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Monday, October 18, 2004

 

the dementia of power


suskind in the new york times:


In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide 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.''

if anyone needs a reason to fear what the bush administration has become -- a paranoid nexus of cash, faith, ideology, empire and unbounded personal ambition -- that quote should give them one.

if the white house isn't part of a "reality-based community", what is it part of?

a community of impossibly arrogant self-delusion, apparently.

these are words that could have fallen from the mouth of any of history's great egomaniacal dictators. that they eminate from the american white house bodes ill for all americans. lord acton's words have never been more appropriate.

UPDATE: the full text of suskind's piece is kept (for a while) in two parts at a blog.


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andrew sullivan's take on suskind's indictment of the god-king sounds about right. the blogosphere is absolutely resonating with it.

 
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juan cole's comparison of bush's faith-based presidency and mao zedong's cultural revolution is both sickening and revealing. one can only hope, really, that controverting the faith does not come to mean prison (or worse).

 
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