Monday, October 18, 2004

It's the Reality, Stupid

John Kenneth Galbraith writes another great short piece for Salon, commenting on how the gung-ho economic fantacists of the Reagan era are stunned at the complete disconnect from anything approximating reality in the Bush White House. He discusses three of these figures, quoting what they have to say about Bush. The scariest is from an email by Paul Craig Roberts, John M. Olin Fellow at the Independent Institute:

"Bush's supporters demand lock-step consensus that Bush is right. They regard truthful reports that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and was not involved in the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. -- truths now firmly established by the Bush administration's own reports -- as treasonous America-bashing ... In language reeking with hatred, Heritage Foundation Town Hall readers impolitely informed me that opposing the invasion of Iraq is identical to opposing America, that Bush is the greatest American leader in history and everyone who disagrees with him should be shot before they cause America to lose another war ... Bush's conservative supporters want no debate. They want no facts, no analysis. They want to denounce and to demonize the enemies that the Hannitys, Limbaughs, and Savages of talk radio assure them are everywhere at work destroying their great and noble country."

This is fascism. As Arendt points out repeatedly in her writings, why I cite her entreaty to bear witness to the truth, the sheer thereness or reality can be rejected by those determined determined to see the world in simple and brutal terms. Their story makes sense of the complexity and confusion, but that does not mean it is thereby more accurate. It creates a world in which there are the holy, the elect, the chosen, and the rest who deserve eradication. They are all too eager to deal out death in judgement. It seems like strength, certitude, decisiveness; in reality it masks fear, ignorance and lust for power.

Galbraith concludes:

"All three of these men remain highly conservative. Bartlett has become a budget realist, stating frankly that taxes will rise in the next administration because they have to. Thus, he correctly argues, the choice is whether they should go up on capital and the wealthy, as they would under John Kerry -- or on consumption and the poor, as they would under Bush. Roberts has become an economic nationalist in the Pat Buchanan mold, mourning the loss of manufacturing jobs and writing stridently against free trade. Wanniski holds much the same economic views he always did.

And how are these three Reagan conservatives going to vote this year? I don't know. I haven't asked them. And so far as I know they haven't said in public. But their recent words speak powerfully to the emerging political divide in America today. It isn't left against right, rich against poor or North against South. It's reason against certitude. It's evidence against dogma. It's a willingness to argue facts against a refusal to brook doubt.

Welcome to the coalition of the reality-based."

Welcome, indeed.

Kerry/Edwards - It's the reality, stupid.

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