[Paleopsych] Lawrence Auster on the Inauguration Speech
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Sat Jan 22 15:07:07 UTC 2005
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
Here are my frankly critical responses to Bush's speech, in reverse
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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.
That is such an important point and I don^Yt make it often enough. Is today^Ys
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
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
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
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.
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,
... 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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