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"What effect must it have on a nation if it learns no foreign languages? Probably much the same as that which a total withdrawal from society has upon an individual."
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Wednesday, November 03, 2004
 
Fighting Fire With Water

Eric Alterman says:

The problem is just this: Slightly more than half of the citizens of this country simply do not care about what those of us in the “reality-based community” say or believe about anything.

They don’t care that Iraq is turning into murderous quicksand and a killing field for our children. They don’t care that the Bush presidency has made us less safe by creating more terrorists, inspiring more anti-American hatred and refusing to engage in the hard work that would be necessary to make a meaningful dent in our myriad vulnerabilities at home. They don’t care that he has mortgaged our children’s future to give trillions to the wealthiest among us. They don’t care that the economy continues to hemorrhage well-paying jobs and replace them with Wal-Mart; that the number without health insurance is over forty million and rising. They don’t care that Medicare premiums are rising to fund the coffers of pharmaceutical companies. They don’t care that the air they breathe and the water they drink is being slowly poisoned and though they call themselves conservatives, they even don’t care that the size of the government and its share of our national income has increased by roughly a quarter in just four years. This is not a world of rational debate and issue preference.

It’s one of “them” and “us.” He’s one of “them” and not one of “us” and that’s all they care about. True it’s an illusion. After all, Bush is a millionaire’s son who went to Yale and Harvard and sat out Vietnam, not even bothering to show up for his cushy National Guard duty, and succeeded only in trading on his father’s name and connections in adult life. But somehow, they feel he understands them. He speaks their language. Our guys don’t. And unless they learn it, we will continue to condemn this country and those parts of the world it affects to a regime of malign neglect at best—malignant and malicious assault at worse.


There's something cultlike about the devotion of a lot of Bush's admirers, and he encourages it. He does not claim to have any specific skills or expertise; he's a man of negligible achievement who was somehow called to lead. He claims to receive instructions from God's own mouth. He has said that, as president, he feels no obligation to answer for himself to anyone. It often seems that he believes himself to possess some form of divine right.

And people go along with it.

If he does something wrong, it's not really wrong. If it is, it's not his fault. If he doesn't understand something, it's not important. His manifest failures of thought and speech are never taken for signs of incompetence. His incompetence is never pertinent. He makes no mistakes and regrets nothing.

The left is never going to move these people as easily and effectively as George W. Bush does unless we start our own cult and defeat his cult in cult-to-cult combat. Sounds painful and degrading. As an alternative, I suggest we look into mass deprogramming.