President Obama delivered one of his better speeches as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.
He first acknowledged the obvious when he said he has not done anything worthy of the prize which was given by Europeans still angry about the eight years of the Bush administration.
It will surprise some conservatives that the president chose to speak of "the hard truth" that violence cannot be eradicated and nations sometimes must wage war to protect their citizens from evil regimes and terrorist groups.
In a rebuke to the "peace groups" who demonstrated elsewhere in Oslo as he spoke, the president said non-violent movements could not have stopped Hitler's armies and negotiations cannot persuade Al Qaeda's leaders to disarm. -- One wishes he would apply that belief to the Palestinians and Arab nations who want to use negotiations to weaken and ultimately destroy Israel.
In his diagnosis of why humans fight wars, the president spoke of man's "imperfections." But it is more than imperfections. Imperfections can be fixed by self-help seminars, or cosmetic surgery. The causes of war go deeper. The diagnosis is set forth in the Book of James: "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something, but you don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight, You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." (James 4:1-3) We war with each other because we have not established peace with God.
Jesus of Nazareth offered the greatest verdict on Man's inability to bring peace upon himself. He said, "And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places." (Matthew 24:7) All this will occur before He establishes true peace.
The president spoke of ways to bring "lasting peace," which is an impossible goal. One can have periods in which there are no major wars, but there will never be a time when wars cease, until the end of the world.
He was gracious in mentioning other presidents -- including Republicans like Ronald Reagan -- who helped end conflicts of the past. But there will always be new conflicts because of the nature of Man. It is in properly diagnosing that nature that helps us deal with "hard truths" and preserve our freedoms as others seek to take them away and oppress their own people.
The one philosophical flaw in is address came when he said "The human condition can be perfected." No it can't. See above.
Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated newspaper columnist and a Fox News contributor.
Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America". Readers may email Cal Thomas at email@example.com.