[Paleopsych] Lawrence Auster on the Inauguration Speech

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Lawrence Auster on the Inauguration Speech

[Even Peggy Noonan is balking. I thought the speech to be completely vacuous 
bromides and rumble-bumble. But it seems now to be promising a victory for 
Neocon-heavy and the Republican war-on-terrorism jobs machine. There is still 
enough freedom in this country to say what you like, as long as you don't 
bother any of the Calhounian veto blocs.]

Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2005 16:01:55 -0500
From: Lawrence Auster <lawrence.auster at att.net>
Subject: Blog entries on the Inaugural address

Dear Reader,

Here are my frankly critical responses to Bush's speech, in reverse 
chronological order.

If you would prefer not to receive these occasional e-mails from VFR, please 
reply with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Sincerely, Lawrence Auster

En bas cette fausse idée de la liberté!

Down with Boilerplate^Ys and the neocons^Y bizarre Orwellian re-definition of 
freedom. Let^Ys go back to the American and Western and Christian traditions of 
liberty. For example, we could start with:

   Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is 
liberty.  (2 Corinthians 3:17)

By the way, if you don^Yt know French, the title of this blog entry means: Down 
with this false idea of liberty. When posting the entry, what came into my mind 
was the phrase, En bas le tyran, down with the tyrant, which is what they cried 
in the French National Assembly the day Robespierre was overthrown. A few years 
ago I was thrilled to see the original transcripts of the French National 
Assembly from that great day in August 1794, on display in the Morgan Library 
in New York. My use of it here is appropriate because the object of dislike is 
the same: a dehumanizing, de-culturating, Jacobin force.

Indeed, Boilerplate has gone so overboard with this "freedom" business that 
even the New York Times "conservative" David Brooks is on ABC saying that Bush 
is emphasizing freedom too much and needs to talk more about order and 
security. But that^Ys what happens when an ideology, with its accompanying 
simplistic slogans, takes over a person^Ys mind, especially when the person in 
question had a severe lack of mental furniture to begin with.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at 03:00 PM

Boilerplate and sounding brass

Carl Simpson to LA:

Even if one takes seriously the Sharansky/Gelertner/Bush ideal that universal 
democracy will solve all of the world^Ys problems, how do they account for the 
basic totalitarianism of various EU states (where you can be arrested for 
criticizing Islam, or homosexuality, and where political parties are simply 
outlawed by judges for "racism" and "intolerance") or that of our esteemed 
trading partner China? What do these people really mean when they use terms 
like "freedom", and "liberty"? I somehow don^Yt believe it^Ys the same thing 
that Washington, Adams, and the American founders meant.

LA replies:

That is such an important point and I don^Yt make it often enough. Is today^Ys 
Britain FREE?

So Boilerplate^Ys rhetoric is false in two respects.

Number one, we are not really "spreading freedom." We^Yre hunkered down in TWO 
countries and will be there for years.

Number two, the very countries that are supposedly the models of freedom are 
profoundly unfree in key respects and are rapidly becoming more so.

I can^Yt stand that tinny, empty, arrogant rhetoric.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at 02:00 PM

Boilerplate^Ys liberal reversal of reality

The way Boilerplate would have it, all this aggression exists in the world 
because WE haven^Yt yet brought freedom to these other countries. So WE have to 
keep striving forever to change the world, to make it free. This is our burden. 
It doesn^Yt occur to him that the lack of freedom he^Ys opposing has nothing to 
do with anything that we^Yre doing or not doing, that it may have something to 
do with those other countries. It doesn^Yt occur to him that the specific lack 
of freedom he^Ys concerned about has a specific source^Tthe Koran. No, instead 
this knucklehead praises the Koran as one of the bases of American freedom!

Apparently Boilerplate has been much influenced by Natan Sharansky^Ys book on 
freedom, in which he argues that every country in the world can and should be 
free. But who is Sharansky, as the citizen of a country surrounded by unfree 
countries, to talk? Has Israel succeeded by its democratic example in making 
its Arab neighbors embrace freedom? Ah, but that little failure doesn^Yt 
matter, does it? For liberals, no failure ever matters. The only thing that 
matters is that moment of universalist consummation, which WILL be reached some 
day, and we SHALL overcome, and we just have to keep trying for it, and we just 
have to keep on thinkin^Y about tomorrow, and no contrary thought is permitted 
into consciousness.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

Nods to equality

Cheney^Ys two daughters walked out on the stand side by side, the husband of 
the married daughter wasn^Yt there. Noting how unusual it was for the husband 
of the vice president^Ys daughter not to be present at the proceedings, a 
friend suggests the husband was excluded in order to avoid making a distinction 
between the lesbian daughter and the married daughter.

Another nod to equality was Bush^Ys mention of the Koran. What does the Koran 
have to do with our political and social and moral tradition? Zilch. The 
Koran^Ys only idea is submission to God. The only political expression the 
Koran can have is sharia law, which is, of course, the very tyranny Bush says 
we have to crusade relentlessly to destroy wherever it exists.

It is insufferable that a man this dumb and incoherent is also this arrogant.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at 12:45 PM

Bush^Ys leaden, ideological, neo-Jacobin inaugural address

There are no words to express how off-putting, arrogant, and offensive Bush^Ys 
inaugural is, with its theme of America as the ideological boss and transformer 
of the world. When President Kennedy spoke about defending freedom, he was 
opposing expansive Communism. But Bush is saying that America must simply make 
the world conform to our idea.

My gosh, how limited this man is, how limited his concepts, his vocabulary. He 
must have said "freedom" 40 times. He has so little within himself, that when 
he finds something that "works" for him, he just uses it over and over again.

Then there was this: "Making every American an agent of his own destiny." The 
government makes people agents of their own destiny? Well, that^Ys your 
standard big-government conservatism.

The speech and its delivery are leaden-footed. Fortunately, it was very short. 
When he ended, there was no particular response, no big applause. The speech 
just seemed to stop.

So, I^Yve done my patriotic duty for the day. I^Yve watched the president^Ys 
inaugural address.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at 12:15 PM

---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 18:38:42 -0500 
From: Lawrence Auster <lawrence.auster at att.net> To: Interested Parties 
<lawrence.auster at att.net> Subject: Noonan sharply criticizes Bush; coverage of 
the Jersey City murders
     reveals liberal order

Dear Reader

Here are three recent items from View from the Right.  Two are on the Islam 
issue and the third is about Peggy Noonan's startling criticism of President 
Bush's inaugural address.  I hope you find them of interest.

Lawrence Auster

Coverage of the Jersey City murders reveals liberal order

The facts on the murder of an entire family of Egyptian Christians in Jersey 
City are not clear yet, but the predictable major-media slant on the crime--we 
mustn't blame Moslems for it, because that would lead us to behave in beastly 
ways--is as clear as daylight. Nothing new here. After the attack on the World 
Trade Center in 1993, the main point made by both Clinton and Mayor Dinkins was 
that we must avoid any hateful thoughts or behavior against Moslems, though 
there were no such hateful thoughts or behavior remotely to be seen. Under the 
liberal dispensation, if our enemies attack us, we become the suspect party.

All of which suggests a variation on my typology of traditionalists, 
conservatives, and liberals:

If jihadist Moslems murder non-Moslems in the name of Islam,

   a.. Traditionalists will point to the 1,400 year-old reality of Islamic 
jihadism and call for an end of Islamic immigration, plus other measures aimed 
at reducing the numbers and power of Moslems in the West;

   b.. Conservatives will blame "radical" Islam, while saying we must seek out 
the "true," "moderate" Islam and place on it all our hopes of safety and peace;

   c.. Liberals will ignore the crime, and severely caution us against our own 

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 21, 2005 04:00 PM | Comment |

The fatal complementarity of Islam and the West

I have said many times that in resurgent Islam the liberal West has met its 
fate. Islam is a non-Western religion set on conquering and converting 
non-Moslems, while liberalism is a Western ideology set on tolerating and 
including non-Westerners. They are predators, we are prey. This complementarity 
spells the death of the West, unless there is a radical awakening on our part 
to the true nature of Islam and a willingness to oppose it.

But there's a further twist to this complementarity that makes it even harder 
for Westerners and Americans to extricate ourselves from the trap in which our 
own ideology has placed us.

Moslems seek to turn the whole human race into Moslems. To do this, they must 
change us from what we are into something else. We are the demonic and tempting 
Other, whom they must conquer and convert, and against whom any deception to 
accomplish those ends is sanctioned by God. But liberal Westerners and 
particularly liberal Americans (which basically means all Americans) remain 
indefeasibly naïve about the nature of Islam, imagining that the Moslems are 
basically "just like us," potential citizens of a democratic world order. Just 
as the Moslems' hard-boiled view of us as the infidel Other stems from their 
very being and faith as Moslems, liberal Americans' naive view of the Moslems 
as people "just like us" stems from our very being and faith as liberal 
Americans. Being a liberal American means being a nice person who is tolerant 
of others, wanting to see other people as individuals and putting group 
differences into the background.

To repeat the point, for our liberal American identity to be sustainable, we 
must go on believing that all people (except for a few extremists, of course) 
are basically like us. Therefore, if we became convinced that a billion Moslems 
are not basically like us but are irreconcilably different from us and mortally 
dangerous to us, then, instead of being open and accepting to them, we would 
have to become closed and defensive. We would lose our very being as liberal 
Americans, as well as our hope of a unified world. And that is why we 
stubbornly ignore the Moslems' actual qualities. We don't simply do it because 
we are "naïve." We do it in order to maintain our view of humanity as nice 
people like ourselves, and thus to maintain our very identity which is based on 
our believing in that view of humanity.

We think we disregard other people's negative qualities out of a motive of 
generosity and tolerance. In reality, we are pursuing an imperial impulse, 
constructing an image of an Americanist humanity in which everyone is 
reasonable and easy-going like ourselves. But--the final irony--our imperial 
agenda is leading to our subjection by the Moslems' imperial agenda, since our 
empire is an empire of tolerance and inclusion in which we must open our arms 
to merciless world-conquering jihadists.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 21, 2005 03:36 PM | Comment |

A startling defection in the neocon ranks

Echoing VFR, Peggy Noonan derides Boilerplate's inaugural address for its 
arrogant global utopianism. She even describes his rhetoric as "boilerplate." 
This is the first critical thinking I've seen from Miss Sentimentality since, 
since I can't remember when--and critical of the democratist Bush ideology, no 
less. But where has Noonan been? Bush been sounding off this way for the last 
three years, and she's been an adoring fan of his all along. Perhaps it's just 
a matter of his having gone "too far" this time. In any case, I wouldn't be 
surprised if Pope Norman Podhoretz has already been on the phone this morning 
with the errant Noonan, or perhaps with intermediaries in the neoconservative 
establishment, to let her know of his displeasure. Having such a prominent Bush 
fan depart so publicly from the One True Faith is not acceptable.

Here are excerpts from her column:

   The inaugural address itself was startling. It left me with a bad feeling, 
and reluctant dislike. Rhetorically, it veered from high-class boilerplate to 
strong and simple sentences, but it was not pedestrian. George W. Bush's second 
inaugural will no doubt prove historic because it carried a punch, asserting an 
agenda so sweeping that an observer quipped that by the end he would not have 
been surprised if the president had announced we were going to colonize Mars.
   History is dynamic and changeable. On the other hand, some things are 
constant, such as human imperfection, injustice, misery and bad government.
   This world is not heaven.
   The president's speech seemed rather heavenish. It was a God-drenched speech. 
This president, who has been accused of giving too much attention to religious 
imagery and religious thought, has not let the criticism enter him. God was 
invoked relentlessly. "The Author of Liberty." "God moves and chooses as He 
wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind . . 
. the longing of the soul."
   It seemed a document produced by a White House on a mission. The United 
States, the speech said, has put the world on notice: Good governments that are 
just to their people are our friends, and those that are not are, essentially, 
not. We know the way: democracy. The president told every nondemocratic 
government in the world to shape up. "Success in our relations [with other 
governments] will require the decent treatment of their own people."
   The speech did not deal with specifics--9/11, terrorism, particular 
alliances, Iraq. It was, instead, assertively abstract.
   "We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of 
liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other 
lands." "Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self 
government. . . . Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, 
and the calling of our time." "It is the policy of the United States to seek 
and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation 
and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in the world."
   Ending tyranny in the world? Well that's an ambition, and if you're going to 
have an ambition it might as well be a big one. But this declaration, which is 
not wrong by any means, seemed to me to land somewhere between dreamy and 
disturbing. Tyranny is a very bad thing and quite wicked, but one doesn't 
expect we're going to eradicate it any time soon. Again, this is not heaven, 
it's earth.
   ... And yet such promising moments were followed by this, the ending of the 
speech. "Renewed in our strength--tested, but not weary--we are ready for the 
greatest achievements in the history of freedom."
   This is--how else to put it?--over the top. It is the kind of sentence that 
makes you wonder if this White House did not, in the preparation period, have a 
case of what I have called in the past "mission inebriation." A sense that 
there are few legitimate boundaries to the desires born in the goodness of 
their good hearts.
   One wonders if they shouldn't ease up, calm down, breathe deep, get more 
securely grounded. The most moving speeches summon us to the cause of what is 
actually possible. Perfection in the life of man on earth is not. Posted by 
Lawrence Auster at January 21, 2005 09:40 AM

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