Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Helprin on Bush’s "Evangelical Democracy"

Author Mark Helprin does not write op-eds for a living, but when he does publish an essay on current events, it is always worth reading. Their sensibility and gravitas are sorely lacking in what passes for elite opinion in the mainstream press. His Monday editorial for the Wall St. Journal, "Our Blindness," takes issue with Bush’s Second Inaugural Address (which I very much liked), and repeats his warning that the U.S. needs to prepare for a coming confrontation with China.

Regarding Bush’s strategy in Iraq, Helprin remarks, "God help the army that must fight for an idea rather than an objective." An arguable point, but one worth debating, especially among conservatives who like what Bush is doing in the Middle East, in general, but quibble over the tactics he has implemented.

In addition, Helprin culls from Bush’s 2nd Inaugural Address a commitment to "evangelical democracy writ overwhelmingly large" that he believes is simply too great a burden for our armed forces to bear. I think this point is too fine a point to put upon Bush’s Iraq policy, esp. leading up to the elections this week. Nevertheless, as much as I liked Bush’s speech, there were a few points where the rhetoric was too highfalutin’ even for this fan of eloquent political prose. While I disagree with Peggy Noonan’s blunt charge that it contained "way too much God," Bush’s address could have downshifted a bit on reiterating the laudable theme of freedom, and spent more time drawing out its implications for America on the homefront as well as abroad. Americans on both sides of the partisan aisle could have benefitted from a more explicit connection between his commitment to freedom and his policies for fighting terrorism and proposals for reforming Social Security, among other domestic issues.

Discussions - 2 Comments

"Americans on both sides of the partisan aisle could have benefitted from a more explicit connection between his commitment to freedom and his policies for fighting terrorism..."

Correct. Why did we do it big, but then tie our hands and not act on the intelligence we had? Everyone talks about lack of intelligence but isn’t it the case that we let some terrorists go after negotiating with them? We act on Iraq given the principle that innaction leads to more deaths in the long run, then we fail to take action and allow terrorists to regroup for fear of collateral dammage. How does Compassion, Freedom and War against terror fit together? We need our convoys on the offensive not the defensive, correct? We could talk about lack of intelligence, no one tipped us that on such and such a date a Islamacists was going to drop an IED over an overpass as some particular convoy travelled beneath, but this can’t be expected, so it isn’t lack of intelligence. What if the real problem in Iraq is american compassion and leniency in acting on the intelligence we do have on actual or potential terrorists that in turn only serves to enbolden them? Instead of seriously We went to war because we didn’t want to enbolden those who support terrorism by giving them a free pass, but we constantly refrained from making judgements concerning who the enemy is. considering naming Islam, Bush’s various pronouncements make clear that he is also a man of God with struggles against his own secular society. It would be a simplification but one could say that Bush has run things in such a way that what we have is Christianity appeasing Islam.(Bush might be acting as a World historical individual partially aware of the Universal Spirit Itself) Is it possible that a political shift favoring a greater role for evangelical Christianity in politics is not itself an off-shoot of the West’s attempt to reach out to Islam and thus moderate it? Is there a dialectic to change hearts and minds towards religion from both sides with Bush embodying the Geist? Is there an unconscios attempt to solve an anti-thesis? Will this lead to an Aufgehoben or will history record Bush as confused?

"We went to war because we didn’t want to enbolden those who support terrorism by giving them a free pass...."? Is this the quote of Gadfly or copied from the Bush camp rhetoric. (Not a question). The term and phrase has been repeated numerous times very recently and I find it interesting to see it pop up here all over again. Or should I say regurgitated.
Enbolden = not found in the English dictionary. Look it up.
As for the content of the post, I did recognize most of the other words but their arrangement = not in English grammar textbooks. Read one. Or two.
Hooray for Literacy!
2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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