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Sunday, October 17, 2004

Faith-Based President 

Ron Suskind's NY Times article about Bush, religion, and his relationship to the truth is a must-read. Its pretty hefty at 10 pages, so here's one passage that is particularly appalling:
[A senior Bush advisor] said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors....and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Several different commentators have remarked on this. Kevin Drum has an interesting take on it, that ultimately this reflects a man who lacks self-confidence, and thus fears contact with facts that might prove his "gut instincts" incorrect. Juan Cole compares Bush to Mao Zedong, the Chinese Communist leader whose "Great Leap Forward" policies were premised on the same faith-based ideas, that power can create reality, and led to 20 million deaths from starvation.

Personally, I'm not sure what to make. One of those people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality"? Well, yeah, I guess I do beleive that trying to understand the world in order to try to make it better is a pretty good idea. It is my occupation, after all. I mean, you don't just come up with solutions out of thin air, do you?
Article:The president would say that he relied on his ''gut'' or his ''instinct'' to guide the ship of state, and then he ''prayed over it.''

Oh, wait, I guess you do.

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