The video is chilling for many Obama critics: the president supporting an “international order” because “ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs.”
The short video (which has a German headline mentioning Obama explaining a “new world order”) that’s burning up inboxes shows Obama going even further:
“And for the international order that we have worked for generations to build, ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign.”
“Is this real?” one reader wrote to TheBlaze asking. “19 of the scariest seconds I’ve ever heard!!!”
The short answer? No.
The explanation is that that video has been deceptively edited, splicing together two comments Obama made during a speech in Brussels on March 26 of this year. Besides a deceptive edit, the video also lacks context. In fact, the president was actually railing against those who treat ordinary men and women as “too small-minded to govern their own affairs.”
The Washington Post has the full remarks. We’ve excerpted the relevant part below [emphasis added]:
Leaders and dignitaries of the European Union, representatives of our NATO alliance, distinguished guests, we meet here at a moment of testing for Europe and the United States and for the international order that we have worked for generations to build. Throughout human history, societies have grappled with fundamental questions of how to organize themselves, the proper relationship between the individual and the state, the best means to resolve the inevitable conflicts between states.
And it was here in Europe, through centuries of struggle, through war and enlightenment, repression and revolution, that a particular set of ideals began to emerge, the belief that through conscience and free will, each of us has the right to live as we choose, the belief that power is derived from the consent of the governed and that laws and institutions should be established to protect that understanding.
And those ideas eventually inspired a band of colonialists across an ocean, and they wrote them into the founding documents that still guide America today, including the simple truth that all men, and women, are created equal.
But those ideals have also been tested, here in Europe and around the world. Those ideals have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power. This alternative vision argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign. Often this alternative vision roots itself in the notion that by virtue of race or faith or ethnicity, some are inherently superior to others and that individual identity must be defined by us versus them, or that national greatness must flow not by what people stand for, but what they are against.
In so many ways, the history of Europe in the 20th century represented the ongoing clash of these two sets of ideas, both within nations and among nations. The advance of industry and technology outpaced our ability to resolve our differences peacefully. And even — even among the most civilized of societies on the surface, we saw a descent into barbarism.
The president was saying such ideas are counter to “free will, “the right to live as we choose” and “that power is derived from the consent of the governed.”
Not surprisingly, then, the group Politifact rated the claim a “pants on fire” lie.