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Karl Rove versus Protagoras

June 20, 2004

In his recent commencement address to the graduating students at Liberty University in Virginia, Karl Rove misinterpreted the ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras. Protagoras did not, as Rove described him, advocate that people do whatever they pleased because "man is the measure of all things." Rove announced that following Protagoras has given the world the deeds of Hitler and Stalin. Protagoras lectured that people became good citizens not by obedience to authority but by learning what is just and right. It was for people to measure himself and all things. Protagoras was saying that people had to apply their will to do right. Everybody acts according to his own fix on reality. This applies to those who worship God. As Protagoras claimed, rather than obedience to authority, or just following orders, for the sake of right and justice people have to think.

Using Stalin and Hitler as examples of evil and suggesting that they were evil because of their distance from God, as Rove and others do, ignores other explanations for the evil of these two men.

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