Critical thinking skills and basic textual analysis are increasingly important in a cultural landscape where the powerful are counting on the average person not caring about such things as the truth.
Biden opened by talking about how English common law in the 1300s allowed for husbands to beat their wives, and then said that we had inherited this “cultural problem.” Biden then talked at great length about his father’s teachings to him, his work in the Senate on domestic violence, and other related matters.
Toward the end, Biden circled back to English common law, and said this:
Folks, this is about changing the culture, our culture, our culture. It’s not imported from some African nation or some Asian nation. It’s our English jurisprudential culture, our European culture, that says it’s all right.
The edited video removes that first sentence and the very last clause, so all you hear is this:
Our culture, our culture. It’s not imported from some African nation or some Asian nation. It’s our English jurisprudential culture, our European culture.
As Daniel Dale pointed out, this is doubly dishonest: It removes both the larger and the immediate context.
It’s beyond the scope of this blog post to check Biden’s depiction of English common law in the Middle Ages. But what’s clear beyond any doubt from the full remarks is that in this particular reference to English or European culture, Biden — whether right or wrong — was talking primarily about our legal inheritance from English common law and its lingering impact on efforts to legally combat violence against women. —Greg Sargent, Washington Post