pursuing success in wealth and name, one ought to pursue a legacy that is defined by the sum of one's actions towards a greater good. In complete contrast to Ayn Rand or Adam Smith, Obama's speech is going to be perceived by the American right as a tyrannical socialist doctrine, but I would suggest moderation in one's reaction: His entire career has been based on being different, and as one might conclude from reading some of my posts, there is success to be had in breaking from the mold in pursuit of success through creative, innovative, intelligent, philanthropic and altruistic means. I believe Obama's intentions are good: most would agree that the stale nature of the American Machine has disastrously affected the world. To some, this requires a fundamental redefinition so that this country might keep pace in the coming century. (The success of Google and Apple over GM and Chrysler or diplomacy over war for example). Despite the distinct Utopian and unrealistic feel of this philosophy, it is refreshing, that the leader of the free world has finally grown some sense of purpose beyond that of a century old doctrine relieving America of most social and ethical responsibilities. More than the closing of Guantanamo, the scolding of Wall Street and the pursuit of public health care in America, I believe that the discourse raised by this speech is indication of real fundamental change, and I believe in that, this ambitious philosophy is in fact pragmatic.

But judge for yourself:

(Part I of III)